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Astrophotography and Sketching >> Beginning and Intermediate Imaging

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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #6144373 - 10/18/13 08:22 AM

I'm pinning this thread to the top to see if we draw any more commentary.

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Jeff2011
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #6144519 - 10/18/13 09:46 AM

I support rule #9 as it gives clarity to what I have already assumed. The wins however should be contested to count.

I don't know if the rules were changed to increase participation since it seems like there is only a small group of people that participate in these competitions every month. If there is not enough newcomers, then participation will drop off to where no one participates in some of the challenges.


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Madratter
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Jeff2011]
      #6144545 - 10/18/13 10:02 AM

Part of the problem as I see it is the targets themselves. I looked at the beginning target this month and it is the Pacman. I simply don't consider that a beginners target*. Not surprisingly, the submissions are fairly advanced with one exception.

*[It is Ha, it is large, and it is not particularly bright - try observing it visually and you'll see what I mean.]

Edited by Madratter (10/18/13 10:03 AM)


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Jeff2011
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Madratter]
      #6144616 - 10/18/13 10:51 AM

That is a good point MR. The winner chooses the next target. The choice of target is an indication of the level of participation. No offense to whoever chose the Pacman. The main issue I have with these challenges is the vague guidelines.

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Phil Hosey
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #6144809 - 10/18/13 12:41 PM

Another thing I'll throw into the mix. I remember in the past passing on the challenge because either the object selected for the particular month wouldn't be in a favorable position until well after midnight, or the object required a focal length that I didn't have equipment for. Unfortunately, restricting targets on this basis, including making sure it is a beginner friendly target, would mean that there are very few if any targets available for a given month.

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nodalpoint
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Madratter]
      #6144830 - 10/18/13 12:51 PM

Quote:

Part of the problem as I see it is the targets themselves. I looked at the beginning target this month and it is the Pacman. I simply don't consider that a beginners target*. Not surprisingly, the submissions are fairly advanced with one exception.

*[It is Ha, it is large, and it is not particularly bright - try observing it visually and you'll see what I mean.]




I wasn't planning on entering any contest, but because of someone else's great photo of this one I spent about two hours on it and it most certainly is not a "beginner" target! With an unmodded dslr what I recorded was so faint there wasn't much there to work with.

Maybe a true beginner challenge shouldn't be target specific, or at least give a choice of several targets.

This was as far as I got on it



Edited by nodalpoint (10/18/13 01:08 PM)


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Bill McNeal
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: nodalpoint]
      #6145138 - 10/18/13 03:53 PM

What kind of prizes do the challenges grant the winners?

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Madratter
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: nodalpoint]
      #6145139 - 10/18/13 03:55 PM

At least at that scale, you did well Nodalpoint. And I would enter that if I were you. But it does kind of make my point about this not being a beginners target. For an unmodded camera, it requires hours on target, and probably doesn't look very good when blown up to any extent. It is a great intermediate target.

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Jeff2011
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Madratter]
      #6145216 - 10/18/13 04:43 PM

Nodal,

I agree with Madratter regarding entering your image. Earlier in this thread Charlie had commented about judging accordingly. You never know.


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MikeKy
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Phil Hosey]
      #6145299 - 10/18/13 05:38 PM

Quote:

Another thing I'll throw into the mix. I remember in the past passing on the challenge because either the object selected for the particular month wouldn't be in a favorable position until well after midnight, or the object required a focal length that I didn't have equipment for. Unfortunately, restricting targets on this basis, including making sure it is a beginner friendly target, would mean that there are very few if any targets available for a given month.




Exactly the issues that made this month's challenge the first one I have been able to enter since I started imaging DSOs 18 months ago. I definitely consider myself a beginner. Others may consider themselves beginners even though they have graduated to narrow-band imaging with a monochrome CCD and have much higher-end equipment while still others may consider only those with practically no experience to be beginners.

Unless a more restrictive definition of "beginner" is put forth in the rules, I don't think there's a reason to bar anyone from placing entries here unless they either win the contests, as stated in the rules, or no longer consider themselves beginners. It is, after all, a "challenge" contest and I like to compare what I'm able to do with others using the same level of hardware and experience. I don't consider myself to be competing with the entries of those with more experience or advanced equipment but I like to see what might be possible for me to accomplish with a little more of either.


