On three consecutive evenings last week, the International Space Station (ISS) passed over my hometown of Buffalo, New York shortly after sundown. The sky was clear each night and the weather was unusually pleasant for mid-November in Western New York!
My objective was to shoot still photos and a short video of the ISS going overhead.
On Thursday, November 11, 2010, I set up my Canon EOS REBEL T2i on a tripod. Turning off the auto focus and image stabilization, I focused manually to infinity. Once the ISS appeared I was able to easily capture several shots using different settings. Here is one shot at ISO 640, f/5.6, with the shutter open for 8.0 seconds.
The next evening, I tried to shoot video of the ISS using a Canon VIXIA HF200 HD video camera. Unfortunately, my handheld technique produced a lousy result. Against a black sky, the ISS did not look like it was moving the way it appears to the naked eye. It was just wobbling around inside the frame because of my difficulty holding it steady. I needed a tripod for sure.
On Saturday evening, the ISS was scheduled to pass overhead at 5:27 p.m. The sky was just getting dark as I set my Canon video camera on a tripod and pointed it towards the northwest. Right on schedule (as always), the ISS appeared. It took me a few seconds to start tracking its movement within the camera’s viewfinder. My plan was to move the camera into a fixed position so the ISS would pass across the camera’s field of view. It took roughly 20 seconds at the zoom level I was using.
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Additional Info: Tracking the International Space Station with an iPhone