Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I rarely use the term "Hero"....

But as anyone that follows my blog knows, I've been an astronomy and space exploration buff since I was a young kid. So hearing the news a few days back that we had lost Neil Armstrong hit me pretty hard. You see, I can probably count on one hand the number of people I would consider real heroes. Now a days it seems the word "hero" has gotten watered down a bit. The word should in my personal opinion be reserved for people that do extraordinary good for mankind. Not just good for man. So to me it's a bit ironic that Neil's first words as he stepped foot onto the moon were "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." It's been said by Neil himself that he meant to say "One small step for a man", not "for man". He knew at that historic moment that he would forever be regarded as a "hero" by many even though he was just doing his job. But he knew he was doing a job not just for NASA, or America, but the entire Earth, and to me that's what makes a person a hero. I wish I had had the chance to meet him, though I would have hated to invade his privacy. The one thing about Neil that always bugged me was that he was so private. He rarely gave interviews and rarely signed autographs unless they were personalized to an individual so they would not be worth as much at an auction. It amazes me to see what people are getting for his autograph now on eBay, even for photos that are signed to an individual. I'll always be dumbfounded to see people trying to make a profit off of someone's death. Sad......

But now on to a lighter note, since this is supposed to be a photo blog. A couple days ago the photoblog site Petapixel ran an article titled "Throw-Away Photographs Shot During Neil Armstrong's Visit to the Moon". In this article it talks a lot about the images that were not released to the public right away because they were shot for specific technical reasons or had no "artistic" value to them. Some were just plain out of focus and blurry or improperly exposed. All that without InstaGram.....
Anyway, they posted a link in the article to the NASA site where all 122 images taken by Neil can be viewed. Both Neil and Buzz had cameras but Buzz was directed to take only technical photos for research. Images like the lunar lander legs in the soil and the famous footprint shot. I never realized that footprint shot was actually of Buzz's foot and not Neil's.
But one other thing I found fascinating was that NASA instructed Buzz to shoot several panoramic shots, standing in one sport and turning 360 degrees to capture the entire landscape. Here's a sequence of images I downloaded from the NASA site. This is a portion of one of Buzz's pano shots.

So I viewed quite a few of the images on the NASA website but was surprised to see that none of the pano sequences had been edited together. As luck would have it, there are hi-res versions of the images available for download so I took a stab at it and stitched several of the panos together including the sequence above that can be seen below.

And here are a few of the other images that I stitched together from anywhere from 3 to 6 images.

I'm pretty happy with the way some of them turned out. Not so much the one with the real bad flare from the sun but still a bit unique.

Rest In Peace
Neil Armstrong
8/5/1930 - 8/25/2012

One of MY heroes.