One of the main jobs the Apollo astronauts were given was to be photographers. Apart from scientists, pilots and straight up adventurers these men had to learn how to use a camera in Space. The reason being to give a visual exploration of the barren, dusty Lunar surface for the humble Earthlings back home.
Despite having live video feed transmitted back to Houston and broadcast all over the world, the quality was substandard. NASA relied on some specially manufactured Hasselblad film cameras to provide clean, crisp and high resolution photographs to study at a later date. What we’ve rediscovered is some old archive footage of a photo shoot on the Moon taking place.
It is a wonderful moment to watch!
The decent commentary starts at 1:45 during the clip. We’ve transcribed the best bits for you using the JSC NASA archive.
IRWIN Okay. That is a good picture. SCOTT A neat picture. IRWIN A little to the left. Let's try another setting. How about an F 8? SCOTT Yes, try an F 8. IRWIN Look at that. SCOTT Yes. IRWIN That's eleven there. ... SCOTT Ah, you look colorful. IRWIN Even with the dirt, huh. SCOTT Okay. You like that side there, Joe. CAPCOM It's beautiful. SCOTT Yes, we think it's pretty nice too.
Any photographer with an ounce of heart will find themselves getting a little choked up at that aperture comment. We’re able to watch as Commander David Scott and Pilot James Irwin gently bounce back and forth taking snaps of each other saluting in front of the American flag. It is very endearing, possibly even cute to watch.
We’ve been scanning through the enormous archive uploaded to Flickr last September and
unmooned unearthed the actual unscientific portraits that were taken at that very moment. They look a lot nicer than what the grainy high gain, low res video footage suggests.
Not bad at all considering the photographer was practically facing the Sun. We should be thankful for the excellent range captured by the black and white film. Let’s remind ourselves of the harsh light they were presented with:
There is one last surprise, as CAPCOM points out earlier in transcript:
IRWIN Okay. Gee, I wish we had color. SCOTT Yes. CAPCOM We'll have the color tomorrow, Dave. (Garble) especially for you. SCOTT (Garble). Okay. Okay.
…And because at Phogotraphy we care, we went in search of the colour pictures they took the next day. Here they are.