#81  
Old 19-08-2008, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mick pinner View Post
put your hand up if you take astrophotos for your own enjoyment and satisfaction of what you have learnt and achieved with your own equipment.
some it seems just want to win a prize. just an amateurs observation. (no pun).
You can have have both of mine, hands that is

I compare and share my results with friends and family but could/would not be bothered to share with yours are better then my circles.

I do it for my own enjoyment and satisfection. Who cares if the object is not centered or is to blue. Not me.

As for catagories to be judged, re amateur, semi-pro put a price tag on the equipment.

Like up to $2000, $5000, $10000 and Open.
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  #82  
Old 19-08-2008, 07:10 PM
jase (Jason)
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Gee Peter…Not trying to be a smart, but you sure make it sound so difficult to acquire data. Fred summarized it nicely in the CWAS post -

“Ironically, the knowledge/skill divide is down to gear cost. With a PME/RCOS combo, with tools such as Pempro and Tpoint, and following manuals to the letter, proper set up is assured, and it stays that way after set up. Thats what you pay for, this is applied knowledge learnt from manuals, not so much a "creative" input.”

I couldn’t agree more. The more money you sink into the hobby to buy higher end gear, it typically just works. Sure you have your glitches now and then, but don't over-rate it. So we already have a divide to begin with. I do however feel you’ve nailed a key point which undoubtedly everyone is aware of. There is a “distinct advantage” of a permanent observatory over a set up / tear down imaging rig – perhaps worthy of a category of its own – the “true” amateur compared to sitting in a cosy den watching TV while your scope does all the work - amateur? hmmm? Again, where do you draw? As I keep saying, my “upload imaging plan and walk away” set up isn’t in the spirit when you consider the list of items you just mentioned through…polar alignment, point refinements, etc. I rarely have to worry about those – it’s a simple rig that I have "dialled in" to just work.

This is great. I’m really happy that this has provoked the input of many – there’s been more than 2 cents worth here, probably now up to a dollar. I like the suggestions provided. Perhaps the people “in the know” are listening or simply don’t care. I hope for the sake of future comps, it’s not the latter. As we’ve discovered, the current rules are “interpretable” – which is not necessarily a good thing when we see technology shift or emerging trends. As many said at CWAS, the standard this year has risen yet again - there is a reason for this. Amateurs have access to ever improving equipment and processing techniques.

I should make myself clear that my intention was to not rub people up the wrong way. I apologise if that was how some of my responses were interpreted. Electronic debates don’t always work well. Also don’t worry Mike, I’m certainly not taking any of this personal. My stance has not changed – the stake is firmly in the ground. This “Jase vs. Goliath” concept will undoubtedly come up again until we have clarity from the organisers.
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  #83  
Old 19-08-2008, 07:49 PM
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Hey guys size doesn't count it's what you can do with it !!!!

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  #84  
Old 19-08-2008, 10:05 PM
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Great discussion. I am at the bottom end here and actually set up each night but I had been considering setting up a second lap top and running everything but focusing and filters, (which I have to do manually), from inside via wireless LAN just to stay a bit warmer. Now according to Jase,...

" I don’t see an issue in entering remotely acquired images into an imaging comp. As the rules stand today - I’ll put these images into the semi pro category and give Peter and others a run for their money…"

Now if I or a friend pops by to aquire some images while we share a glass of red by the fire and then enter a comp, surely we would be considered amature status.

I am happy to stand corrected if I have quoted out of context here and I am probably splitting hairs but how remote is remote? Is it a question of IT here or the price of the rig?

Last edited by winensky; 19-08-2008 at 10:15 PM. Reason: typo
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  #85  
Old 19-08-2008, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jase View Post
Gee Peter…Not trying to be a smart, but you sure make it sound so difficult to acquire data.........
Jase, even a shark wouldn't swallow that one

There would not be a person on this list who has not has been "equipment challenged" from time to time.

