About two weeks ago, photographer Albert Dros got luckier than any photographer has any right to be, and in the process captured an image that truly is a “once-in-a-lifetime” sort of shot.

We’ve mentioned before that serendipity often trumps planning… in this case it turned what would have been a great photo into something spectacular.

Scroll down to check out the photo and then read the amazing story behind how Albert captured a portrait with the Milky Way, a Perseid meteor shower, AND the ISS all in one frame:

Alone in the Universe by Albert Dros on 500px.com

On August 8th, Perseid meteor showers were predicted along with a very clear night. This is quite rare in the Netherlands, so I decided to head out.

Normally I don’t care too much about the meteors; I mainly love to shoot the Milky Way here, as I am greatly inspired by Michael Shainblum. Where he lives, he can shoot super vivid Milky Way photos. Unfortunately, that’s not possible here, even on extremely clear nights. But it’s still possible to capture the Milky Way in quiet a decent way!

So I drove to the familiar area near my house called Kootwijkerzand, in the Dutch Veluwe. This is one of the darker places in our country, yet it still suffers from a lot of light pollution. I took a friend with me so we could take some portraits in front of the Milky Way.

Upon arrival it was already obvious that I could get some great shots. The sky was extremely clear and I could even see the Milky Way with my own eyes. We walked around a bit and found a nice hill that we could use as an altar, so we could shoot at an angle in which we would be able to take some selfies in front of the Milky Way. This turned out great, and we took a couple of shots of both of us standing there.

Then, while I was shooting my friend, I suddenly saw some kind of star slowly moving across the frame and disappearing. It looked like a star, but it moved much slower. It definitely wasn’t an airplane, as airplanes do not just disappear into the galaxy. I’m not an astro expert, so I wasn’t really sure what it was. It made a beautiful strike on my image though, along with some faint strikes from fallen stars from the Perseid storm. I was quite excited about this image when I saw it on my LCD.

When I came home, this was the shot I processed first. I asked around on Facebook and the local astrology forums to find out what that “star” had been. These guys told me that this was the International Space Station (ISS). The time in the EXIF data of the photo and the position of the shot matched exactly where the ISS was located at that time.

That means I managed to make a portrait of my friend with the Milk Way, a Perseid meteor shower, AND the ISS. I am still extremely excited about this… another ‘shot of a lifetime’ for me.

Here’s that shot one more time:

Alone in the Universe by Albert Dros on 500px.com

To see more of Albert’s work, be sure to give him a follow on 500px where he’s uploading some really stunning shots—once in a lifetime and otherwise. You can also find him online at his website and on Facebook.

Oh, and if you like cows and lightning, Albert’s got another, quirkier story waiting for you at this link.