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Imaging burn out

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#1 Lognic04

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:39 AM

Hi all,
Has anyone ever experienced imaging burn out? For example tonight, a lovely clear night I just couldn't be bothered to take the imaging setup out to image. And this is now that I have a complete setup, but no obs. I think I'm just losing interest, or lack of any equipment to upgrade to is really not exciting me. Either way, the last time I was excited to image was a long time ago.

I feel like I'm too far in now to sell my setup, and I just feel terrible.
Have you guys experienced this before?
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#2 Javier1978

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:02 AM

Setting up an AP gear is no joke. I think you shouldn´t feel forced to do it every clear night. Just relax, the desire will probably grow up in absence. If it doesn´t... well, it might not be the hobby for you, not big deal. I know AP wasn´t the hobby for me, a long time ago switched to pure observing and it was the best decision I made on this hobby.


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#3 Jeff Struve

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:14 AM

I fluctuate back and forth... My first couple years was visual and learning... the next 7 or so years were concentrated in imaging... then back to visual for the next few years and a stint into EAA... I am now adding spectroscopy and exoplanet detection to my bag of tricks.

 

With my new mount I thought it would be fun to do a bit of ISS imaging/EAA work


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#4 bumm

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:31 AM

Amateur astronomy is a hobby.  We do it for the love.  I can't speak directly for imaging because I never got into it, but I flow in and out of using my telescope simply for visual observing.  There are some years I use it A LOT.  There are others my telescope waits in it's case while I run out with various binoculars, from ultra-wide angle constellation binoculars to 20x80's.  I'm out for at least a few minutes under the sky most every night, if only naked eye, naming stars and enjoying the constellations.  I can't imagine myself living in a place where I can't see the stars.  It would be like being in a prison.  I simply couldn't do it.  (see my sig)  But I feel no guilt over letting a clear night slip by without setting up my scope.

                                                  Marty


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#5 RyanSem

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:48 AM

There's plenty of clear beautiful nights I don't even do visual work. There's no pressure to take advantage of every single good night, it's only a hobby after all :)


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#6 petert913

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:21 AM

"There's no pressure to take advantage of every single good night"

 

Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest. :)    We only get about 4 good months a year for astronomy.

But even so, I definitely get imaging burn out sometimes.  That's why my grab-and go set up is 

so handy.


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#7 jcj380

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:34 AM

As others have written, it's only a hobby.  And people have different motivation, energy levels, etc. to put into it, so I wouldn't feel too badly about standing down for awhile.

 

One thing I did learn though as I moved from one hobby to another:  Don't sell your gear unless you're very sure you will never want to get back in.  Stuff might sit idle and take up space, but replacement costs can be a real shock.


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#8 MikeTahtib

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:46 AM

I am a visual observer, and experience this a lot.  There will be a clear night, but I just don't feel like going out.  It may be too cold, I'm too tired, maybe there are other things I'd rather do.  I decide to not feel guilty, because it's a hobby, not an obligation.  

When I first got a telescope, it was all very exciting, and seeing anything was great.  As my equipment got better, and I found access to dark sites, the excitement remained.  But now significant equipment upgrades will be difficult to come by, and difficult to set up, so the thrill has mellowed out.  

Consider people who love the ocean.  They go to the same beach year after year, nothing much changes, yet they still enjoy it.  The sky has become my beach.  I don't go every chance possible, and if I don't go for a while, I have faith that at some point, the desire, work schedule, and weather will come together, and I'll be glad I have the gear still.  If it ends up being only a couple times a year, it will still be worth it for those times.

If your investment in gear is substantial, and could make a difference in the type of life you live if you sold it, then it may be worth considering selling.  However, if it is not taking up too much room, and the used market value won't significantly change your life, I would say hang on to it until you are completely sure you're not interested.


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#9 csa/montana

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:25 AM

Moving this to Beginning & Intermediate Imaging for better fit of topic.