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SMigol
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: MikeKy]
      #6145379 - 10/18/13 06:33 PM

I think when I selected the Pacman was because I'd seen so many good images of it in the various fora. It also looked like it would be good for a variety of different image scales. I did consider that it would be well-placed for work through September and early October for people to gather data. I didn't realize how difficult it would be for unmodified cameras.

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ldesign1
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: MikeKy]
      #6145597 - 10/18/13 08:57 PM

Quote:

Exactly the issues that made this month's challenge the first one I have been able to enter since I started imaging DSOs 18 months ago. I definitely consider myself a beginner. Others may consider themselves beginners even though they have graduated to narrow-band imaging with a monochrome CCD and have much higher-end equipment while still others may consider only those with practically no experience to be beginners.

Unless a more restrictive definition of "beginner" is put forth in the rules, I don't think there's a reason to bar anyone from placing entries here unless they either win the contests, as stated in the rules, or no longer consider themselves beginners. It is, after all, a "challenge" contest and I like to compare what I'm able to do with others using the same level of hardware and experience. I don't consider myself to be competing with the entries of those with more experience or advanced equipment but I like to see what might be possible for me to accomplish with a little more of either.




Considering the timing of this post, I figure it was inspired by my recent victories in the Bright Challenges. But in my defense, I agree with the above quote that a better definition of a "Beginner" needs to be established if it is causing issues with some who feel that maybe they should have won if not for someone "more advanced".

I pretty much just started to use video more seriously as an AP medium this year. After comparing my result with a DSLR and what others were doing through video, I decided to shoot this entire year exclusively with video. I examined other members image posts, I asked lots of question, I experimented on my own, I tried things (techniques) that I would have never thought of if not for some of the more seasoned video imagers. I considered myself a [Beginner] in this area because I had never taken much interest in it before except a few planetary attempts in past years. I didn't have the patience before to figure out why one imager would produce a 10x better picture of Jupiter or Saturn with the same equipment. This year I faced the challenge a made the most of it. Now, having won a surprising three in a row, I will not be entering any more Bright Challenges.

I would encourage more "beginners" to enter the challenges no matter how good or bad you think your entry may be. I have to admit that I was very surprised at my winning of the Lyra Double challenge from August. I thought mine would have received the fewest votes, but it turned out to be the overwhelming favorite. I didn't even vote for myself.

About votes, I think that contestants should not be allowed to vote in a challenge they have entered. Sometimes I wonder if anyone else get embarrassed when they only received 1 vote which was often times self imposed. I sometimes think, "How can that one, get a vote when clearly this other one was so much better?" I understand that everyone has their own criteria for judging but personally I rather get 0 votes than for someone to think that I ignored other entries to make myself feel good.

About entries, I don't think it's much of a contest when there's only two contestants out of so many that browse through the Beginner and Intermediate Imaging forum. I don't think it gives the contestant a good feel of how much they've improved or how much better they are than others to be confident enough to advance to the next level. I know that we can't control how many people participate in each challenge, but those should be freebees just like the uncontested wins.

Now my question to Charlie is: What level is the Widefield Challange? I'm asking because I plan to move on to that one because I want to experiment with camera lenses. I've always had unpleasing result with less than perfect focusing, and weird star effects. Since this will be something fairly new to me and I don't believe that I'm even in the same league as some of the entries I've seen posted, would I be barred from entering if it is also considered a "Beginner's Challenge".

If you were to look at my gallery, many here in this forum may think that I am an advanced imager. But I see it differently. None of those image every won more than one or two votes in the DSLR forum. I have no idea how they vote over there. Even the one that I think should win gets very few votes. That's why I'm here in the Beginners and Intermediate Imaging forum to find out what I'm lacking to advance further to win in some of the specialty challenges.

I hope that I didn't offend anyone with this post because that was not my intention. We are all hear to learn and have fun, so don't get discouraged by lack of votes or criticisms. We all got started one image at a time and then we grow enough to give advice.


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Madratter
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: ldesign1]
      #6145676 - 10/18/13 09:56 PM

It is all good Stephen. The problem wasn't you picking the Pacman. The problem has been a lack of clarity about what these contests are for, and who they are aimed at. Within the context of how things were going, the Pacman was reasonable. Hopefully, what will come out of this is better clarity.

Same thing with you Ralph. Hopefully, we will reach some clarity and things will be good. I have no idea how the "bright challenge" should even go. Is it a beginners category or not. I really don't know.

