# 08 Feb, 2019 11:36
|This discussion comes up every time. Let me give another data point, I live in a densely populated area and can't drive. So my options were basically: give up while hitting a plateau in cloudy and extremely light polluted areas, or try something else. So I was able to acquire an existing remote set-up from someone who was looking to retire in this hobby, and then completely redesigned the optical train. But ever since I've made that choice I've started to feel like an outcast, even though I technically "own" the thing (and pay for it monthly) I also have written my fair share of support tickets to Astrocamp (whom are amazing people!). Do I know how to balance, align and collimate a scope … certainly. And I did climb that ladder all the way to Hyperstar. Remote is not really push and go either in my case, remote debugging a robot without even seeing the thing also takes a certain kind of crazy. Try taking sky flats with an ASI …. But my goal in this hobby was to get those "wow" pictures, and that is neigh impossible in heavy light pollution in one of the wettest parts of the world. So realistically, if remote images get a separate category, I would also like to have Bortle scale and annual sun hours to be mandatory, because I don't think it's fair someone in a rural area of Nevada or southern Spain is in the same category as someone shooting from a rooftop in downtown Manhattan or Mumbai. If I had good skies and clear whether, I may not have made the very expensive move to remote but rather set it up in a hypothetical back yard. Would probably have cost more too … but yeah, you make choices. Honestly, seeing this discussion come up again and again (and r/astrophotography being even worse) really leaves a nasty taste, can't we just enjoy the art and skill of it?|
# 08 Feb, 2019 13:53
Here's my take on things, I have been a Serious Photographer for over 35 years, taking a photo in the early days where images were judged by composition, exposure, impact, focus and processing meant that someone couldn't just get lucky with the conditions or environment, you had to be there, and think and plan your images and I never forget, you needed to use your feet! Similar criteria should apply to Astro Photography of which I have only been doing a few years.|
I have been offered a number of times whilst undergoing Spinal surgery to host my kit in a remote location in Wales with true dark skies, I declined because in my mind it wouldn't count.
I have seen many beautiful images from remote sites where the average clear night is over 80% of the year, so if one night you fail, then there is always another, not so easy with city light pollution and poor weather for most of the time.
Since the end of October we have had 5 1/2 clear nights where I live, so if I took an image that was good for those conditions against someone who could pick and chose one of their nights remotely which were available 80% of the time, which would have the greater merit.
Photography is to "Paint with Light" and to my mind I applaud those who produce beautiful images remotely, do they show the beauty of our universe, without a doubt, are the meritorious compared against someone who can only image say 10 times a year in a light polluted area…not a chance, chalk and cheese!
And for those that choose to hire time using the very best top of the range equipment costing £100's of K then I'm sorry that is not photography!
The criteria should be that you use your own equipment, take your own images, not use someone else's or combine with someone else's and are with your equipment at the time of the captures, really simple really, go back to the old school of photography.
You could not join the Royal Photographic Society they would not accept work which was combined with yours or if you weren't present when you pressed the shutter.
Take this to the extreme, an opportunity arose to hire 2 hours imaging time on the Hubble Telescope, your images blew everyone else out of the water, would it count?
Please don't take me the wrong way, show and revel in your remote work and your combined work, but please don't tell me it is in the same league as someone that produces a truly beautiful image with average equipment and average skies, the criteria should be how much has been required to obtain that image.
It is a past time and however you get your kick as long as it doesn't harm anyone else is fine, enjoy everything you do as we are not long on this planet.
Just my opinion and no offence meant to anyone.
