Moon Camera's Missing Instructions
September 26, 2011 2:47 PM   Subscribe

It's probably too late to take your Hasselblad aboard a Space Shuttle, but if the opportunity arises, read the Astronaut's Photography Manual (PDF) and you might capture photos like this one. Previously.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (9 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Warning: like this one is a 7.4 mb image. View the reduced image here, on Wikipedia.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:51 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Definitely a case of "f/8 and be there"
posted by scruss at 3:19 PM on September 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you brought your own Hasselblad and took such a stellar (!) shot that everyone wants to use, do you yourself actually own the rights to it? Or does NASA? Assuming you got the subject's (other astronaut's) modeling signature. Using a pen... that writes in space!
posted by hal9k at 3:20 PM on September 26, 2011

Hah! I knew which picture it was before I clicked it. What do I win?
posted by The Tensor at 3:28 PM on September 26, 2011

RAD'! Having attempted to teach more than a few people about changing exposure (open shutter up 1 stop, close down aperture 1 stop) & depth-of-field, I really like the simple & clear explanations on P.14-18 and then P.25. Love to see a Hassy stripped down to the most basic instructions.

And, Hal9K, I think NASA has been pretty cool about making a lot of their images public domain. Here is a brief explanation from NASA. Also, looks like there is a Flickr set of public domain NASA images (with 1,542 images!).
posted by Lukenlogs at 3:37 PM on September 26, 2011

Speaking as one who sold my $25,000 worth of Hasselblad equipment when I went all digital, this really takes me back.

I shot all of my stuff on earth though.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:51 PM on September 26, 2011

Probably the best photo book I ever bought, and still one of my prized possessions, is my 1974 copy of The Hasselblad Way.

They also produced a series of free pamphlets on specialized subjects, they were incredibly useful, and getting my Hasselblad dealer to part with them was like pulling teeth. I mean jeez, I bought a $2500 camera rig (about $10k in 2011 dollars) and you begrudge me some free pamphlets?

If you brought your own Hasselblad and took such a stellar (!) shot that everyone wants to use, do you yourself actually own the rights to it? Or does NASA?

Even if you used your own camera, the photos were taken at US Government expense, they paid to lift the camera into space, and you were on a US Government mission. Works produced by the US Federal Government are in the Public Domain.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:57 PM on September 26, 2011

An interesting thing that I learned while setting up cameras at NASA is that they "certify" each device that goes up. The certification process can cost millions of dollars.

In most cases, it involves taking a device (like a digital camera) and burning it to dust, to determine the exact chemical composition of the device and the particular threats it poses to astronauts.
posted by fake at 4:03 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

It was mentioned in the "Previously" thread, but I really wish this had worked out, from Apollo XII:

"Now that they were at Surveyor, it was time for Conrad and Bean's little surprise. Prior to the mission, they had received an automatic timer for the Hasselblad camera and Conrad had smuggled it onboard in the pocket of his space suit. What they wanted to do was mount the camera on the tool carrier and then pose, side by side, next to the Surveyor. Conrad couldn't wait to hear people ask, 'Who took the picture?' Prior to this EVA Conrad had placed the timer in the tool carrier. The problem was it was now full of rocks and lunar dust. Bean realized too much precious time was being spent looking for it and that it was buried inside the tool bag, lost amidst all the dust."

It's amazing how little Hassy equipment changed over the years, at least prior to advancements like auto-focus and digital photography. The stuff is overbuilt to the kind of degree NASA tends to appreciate. I've got an early '70s vintage kit that looks a lot like the models shown here, and aside from a few scratches, it looks as good as the day it was made.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:13 PM on September 26, 2011

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