As one of Orion's foremost customers, Doug H. of Temecula, CA, has configured a setup that most astro-imagers can only dream of. That's pretty amazing, considering Doug started imaging just 8 months ago. He began with planetary imaging but soon found he wanted to shoot deep-sky objects too. Doug's enthusiasm for astrophotography grew with the satisfaction that came from taking his own pictures. "Verifying objects in the sky with my own equipment is an excitement hard to describe. Some people don't understand it, but the self-satisfaction of knowing that "I" imaged an object is more rewarding than words can describe. By the way, it's great to share my astro-images with family and friends too!"
Doug's success as a novice imager is testimony to the quality of his equipment, which has helped him achieve some amazing results. "Image processing takes about 3 to 6 hours per image. I am very surprised at the image quality directly from the Orion StarShoot Pro! Most of the time NO processing will look many times better than other astrophotos I've seen on the Internet." Doug says he was compelled to purchase Orion products because of the price, quality, and the success stories of others who use Orion equipment.
Doug draws inspiration for his astro-imaging exploits from magazines like Astronomy's 100 Most Spectacular Sky Wonders. "The magazine is very useful for helping me decide what to photograph. It has great photos and dates of when best to see deep-sky objects. I also read internet forums to see what other people are imaging."
A typical imaging session for Doug starts just before dark. He gets everything set up and ready to go as soon as he can see Polaris. "I use my Atlas mount with a 'Two-Star Alignment'. Next, I use my 'Go To' feature .... I focus and then start imaging!" Fortunately, the Orion imaging equipment doesn't require a lot of babysitting. "After I have set up my system to start capturing images, I can do anything else I want. I typically check back every hour or two, and see how things are going."
Normally, Doug shoots right from his own backyard. "With light pollution filters, it's easy to image", he says. According to Doug, it doesn't take long to set up either. "It takes me about one hour to set up, and if everything goes well, I can turn it on 'auto pilot' and go watch a movie, or even go to sleep!"
One of Doug's most memorable observing experiences was his first encounter with Saturn. "The first time I saw Saturn visually, I knew this hobby was for me! When I saw the rings on Saturn, my jaw dropped! Seeing Saturn with your own eyes for the first time is an experience hard to top."
For beginners and those who may be interested in astro-imaging, Doug's advice is simple: "YOU CAN DO IT! It's easy with the right equipment. Take your time and realize that you'll learn something new each time you go out." We couldn't agree more. Keep up the good work, Doug!