Astronauts have passion for photography


Flight engineer Karen Nyberg took self-portrait with a giant floating drop of water -- an image you can only capture in space. Photography is a big hobby aboard the space station. Photography is a big hobby aboard the space station. Up there, big lenses weigh nothing and the breathtaking scenery is limitless.

"We never get tired of looking out the window. It's something that we talk among ourselves," said ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano. "The Earth is always perfect and always different. It's constantly changing."

Often perched in the cupola, they've taken pictures of a giant typhoon over Thailand and a wildfire raging in Colorado. A Russian cosmonaut used a big lens to catch a glimpse of the Albert Einstein vehicle docking with the station. But it was an ordinary consumer lens that captured the city lights of Dallas at night.

"We have a wall of lenses, and different camera bodies that we can use at any given time, and it's usually in the evenings that we have personal time to take pictures," said NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.

Parmitano sometimes shoots with his iPod floating nearby, but when he has the choice, he says, "Personally, my favorite way to look out, to look down on Earth is when I was outside using this camera. And I think Chris would agree with that, that nothing can really beat that."

However, it was on one of those spacewalks earlier this week that Parmitano felt water leaking into his helmet. Within minutes, he was in danger of drowning.

"The water kept trickling until it completely covered my eyes and my nose. It was really hard to see, I couldn't hear anything, it was really hard to communicate, I went back just using, just memory, basically, going back to the airlock until I found it," said Parmitano.

He survived without injury, to chuckle about it.

"I experienced what it is like to be a goldfish in a fishbowl, from the point of view of the goldfish," said Parmitano.

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