The phrase of WTF?! has come to my mind....sometimes gone a little further .... more than once when I've looked at decidedly less than perfect data from some less than cheap equipment.

Yet all that is swept away with pay-per-view.

True, data acqisition doesn't have to be hard, but it can be trying at times, and yet your position remains steadfast: what's the fuss, this is dead easy! So I suppose we'll agree to disagree there.

I find image processing, on which you weigh much, to be a mechanical process. Is this any less valid? Sure you can fiddle an fuss in CS3, but unless the data is great (again, a given with pay per view) I find myself ironing out yet another bug and doing a re-shoot.

I frankly don't know how if if CWAS will further refine their rules for 2009, but I certainly will be lobbying for continued recognition of individual effort and persistence over commercial data factories.

'nuff said.
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  #86  
Old 19-08-2008, 10:48 PM
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g__day (Matthew)
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Fighters are usually broken into weight divisions - then it comes down to skill and ability.

Personally I reckon this should be followed - range folk but the total value of the gear they used to do the shots, whether its your own gear or rented. So iIf one is using a million dollar scope - well fine - judge them in that category.

I'd rather see categories like gear used under $10K, under $20K, under $30K, under $50K and over $50K. Sure access to dark site helps - but that is part of your passion to lug your gear to the right spot.

Then it comes down to signal gathering and signal processing skills withing a equipment calibre class.

Oh and by gear - include everything say apart from the PC and operating system - but include mount, camera, focusers, OTAs, heaters, guide cam's, and all astronomy control and processing software (Maxim, Photoshop, CCDSoft) etc.
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  #87  
Old 19-08-2008, 11:26 PM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Originally Posted by winensky View Post
Great discussion......

....I am happy to stand corrected if I have quoted out of context here and I ma probably splitting hairs but how remote is remote? Is a question of IT here or the price of the rig?

It's not the remotness of the imaging rig that is in question here, it is the sanctioning, for amateur imaging competitons, of the practise of simply commissioning high quality data collection from paid proffessionals at comercial observatories in order to assemble your entry from it, that is.

There are many ways to look at it of course but as far as many of us are concerned, allowing such techniques in imaging competitions crosses the line by bypasing much of the process that makes up amateur imaging and moves it too far toward the proffessional relm and as such it is not in the true spirit of amateur astronomical imaging.

We feel that a person with a nice imaging rig of any value that "they" setup, operate and painstakingly learn to master so that it provides them with quality image data and then image something really well with it, should not have to compete against someone who has entered an image constructed from essentially perfect data purchased on-line from a proffessional image data collection service that used a 1/2 million robotic telescope to acquire it.

We do not believe that entrants should be able to pay to out-source part of their entry construction, that's all, because doing so comercialises the actual imaging process too much.

You may not agree but that is basically the argument and bone of contention anyway

Cheers

Mike
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  #88  
Old 20-08-2008, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TrevorW View Post
Hey guys size doesn't count it's what you can do with it !!!!
Here Here!!
(Obvious crudities aside.)
I totally agree with you.
There have been some extraordinary images produced by quite mediocre equipment (relatively speaking). kudos to the those who have persisted with the equipment they have, and mastered them so well.
Having only a "toy" telescope myself, it's these images that inspire me, much more than those out of rigs worth $10's of thousands.

Re. Astro photo comps.

Each category should has a "Novice" and "Open" section.
Once you have won a first prize in the "Novice" section, you are relegated to the "Open" section of that category from then on.
A "Novice" may enter in both sections. ( if they feel their work is up to it )

This is how we organise Art comps.
It seems to be very fair for everyone.
The Pros all enter the "Open" section to start off with because they don't like being categorized as a "Novice". LOL
The "Novice" section is yearly being pruned of talent, leaving the way clear for the rest of us to have a chance.
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  #89  
Old 20-08-2008, 07:23 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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I tried to resist .... really

i agree with mick pinners and asters points on a personal basis.


however........

a couple of points come to mind

if you are using a 24 inch rcos remotely and the seeing is poor do you still pay??

