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.


What's your silver lining?

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 DRK73


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 714
  • Joined: 08 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Maryland, United States

Posted 18 October 2020 - 07:14 AM

So when your imaging run gets cut off early by ____________, what do YOU tell yourself to keep from getting discouraged? 


Last night I spent an hour troubleshooting why, even though my guide camera and mount were both seemingly connected and controllable through MaximDL and my laptop, I was unable to get them to get the guide camera to move to the mount so I couldn't calibrate. I  eventually created a mobile hotspot, downloaded PHD2, and was guiding in short order - and all this before the haze in the sky turned into a thick soup that wiped out all but the brightest stars and Mars...a night that I'd planned and packed to be out very late, and I was home by midnight. I think I got maybe an hour of actual imaging. 


Oh - on top of all that I've gotten into the habit of shooting a time-lapse when I go out because it's easy and impresses my kids more than the astro-images. I flubbed focus on it, so I'm kicking myself over the bloated blobby stars (that can be seen until they obscured by haze).


Silver lining: Hey, I didn't even have to switch over to the backup power!


Or: Hey, it's not too late to get a beer!


Or: because the stars are out of focus, they're easier to see!



#2 randcpoll


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 276
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2013
  • Loc: New York

Posted 18 October 2020 - 07:20 AM

Yeah, you should get lots of answers on this because all astrophotographers are frustrated a fair percentage of the time.


My two favorites:


1) Well, that's something I've learned for next time

2) Well, I guess I'll get some sleep tonight after all

  • dghent, nebulasaurus and DRK73 like this

#3 WadeH237


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,130
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Ellensburg, WA

Posted 18 October 2020 - 08:56 AM

For me, imaging is not about the final result.  It's about the process.


Even on a night where things don't go well, the silver lining is that I was still doing astrophotography.  I am pretty analytical and am systematic about understanding and addressing specific issues.  I tend to figure out and fix just one aspect at a time.  Once I've done this, when that issue appears, I generally know exactly what to do about it.


I'm also not in any kind of hurry.  If it takes me many nights to work through some issue, that's fine.  It's still time spent doing what I want to do.  I have gone to week-long star parties and come away with nothing - but still had a great time.


After doing this for over 20 years, I have very few lost nights anymore and generally collect data faster than I can process it.


Beyond all of this, there is a huge silver lining in that the sky will still be there.  Unlike "normal" photography, our subjects are fairly unchanging.  There are few situations where you have to be in the right place at the right time.  Unless you are imaging eclipses, comets, asteroid near passes, ISS transits of the moon, etc., you can start taking an image and add more data to it years later.

#4 dan_hm


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 608
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2012
  • Loc: New Jersey

Posted 18 October 2020 - 10:00 AM

"At least I decided to just go to sleep this time rather than stay up until 4am trying to fix this."

  • DRK73 likes this

#5 Tim J Fowler

Tim J Fowler


  • *****
  • Posts: 31
  • Joined: 21 Jul 2020
  • Loc: Seneca, South Carolina

Posted 18 October 2020 - 10:58 AM

Astrophotography is alot like fishing. It's fun even if you don't catch anything, and it's better than working!

I should add, it's like golf too. It's the most fun you can have being mad frequently.

Edited by Tim J Fowler, 18 October 2020 - 11:00 AM.

  • nebulasaurus likes this

#6 sn2006gy


    Viking 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 940
  • Joined: 04 May 2020
  • Loc: Austin, TX

Posted 18 October 2020 - 11:14 AM

For me, there is no rush. When i first started, i shot everything i could because I was blown away that I could even do this from my own backyard.


Now, I just go with the flow.  USB cables fail, clouds blow in, allergies act up, mosquitos ruin the night, power goes out, battery fails, tracking/seeing/guiding goes to junk, dust storms move in, smoke moves in, dew is too high or I just forgot to do something or i imaged the wrong thing or i forgot to run the right filter on flats or...


I don't worry about any of that. Just choose to have fun.  What did i screw up? How can i make it better? Is there something i can learn from this? Can I automate that?


Then i dig into PI and photoshop and learn processing.. and the more i learn processing the more i learn the gear woes i used to care about matter the least.  Time in for integration and how good you are at image editing are what really counts... but do we focus on that? nah... not really ;)


I take notes, write a journal, put it on a blog, share my mistakes and successes with the world and hope it helps others get into the hobby.


It's in my DNA to tinker and share. The silver lining is that the cosmos is there for me to see

#7 BrendanC


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2014

Posted 19 October 2020 - 07:52 AM

I second the 'hey I learned something and I'll get some sleep' line.

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.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics