This morning began with an accidental waking from my sister at 4:40 AM, who did it accidentally on her way out the door for swim practice.

I got the buzz a few minutes after I woke up that there was going to be a pass of the International Space Station at 5:15 AM.

Knowing that it was going to be so soon, and that I might not be so quick to do this come time to head back to school January 11th, I packed up my cameras, tripods, and intervalometer and headed outside after checking for the details of the pass.

I knew it was also going to be a neat pass (then again, I think ever pass it neat because all are unique/different), because it was about 2 hours before sunrise, and the ISS would be exiting the shadow of the Earth during the pass and then flying right between the Moon and Mars on its way east after an orbital sunrise. I was setup with my Rebel paired to the Canon 8-15mm  f/4L fisheye, and my 7D MkII paired with my new nifty 50mm STM (which I have found is perfect for astrophotography). With the 50, I was able to perfectly frame up Mars and the Moon in the same shot. And with the Rebel, I just pointed it towards the sky where the ISS was going to reach its max altitude in the sky.

The settings I used were as follows:

Canon Rebel T5i (8-15mm fisheye)

30 seconds


ISO 200
Canon 7D MkII (shot 1) (50mm)

30 seconds


ISO 400
Canon 7D MkII (shot 2) (50mm)

30 seconds


ISO 400

and what I ended up with for each shot was so worth waking up, braving the 17℉ cold and the cold hands.

The shot from the Rebel is the feature image on this post.

Shot 1 from the MkII was this:

Moon  - ISS - Mars

and the resulting (shot 2) from the Mk II as the ISS headed northeast after an orbital sunrise leaving my view:

Off Into An Orbital Sunrise

And these were only from the first pass. I went back inside, finished stacking the above photos and realized the ISS had zipped around the world once more.

Back outside we go! 😀

Settings for the following shot were as follows:

Canon 7D MkII (50mm STM)

28 shot stack

1'3" seconds


ISO 100

The International Space Station official Twitter account even RT’d me!!

I think there is a lot to be learned through these photos that I take. Life lessons for sure that apply not only to my photography, but apply to everyone and everything.

Hard work pays off and there’s a fine line between being a good idea generator and being an idea converter. Until the next #SpotTheStation adventure.