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Something About Me


Well what can I say? I have been into Photography and Astronomy most of my life. I first started taking photographs at age nine when I was given an old box brownie. My father rued the day as I quickly had lots of film to be developed. Most of which was utter garbage so it became an expensive habit.

It was not long after when I received my first telescope. My parents purchased a small 60mm refractor and I became utterly fascinated by what I could see out there. The Moon landing several years before had sparked the imagination, but it was not until actually seeing a few things for myself that I started on my life long love of astronomy.

Four years of photography at school helped to hone some of my photographic skills and it was said I could always be found in the dark room printing and developing my most recent images. This later became invaluable when I ventured into astrophotography at age 23 years. Lots of hours spent staring at a guide star only to have inconsistent results. Monetary costs of developing pushed me towards settig up my own dark room. I developed my own colour film and slides, but printing was an issue. Even great frames cost a lot of money to get them printed. It became difficult and costly to continue along this line.

The digital revolution rekindled my interest in astrophotography. Early 2004 I bought an LX200 10", Nikon D70 and a LPI. I started imaging DSO targets with disasterous results. trailed stars, exposure issues and processing trouble. I turned to the LPI to image the planets, thinking that this might have better results. I quickly decided that a ToUcam was a better camera to work with and that did give me some nice images.

Three things cemented my path in planetary imaging. Toward the end of 2005 I bought a C9.25 with an EQ6 mount. This scope was a step optically beyond the Meade and I quickly started making a lot of head way in planetary image. The next thing that happened was I met Anthony Wesley (Bird) at Snake Valley astro camp in March 2006. I witnessed first hand what a monochrome camera with filters was capable of and also we talked for a long time about mirror cooling. His demonstrations confirmed in my mind that he was onto a certainly. Within a month I had the first DMK21F04 in Australia. I then started searching solutions to cooling my C9.25. Limited success occurred with the use of a Lymax Cat Cooler and installing a temperature sensor on the rear of the mirror.

It then occurred to me in late 2006 that using a larger diameter would increase my resolution and light grasp. I purchased an 18" SDM telescope and in March 2007 it was delivered. A peltier cooling system and some counter weight modification then allowed me to image the planets with a larger aperture. However, it did not suit my purposes at home. I have limited space to work with and needed a large aperture on an EQ mount. I decided to sell the C9.25 and purchase a CGE1400. The scope star tested very well and that led me to take the next step.

Modifications to the C14 (being the first to have peltier cooling) and late tests in the Jupiter apparition of 2007 confirmed that I was onto something here. Not only that but Damian Peach, Dave Tyler, Pete Lawrence and a few other well known names have achieved wonders with the C14. All I needed was some nice seeing. That would not come until the 10 May 2008, when I obtained a wonderful image of Io transiting the face of Jupiter. I will let you find that in the gallery to decide for yourself.

I have found that DSO imaging and Solar imaging are great adjuncts to planetary imaging. Especially when the seeing is so fleeting here in South Australia. In 2006 I got into solar Ha photography and in early 2008 I revisited the idea of DSO photography. Both of which I really now enjoy and have netted some fine results since then.




















My Vocation


Over the years I have been involved in a variety of vocations; ranging from surveyor and cartographic technician in the Australian Army to practicing solicitor in South Australia to now being an owner of my commercial ceiling company. How I got here is as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone else. The bottom line is that prior to the economic recession of the early 1990's I worked in the construction industry either as a form work carpenter or commercial and domestic ceiling fixer. The recession prompted me to attend University and gain a bachelor of laws from Flinders University in 1997. All the while doing part time work in the ceiling fixing game. After practicing law for nearly a year I decided I really hated this and I went back to ceiling fixing. Through a process of good fortune and hard work I obtained my builders license in 2002 and have since then been running my own company.

Typically, now I employ people to supervise and conduct the work on projects that I tender and win. The variety of projects can be either schools, shopping centres or hospitals. More importantly though is that this work that has paid for everything I have and affords me the lifestyle to conduct my photographic pursuits. I thank my lucky stars every day that I have been fortunate in this way. With more good fortune I am planning on retiring to a dark sky site with good seeing in 15 years or so.

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