James McDivitt took this photograph from his Command Pilot left seat of the capsule with a Hasselblad model 500 C (NASA modified) and 70mm Eastman Kodak Ektachrome MS film. Ed white was spacewalking over South California. 

McDivitt’s pictures of Ed White floating in space created a sensation and remain among the most compelling images produced in space. McDivitt portrayed the expansive freedom of man in space so lyrically that it is easy to understand why Edward White had to be coaxed back into the confinement of his spacecraft. Ed White’s death two years later in the fatal Apollo 1 fire has given the photographs added poignancy. (Schick and van Haaften, pg. 32)

From the mission transcript when the photograph was taken (at T+ 004:37:09 after launch):

004:35:10 White:

Capcom, it’s very easy to maneuver with the gun. The only problem I have is that I haven’t got enough fuel. I’ve exhausted the fuel now and I was able to maneuver myself around the front of the spacecraft, back, and maneuver right up to the top of the adapter. Just about ..... came back into Jim’s view. The only thing I wish is that I had more. This is the greatest experience I’ve ..... it’s just tremendous! Right now I’m standing on my head, and I’m looking right down, and it looks like we’re coming up on the coast of California. I’m going into a slow rotation to the right. There is absolutely no disorientation associated with it.

004:35:42 McDivitt:

One thing about it, when Ed gets out there and starts wiggling around, it sure makes the spacecraft tough to control.

004:36:02 White:

I feel just about like a ..... commercial.

004:36:03 Capcom (Mission Control):

Is he taking pictures?

004:36:11 Capcom:

Take some pictures.

004:36:12 White:

Okay. I’m going to work on getting some pictures, Jim.

004:36:14 McDivitt:

Okay. Get out in front where I can see you again.

004:36:16 White:


004:36:18 McDivitt:

I’ve only got about three (photos) on the Hasselblad.

004:36:20 White:


004:36:22 McDivitt:

Where are you?

004:36:24 White:

Right out in front now. I don’t have the control I had any more without that gun.

004:36:28 McDivitt:

Yes, I noticed that. [...]

004:36:45 White:

All right. There’s no difficulty in recontacting the spacecraft. It’s all very soft, particularly as long as you move nice and slow. I’m very thankful to have the experience. It’s great, Gus. Right now I’m right on top of the spacecraft - just above Jim’s window. I’ll bring myself in and put myself out into your view, Jim.

004:37:09 McDivitt:

Okay. Hold it and I’ll take your picture.

004:37:24 White:

Right now I could maneuver much better if I didn’t have the gun with the camera on it, because I have to tie one hand up with it.

004:37:31 McDivitt:

Okay. Stay right there if you can.