What’s Important to You?

Noticeable changes in the sky usually take thousands of years to happen. Your kids noticeably change everyday if you’re paying attention. 

Since about Mid-April, life and weather got in the way of my hobbies. For about 6 weeks, I haven’t had a truly clear night. On the acceptable nights, I just wasn’t in the mood. Burnout is absolutely a factor in Astrophotography. Especially for those getting older, with kids, and jobs, and houses. Getting into the Summer months raises the need to be awake into the wee hours of the morning just to capture anything valuable. As much as I love this hobby, it’s not enough to overcome the need for sleep and ability to function.

We’re on-pace to be the wettest May on record in Chicago, culminating earlier this week with two large storm cells that, combined with a clogged drain in a window well and a failing sump pump, caused me with a huge headache.

We didn’t lose anything, and the flooding could be called puddling at best, thanks to swapping out the pump in about 5 minutes prior to the old one completely failing.

Back over the Winter, A bad-weather stint like we’ve had, or just life getting in the way would have me down in the dumps, feeling like I had missed an opportunity. I’d be itching to get out there and capture whatever I could, even on less than stellar nights just to say I got something. But with this latest interference, I don’t even care.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about astrophotography, or that I’m abandoning something I was so seemingly passionate about. I still love the hobby, and love the sky just as much as I always did. However, my oldest daughter is eleven, and every minute I look at her it seems that she’s another year older. The sky will still be there when my kids get older and don’t care about me anymore. Noticeable changes in the a deep sky object usually take thousands of years to happen. Your kids noticeably change everyday if you’re paying attention. Before I know it my kids will be off to college and getting married. My wife will be begging me to get the hell out of the house to take pictures of the sky. The sky will be mostly unchanged, and I won’t find myself trying to fill a gap of missed time with my family.

I’ll still be out there plugging away and capturing the sky, but in a more automated fashion, without staring at a computer screen for hours-on-end. In the last six weeks I’ve captured about 2 hours on M13, and 2 hours on M101 that I haven’t even processed. I have no problem with that. I’m sure my wife and daughters don’t have a problem with it either.

M13_1hr40min

This hobby is amazing, and can change the way you think about everything. It’s incredibly intricate and time consuming. A lot of people don’t understand why we put up with it and will think you’re just wasting time. Do what you can to to automate as much as you can when you need to so you don’t regret missing life later. If you miss an object during a given season, I can guarantee you it’ll be back next year.

Clear Skies – KA

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