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Thursday, 16 February 2017


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Swapping a magazine on a 50x is not that difficult.... but I've certainly screwed it up more than once before.

250sec / f11 - gotta love it

1/250th at F11.

Remember that exposure ;-) (hmm... what ISO)

When I was a kid in school in the 60s, they told me we'd be taking holidays on the moon by the year 2000. So, I expected that I'd be able to take a stunning photo like that one day.

Also, where is my flying car?

Wonderful! I love how they were scrambling for a roll of film. Been there!

Of course, it's a hoary old cliché to say that the sight of Earth like that should make us all acutely aware of the fragility of our unbelievably beautiful home in this cold universe. And clearly, it hasn't -- we're merrily despoiling it just as fast as we ever did. But it should have made us aware.

So beautiful.
So fragile.
So abused for so long.
When will we learn?

Dang! I was looking at one photo of the Earthrise when the first moon landing happened. What tremendous memories!

Lump indeed. To but contemplate the beauty and fragility of the earth thanks to one magnificent photograph.

Speechless, and proud for a moment to be human. When will we come back to this kind of daring effort?

Don't take that, it's not scheduled!

Man, that was incredibly cool. Many thanks!

This is a great video (I've seen it before, good to see it again!). The slight distress in their voices that all too familiar fumbling with the equipment to get the shot, is all too familiar. Quick, pass the colour! Love it.


Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I was interested in learning more, so I went to NASA's page about photography during the Apollo program:


Starting in 1966, it say, Lunar Orbiters "carried fully automated film processing laboratories. After processing, the film was scanned for radio transmission of the pictures back to Earth."

I'm fascinated by this and wonder what kind of onboard film scanning equipment they would have used in 1966, what kind of image files this would have produced, and so on. I can't find any further information online - does anyone here know more?

That same photograph today would involve a cell phone and a selfie stick.

Following up on my own comment, I did find this:


Each giant roll of Ampex magnetic tape contains ONE frame, written as analog data. Amazing.

In response to Todd Gustavson, George Eastman Museum (..am I allowed to post a response?..) I handed one of these - which I'd been given by Hasselblad - to Jim Irwin, when he was touring UK schools back in about 1980, and he said "where did you get that?! I thought we'd left it behind on the moon!" ..as they had to leave all excess weight and just bring back the film magazines. (I was writing an article about him, and the camera, when I was Technical Ed of 'Practical Photography'.)

But he pointed out something I'd never realised, although I'd had the camera for a year or more: it has no viewfinder! The astronauts clipped the back of the camera to the spacesuit, pointed themselves in roughly the right direction, guessed the focus distance (and focused, in gloves, using the extra big tab on the focus ring) with the shutter set - as far as I remember - at 1/125th and the aperture at f8 for a distant view of the earth, and at f5.6 for a shot on, and of, the moon ..with an adhesive label on the top of the camera showing which settings should be used for which kind of shot.

I asked how the NASA folk could have known exactly what settings the astronauts should use, and he said that the NASA scientists had measured - from earth - the amount of light there was on the moon, but as there's no weather on the moon, that amount of light is always constant.

There was no viewfinder, because that would have been just one more thing (a flipping mirror) to go wrong, and it was found pretty much impossible to get your head sufficiently close, wearing a space helmet, to peer into a finder anyway!

Fascinating! But haven't we been told that these pictures were faked in a studio, just like the pictures of the moon landings? After all, this is a false as climate change, or evolution of bacteria and organisms.

[And don't forget germs. Can't see 'em, ain't there. --Mike]

Hey Mike, if I may I would like to respond to Burple question about Lunar Orbiter photo digitizing efforts. These sites offer some information about current and recent efforts to remaster the data from those old transmissions, but I bet they may also lead to other sites that might provide more about the actual onboard equipment.


Richard Man: ISO 64: The C368 refers to a 64-speed Ektachrome (http://www.fdtimes.com/2010/11/25/earthrise-story-behind-our-december-cover/).

This is about what you'd expect for the Sunny f/16 rule--the moon is in full sunlight: f/11 and ISO 50 (not 64) would be the equivalent exposure, so this is a fraction of a stop over.

Love that they bracketed.

It's not surprising the astronauts had a basic understanding of the technical side of photography. They were trained, and they started out with a technical bent. And since they were trained by experts on Earth, it's not surprising they used techniques and terms familiar to us.

What's maybe a little surprising is how many of them seem to have had some sort of an eye for composition. Clearly they all instantly recognized the "Earth rise" photo as strikingly beautiful. Technical incompetence and inflexibility were highly selected against in the program, but I doubt anything especially selected for artistic skill.

It's not surprising the astronauts had a basic understanding of the technical side of photography. They were trained, and they started out with a technical bent.

I'll say.

Frank Borman had a M.S. degree from Caltech, Bill Anders had an M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering and Jim Lovelll had a B.S. degree.

Marvelous account of a truly magical photographic moment. Makes me think about a comment I recently saw about this picture (https://history.nasa.gov/ap11ann/kippsphotos/6642.jpg) from the Apollo 11 mission. The physical bits that make up the entirety of humanity - past, present and future - are in this picture, save one - the photographer, Michael Collins on board the CSM. Though just a few months old on that day, I hope I was smiling for the picture.

And to think that NASA used Hasselblads because during the Mercury era, Wally Schirra went to a Houston photo store looking for a good camera. They were using cheap 35s, like an Ansco Memo perhaps, before that.

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