Pictures on a Budget

Bruce Bahde

You see the dazzling photographs from Hubble, or the displays in astrophotography at the club meetings and are amazed by the beauty. You wish you had the equipment and skill to take pictures like them. If you are like me, and your pocketbook doesn't allow for special cameras or tracking telescopes, all you think you can do is look at the pictures and dream. After talking to the members and experimenting a little, a solution has finally been arrived at. It is true that I'm not able to capture nebulas or star stuff. I can however take pictures of the Moon. It's not as impressive, but it is rewarding.

I have a little Canon SD 750, the kind you take on vacation, nothing fancy. With the 'SteadyPix' attachment I bought, from an Orion catalogue for $34.95, to hold the camera to the lens, I was able to set up the telescope, a Dobsonian, again nothing fancy, and have the time of my life taking pictures in the backyard. Once I got it focused, which is really easy by the way, I was able to "shoot the Moon". I changed from a 20 mm lens to a 25 and a 30mm taking pictures at all levels. I downloaded them to my computer, and I was like a kid in a candy store trying to make the pictures better.

The only downside is getting hooked. Amaze yourself and enjoy what you can do for pennies and a lot of trial and error. I deleted more then I kept.

Tonight the Moon, tomorrow the planets... I hope.

Published in the June 2008 issue of the NightTimes