# 08 Feb, 2019 21:47
|Alright, I have another idea. Instead of doing this debate over and over again, I propose forking astrobin. The code is open source and a fairly straight forward Django application. The site would be called something like "amazing.space" or something along those lines, and it'd be similar to astrobin except block all non-remote images or images of otherwise poor technical capability. Remote imaging would be encouraged, with a subscription based system where users could encourage top processors with money (/bitcoin/eth/crowdfund) to pay their rig and continue to make good images. All back yard photography would be banned except if technically on par with remote images (probably equally due to sheer luck of living in an area with good enough conditions, having the skill, interest, and inclination, and the money to buy someting … like everyone else). Probably requires some UI changes, but it'd be in the same spirit. Imagers with remote setups could share their love for this hobby without the stigma, and be able to compete and fund each other (like patereon) on this expensive endeavor. Instead of having this somewhat weird standoff between amateur and semi-pro, the semi-pros would have their own space with their own interests and maybe even at some point raise the funds for a satellite in orbit (isn't that the dream?). The whole thing seems a bit weird, but if we could collectively raise the money for a 4U cubesat in orbit to do some amazing /amateur/ photography my say would be: heck yes. And right now we're just fighting over entitlement and merit, instead of pulling off the /best possible by a bunch of motivated weirdos/. There are only a couple of thousand of us. We all share a vision, an idea, rally behind what we do is awesome I say. But if what I think is awesome, isn't what others think it is … then regrouping is fine.|
# 08 Feb, 2019 21:58
|That's an unbiased view Joel from someone that uses a remote observatory …not|
# 08 Feb, 2019 22:10
John KulinI never said I was unbiased, please check your own bias here. I will remove my account in 24 hours, if remote is unwelcome I will build my own site where they are.
# 08 Feb, 2019 22:21
Joel KuiperJohn KulinI never said I was unbiased, please check your own bias here. I will remove my account in 24 hours, if remote is unwelcome I will build my own site where they are.
Like wise Joel I never said I was unbiased, I have explained my views without threats or sarcasm, I live just outside a large light polluted city, and I achieve what I can and enjoy what I can, but if I couldn't then I would do what you do, but I would never consider it being included by a site such as this as meritorious.
I do drive and have been doing so for 42 years, but if I couldn't drive then I would cycle or use public transport, there is always a way to achieve what I consider personal satisfaction.
That is my opinion and which I am entitled to it, I'll still visit this site as I do now.
# 08 Feb, 2019 22:38
Where’s the Popcorn?|
Seriously folks, I predominantly image from the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Australia - a very red zone in a city of 5 million people.
Using Narrowband I have been fortunate to have three of my images selected as APOD’s and won the David Malin Award for best Deep Sky image in 2015. All from very modest equipment set up nightly in my backyard.
I’d love a remote obs too, and may one day share one on my mate’s property in rural Victoria.
But this really isn’t about the merits of Remote vs. Backyard imaging- it’s about creativity and problem solving and tearing your hair out and great satisfaction when it all works and you get that fantastic result that you want to share with like minded folks who understand and appreciate what we do.
So cool it peeps, just keep creating great images - the world has much bigger problems than this!
# 09 Feb, 2019 14:41
I agree for 100%. Remote-users should have their own category and their own IOTD.|
# 09 Feb, 2019 17:53
In my humbling opinion any sort of astro-image is welcome here, no matter with what kind of equipment it was taken.
# 09 Feb, 2019 19:45
Lets go all the way other extreme , if no grind own lens, if no build own camera it doesnt count. Surely using a manufactured scope and camera could not be "in the same league" as hbastro or one of the others that made own scope.
"…criteria should be how much has been required to obtain that image …"
How much what? Time do images, time process, time stand in cold, driving time ( I not own car am I disadvantaged), software owned and can afford, if have coat, if have intervalometer and start image series then go inside and sit in sauna or stand outdoors and freeze self?
Own image from garden, remote own self in facility , remote managed, all fine, all require different skill set and all to me fine be included for top pick or IOTD. Hire Hubble? Great count me in - my only chance for IOTD.
# 09 Feb, 2019 21:04
Since there are strong arguments - yet again - for having a separate category for self acquired data, why is this so difficult to implement?|
It will surely stop all the bad feeling and arguments.
# 10 Feb, 2019 00:21
I have followed both this thread and the extensive thread which covered the same ground last year. I have to say that the “bad feeling”and the associated accusations of “cheating” and similar sentiment appears to be coming from one direction only. I am astonished and more than a little saddened that members of this forum feel that they have the right both to criticise how others choose to pursue this hobby and to treat those of us who choose, for whatever reason, to process data that we have obtained from remote sites, as some kind of second class citizen, unworthy of having their image considered for IOTD.|
Those who claim to be true astrophotographers display a lack of awareness of their own dependence on modern technology, be that hardware or software (the very point that Sigga is making). It is not that long ago that astrophotography would have been all but impossible for the amateur astronomer/photographer. Remote imaging is simply another “technology” and it does not look like it is going to go away no matter how hard some may wish it so.
