Landscape AstroPhotography by Mike Shaw

My own copy has arrived in South Africa. As with all my books, it is lying on my table and no-one is allowed to touch except me. One should not attack a new book. The covers should be opened gently and pages turned slowly one by one. A book needs to adjust to its surroundings and get used to its new owner.

In due course when this process has run its course, I will tell you more about this wonderful publication….

My first impression was the weight of the book. A great deal of information lay waiting behind the impressive front cover. For a day or two I pondered over the enormous task the author had undertaken. Somehow I just knew that I had laid my hands on a special publication.

The moment of thruth. Hands washed, I turned the cover and paged gently. Goals, history, learning curve, creative vision, correct subject lighting, technical proficiency, practicing with your equipment, BASIC ASTRONOMY, sunrise/sunsets, solar cycle sunspot progression, timing of landscape photography, analemmas. Beautiful layout of stunning images and the coolest diagrams with the turn of every page. I realised that I had only reached page 100 and there were 340 more!
Will I ever become the professional landscape astro-photographer of the calibre of Mike Shaw? Most probably not, but I will have a better understanding of what I am actually doing when I point my camera at the night sky. Most important, I will have a better appreciation of the art of the professional landscape astro-photographer.
What I hold dear is how Mike Shaw always shares his expert experiences without an attitude of: do as I say. In this book he lays emphasis on reflecting your personal creative vision.
I would say Landscape AstroPhotography is going to be more important to me in the long run than buying extra expensive equipment. It will provide a solid foundation to build apon in order to reflect my own personal vision.

Proxima with a red dot finder

Years ago OOG (The Orion Observation Group) had the courage to withstand any wind and weather and were brave enough to organise events with guest speakers. Serena Ingamells (my partner in all crimes) organised an event at the Taalmonument on 06.12.2008 and invited Dr Ian Glass ( South African Astronomical Observatory) to talk about his newly released book Proxima The Nearest Star (other than the Sun!)

It took a while to sink in that I would actually be able to see Proxima Centauri through a telecope but for a long long while I cherished the star in my own signed copy of the book.

Auke Slotegraaf published Con Cards with a page dedicated to Prox Cen. Wow! Yes! but all these years I never knew whether I had actually seen the star 😉 I mean there are many candidates out there!
Con cards

My eye caught a mission by a fellow Slooh member. Once and for all I was going to find that star.

After reading Prox Cen from cover to cover, I took my images and compared them to Stellarium, rotating and flipping and about to give up, I remembered Auke’s con cards. His charts matched the stars in my image perfectly!
So I hope you enjoy my version of Proxima with a red dot finder.