Hi everyone and thank you for having me here, I'm Steve, Ruth's son, and Mom asked me to share and talk about some of my astrophotography and give a little history into where it all began.
I'll start off with a little background... I've always loved the stars! From a little boy, growing up out in the country I remember spending time out on the yard, under a black sky looking up at the stars with Dad (Jake). We'd often look up and count satellites and meteors, we'd spend hours doing this. As I got to be a teenager, the interest was still there and Mom & Dad bought me a telescope for Christmas. Well the first scope was very short lived, the second scope, a little better lasted about a year, if I recall correctly and then I started saving up to buy a much bigger and better telescope. Well being a good father that Dad was after I saved up 500.00 he pitched in to help ME get the telescope... yeah, I think he wanted the telescope just as badly as I did and if he "helped" me he could justify the purchase to Mom... shhhhh don't tell her 😊
Well this last telescope was good, it was an 8" diameter Celestron telescope, and it saw a lot of use over the years. However as I got older I started leaning towards photography, which as many of you may know led to my career as a professional photographer, but the scope still stayed. There were times I wanted to sell it because I never really used it, pulling it out on rare occasions to view Jupiter or Saturn. Honestly that was about the extent of my astronomy for many years until one evening traveling home from Winnipeg with my friend Doug. I remember as we were driving and we talked about how beautiful the stars looked that night. After dropping him off at home, I took a little detour and stopped on a quiet country road to grab this image of Orion. Funny thing is it's such a poor shot I had to draw it out so that could be seen.
Well it's crazy how things you've grown up with just stick. I believe it was 2 or 3 evenings later I was back out trying to get another image, and another.
The above is a collection of different images I've done of the area over last 3 years since the bug bit me once again. I've loved the learning process and seeing the image quality increase as I've moved along this amazing journey and all time spent under the stars which is something that I'd never give up. As good as these images got to be I wasn't satisfied, and as I'm sure Mom can testify to if it's possible to do better I will do everything in my power to get the better image.
As I said I was thrilled with some of the images I had gotten up until this time. I remember the lower left image in the collage, when I got it I was so thrilled because I could see the Horsehead Nebula, which was something I always wanted, so I made a canvas print for my wall. These shots range anywhere from 20secs, to maybe 5 mins of exposure time on a star stracker.
This brings me to this final image of Orion. I had seen some amazing images online and thought to myself "I bet I can do that". So I set out to show how the Horsehead Nebula and the Orion Nebula are all connected in one giant gas/dust cloud.
This image is nearly 7 hours of exposure time over about 5 nights of shooting. The camera is mounted on a 40lb mount that tracks the stars perfectly. Although this is shot through just a 135mm camera lens, the lens is mounted on a specialized and dedicated astrophotography camera which keeps the camera sensor to -10ºC (14ºF) no matter the outside temperature. (see image below)
This sort of photography can be very rewarding when all is said and done, but does require a lot of patience as you go out night after night and shoot the same image over and over, but like I said it is worth it in the end when it all comes together. I do have plans to go back and add more image data to the Orion project, I'm thinking I'd like to settle on around 20-30 hrs total time.
I do have one example of an image shot with my telescope, it was a 6 image mosaic that has been stitched together... the total amount of time spent photographing on this image is 33 hrs, and then roughly 10 hrs of editing to complete the project.
I hope you enjoyed these images and learning a little about what goes into making them and where it all began. If anyone has any more questions regarding any astrophotography feel free to contact me, I'd love to help you out if I can, it's an amazing hobby. You can reach me through these links: