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Welcome to Shoe-String Budget, Space Photography 101

Balloon We've all seen the $400,000,000 space photos NASA puts out from time to time. Now, comes a story from England about Robert Harrison, the high-tech home hobbyist who ended up capturing some amazing photos and video from outer space, all while trying to figure out a way to get some aerial photos of his home.

To hear more of his story, check out the follow up piece by the BBC.

Not only did Harrison manage to capture some great shots and video of his house and neighborhood, but his weather-balloon lifted his inexpensive camera into near space.

You can see more of his experiment and altitude pictures here. The story has generated quite a bit of buzz from both the media and the scientific community. In fact, stories about Harrison's experiment have shown up on the BBC, SKY News, NBC, The Today Show, CNN and this little featurette on MSNBC.

How did he do it? How did he manage to create something that could give him the same type of images that cost NASA hundreds of millions for right around $1000? More importantly, how can you do it?

Harrison, a scientist at heart, naturally kept excellent notes on his entire experiment. You can find all the information you want about what kind of equipment he used, what worked, what didn't work and what you'd need to make your own space-bound aerial camera on his post-experiment website, The Icarus Project.

It would seem that doing aerial camera work has become a favorite hobby of more than just Harrison. Whether he was the inspiration, or just one of those thinking of a similar mind, lots of home hobbyists have taken to the friendly skies, cameras at the ready.

For instance, there's a growing community out there who has moved away from Google's mapping technology to take their own aerial photography; making their own balloon riggings and setting up cameras for up-to-date geomapping photos.

There's also a law student at Stanford University who has managed to get involved in balloon aerial photography for around $50, which is about the least expensive form of the hobby we've found. You can check out his pictures and read how he did it here.

In the end, you might look at all this and say that NASA's photos are too expensive. Or, you could see it as an opportunity to start your own little experimental balloon aerial photography hobby. Either way, it just goes to show you that a little ingenuity can go a long way... an awfully long way.