#10 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:44 AM

Hi all,
Has anyone ever experienced imaging burn out? For example tonight, a lovely clear night I just couldn't be bothered to take the imaging setup out to image. And this is now that I have a complete setup, but no obs. I think I'm just losing interest, or lack of any equipment to upgrade to is really not exciting me. Either way, the last time I was excited to image was a long time ago.
I feel like I'm too far in now to sell my setup, and I just feel terrible.
Have you guys experienced this before?

Yes, indeed! I always have several projects and hobbies going in parallel... my entire life. I'd push to get good, better, best at each one... and then wind up rather gratified, but otherwise exhausted. With the astro-imagery (1980s) I was getting published a lot, awards, commendations. Even got to dread the clear nights, because I'd "have to" stay up, imaging... and then drag into work in the morning. Not healthy... obsessive.

 

THAT's the time to change direction to one of the other hobbies!

 

For the astronomy, I "returned to my roots" and took up visual again... and love it! Even there, people compete for bigger scopes, better eyepieces, seeing dimmer, farther, or just more stuff. It's kinda comical to watch and participate.

 

I'd recommend switching to visual for a while. Make a point to leave all that imagery stuff inside, and just enjoy the view, for a few weeks, months or longer!    Tom


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#11 Mark326

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:43 AM

Logan,  

 

Its a hobby! If your hobby starts feeling like a work obligation, take a break. If your hobby feels like a competitive obligation, take a break.

 

Based on your photo, and tag line “Young Astrophotographer ...” I assume you’re a young man who likely has many interest that occupy his attention.  AP is quite an investment in time and financial resources, don’t burn any bridges by selling gear and throwing yourself into other endeavors lightly.  Take a break, pursue visual, pursue ATM, pursue chasing young ladies.  The hobby and stars will wait for you.

 

If this doesn’t seem like sound advice, in the parlance of young people and internet trolls...”can I have your stuff”



#12 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:51 AM

Yes. This happens. Remember that it is supposed to be fun and not a chore.

 

It's especially an issue for folks that throw themselves into it with exuberance. Going slow and seeking balance can be nice. It reminds me of some of the new volunteers that come down to the historic observatory here in Denver. They start super enthusiastic and come every night and then, suddenly, the novelty wears off and they disappear without a trace. Same with buying equipment. Sometimes folks get into AP because they like to buy and troubleshoot, equipment. It's a consumer high, like buying shoes. Once the equipment is solved, or you've bought what you can afford, it's boring for gear heads.

 

It's OK to be a gear head, though - so long as you recognize that is where your joy is.

 

The irony for me is that when everything goes right, there's very little for me to do. I type a few commands on the computer, wander off and then put the cover back on it in the morning. During the data acquisition phase of a project, there is little positive feedback for the imager. Rather, your main reward is that hundreds of things didn't go wrong that night. It's kind of a glass half-empty feeling.

 

A few years ago I decided to get back into visual observing, so I keep a small telescope at the ready. I find that visual observing with a simple no-technology rig is a great antidote to my technically complicated imaging setup.

 

Regardless, the stars are patient. If you step away for a while, they will greet you upon your return.


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#13 DeanS

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:59 AM

I pick and choose my nights.  Even with an observatory I will not go out on super cold nights.   Unless it has been a long cloudy spell I will wait for better quality nights.

 

And yes it is a hobby so not worth over doing it when you just don't feel like it.

 

I have seen several high end imagers fade away after having remote observatories running for a few years.  One guy told me he had so much data to process he would never be able to get to it all.  He eventually sold that observatory and just does it at home know.  Russ Croman is another guy that comes to mind who is a top imager but has gone on to other hobbies.  Para gliding if you want to look him up.

 

When it becomes like work it is not longer fun.

 

Dean


Edited by DeanS, 23 January 2019 - 12:04 PM.

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#14 droe

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 01:17 PM

Sometimes the journey is more fun then the destination.

 

I feel sometimes it's like going to the gym, it is hard to get motivated but when you are there you are happy you did it.

