A group of regular folks from Alberta, Canada decided to launch a large weather balloon to take high altitude photographs. Here is their description of the project:
SABLE-3 was launched on Saturday, August 11th, 2007, at 9:31 AM with a payload, consisting of a Nikon Coolpix P2 digital camera set to take 1 image every minute and a Byonics MicroTrak 300 APRS Tracker, that the Kaysam 1200 gram balloon carried to over 117,597 feet. The last payload camera photo from the ground was just before it was launched, at 9:31 AM, and the last photo before the balloon burst was the photo above, at 12:01 PM, exactly 2Â½ hours or 150 images later.
Tons of other great photos are available at their site, SABLE-3. via Gizmodo