Inspiration: engineering + photography / by Eric Dacus

Work on something bigger than yourself, and take good photos along the way.

A lot of what inspired me to want to be a design engineer in the first place was reading about the Apollo program and how many things had to be designed and improved to make going to the moon and back possible. All of it had to be close to perfect, with very limited opportunity to field test everything ahead of time. Everyone from the person putting in the rivets to the flight controllers had a hand in making the whole thing go. I’d like to think we’re still capable of such grand plans and dedication to make them happen. 

One thing that I hadn’t thought about was the importance of bringing back good photos, since that was the most direct way of documenting these missions. 

“You can’t bring back anything tangible besides those photographs as a record of where you’ve been and what you’ve done,” he said. (Souvenirs like moon rocks are strictly against protocol.) “We’re given this god’s-eye view, so we need to learn how to capture it and bring it back home.”

And just getting those photos from the moon required development and refinement.

The archive of photos from the Apollo program can be found at here:

These two were from the Apollo 11 mission, specifically from Magazine S AS11-40-5844 to AS11-40-5970.

See also the Astronaught’s Photography Manual 

Some excerpts you aren’t likely to find in other photography manuals:

Reading off white space suits: Open 1 stop.

The sharpness and contrast of the image is decreased immensely when recorded through dirty, greasy glass. Clean the windows in the shuttle before you photograph through them. 

Do not try to focus visually for earth shots, simply set lens at infinity.

And how’s this for explaining focusing for depth of field: