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Anyone else abandon visual for AP?

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#1 Escher

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:16 PM

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..

#2 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

I've been looking since 1975-6, and photographing since 1983, going back and forth with more emphasis for a time on one or the other. Indeed, images can and do reveal so much more, especially for fainter nebulosity and galaxies. But in spite of that, a view through the eyepiece has a quality no image can fully capture. There is a certain aesthetic about a live view which for me probably won't be fully superseded by imaging.

#3 Feidb

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:20 PM

Gag. I have no iterest at all in AP and never will. I don't condemn it for you and those that like it, it's just never been for me and never will. However, I know lots of people that have abandoned visual for AP and those that dabble in both.

A lot of times, I see the hobby being overwhelmed by APers and I'm not alone in that notion. However, I don't lose any sleep over it. I just think a lot of newcomers to the hobby get skewed perceptions. More newcomers than I can count have approached me thinking that the ultimate goal of ALL amateur astronomers is to image. When I tell them I have no interest in it at all, it's like I cursed in front of a bunch of third graders at show and tell.

AP is just one aspect of the hobby like visual. Some like both while others, you seem to be one of them, swing toward AP. Whatever makes you happy.

I'll take aperture and live over "Memorex" any day.

#4 GeneT

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 05:43 PM

I am a 100% visual guy. I have friends who are primarily AP. Watching them set up, align the mount, dying when a green laser shoots by, and so on proves to me that I would not have the patience for AP. For those who do, I salute you! :bow:

#5 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:09 PM

For what it's worth, most of the astrophotographers that I know -- and I know a fair number of the great ones -- are also enthusiastic visual observers.

It's hard to do astrophotography in isolation. Like all other branches of photography, it's all about interpretation. Part of that is guided by the astrophotographical tradition. But it also helps when you aim to produce a photo that resembles the actual appearance of objects to the human eye.

#6 jgraham

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:19 PM

This is a rich hobby with so many different ways to enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoy god ol' visual, real-time camera assisted observing, and dedicated imaging. It is particularly rewarding how these different activities enrich each other.

Have fun!

#7 MikeBOKC

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:24 PM

A lot of the AP folks I see also have a visual scope set up next to their imaging rigs, so I don't think there are that many who are totally AP. From my perspective, with the extremely long exposures that are possible today, plus the exotic processing software, the AP process is just too far removed from real astronomy, especialy for those who aim their highly computerized scopes at a target all night long and sit behind a keyboard feet (or even miles) away indoors. I know they produce some spectacular images, but it's just not for me, and I would say they are still a minority in the hobby.

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:55 PM

I do a small amount of AP. When the evenings over, I have captured a few images and I have put away the equipment, I feel as if I have spent evening looking at a computer screen... Which I have...

Visual observation, it's communing with nature in quiet solitude, it can be a meditation.

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#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:04 PM

The AP process is just too far removed from real astronomy.


Real astronomy? That makes me think of the kind of stuff that professionals do. It's a lot closer to AP than to visual observing, that's for sure!

#10 Escher

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:22 PM

Interesting.. very interesting...

I think my point comes from a jaded standpoint - I was on the "aperture" quest for years...

Then one night last fall I took some shots, just for fun... and in seconds - literally - I was seeing things I had been searching for, for years! M51 was elusive to me - I was it directly one time back in 98 or 99, and never since - even though I hunted for it all the time... maybe I'm just not a very good observer... but that was the turning point for me.

There are some targets I do enjoy visually - Orion obviously, M57, M13 and the other clusters... So maybe I was a bit harsh in my initial statement...

Also - I'm not planning on being the guy who has a crazy rig with a tone of equipment and alignment nightmares... I decided to go hyperstar and keep my exposures under 1 minute.... maybe even mallincam one day.

So - maybe "abandon" was too strong of a word - lets just say your primary focus shifted from visual to AP..

I'm just glad my quest for more aperture is over... that was not fun.

#11 Dwight J

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:25 PM

For me it was a factor of aging - not wanting to haul big dobs out, putting up with cold (even in summer in my climate), and failing vision. My observing buddy felt the same but his vision is even worse. I still prefer visual but it happens a lot less these days. Deepsky video came at the right time for us. Astroimaging is something I still do but processing images for hours doesn't have the appeal it once did either.

#12 A. Viegas

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:41 PM

I agree with Dwight. video astronomy is a nice blend of "live" viewing without the painstaking post processing... Then again I sometimes set up two telescopes, one with Mallincam and video monitor and then another one with binoviewer or eyepiece for visual. This allows for the best combination... Of course first things first... We need CLEAR SKIES! It's been 4 weeks and I in serious withdrawal... :snowedin:

#13 Madratter

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 09:56 PM

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..


I dabble with the AP side from time to time and am doing so now. But I am primarily a visual observer and think I probably always will be.

I look at many astrophotos and frankly think they are completely overcooked. They not only have little resemblance to what can be seen in an eyepiece, they have little resemblance to what could be seen even with a much more sensitive eye. They remind me of caricatures where stuff is completely overemphasized.

#14 Madratter

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:03 PM

Interesting.. very interesting...

I think my point comes from a jaded standpoint - I was on the "aperture" quest for years...

