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Posts Made By: Steve Mathis

March 20, 2006 08:16 AM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Dust on the CCD

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hello, all...
so what is everyone doing to remove dust from the CCD that inevitably gets there during lens changes? Am I flirting with disaster (i.e. "bad stars") using canned compressed air? I've been doing that, so far without any bad effects. Reading another forum I see stuff about thermal shock caused by droplets of liquid air. Is the squeeze bulb the only safe way?

Thanks for any info here.

May 2, 2006 05:28 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

mockingbird dance

Posted By Steve Mathis

I caught this guy yesterday in his mating display...flying about 6 feet straight up from the top of a cedar tree, then straight down. He's on the way down here. Crummy lighting, but....
300mm Nikkor on a D-70, from about 40 feet. Cropped.


August 20, 2006 04:59 PM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Milky Way

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hello, all.

Here is a montage of 5 images taken with my Nikon D-70 and an 18 mm lens. This was taken in Black Mesa State Park in the Oklahoma panhandle. A single inextingushable sodium vapor light illuminates the landscape at both ends of the nearly 180° span of the image. Thanks for looking.


August 25, 2006 04:35 PM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Milky Way Montages

Posted By Steve Mathis

Here is a problem to ponder...

You want to make a 180° panorama of the summer Milky Way with your digital camera. You have a GEM and a pan-head for the camera (it pans around an axis perpendicular to its base). How do you mount the pan-head to the GEM dovetail so that by panning around its single axis, your camera stays square to the galactic equator? By doing this, your digital images (puzzle pieces) line up along a straight line with no rotation needed to stich them together into a panorama.

I devised a way, which I used to take the photo I posted here on 8/20...I'll share it with you later 8)

How would you do it?


September 30, 2006 11:20 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Sun and Moon

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hey everyone,
Back in the summer of 2004 I was getting ready for the transit of Venus. I wanted to see how well my 10" Newt with a full-aperture solar filter was going to work with my point-and-shoot digital camera. I was out shortly before sunset. I was facing west, holding the big filter in front of my face and looking at the sun through it when I caught the reflection of the waxing gibbous moon (which was behind me) in the mirror-like surface of the filter. The high reflectivity and very low transmission of the filter made the Sun (transmission) and Moon (reflection) look nearly the same. And, as we all know, the two appear about the same size! I put my camera on a tripod, and holding the solar filter in front I adjusted the angle of the filter to get the Sun/Moon images near each other and snapped this photo. This is not a double exposure. Note the "mirror image" flipping of the moon!

Anyway, I thought it was cool.....

Thanks for looking.


November 14, 2006 05:13 AM Forum: Mounts

Orion Atlas

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hey, everyone...
I have a homebuilt 10" reflector on an Orion Atlas mount. When I observe at higher powers, I can see the drive "ticking"...a small but steady shake in the image. So I am wondering, is this pretty much what I should expect from an $800 mount from China, or is there anything I can do to minimize this? Overall, I am happy with the mount. It is easy to align, and does track well for long periods. Any advice would be appreciated!



November 29, 2006 06:21 AM Forum: Pet Pics

Dog Dance

Posted By Steve Mathis

what can I say?


December 5, 2006 06:45 AM Forum: Ask rating questions here

how to give a rating

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hey, everyone.

Forgive my ignorance here. I just completed a happy and successful transaction through the AM classifieds. I was the buyer. I want to give the seller a rating, and realize I have no idea how to do it. A quick tutorial please?



March 9, 2007 05:46 AM Forum: Eyepieces

eyepieces for afocal photography

Posted By Steve Mathis

Hey, everyone....

I have a Canon Powershot digital camera that I use for afocal photography, and have had moderate success doing so. I have started wondering how much improvement I could expect with a better eyepiece. I am using a (relatively) inexpensive Plossl, and have been reading about more expensive alternatives such as the Televue Radian series. Does anyone have experience or opinions about this? Any advice would be welcome.



April 12, 2007 07:30 PM Forum: Pet Pics