Would anyone using this high end gear not have the skills to go through the drudgery of doing a polar alignment and the other mechanical tuning?? (if so then is the argument valid ?)

If you are using your own gear (and lets face it some of it out there is pretty good) then if data is king then you can always gather more free of charge say an extra 20 hrs?? .(is this a reasonable conjecture ???)

im not sure whether processing is the king either, but with my limited experience it does make a big difference, as the image aquired rarely looks like the final product.

the whole debate seems to revolve around its suitability for a competition, its a bit like drug testing at the olympics some are banned and some (ventolin , viagra etc ) are not and much debate as to whether they give an advantage..... but thems the rules: exploit them as you will i guess, its up to the competition commitee to give due consideration to how they are set.

as for unfair advantage , as an average income earner whos not likely to put aside $50,000.00 or more for quality equipment, it seems only the well heeled can expect to really compete at the level that deepsky imaging demands within these competitions.


viva la revolutione.....


its not something that affects the average astronomer, so i wont be losing any sleep over it.

cheers to all.
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  #90  
Old 20-08-2008, 07:38 AM
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marc4darkskies (Marcus)
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Funny watching the twists & turns in this debate, but you have been steadfast Mike, stating the case quite succinctly – on several occasions. This has nothing to do with how people choose to pursue their hobby because that’s an entirely personal matter. If Jase & others get satisfaction from using other people’s toys to acquire their data then more power to them. Competitions on the other hand are held to see who is best in their preferred domain – to test the mettle of like minded and motivated people on a level playing field. This is not just some old chestnut to be dismissed, it’s an important issue to those who wish to compete. Jase’s domain is clearly moving towards processing only - he wants to bypass the ho-hum steps of tuning and running his equipment. That’s fine, but as I think most agree, competitions need to be run to cater for this new paradigm.

Personally, that new paradigm is not for me. I get satisfaction buying the gear, setting it up, maintaining it and, above all, using it to maximum effect. I need to own the entire process (including the photons) and make everything work properly by my own hand to achieve maximum satisfaction – that’s my domain and I’d like to compete in it.

Moreover, I get gratification because astro-imaging is hard to do. Gathering good data is hard and so is processing. Buying the gear, setting it up, operating it successfully, spending long cold nights outside dodging clouds and equipment gremlins and seniors moments followed by hours of difficult processing and then going to work bleary eyed for a few days is HARD! Pride in accomplishment is directly proportional to effort and difficulty. So the thought of using someone else’s robotic gear to pursue my hobby is a bizarre concept as the results I’d produce would be less meaningful to me … because it’s EASIERI!

So, my competition domain is the whole box & dice. Importantly, I only want to participate in competitions held on a level playing field where all the competitors have overcome similar challenges and worked with similar advantages. A good competition must have different playing fields – so Jase can compete on his terms and I can compete on mine.

Cheers, Marcus
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  #91  
Old 20-08-2008, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Alchemy View Post

Would anyone using this high end gear not have the skills to go through the drudgery of doing a polar alignment and the other mechanical tuning??
Having dealt with a full spectrum of amateur and professional astronomers for the last 20 years, I can an say an emphatic "Yes! "
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  #92  
Old 20-08-2008, 09:50 AM
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Firstly, appologies for the double entry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
We do not believe that entrants should be able to pay to out-source part of their entry construction, that's all, because doing so comercialises the actual imaging process too much.

