A Long Time Ago, Photographing A Galaxy Far, Far Away...

Me and "Big Blue", my 16" f4.5 imaging rig from March 1986

The array of equipment available today for imaging the skies is amazing. We have mounts that are computerized. You set them up, tell them where on earth they are and they can then find any object in the sky you desire. We have optics available of incredible quality! They can produce a star image - from infra-red to ultraviolet - that fits on the tiniest sensor pixel available. Film is almost dead having been replaced with digital sensors that are magnitudes better in sensitivity. And of course software. Everything from taking the images to combining the raw exposures to produce stunning colour images can all be done with software now. Neat stuff. But has it always been this way? Of course not! So much that is on the market now satisfies the frustrations we had to put up with in the old days but somehow, we managed. Novel solutions to problems were found and some have made it into today's products.

I thought that a series of pages looking back at the old days and the old ways might be fun! I will be looking at my astrophotography journey as I don't have easy access to anyone elses but I did get into most of the techniques and technologies as they came available at a reasonable price. Remember that these were pre-Internet days! To get into the hobby there was no Google or any kind of search engine. Books on the subject were few and far between and I didn't find many were all that good. Magazines were the way that we kept on top of things and learned the skills necessary to image the sky. And a LOT of trial and error! I don't know the ratio but many who started this hobby quit before getting their first, good image. And some of us were dumb enough not to quit...

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look at how we used to do things and at how things have changed over the years. I hope you enjoy these pages!

8 Inch Meade 2080 SCT with Cold Camera and Newtonian Off-axis Guider in Kananaskis Country, late 1980's.

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