I really don't have a dog in this fight since I don't participate in the challenges (I don't even like that word associated with them for reasons that aren't worth going into). But I know some people do take them seriously, and clarity would be good for all involved.


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Gary Minder
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Madratter]
      #6145874 - 10/19/13 12:02 AM

Seems to me the issues discussed could be fixed by changing the contest terms "beginner" and "intermediate" to "easy" and "intermediate" and have the words describe the target, not the photographer. The forum community could reach a consensus on a pool of suitable targets for each month/season in each category. The winner each month could pick the next target from the pool so that appropriate targets were always in play.

Anybody could submit to either category and the advanced imagers would quickly win their maximums and would clear the field for others.

Trying to have categories related to ability is problematic. The October Beginner DSO challenge is a great example. There is an amazing image entered this month. It's a NB/RGB image taken with two different cameras on two different scopes of different FLs and presumably different image scales. It's beautiful and it will probably win in a rout. But in what universe could a beginner astrophotographer produce it?

If NGC 281 was selected from a pool of "easy" targets and an advanced astrophotographer who hadn't already won their maximum wanted to enter, have at it. But when someone who is clearly in sight of the top of the learning curve enters a "beginner" contest, it is very discouraging to real beginners who want a chance to put their work up against others similarly skilled.


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Charlie HeinAdministrator
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Gary Minder]
      #6148607 - 10/20/13 03:37 PM

I guess that for me this all falls back to the original purpose of the forum, which was for beginner imagers. There were two Challenges originally, one for DSO's and one for "bright" objects. While someone could choose an easy target, it was never the point to make things easy on the contestants. The point was to put them into learning situations.

Things have changed significantly since then.


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iverp
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #6148848 - 10/20/13 06:25 PM

I very much like the idea of selecting targets that will give beginners a challenge. The competition aspect really is not as important, but it does give us a bit more motivation to do our best. I feel that the learning aspect gives us all the more reason to discuss and to have constructive criticism on the images we submit. Perhaps we could just discuss the challenges in the regular forum, and not as a pinned item. Then when there is no more to talk about, it post will just go the way of other worn out discussions.

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iverp
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #6166263 - 10/30/13 12:02 PM

Quote:

Typical beginning imaging equipment will include webcams, the Meade DSI and other low cost imagers.



Note that this quote comes from the Beginning and Intermediate Imaging Forum description. I think we should keep this mind as we try to distinguish between beginning and intermediate imagers.


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terry59
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: Gary Minder]
      #6166757 - 10/30/13 04:22 PM

Ok, Wow. I just stumbled across this thread. The discussion is very interesting and I find my entry to be an example.

This is quite a difficult thing to deal with and getting a group of people to agree on a "contest" or "challenge" structure will be problematic. Some excellent questions are being asked to that end and I hope some clarity emerges.

I think now that I should not have entered this contest, even though I'm sure I meet the current criteria. If you could remove my entry that would be great.

Thanks


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rflinn68Moderator
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: terry59]
      #6166873 - 10/30/13 05:16 PM

Quote:

I think now that I should not have entered this contest, even though I'm sure I meet the current criteria. If you could remove my entry that would be great.




Yeah I was going to enter mine but decided not to after seeing this. I've not even been imaging a full year yet but I dont know if I have won the Beginners Challenge before or not since I couldnt find the past winners. I do know I've won the Intermediate a time or two so I didnt submit my picture. I thought this was fun and tried to shoot a month ahead of time so I could enter a nice picture. The "winner" doesnt get money or anything and I thought it was just for fun, but oh well. They arent lacking for entries so I guess there are still plenty of other beginners. I will watch from the sidelines I guess.


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SergeC
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Re: Imaging Challenge Understanding new [Re: rflinn68]
      #6166985 - 10/30/13 06:13 PM

Apparently some people take "challenge" to mean "must-win contest". Too bad, since seeing what others are capable of gives one something to aim for, and has been a huge part of my development over the last year. That, and the enormous amount of selfless help provided by the more experienced imagers that participated here, especially from many of the same people who've been taken to task for posting superior quality images (and not necessarily in the challenges). I guess their hard-won experience isn't worth tapping into.

Now we see an insistence that only those using 10-year-old, entry-level technology be permitted to enter the challenge. Ah well. As a dolphin friend of mine says, "So long, and thanks for all the fish."


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