Learning From Mistakes

You will keep learning – if you choose to of course. The key is to use the frustrations of a given night as a learning experience. It sounds so cliché, but sometimes clichés are just true. Take a look below at some of the issues I experienced when I started out and what I learned from them. As I learn more through screw-ups, I’ll grow this list.

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What’s the Bare Minimum to Get Started?

What you need to get started

What do you really need to get started? A camera and a tripod. I first became interested in astrophotgraphy after pointing my slightly above average point-and-shoot camera at the sky and setting the timer. If you already have a DSLR and some lenses, you might just be looking for a tracking mount for your camera for a few hundred dollars.

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Setup Workflow

I found this helpful to create when I was starting out. I found myself missing steps, and having to go backwards time and again. I don’t need checklist every time I go out anymore, but creating something similar yourself will definitely save you some time when your just getting going. It will also help you work out the most efficient way to get through your setup. Here are the steps, in order, that I perform every time I setup for an imaging session. This would be considered a top-level workflow, as each of these steps have steps underneath them. Click on the linked steps to see more detail about each step.

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My First Shot

M42 2-16-05 1

This was my first attempt at a Deep Space Object taken all the way back in 2005. You might be able to make out that it’s M42, the Great Orion Nebula… the core of it at least. Having only used point and shoot cameras my entire life, I didn’t realize the importance of manually focusing using the Meade DSI camera and the scope’s focus. I also lacked any understanding of field of view. I think these were 4×5 second exposures.

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How Everything Works Together

There are a lot of bits and pieces of information out there that you have to piece together yourself to figure out how all of this stuff works together. As soon as you figure out how one piece works, there’s another piece of the puzzle. Hopefully I can put this into perspective and outline all the pieces.

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