You may not agree but that is basically the argument and bone of contention anyway
No, I agree Mike, and thanks for clarifying the argument. I have no issue at all with people setting up their own observatories and gathering the highest quality data they can afford or with entering my efforts in competition with them on an amature basis. After all most of what I have learned in amature astronomy so far has been based on these peoples efforts and experience and their willingness to share it freely.
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  #93  
Old 20-08-2008, 11:28 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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been mulling over some of the ideas this thread has produced, i think the concencus seems to be against the remote imaging for a competition, and for the time being that will probably end up being the way it will be ruled in a separate class.

consider though how change over the years has come to the astroimaging community

1. once upon a time time was spent learning the constellations and the sky- today we have goto.
2. polar alignment was once a manual thing- now 2 star alignments and computer routines have eased that somewhat.
3. guiding- thank goodness for autoguiding, no more staring down an eyepeice in the cold for hours at a time.
4. ccd cameras, super efficient chips so much better than film and the computer enhancing (the curse of photoshop)
5. focusing- crikeys imagine using film and guestimating the sweet spot through the finder (a few here remember that all to well) no i think we will download it apply a computer routine to analyse it.

this remote imaging is just the winds of change sweeping through once again, some will embrace it some will not, only time will tell. i suspect it will gain popularity, and who knows maybee oneday 2020 perhaps, where a catagory will be created just for those who bother to own their own equipment, whilst the majority of serious imagers use this kind of gear.

i watched the bonus footage on the Sky at night magazine last month, and Arthur C Clarke filmed in the 60's, suggested one day a brain surgeon could remotely perform an operation from London on a patient in New Zealand..... who would have thought it possible then. perhaps we will be remotely accessing small scopes in orbit and imaging in infra red, or gamma rays., or placed on the other side of the moon so on those moonlit nights we can continue, one things for sure change will occur.
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  #94  
Old 20-08-2008, 05:25 PM
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I agree. Just simply create a new category for the pay to use remote imaging entrants so its a level playing field yet it caters for this growing area.

Arguments that polar aligning, setting up gear, choosing the correct gear, working out the best setups, balance, autoguiding equipment, PEC training etc etc etc as being not important are ludicrous.

How many images are lost or poor due to some techical error that you correct for next time? Internet image discussion groups are full of " I didn't have blah blah but here it is, better next time".

That is where 90% of the hard work is.

You get good data processing is easy as. You get poor data, tracking errors, gradients, clouds come in - processing is almost impossible.

There are so many possible combinations of equipment these days that it really is an important part of the final result - the choosing of the best combo of equipment for your desired type of image. And then the often tedious and long winded task of optimising it and sorting out the bugs.

But a separate category then has oranges compared with oranges rather than Rolls Royce compared with VWs.

On the other hand Rob Gendler has done some special images using rent a scopes and I doubt if I bought the same data my image would be as good at this point. So his processing skills shine and this then is the type of difference in skill that can be judged from the rent a scope public.

Greg.
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Old 20-08-2008, 06:06 PM
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as for unfair advantage , as an average income earner whos not likely to put aside $50,000.00 or more for quality equipment, it seems only the well heeled can expect to really compete at the level that deepsky imaging demands within these competitions.
Weeelll actually Clive....Phil Hart won the amateur wide field section at the DM awards this year with a DSLR and 50mm lens!!! He did a beautiful mosaic of the Crux region that I actually commented on to Martin Pugh before the competition as my pick for the dark horse to creep up and actually win the overall Prize, it was that bloody good!!...I was almost right, David Malin obviously loved it too . Phil ALSO won the amateur solar system section with an image of the lunar eclipse taken again with a DSLR this time through an Tak Epsilon 160.

http://www.parkes.atnf.csiro.au/news...rofest/awards/

Most importantly though, Phil did not pay a proffesional imaging collection service to collect any of his image data...

I think some of your work is really excellent too Clive, so don't sell yourself so short

Quote:
its not something that affects the average astronomer, so i wont be losing any sleep over it.
Good so now you realise that yes you too can do it even with very modest gear.....go and lose some sleep and take that next David Malin Award winning entry

Mike
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  #96  
Old 21-08-2008, 03:31 AM
Hagar (Doug)
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Kids, behave.
Peter, you must be bored or something. You knew where this would go before you made the post. STIRRER

Mike, I think the violins bow must almost be worn out. You have made almost the same post about 5 times or more during this spirited little chat.
I don't know what you hope to achieve by continually coming back to the same argument. It is obvious you and Jase think differently about the subject and I doubt any amount of discussion will get you both to agree.