Perfect example, -13F degrees, lunar eclipse, warm comfy chair, what to do. I force myself up and got a great image of the lunar eclipse and was glad I did it. (not so glad when I was setting up my camera)


Edited by droe, 23 January 2019 - 01:18 PM.

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#15 Gary Imm

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 01:18 PM

Logan,

 

I worry about burnout myself and I have imaged enough recently (500 Astrobin DSO images in 2 years) that I expect it to happen at some point.  I think what keeps me going are a) the feedback and interaction I have on-line with my fellow imagers, and b) enough other secondary hobbies (fishing, golf, church, family, etc.) to keep things fresh. 

 

Having said that, you are a very talented young astronomer in a very different place in life than most of us.  Without knowing your situation in more detail and, more importantly, without being able to relate directly to what you are going through, I would take any advice here you get here (and especially mine) as worth what you paid for it.

 

One thing you shouldn't do is feel guilty about any burnout, especially relevant to any support and resources that other people may have helped you with to get to this point.  I think it is difficult to rekindle/regain a passion through effort.  If it happens, it will be through time.  The best I can suggest is to take a break, maybe intentionally dive into something else for a while (other hobbies, sports, arts, etc.).  It should be something that you value, and that you can look back on with pride (like with astrophotography) on how you spent your time. 

 

Most of us have experienced fluctuations in interest in this and other hobbies, so please don't get rid of anything in haste yet.

 

All the best,

Gary Imm

Onalaska, TX


Edited by Gary Imm, 23 January 2019 - 01:18 PM.

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#16 jgraham

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 01:37 PM

There is nothing wrong in taking a break. I just switch to something else for a while, maybe just sit outside and enjoy the view. I'd never consider selling my gear, it's paid for and I want it to be there and ready when I get back in the mood.

#17 Todd N

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 02:37 PM

I would like to say don't torture yourself over not wanting to image on a perfectly good night but I do the same. I tend to get burned out after about three consecutive nights. Take some time off, pace yourself in imaging so you don't slouch towards burning out. There will always be similar future opportunities to resume imaging. You can meditate on this and see if it alleviates your conscious and if you are like me, it won't help that much. Interestingly, the easier astrophotography has become the less fulfilling it is. I'm noticing this sentiment more and more. Astrophotography has evolved into a mostly passive experience in the field overshaddowed by post processing, the latter which I can find boring and tedious managing all that data.

 

Regards,

 

Todd


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#18 Lognic04

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 05:38 PM

Thanks everyone for your help!

Also discouraging that my last image i slaved over, 20 hours integration and easily another 10 in processing, got about 4 comments, none of which were helpful or even imformative.

This post captures exactly how i feel... down to dreading clear nights...

Yes, indeed! I always have several projects and hobbies going in parallel... my entire life. I'd push to get good, better, best at each one... and then wind up rather gratified, but otherwise exhausted. With the astro-imagery (1980s) I was getting published a lot, awards, commendations. Even got to dread the clear nights, because I'd "have to" stay up, imaging... and then drag into work in the morning. Not healthy... obsessive.

 

THAT's the time to change direction to one of the other hobbies!

 

For the astronomy, I "returned to my roots" and took up visual again... and love it! Even there, people compete for bigger scopes, better eyepieces, seeing dimmer, farther, or just more stuff. It's kinda comical to watch and participate.

 

I'd recommend switching to visual for a while. Make a point to leave all that imagery stuff inside, and just enjoy the view, for a few weeks, months or longer!    Tom


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#19 jgraham

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 06:48 PM

A lot of my posts get 0 comments, though several 'likes' are not unusual. For me, that's okay, I do this for my enjoyment and part of that is sharing. It always tickles me when I reluctantly post an image that I think is a little rough, but it gets lots of comments! You just never can tell.


