The Fabulous Photo We Never Took

Pete and Al hold hands aloft in front of Surveyor III, posing for the camera

Painting Completed
1999 (top) 2004 (bottom)
25.5 x 38 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Board

Pete Conrad is on the right and I am on the left as we stand in front of Surveyor III celebrating the pinpoint landing which was our primary objective. During training we thought it would be wonderful if we could find a way to take a photo of us together on the Moon, so we found a self-timer for the Hasselblad. We practiced taking this picture during our simulation on Earth a number of times and it worked just great. We carried the self-timer in the tool carrier sample bag with the rocks. We mounted the Hasselblad camera on the tool carrier that you see in the lower left-hand corner of the painting.

On the Moon it turned out a little differently. When we got to the Surveyor, I looked into the bag to find the little chrome self-timer but the dust on the Moon was so tenacious, and the shadows in the bag were so dark that I couldn't see the timer. I felt around in the bag but I couldn't feel it through my gloves. I got down on my hands and knees and began taking out the rock samples we had collected, but I was afraid to take too many out as I might lose one. Pete helped for a couple of minutes but we could not find the timer, so we put all the rocks back in the bag. There would be no photo of the two of us together on the Moon.

Later, when Pete turned the rock sample bag upside down to pour its contents into the rock box for storage, the self-timer was sitting right on the top. But we were out of the time. It was a great idea. It would have been a fabulous photo. Probably the covers of Life, of Time, of Newsweek, maybe.

Ulli Lotzmann adds, "In January 2004, Mr. Eduard Klap - proud owner of Al's painting 'Our Little Secret' - visited us in Marburg. Eduard was a F-16 pilot in the Netherlands Air Force and now works for KLM as a pilot.

He told me that he had asked Al to put a cluster of 5 rocks to represent the Klap family. I have marked these 5 rocks in the detail below. They symbolize Eduard, his wife Marcelle, and their children Féline, Annelouk and Bastijn.