OM-1 With Kencor Drive  I have never been a high resolution telescopic photographer, but rather I have focused on wide field driven and un-driven photography. Perhaps one of my favorite subjects is to frame the sky against an earthly, tree lined horizon. This site will continue to be expanded as I get more of my slide library scanned. I use an Olympus OM-1 manual 35mm SLR camera with 28mm, 50mm and 135mm lenses. When I choose to guide I use a camera drive made by Kenton Engineering called a Kencor Drive. My choice of film is Kodak Ektachrome 400 for slides, and Kodak Gold 400 for prints. I find that I get better results with slide film due to the increased dynamic range. However, I do not have a film scanner and so most of the photographs below were taken with print film.

The Mars Encounter: In August 2003 Mars was closer than it has been for 60,000 years. I used my Nikon Coolpix 950 and my 18" f/4.5 Newtonian to photograph the Red Planet using a method called stacking. I would photograph up to 300 images over a ten minute period and stack the best of these in a program called Registax.
  Moon Venus and Jupiter: I took this photograph from a spot near my house in Cabot, AR on February 17, 1999 just after sunset. The exposure was approximately 15 seconds on print film, unguided.
  Sun Column: This was taken near Rogers, AR on a winter day at sunset. A sun column is caused by flat ice crystals in the clouds above which reflect the setting sun's light. 
  Orion at Blanchard Springs: I took this time exposure from the old bridge in the campground. It is a 20 minute exposure at f/4 on 400 speed print film. The black sky background is a testimony to the dark skies of north central Arkansas.
  Zodiacal Light: This ghostly glow is light which is scattered off tiny dust particles that orbit in the plane of the solar system. This light comes from the sun which is located just below the horizon. This was taken in March when the light is almost straight up in the northern hemisphere. I used a 28mm wide angle lens. The exposure is approximately 10 minutes long.
  Star Reflections in Water: This is a tricky one! I have often wondered if star reflections can be photographed. I set up my tripod on the bridge with the camera pointing down!
  Barnard's Loop: This large slightly red loop of hydrogen nebula is almost as large as Orion itself. The smaller, bright, burnt-out nebula is M42, the Orion Nebula. The fainter L-shaped nebula with the tiny bite taken out is the famous Horsehead Nebula. This is a 15 minute exposure on 400 speed Kodak print film using a 135mm telephoto lens. Of course the camera drive was required.
  Halley's Comet and the Milky way: In the spring of 1986 I set up in the cold, damp pre-dawn woods east of Rogers, AR to get this shot. It was the best conditions under which I ever observed the famous comet. This is a 28mm wide angle lens. By the way Halley's didn't hold a candle to Hyakutake years later.
  Haley's Comet Closeup: The same morning as noted above I made an exposure using a 135mm telephoto .
  The Moon: This was one of the few times I have ever photographed through the telescope. The moon is so bright that it can be taken as a snap shot. If memory serves this is a 1/60 second exposure. The telescope was a 10" f/6 Newtonian. 
  The Andromeda Galaxy: A 135mm telephoto shot on 400 speed print film, 15 minutes long, guided. I always enjoy trying to see the galaxy with the unaided eye. It is the only galaxy which can be seen without at least using binoculars.
  The Aurora: This was one of the most intense observing experiences of my life. Aurora only appear about once per year so far south and I'm sure most of those times are in daylight or hidden behind clouds. When I first saw the red glow in the north above my house, I thought that there was a fire on the other side of the hill that lies in that direction! Fortunately I had my camera out and grabbed these shots before it faded. I don't think that the whole show lasted more than about 20 minutes. The exposures vary in length from 1 minute to about 10 minutes. The amazing thing was that photographically the glow showed up even in the corner of a shot looking southeast!
  Comet Bradfield: Back in 1987 this small yet bright comet whizzed by. I remember thinking it was a bright one (this was before Hale-Bopp).
  Earth light: When the moon is a crescent, the earth as seen from the moon is nearly full. Because of this the bright "earth light" lights up the dark side. There is a mercury vapor light behind the mail box. 
  Comet Hyakutake: A truly beautiful comet, spanning many degrees of sky (a 50mm lens was used). As I recall my camera was piggy-backed on the refractor at the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society. We were so excited that we took the prints straight to Channel 4, and they used them! This was a fifteen minute exposure. It was taken in March, 1996.
  Comet Hyakutake (close up): The same night as above, but with the 135mm telephoto.
  Crescent Moon and Venus: The planet Venus shows up looking like a star. This was taken shortly after sunset with the sky still red with twilight. Note the "earth light". 
  The North American Nebula: This cloud of hydrogen is shaped like its namesake. A twenty minute exposure with a 50mm lens at f/2.8. Guided. 
  Polaris and the Circumpolar Stars: The stars around the north star never rise or set, but simply revolve around the north celestial pole. Polaris is almost at the center of this, but not quite. Many people think that the "north star" is also the brightest, but it is only 2nd magnitude, with many others much brighter. It is, however, the brightest star in that part of the sky! 
  The Rosette Nebula: An eight minute exposure, f/6, 135mm telephoto lens. This vast complex of gas and stars is hidden in the sparse regions east of Orion. Very difficult to see in a telescope, but beautiful to photograph.
The Moon and Venus: Grabbed this with the Kodak Z740 digicam. 1/4 sec at f3.5. Taken 2-19-07. Beautifully clear after several days of clouds.

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This page was created by John W. Reed on December 6 2000. Contact: jreed007 at centurytel dot net.