Redditor ‘unwraps’ iconic Apollo 11 image, showing Buzz Aldrin’s perspective for first time: Digital Photography Review

Michael Ranger, known as rg1213 on Reddit, used this famous image of Buzz Aldrin on the Moon from the Apollo 11 mission as captured by Neil Armstrong, to essentially ‘see’ what Armstrong saw.

Credit: NASA

Since Buzz Aldrin’s visor is basically a mirror ball, Ranger was able to ‘unwrap it’ to a 2D image and then open the photo in Google Street View to ‘see’ what Aldrin saw as Armstrong captured the iconic photo.

Panorama created by Michael Ranger from the reflection in Aldrin’s visor

Ranger downloaded a high-resolution film scan in RAW format, which allowed him to make some edits before creating the panoramic image and video. Ranger sharpened, and color corrected the image in Photoshop. The visors of the spacesuit helmet are gold, so Ranger used the source image to help color correct the mirrored image in the visor. Ranger also ‘added more room in the initial photo crop around the edges of the visor so that when it was unwrapped it would more accurate account for the space in the final image that represents the inside of [Aldrin’s] helmet.’

It’s wild to think that we are getting a new perspective on an iconic image and moment in human history more than 50 years after it occurred. Reddit user SlowCrates writes, ‘It’s kind of eerie. This is an unintended, unanticipated photo. It’s literally people 52 years in the future using modern technology to catch a new perspective of the past. What kind of fancy ways will people be looking at our present 52 years from now?’

Ranger adds, ‘What makes this process exciting for me is the fact that this is real. If I get any inkling whatsoever that something like this is fake or false, my interest in it completely evaporates. This is great because it’s real!’

If you’d like to download the full resolution panorama and play with it for yourself, you can do so via Ranger’s iCloud.

Images shared with Michael Ranger’s permission. Original image credit: NASA

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