Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Why Oh Why AP for beginners?

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
88 replies to this topic

#76 Maverick199


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12578
  • Joined: 27 Feb 2011
  • Loc: India

Posted 24 August 2012 - 09:37 AM

Welcome to CN Odell. :jump:

#77 shrevestan


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 850
  • Joined: 19 Apr 2012
  • Loc: Shreveport, LA

Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:06 PM

Welcome Odell! Hope Isaac leaves you alone and the skies clear soon.

#78 Odell


    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 95
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2012
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 27 August 2012 - 02:30 PM

Thanks for the welcome (didn't mean to kill the thread). :o

#79 MikeBOKC


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 5574
  • Joined: 10 May 2010
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 27 August 2012 - 04:12 PM

Actually I think you sustained it!

#80 panhard


    It's All Good

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 14325
  • Joined: 20 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Markham Ontario Canada

Posted 27 August 2012 - 05:07 PM

I probably shouldn't pipe up here as I am 4 months into this hobby. I bought my Meade LX200 with the very idea of visual/AP. I thought that it was necessary to be involved in AP if one was to be fully engaged in Astronomy.

Of course the Florida clouds rolled in about the same time the UPS truck did so I've spent a lot of time reading various forums, manuals, and scouring how to's just to see what AP involved. I have to admit after reading as much material as I have, I will not be taking any pictures for quite a while.

But, I will never forget first light with my new equipment an hour before dusk. Sitting alone in a large open field expectantly watching the sky darken and the first alignment star to appear, a very bright meteor appeared ever so briefly cutting brightly across the dusky background. I sat back in my chair and couldn't remember feeling that kind of peace in a long time. It was at that moment I became fully engaged.

Excellent post Odell! :bow: :bow:

#81 Kevdog



  • *****
  • Posts: 1432
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Desert Hills, AZ

Posted 29 August 2012 - 05:58 PM

My wife and I just bought 2 scopes in the last 2 months. We got a Meade LT8" and a Coronado SolarMax II 60mm. I didn't buy them for astrophotography, but I did get the adapters to hook up my camera to them. No, I am not taking "big time" photos with them. But I am getting "decent" photos that we can put in our album or put on our wall for the "I saw it" feeling.

We have a sun photo that is nothing compared to what I see in the Solar forum here all the time. But the difference is it is a photo of the filaments and sunspots we saw on that day, one of the first good days of viewing with the telescope. It is printed on metallic paper and is hanging on our wall.

Posted Image

I know that both mounts are not well suited for AP, so if I want to seriously get into it, I'll probably get a GEM or two. But so far we are happy with what we have.

Same with the venus transit and the recent annular eclipse. They mean something to me because I took them.

Posted Image

Posted Image

So really it just depends on the person and the motivation. Even though it can be expensive, it's still much easier to get into these days and there's tons of information to help. I found a "Solar Primer" pdf that made it really easy to get my first sun pictures. Personally I've only invested $50 in my AP gear. A T-Adapter for my camera and a remote cable release. If I really want better pictures then I can get a $1600 GEM for my 8" SCT and a $400 GEM for my solar telescope. We'll see. For now I'm enjoying it immensely!

#82 offthegridinperu



  • -----
  • Posts: 31
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Peru

Posted 30 August 2012 - 11:05 AM

I would bet I have seen a dozen recent posts here in the beginner forum saying, in essence, "I want to get into AP soon" or "scope would be for visual and first but AP later." I wonder if many of these folks realize the major investment in time, equipment, money and frustration involved in astrophotography at any level beyond sticking an iphone up to the eyepiece? I recognize and respect the skills of a number of advanced astrophotographers, and I realize that for some it is an ultimate destination in this hobby, but I worry that most true beginners are missing out on the fundamental joy of astronomy by leapfrogging into AP before they really learn the sky or their equipment on the visual side. I am a strictly visual observer, and I have a hard time understanding the attraction of sitting behind a laptop for seven hours while a $20,000 scope/mount/camera rig absorbs photons from a faint fuzzy, but each to their own. I also doubt the need for one more pic of M51; it's not like it's going to sprout horns some night. But that aside, I would say to beginners, give it at least one (and preferably two) years in visual mode before you even think of snapping a shutter. You're going to miss the core of astronomy otherwise.