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#20 John Miele

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:06 PM

Whatever you do...do NOT sell your equipment! I have gone through total imaging burnout and sold nearly all my equipment...only to buy it all back again a year or so later...TWICE! Lost a lot of money. But if you have felt the thrill of going out to capture faint objects with your wits and your camera...then imaging runs in your blood. Take a break. Take as long as you want. But I would bet money the desire WILL return and you will be very happy you hung on to all your gear...John


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#21 GeneT

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:10 PM

Hi all,
Has anyone ever experienced imaging burn out? For example tonight, a lovely clear night I just couldn't be bothered to take the imaging setup out to image. And this is now that I have a complete setup, but no obs. I think I'm just losing interest, or lack of any equipment to upgrade to is really not exciting me. Either way, the last time I was excited to image was a long time ago.

I feel like I'm too far in now to sell my setup, and I just feel terrible.
Have you guys experienced this before?

Think about taking a vacation from imaging, and set up your equipment to view only. Many people enjoy imaging; I just do not have the patience for it. When viewing, all I have to do is set up, and collimate my reflector. I have let my optics cool for about an hour prior to set up. It only takes me about 15 minutes to set up and collimate my 12.5 inch F5 Portaball. In other words, I am up and viewing only 15 minutes. I have no equipment hassles until I quit viewing a few hours later. I have no post viewing work to do, except ensure that the optics are clean, but that is not unique to viewing; it would be true for imagers. 

 

Is the hassle imaging, and all that follows? Maybe just try viewing only for awhile.  



#22 droe

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:55 PM

Thanks everyone for your help!

Also discouraging that my last image i slaved over, 20 hours integration and easily another 10 in processing, got about 4 comments, none of which were helpful or even imformative.

This post captures exactly how i feel... down to dreading clear nights...

The sky I saw when I was 8 is the same sky I see at 58. It will always be there wait for you with open arms from your first day to your last. Don't sweet it if you take a break.


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#23 xiando

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 07:59 PM

Yes, I'm in one right now. I haven't imaged since late last spring. I'll be back to it sometime next spring.



#24 TOMDEY

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 08:03 PM

Thanks everyone for your help!

Also discouraging that my last image i slaved over, 20 hours integration and easily another 10 in processing, got about 4 comments, none of which were helpful or even imformative.

This post captures exactly how i feel... down to dreading clear nights...

Hi again, Logan! Yep, been there, done that. Back when I was imaging, it was marathon single exposures onto film... 2-5 hours continuous hand-guiding, then hours in the darkroom. I recall one was at 2:59 of a 3-hour... then the scope hit the pier and ruined it.

 

What somewhat amuses me now, decades later... is the ease of acquiring a single "sub" image (I believe it's called "data" now) ... but the compulsion to suck in data for hours, days, weeks to build up that perfect rendition with more days of processing.

 

It's like whatever the current technologies allow... we are just bent and determined to crucify ourselves for that one, better final image. Like most things in life, that's both good and bad.

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#25 Lite2

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 09:00 PM

The only clear nights I have missed imaging was because the forecast missed...

I consider myself very lucky to have a wife that not only understands that i will be imaging on a clear night but will help me keep up with forecasts. She knows that the good nights are few for me and if it's on the weekend I will be "sort of" free after I get everything running. And although an OBS is certainly out of the question I do control the scope via TV and don't have to stay out at the scope in the yard and can be inside for the night( at least till I bring it all back in).

I have had the "Bug" since I got my 1st snap of Orion with my DSLR and tripod and haven't looked back since, in fact, I have changed my equipment a few times and keep improving.

I started out with a cheap (AVX) mount and 6" newt and then 6" RC and went to  my current WO z73 and had a good time learning at the start and sold the 6" scopes. I have since replaced the AVX with the iEQ30pro and my guided lengths have greatly improved and kind of wish I had now kept the RC now. It never ends if you truly desire it.

I have made the comment to friends and fam that I have spent thousands of$ and countless hours capturing and processing images that I could have easily just googled and downloaded for free but these pics that I end up with are MINE.. :)


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