Photograph from glass negative shows the FIRST powered, controlled, sustained flight: 12 seconds over 120 feet. Orville Wright is at the controls of the machine, lying prone on the lower wing with hips in the cradle which operated the wing-warping mechanism. His brother Wilbur Wright ran alongside to balance the machine and has just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed for flight preparation are visible behind the machine. Those with a forensic bent can even trace Wilbur's footsteps back to the bench area.
Orville Wright preset the camera and had John T. Daniels squeeze the rubber bulb, tripping the shutter. [With camera technology of that era, it is truly remarkable that they got such a pristine snapshot of monumental history as it happened.]
This is such an iconic photo, I knew what I had to do. Minimal processing. Cleaned it up, reoriented horizon that was off by several degrees, and finally sharpened it a bit for clean presentation that adheres closely to the original glass negative.
If you enjoyed this, then you might also like my blueprint piece: Wright Bros 'roadster' Biplane - 1908.
May 6th, 2013
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