Then one night last fall I took some shots, just for fun... and in seconds - literally - I was seeing things I had been searching for, for years! M51 was elusive to me - I was it directly one time back in 98 or 99, and never since - even though I hunted for it all the time... maybe I'm just not a very good observer... but that was the turning point for me.

There are some targets I do enjoy visually - Orion obviously, M57, M13 and the other clusters... So maybe I was a bit harsh in my initial statement...

Also - I'm not planning on being the guy who has a crazy rig with a tone of equipment and alignment nightmares... I decided to go hyperstar and keep my exposures under 1 minute.... maybe even mallincam one day.

So - maybe "abandon" was too strong of a word - lets just say your primary focus shifted from visual to AP..

I'm just glad my quest for more aperture is over... that was not fun.


That lust for aperture is a difficult thing to cure. But with time, I have definitely come to appreciate smaller scopes. I have had a 20" f/5 for many years and the views in it can certainly be spectacular. But I also have 4", 6", and 8" telescopes, and lately I'm just as likely (actually more likely) to be looking through one of them.

#15 ahopp

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:05 PM

50/50 for me.

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#16 kansas skies

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:03 PM

I dabbled in astrophotography years ago and found it to be somewhat frustrating. I remember setting for hours patiently guiding the scope, only to have my efforts ruined by someone in an automated photo lab. This sent me down the path of setting up a darkroom, which was another (expensive) exercise in futility. All in all, I found life to be much easier as a purely visual observer. I do have to admit that my efforts at astrophotography weren't all bad. I did manage a few moments where I experienced limited success. Still, for the most part, it was not what I anticipated. Now that I see the results people are achieving with digital photography, I've been thinking about giving it a try once again. This time, however, I'm approaching just a little slower. I've been a visual observer for so long now, and I've learned to appreciate subtle details that only a visual observer can see. So, even if I do manage to conquer astrophotography, I don't ever see giving up the purely visual experience.

Bill

#17 jgraham

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:27 PM

I'm in a similar situation as some have described above.The handwriting is on the wall that my eyes (and ears) are in decline. I built big and bought big to stuff as many photons in my eyes as I can while I still have time. But I've also developed my Plan-B in the form of camera assisted observing using smaller telescopes that are easy to set up and operate from inside my house. It has been wonderful how taking my own unprocessed source images has enhanced my visual observing. These images make the absolute best finder charts and they show me exactly what to look for.

Fun stuff.

#18 Astrodj

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:29 PM

I dabbled in astrophotography years ago and found it to be somewhat frustrating. I remember setting for hours patiently guiding the scope, only to have my efforts ruined by someone in an automated photo lab. This sent me down the path of setting up a darkroom, which was another (expensive) exercise in futility. All in all, I found life to be much easier as a purely visual observer. I do have to admit that my efforts at astrophotography weren't all bad. I did manage a few moments where I experienced limited success. Still, for the most part, it was not what I anticipated. Now that I see the results people are achieving with digital photography, I've been thinking about giving it a try once again. This time, however, I'm approaching just a little slower. I've been a visual observer for so long now, and I've learned to appreciate subtle details that only a visual observer can see. So, even if I do manage to conquer astrophotography, I don't ever see giving up the purely visual experience.

Bill


+1.

My experience differs only in that I don't really have any desire to get re-involved with AP, I have come to realize I am happiest at the eyepiece.

#19 chaoscosmos

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:35 AM

I'm busy enough photographing earth bound subjects, so I have no desire to shoot what's above the atmosphere. Plus, I figure that if I want to see a more detailed version of what I see through my small scope, all I have to do is look at images from the Hubble or from astronomers who have vastly greater resources to make AP then I ever will. It's already an expensive enough hobby just viewing, and astronomy is not my only hobby. But beyond that, getting outside and seeing things and feeling a direct connection with it all is the thing I really like.

#20 Dave74

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:38 AM

General OBSERVING and Astronomy

#21 leviathan

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:45 AM

I'm mostly a visual observer, about 90% of a time. Astrophotography for me is something that I sometimes NEED to do, or even HAVE to do. For example, asteroid 2012 DA14: I found it and observed for 10-15 minutes with my binoculars. But we wouldn't get a results if I didn't shoot it at the same time by photocamera near me. Another example are my friends, who mostly prefer AP over visual, and under dark skyes we usually split observing time by 50/50 for visual and AP.

#22 Tom and Beth

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:37 AM

Seems like now that I can "see" so much more via AP I have really not much interest in visual observing except for planetary.

I'm not a very good imager yet - but even raw/unprocessed shots can show so much more than a visual observation...

Am I alone here in not really having a desire to go back to visual?

Just curious if this is common..


I've tried AP off and on for 4 decades, just recently trying again.

That said, while the camera is busily taking Pics, I'm on the other scope. "Abandon" visual? Why? :thinking:

#23 leviathan

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:15 AM

Yeah, start that routine automated process, configure mount, guide, DSLR/CCD, check first several shots - and go observing on big Dob. ;)

#24 ThreeD

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:24 AM

Different strokes for different folks and for those that enjoy AP that's great. Personally I have no desire to do it.

For me it is about the hunt and, as Jon said, communing with nature so I'll stick with my eyepieces. If I want to see pretty pictures I'll check out NASA or the works of those amateurs who do enjoy AP but for me there is a certain mystique about seeing things with my own eyes that can't be achieved with a photo.

#25 NeilMac

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:44 PM

I like to document what I see.






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