Jeff Williams is a flight engineer on board NASA’s expedition 47 flight. As an astronaut and a resident on board the ISS, he has one of the best views of the planet looking down. Good thing too, because he is an extremely capable photographer. A number of photos of this blue rock, which you may have seen recently on the NASA website, have been taken by astronauts like Williams. In this video he gives a candid view of the best vantage point on the ISS and a sneak-peek into the kind of gear that astronaut photographers use to make those stunning images:
The primary cameras that astronaut photographers like Williams use include the Nikon D4X. A variety of lenses are used to make these images. These include wide angle lenses and super-telephoto behemoths like the 800mm with a 1.4x tele-converter attached. Surprisingly, many of the photos that you see are shot hand-held.
There are several windows and vantage points aboard the ISS for shooting photos. But, the cupola, which Williams describes as the “window on the world,” is probably the best. It gives a panoramic view of the Earth in all its magnificence: