My Moon Walk Photo Business

Fifty years ago today on July 20, 1969 I started my second photography business. I know the exact date not because I kept incredibly accurate business records, but because of the unforgettable historic subject. My business started on the day man landed on the moon.
On that Sunday evening, I photographed the moon walk of Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin that was broadcast to the crummy black and white 12 inch television in Bud and Joyce’s Fargo, North Dakota kitchen and millions of other similar screens. It was the only TV in the Kelsh household.

I was sixteen at the time and used my relatively new Mamiya Sekor 35 mm film camera to capture the grainy out-of-focus mind blowing images. I really had no idea whether or not the camera could focus that close but it performed like a champ.

A facsimile of the original Nick Kelsh moon photo. 25 cents for a 5 by 7. Signed.

After I documented the TV images I went outside and shot some pictures of the moon itself as I stood under the basketball hoop in the driveway—it was a clear night. The moon was about two-thirds full. I can remember staring at this brand new moon—the one with people on it. On one hand the pictures of the moon do not do the moment justice, but the other hand they seem to capture the majesty perfectly.

My FIRST photography business was started a few years earlier, but was related. I had a rubber band shutter operated model rocket that could fly to 500 feet, flip over and point its nose and lens toward the center of the earth and shoot a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. I sold prints to the owners of the documented rooftops. Some of them have actually survived to this day.

I also sold my moon and moon walk pictures to the neighbors for 25 cents for a 5 by 7 inch print processed in the basement darkroom my dad lovingly built. Sales proceeded into September when several of my favorite teachers bought copies. Business records do not indicate how many pictures actually made it into the hand of fans and collectors but I would say total profits were under ten dollars.

Starting a moon business??  Have you ever photographed the moon.? If you want see my blogs for photographing the moon  and  photographing the supermoon you may get a jump start from a seasoned pro. 


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