Podcast Episode

The Lensrentals Podcast Episode #32 – How NASA Photographers Capture History

Published November 12, 2020

Each week Roger Cicala, founder of Lensrentals.com, hosts conversations about the art and science of capturing images. From photography to videography, film, history, and technology, the show covers a wide range of topics to educate and inspire creators of all kinds.


How NASA Photographers Capture History

Photo: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

Today on the podcast, Roger and Ryan sit down with Norah Moran and Josh Valcarcel, two photographers who work for the NASA photography team. Josh and Norah talk about their experiences working for NASA, from routine portraits of astronauts to photographing unique training events as NASA plans for their next space launch. Josh and Norah also discuss their backgrounds, both in photography as well as in education, and how they were able to use that to land what many would consider a dream job.

Throughout the episode, Norah and Josh talk about their experience as photographers, some of their background that landed them at NASA, and some of their daily responsibilities as photographers who photograph anything from rocket launches, to star trails, to even the occasional creative project. Among those creative projects, is one where they photographed astronauts hitting baseballs in their spacesuits, to show the range of mobility in the latest offerings from NASA.

NASA Photographers

Photo: NASA/Norah Moran

Tune into this episode to learn about what it takes to be a NASA photographer, and how you too could someday work for NASA as a member of their photography team.

You can follow Josh’s and Norah’s work on their websites and social media

Josh’s Website | Josh’s Instagram
Norah’s Website | Norah’s Instagram
Josh and Norah are full-time contractors for NASA through Analytical Mechanics Associates.

Gear mentioned in this episode:


00:15 – Introduction to Ryan Hill, Roger Cicala, and Josh Valcarcel, and Norah Moran from NASA’s photography team.

01:00 – Josh and Norah discuss their primary responsibilities as members of the NASA photography team.

02:15 – Josh discusses his background and his previous work with WIRED.

04:00 – Norah talks about her educational background which helped her land a job at NASA.

07:00 – Josh discusses his experience in the Navy as a photographer.

9:45 – Josh talks about the experience of photographing from a jet.

12:15 – Norah talks about his internship at Langley, and how she got started working as a government photographer.

16:00 – Norah and Josh talk about their training process when you start working for NASA.

17:30 – Josh and Norah talk about the changing of equipment and photography gear, and what they’ve broken.

20:45 – BREAK

21:45 – Josh and Norah talk about some of their favorite experiences working for NASA

23:15 – How are the astronauts are trained in photography

26:00 – How NASA inspires generations into what is possible

28:00 – Everyone talks about the importance of NASA and space exploration

30:15 – Josh and Norah share their advice for younger photographers with an interest in scientific photography.

36:00 – Norah talks about some of the photojournalism work that she’s done as personal work.

37:00 – Norah also talks about her passion for cosplay photography, which she does on the side.

39:00 – Josh talks about his love for comics and visual representations, and how they apply to photography.

40:55 – Norah and Josh talk about some future projects they’re excited about


The Lensrentals Podcast is a production of Lensrentals, founded by Roger Cicala. Our production staff includes Drew Cicala, Ryan Hill, Sarah McAlexander, SJ Smith, Julian Harper, John Tucker, and Zach Sutton. Other contributors include Roger Cicala, Joey Miller, Ally Aycock Patterson, Joshua Richardson, and Philip Robertson.

Thanks to Jacques Granger for our theme song.

Submit a topic idea, question, or comment, leave us a voicemail at 901-609-LENS, or send us an email at podcast@lensrentals.com.


Author: Lensrentals

Articles written by the entire editorial and technical staff at LensRentals.com. These articles are for when there is more than one author for the entire post, and are written as a community effort.

Posted in Podcast Episode
  • Ralph Hightower

    Norah and Josh have a dream job!
    Josh said that he doesn’t do photography because he is an introvert. I am an introvert and I enjoy photography as a hobbyist. I’ve done some event photography at work; I haven’t charged my employer extra because I get a salary. It’s just fun to do the events.

  • Athanasius Kirchner

    I’m so sorry not to have listened to this episode before. It was awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can only hope that Roger and Ryan can do more episodes together.

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