My "Tak Stack" from back in the day! And cows.

My fascination with astronomy started at an early age, it was heavily influenced by the Apollo moon missions of the late 60's. I started my first telescope at the age of 12 - it was the "classic" six inch reflector of 48inch focal length. I finished grinding, polishing and figuring the mirror at age 13, (1973) and received many of the finishing parts like a focuser etc. as birthday and Christmas presents. The mount was made from 4x4 wood and pipe fittings, tilted to an angle of about 51 degrees. A crude but effective equatorial mount! I had many enjoyable views through that scope though it has long since vanished from my collection of equipment. Life intervened and I picked up the hobby again in 1986 when I had a bit more revenue to throw at the "hobby".

At this time I decided to get more serious about astrophotography and picked up a 16 inch f4.5 Newtonian with equatorial mount and I haven't stopped since! The film days were wonderfully simple compared to the more rigid requirements of digital imaging and so the equipment has evolved much over the years. Most of what I currently use is off the shelf, very little is home-made any more. Quite a contrast to the 60's and 70's when much of what people used was home made. There is now so much commercially available equipment that the combinations are virtually endless. There are now visual and photographic options available in almost any price bracket - you just need to decide how much you are willing to throw at this hobby! Be warned that once you start into this hobby, you will never be satisfied with what you have! There is always something bigger and better just around the corner.

I do not have a back-yard so all of my imaging sessions have been in the field. It is great to be out under the dark Alberta skies but the 200 foot trip to and from the car with all the equipment gets harder as I get older! I am constantly changing my arsenal of equipment, here is the current lineup. (April 2021)

Imaging Systems:

Wow, this has been a long list! In 1987 I acquired an Olympus OM1 and lenses as my primary astro camera. Around that time I also bought a Canda Technologies cold camera. This device used dry ice to cool the film to about -40C to improve film performance and colour balance. There are a few examples of how well this device worked scattered throughout the photo collections on this website. Most film images were taken with the OM1 or the later addition - the OM2. In 1992 I added an 8" f1.5 Schmidt camera to the collection. This photographic telescope bent film into a convex shape and brought wide field, high resolution images to the fold. With this camera I used primarily Kodak hypersensitized Tech Pan 2415 film. This camera filled the gap between camera lenses and prime focus with telescopes nicely. There are image examples scattered throughout the photo galleries on this web site. With a focal ratio of f1.5 this camera was incredibly fast!

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