As it currently stands the rules allow both you and Jase to do your own things in the amatuer category and until those rules are rewritten or ammended you will both still be eligable to enter this category.

I just noticed you are selling prints on your web site. Does this mean you are moving into the semi pro domain? (look out Peter). I notice Martin has kept out of this, perhaps he will have the amatuer category to himself next year.

Please keep up what the three of you do best. Helping those of us trying to learn, with some of the wonderful advise and help you have given in the past. It is really appreciated believe it or not. You are all truely gifted and to sit back and see this type of bickering cannot be good for any of you.

If you truely think the rules need changing, contact the organising comittee and abide by their rulling. Get out and take some images.
It's 4:30 in the morning and I am stuck at work and can only sit back and giggle. Posts like this and the one I started some time back re the DM Awards do tend to get heated and personal and really it's not worth it.

Go out and snap a good one.
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  #97  
Old 21-08-2008, 05:49 AM
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iceman (Mike)
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I've moved this thread (and a couple of others) from Deep Space to the Cameras & Photography forum, since they're discussions not an image

It's been a great discussion, obviously some passionate people on all sides of the fence, who have managed to continue a very healthy and robust debate without denigrating into personal attacks or name calling. I commend everyone involved.
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  #98  
Old 21-08-2008, 05:52 AM
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strongmanmike (Michael)
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Heeeelllooo Dougy

Quote:
Mike, I think the violins bow must almost be worn out. You have made almost the same post about 5 times or more during this spirited little chat.
I don't know what you hope to achieve by continually coming back to the same argument.
Only because the debate has been missinterpreted a few times and a few have missed the point so when this has been the case I have repeated my self, I have repeated myself

Quote:
I just noticed you are selling prints on your web site. Does this mean you are moving into the semi pro domain? (look out Peter). I notice Martin has kept out of this, perhaps he will have the amatuer category to himself next year.
Selling the ocassional print is not deamed to make me semi-proffessional...hey there's another debate, hey there's another debate... Beter start a new thread

Quote:
It's 4:30 in the morning and I am stuck at work and can only sit back and giggle. Posts like this and the one I started some time back re the DM Awards do tend to get heated and personal and really it's not worth it.

Go out and snap a good one
HEATED and personal??? why you little..grrrr

Com'on there's been no heat, noone has said anything bad that I can see it's just a debate mate, it's just a debate mate...Polly want a cracker, ark ark?

Have I given you my opinon by the way?

OK, seriously now, I am not losing sleep over this, just having some fun debating an issue that at the end of the day won't..?..help anyone beat Asain Bolt Gee hope he never takes up astroimaging, he's sure to..?.."run" a way with the prize

Mike
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Old 21-08-2008, 06:52 AM
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I`m keeping out of this one..
But I must admit, doesn`t Peter start some of the best threads!
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Old 21-08-2008, 05:38 PM
Alchemy (Clive)
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Originally Posted by strongmanmike View Post
Weeelll actually Clive....Phil Hart won the amateur wide field section at the DM awards this year with a DSLR and 50mm lens!!! He did a beautiful mosaic of the Crux region that I actually commented on to Martin Pugh before the competition as my pick for the dark horse to creep up and actually win the overall Prize, it was that bloody good!!...I was almost right, David Malin obviously loved it too

Good so now you realise that yes you too can do it even with very modest gear.....go and lose some sleep and take that next David Malin Award winning entry

Mike

hmmm hadnt looked that closely at the other entries other than the windswept stars in the star trails ( which i will unashamedly go out and do a similar one for my wall as i liked it so much), looking forward to going out and seeing the display when it comes to melbourne so i can actually get a feel for the quality.....

who knows i might just have a go..... then i will be arguing for tighter rules Jase can go and give peter a run for his money.
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