Photographing the Grand Canyon from Space

Chris Higgins
YouTube / National Geographic
YouTube / National Geographic / YouTube / National Geographic

John Flaig uses weather balloons with cameras attached to make amazing photographs. Known as Near Space Ballooning, his technique entails creating a custom box crammed with cameras and sending it to the edge of space, then waiting for the balloon to pop and send the package back home. The result is beautiful and eerie. My favorite part in this video is around 2:48, when Flaig finds his box in the snow, using GPS. It's like he's been reunited with an old friend. Enjoy:

You can read a detailed account of Flaig's first (failed) Grand Canyon balloon shoot, including a complete list of equipment. Then there's his account of the successful launch pictured above; in that launch's "Lessons Learned" section, Flaig notes:

Never buy helium labeled "Balloon Grade". Try and find a welding shop to get helium from, they could never pass anything off on their normal customers that was less than pure helium and still stay in business.

Now you know.