Zak Stone was in the right place at the right time: On a snow-camping trip, the Salem photographer set up his camera on a tripod to take automatic 30-second exposures throughout the night. He just happened to capture the International Space Station speeding by at 4:30 a.m.
“I looked through the photos when I got home and there was this crazy light coming right out of space in the pictures about 10 minutes before the battery went dead,” Stone said in an interview with the Statesman Journal. “I’ve seen what an airplane, satellite or shooting star looks like and this was something totally different.”
Stone went home and looked up on the ISS tracking website that the satellite was, indeed, flying over Crater Lake the same night he had taken the photo.
The picture alone is beautiful, but that tiny white streak in the stars inspired Stone to send it along to NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. The department currently has a call out with the hashtag #SpotTheStation to encourage people to get out and find the ISS when it passes through the sky.
Stone’s picture has been all over social media after being tweeted by ISS board member Reid Wiseman.
“It was one of those moments where all the hard hiking and backpacking of all that gear — where all the work you put in as a photographer — feels worthwhile and feels legit,” Stone told the newspaper. “I couldn’t believe how many people have been able to see (the picture). The whole thing has kind of left me speechless.”
This is the second time this summer that a photo from Crater Lake has gone viral — you may remember the amazing rainbow that was too big to capture with just one shot.