On July 20, 1969, the crew of the Apollo 11 landed their Lunar Module on the Moon, Neil Armstrong became the first man to step onto its surface, he was also the crew member trained in the use of the special Hasselblad cameras, and while two such cameras were with the Lunar Module, only one went outside, and Armstrong had that for almost all of the time spent on the moon’s surface, so he was also the first man to take a photograph on the moon’s surface, that of his friend and crew-mate Buzz Aldrin.
Hasselblad worked with NASA to produce specialised cameras for the missions, there were many things different, but two notable ones were the lack of a viewfinder (not all) and the inclusion of a Réseau plate.
Jennifer Levassur (in 2019) was a curator in charge of the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s astronaut cameras, with regards the viewfinder she said “They needed to know that the position of the camera … along their body was going to produce a certain king of image,” While the landings produced some stunning images, it’s not surprising that without a viewfinder, some of them were poorly framed, she says. “There are about 18,000 or so images taken during the Apollo program and there are plenty that aren’t any good.” (taken from NPR.org)
The Réseau plate was a special glass plate included that added several crosshairs to the image, this assisted in correcting any lens distortion as well as to assist in judging sizes and distances of objects in the frame, since the moon is devoid of landmarks and other objects with which to compare scale. (You can probably make them out in the image)
Famous man, famous photo, famous camera, now about the photo… Let’s talk!
Original comments and discussion can be seen on the post in the Guyana Photographers’ Facebook Group.