I think you make a good point here in that if one is constantly taking photos, they miss being in the moment. There can be balance between observing and being able to show what you've seen to other people. I am a newbie at astronomy and have about 4 years in serious photography. Instead of rushing out to buy an imager etc, CN posts like yours reminded me to master the equipment I already have. So I say thank you for reminding us newbies to take it one step at a time!

#83 rico10


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 64
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2012
  • Loc: Northern Canada

Posted 30 August 2012 - 07:12 PM

I think it's imperative to learn as many techniques as possible, sketching, viewing, electronic viewing and AP. As a long term member of an astronomy club questions about these topics are asked all the time. It"s nice to have hands on answers for these individuals.

That said I believe AP should start with unguided solar system shots, this method is cost friendly relative to the camera, has extensive printed and posted information and requires less costly equipment purchases.

#84 coopman



  • *****
  • Posts: 3884
  • Joined: 23 Apr 2006
  • Loc: South Louisiana

Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:49 PM

I have never had much desire to do AP (thank goodness!). I do not believe that I would have the patience and perseverance to do it. I certainly do appreciate the wonderful photos of those that have become accomplished at it.

#85 daysone


    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 7
  • Joined: 25 Oct 2009

Posted 04 September 2012 - 09:00 PM

i just purchased a ioptron twinstar. and had trouble bending to look thru finderscope. when i called the company i bought it from; guy told me i dont really need to buy a diff. finderscopea and i actually dont need one at all, cos i have a gps on my telescope. is this true? do i really need a finderscope or not?
thanks for any help u can give me.

#86 jwestervelt


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 86
  • Joined: 01 Sep 2012
  • Loc: Phoenix, Arizona

Posted 04 September 2012 - 10:03 PM

I'm not really a beginner, been toying around with smaller scopes and the sky for 25 years. Still, I don't have the financial resources to throw at a good AP setup. I plan on building up slowly, getting a solid mount which will be useful for visual as well as AP. The cost of imagers alone has me cringing.

That said, I like going low-tech sometimes. I had fun with my little Meade ETX-70 and doing rear-projection during the annular eclipse and the venus transit. Nothing wrong with beginners getting into the act, as long as they have realistic expectations and receive constructive advice from the seasoned vets.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#87 JoeR


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1978
  • Joined: 07 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Columbus, OH

Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:53 AM

I always make it a point to balance my time being behind the eyepiece and the DSLR camera. AP can be quite rewarding when everything comes together, but to me there is no substitute to seeing something live in real time with your own eyes. It makes me feel more connected to the cosmos. Plus the simplicity of visual observing makes it a nice relaxing hobby.

I started only AP two years ago and have gone through three SCTs, three refractors, two DSLRs, two planetary imagers, three focal reducers, a hyperstar with two adapters, two barlows, two focus masks, one tele-extender, three EF lenses, two LP filters, and two cases with three pluck foam insert changes from all the upgrades I’ve done! It’s been a lot of trial and error and LOTS of frustrations and fixes but I am finally making decent images. There have been as many successful images as failures, making stupid mistakes out in the field that cost me lots of lost time (i.e. leaving the bahtinov mask on the scope!) So that is something you want to consider if you are willing to invest the time as well as LOTS of $$$ and you still wont be anywhere near someone like Robert Gendler. But one you reach the summit of that learning curve your non-astronomy friends will really WOW! at your uploaded images at Facebook or Flickr.

my gallery

#88 JohnMurphyRN


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 292
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2012
  • Loc: Near St Louis

Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:06 AM

Just a thought, but the appeal of AP in the beginner may be explained by the ability to share astronomy with people that they can't drag to the eyepiece....You see the same phenomenon in SCUBA diving - with pictures you can show something of the diving experience to the nondiving masses......

#89 TheThingy


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 11 Apr 2012
  • Loc: Ireland

Posted 11 September 2012 - 06:41 AM

Seen the ring nebula for the first time the other night,thought it was an out of focus star at first, then realised and just laughed at my stupidity cos all the other stars around it were in focus....

Simple things....

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics