My Top 10 Apollo Photographs

by Mike Constantine

Between 1968 and 1972 thousands of high-resolution photographs were captured by the Apollo Astronauts, from Earth orbit and translunar coast to lunar orbit and the lunar surface itself.

The photos were captured on 70mm film using Hasselblad cameras, giving an incredibly high quality to each image.

However, the vast majority of these photos were never seen by the general public except for a few famous shots such as the Buzz Aldrin 'Visor' photo and the Apollo 8 'Earthrise'.

So to shed some light on some of the incredible photos captured on Apollo I would like to present my personal Top 10 Apollo photos.

Number 10

Apollo 11 - Buzz Aldrin with the Solar Wind Experiment

Captured by Neil Armstrong this photo is not as well known as the famous 'Visor' photo but has more interesting content, as the Apollo 11 landing area was so flat there wasn't much terrain to use as a background, so this photo gives a great impression of the scale of the Lunar Module and shows the Solar Wind Composition Experiment (SWC) The SWC was an aluminium foil sheet designed to sample the solar wind outside of Earthís atmosphere. After 77 mins exposed to the sun, Aldrin would roll up the experiment and bring it back to Earth for analysis

Number 9

Apollo 17 - Lunar Module Ascent Stage

A great photo of the Apollo 17 ascent stage as it comes back from the lunar landing to dock with Ron Evans in the Command Module in December 1972. On close inspection Gene Cernan can be seen in the LM window. The photo shows some areas of buckling on the outer skin

Number 8

Apollo 12 - Pete Conrad Descending Lunar Module

After making a pinpoint landing, Pete Conrad climbs down Intrepidís ladder to become the 3rd man on the Moon. Captured by a very creative Alan Bean, the only Moonwalker to take a photo of their crewmate from this perspective.

Number 7

Apollo 17 - Harrison Schmitt with Rake

Gene Cernan captured this photo at Station 1 which was in the middle of the Taurus Littrow Valley and about 150 meters from a large impact crater called Steno. The objective was to collect samples of ejecta from Steno which should contain sub-surface material. Harrison Schmitt is using the Lunar Rake to collect fragments over 1cm in size, by placing the rakeís tines into the soil then walking backwards three or four times. Even though this was captured early on EVA-1, Schmitt is already covered in lunar dust.

Number 6

Apollo 15 - Dave Scott and Hadley Rille

This stunning photo captured by Jim Irwin at Station 2 shows Apollo 15 CDR Dave Scott close to the edge of Hadley Rille. The photo shows the incredible landscape chosen for Apollo 15 which was the first 'J' mission which meant extended stay on the lunar surface, and use of the Lunar Rover.

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Number 5

Apollo 11 - Lunar Module Earthrise

This incredible Apollo 11 Photo was taken by CMP Mike Collins and shows the Apollo 11 Lunar Module carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returning from the lunar surface to re-dock with Command Module Columbia. Collins had great presence of mind and excellent timing to capture this photo perfectly framed as the Earth rose in the background

Number 4

Apollo 15 - Jim Irwin and Lunar Rover

This photo was captured by Dave Scott at the end of EVA-1 and shows Irwin at the LRV with Mount Hadley looming large in the background. A very atmospheric photo, even though the Moon has no atmosphere, the 'misty' background is actually caused by glare from the Sun.

Number 3

Apollo 12 - Solar Eclipse of the Earth.

During their return journey from the Moon, the Apollo 12 crew capture photographs and movies of a unique sight, not seen by any human previously- a total solar eclipse of the Earth. Whereby the sun is completely covered by the Earth

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Number 2

Apollo 12 - Alan Bean with Lunar Toolkit

This great photo of Alan Bean with the lunar toolkit was captured by Pete Conrad on EVA-2, this photo in stunning Black and White would not look out of place in a photography gallery.

Number 1

Apollo 17 - Harrison Schmitt with Flag and Earth

This stunning photo showing Schmitt with the Earth above, was captured by Gene Cernan on EVA 1 soon after deploying the US flag. An incredible photo that shows how far humans have come, to be able to stand on another world with your own home over your shoulder. Cernan took many great photos, with this among his best.

Thanks - Mike Constantine

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