Earthrise and The Peak’s Beautiful Skies Photo Contest

By Les Conklin

What better way to introduce The Peak’s Beautiful Skies Photography Contest than to honor Earthrise, the photo that famed nature photographer Galen Rowell called “… the most influential environmental photo ever taken.” We will be providing details about The Peak’s photography contest in the February Update issue of The Peak, which will be published here by February 15, 2018. Here is a contest preview.

Photo Contest

Entrants will have the opportunity to submit their favorite photographs of Sonoran sunsets, sunrises, clouds, lightening, etc. The photograph must have been taken in Scottsdale and neighboring Desert Foothills communities. The contest is free, winning photographs will be published in The Peak and prizes will be awarded. The deadline for entering the contest will be March 10, 2018

The Story of Earthrise

On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was destined to be the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit, travel approximately 238,900 miles to the Moon, orbit the Moon, and return safely to Earth. The spacecraft and its crew was recovered in the North Pacific Ocean by the USS Yorktown on December 27, 1968. The duration of the mission was 6 days, 3 hours, 42 minutes. The world-wide television audience, estimated to be in excess of one billion, was the largest ever up to that time. Few of us who watched will forget some of the dramatic moments, such as waiting to see if Apollo 8 had made it safely around the dark side of the Moon and if the astronauts had survived reentry.

Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, the crew of Apollo 8, were the first humans to see the Earth as a whole. The photograph was taken by Anders during a lunar orbit on December 24, 1968. At the time, Borman was controlling the spacecraft and Anders was taking photographs of the Moon’s surface.

Jeffrey Kluger, author of the best-selling book, “Apollo 8,” describes what happened.

“..Oh, my God!” Borman suddenly said. “Look at that picture over there! Here’s the Earth coming up. Wow is that pretty!”

The other two men looked out their windows. Just as Borman said, the blue-white ball that was home to everything they knew – home to every creature and thing and event that had occurred or existed across the entire expanse of the Earth’s history – was hovering over the pitted wreck that was the lunar landscape. The astronauts had seen the Earth and they had seen the moon, but this was the first time they were seeing them together – the ugly, broken world beneath them and the lovely, breakable one in front of them.”

Earthrise After Splashdown

Those of us who watched television broadcasts of the flight did not get to see Earthrise at the time. It was still on Anders’s camera. A passage in Wikipedia describes the photo’s impact. “Over time, that image became the defining image he’d sensed it might be, reproduced hundreds of millions of times on postage stamps, wall posters, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and more. Both Time and Life magazines ranked it as among the hundred most influential photographs in history, and the image would widely be credited with animating the environmental movement, which was just beginning to gather momentum in 1968 and became a global force within the year.” Wikipedia

Enter Beautiful Skies Photography Contest

We hope you’ve been inspired by this story and will capture your own great photograph of the sky closer to home. You might have already taken the winning photograph, so all you have to do is enter the contest. If you don’t have a picture, go outdoors and start clicking. No need to blast off, orbit the Moon and splash down.

Watch NASA Video

Click on the link below to watch a short video about Earthrise.

NASA Earthrise Video

The Peak Welcomes Your Comment

The Peak invites you to share your thoughts about this article by using the “Submit a Comment” box at the bottom of this page. All comments are reviewed based on The Peak’s Comment Policy prior to publishing.

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Author: Les Conklin

Les Conklin is the editor of A Peek at the Peak publications and the author of Images of America: Pinnacle Peak. He is the president of the Greater Pinnacle Peak Association and the Monte de Paz HOA. He founded Friends of the Scenic Drive and has served on the Scottsdale Pride Commission, McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission, and on the boards of several local nonprofits. Les is a resident of north Scottsdale and a member of Scottsdale's History Maker Hall of Fame. Les is a volunteer school tour guide at the Musical Instrument Museum.

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