A fabulous mix of images taken by Ralf Vandebergh showing exquisite detail of the ATV in orbit on 8 June 2013. Ralf wrote:”No illumination of the solar panels but amazing visibility of segment structure in the ATV!” Thanks for sharing, Ralf!
The ATV actually ‘taught’ me spacecraft photography, apart from the big ISS. It was the first smaller vehicle I captured successfully after I started doing ISS imaging. As it is often at the altitude of the ISS, you have a good reference for the size of the modules to compare the ATV with. So it taught me what to expect from a certain size in combination with a certain altitude and what is possible with my imaging equipment.
Additionally, the ATV can show surprising high-contrast detail, even when the spacecraft is considerably small in the frames. It taught me also much about the importance of the illumination-angle and that you must have some luck that – for example – the solar panels are illuminated when seen from your location.
For that reason, unlike with radar images, it is therefore not always reliable to judge about a successful (solar) panel deployment using optical images.