Hear What Apollo 11 Astronauts Said as They Shot Iconic Earthrise Photos

A photographer who was “rummaging” through the NASA archives stumbled across an amazing earthrise timelapse taken by the crew of Apollo 11 and then dubbed the audio of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins discussing the camera settings.

Joav Kohn put together the 139 photo-sequence of planet Earth rising above the Moon on July 20, 1969 into an epic timelapse and then hunted down the audio of the crew talking about how best to capture a sight that no humans had ever seen before.

In Kohn’s video, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins can be heard discussing which lens to use on their Hasselblad 500EL, what aperture to use, and what shutter speed.

“Okay, infinity at f/11, and at 1/250th huh?,” says Aldrin. Armstrong replies: “You might want to back off a half stop to get the Earth.”

Collins warns the crew that they don’t want to miss the first Earthrise but then says that there will be plenty of Earthrises while on the Moon for them to capture.

Hunt for the Footage

The amazing video was put together by PetaPixel reader and photographer Joav Kohn whose wealth of experience making timelapses drew him to the photos.

“I instantly noticed that there was a sequence of images in the Apollo 11 rolls that would make a short animation,” Kohn says.

Composite of the earthrise timelapse

After putting together the photos he found on cartridge 41 of the Apollo 11 photographs, he decided to track down the audio of the three astronauts talking about making the pictures.

NASA made the tape archive of Apollo 11 available to the public on the 40th anniversary of the mission but the site hasn’t been maintained and the links have all stopped working.

“I knew if I could hear the astronauts talking about that moment it would be way more compelling than the timelapse alone, so, the hunt for the audio was on,” explains Kohn.

“Thankfully the internet has a wayback machine, and I was able to dig through the archives and eventually find the mp3 files of the original mission audio.”

Hearing Armstong, Aldrin, and Collins discussing the best way to capture the earthrise will warm the hearts of photographers.

“I think anyone who’s tried to capture a moment like this will find the entire dialog all too human,” adds Kohn.

Image credits: Joav Kohn/NASA.