I cannot see see how it is helpful to be making assertions such as the one made by the originator of this thread that most remote imagers cannot even carry out the simple task of balancing a telescope on a mount. To me such absurdities point to the weakness of the point being made.
# 10 Feb, 2019 12:25
thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wholeheartedly agree that is more than one way to retrieve data for processing, each of them having its own advantages and challenges. Actually at one point I was very close to joining a remotely operated telescope. But - at least to my understanding - nobody attempted to ban users of remote sites from this place and nobody attempted to declare their images of being unworthy to be considered as IOTD. I see no point in discussing "worthiness".
But when we talk about competition like running for an award, then some folks see some advantages for users of remote telescopes. So do I.
# 11 Feb, 2019 00:24
I have followed this thread, and I really can’t understand why those that have taken their hobby to the next level are penalized and treated as outcasts. I honestly thought that this place would have less petty bickering and a higher level of professionalism than found in many forums.|
I am a remote imager, and I am proud of what I have created. It is the result of decades of experiences in this hobby and bringing it all together. I started this hobby by grinding my own optics, hobbing my own gears for a drive system, creating the electronics to drive the telescope, and constructed a mount to image on a media called film. I look at that stuff today, and I believe that I got reasonable results. Yes, I was happy with my efforts and results. But when I read comments in this thread, I really feel sad and disheartened when I consider all the efforts I have put in. Apparently, I have no clue in performing simple tasks as balancing a telescope or performing simple diagnostics. After all, how could a remote imager know these things?
It would be interesting if some vocal individuals took their hobby to the next level, and then re-examined their interpretations this thread at a later date. Would they be consistent in their current narrative?
As I said, I have worked very hard developing an imaging platform that I am proud of. And like my days of imaging with film, there are times that I may get a reasonable result with my efforts. I have no idea why the natural progression through a hobby would move me into the realm of lacking basic skills to image or drive a telescope. And that somehow, being remote means that I only push a button and get instant perfect images. Ask any competent imager, and they will all agree. 90 percent of the work is in the processing, and processing is extremely challenging, and there are no one button solutions. A nice image, one that hopefully pops out and has that extra bit of something is difficult to achieve.
# 11 Feb, 2019 00:30
|I think the problem is people is confusing remote imaging with data purchase or imaging rental…. in my opinion.. the problem here is the people that buys data… not the remote or automated imagers…|
# 11 Feb, 2019 01:18
|There are plenty of people that have produced IOTDs from their backyards. I am not sure why there should be a discussion on this. Remote or not, purchased or not - it really should not matter.|
# 11 Feb, 2019 05:27
I am afraid that I don’t agree with your view on this. There are individuals who have posted on this thread who have made it clear that even having ones own equipment in a remote site means that the resultant images “don’t count” and that unless one is present to “press the shutter” it also doesn’t count or if you share your equipment or data with someone else it doesn’t qualify. I don’t think that the sentiments expressed in the following quote could be interpreted any other way (and they incidentally would disqualify many “backyard imagers” who have the temerity to pop inside for a cup of tea or use the bathroom leaving the camera and mount unattended during an exposure).
“The criteria should be that you use your own equipment, take your own images, not use someone else's or combine with someone else's and are with your equipment at the time of the captures, really simple really, go back to the old school of photography.
You could not join the Royal Photographic Society they would not accept work which was combined with yours or if you weren't present when you pressed the shutter.”
I also do not agree with your view that the problem is with people who “buy data”. For example consider the following:-
For about ten weeks every summer we have no Astro darkness at our home. There are others who live even further from the equator than I do who will be stuck in perpetual twilight for even longer periods. Are we to be excluded from this hobby during those periods? Yes I suppose we could all strip down our home based equipment, pack it into the car, drive for several hundred miles, perhaps even take a ferry to another country to reach an area which still has Astro darkness, in order to immediately turn round and return home because we have work in the morning or children to get ready for school….
Not everyone in this situation will want or could afford to set up their own remote observatory. So if they want to continue with processing (which is after all the task that requires the most skill and artistic judgement) during the summer they will obtain data from other sources. This may, horror of horrors, include becoming part of a group at a commercial facility like DSW, processing publicly available data from the Liverpool telescope or processing data captured by fellow hobbyists (including data which is made freely available on this site). Why is this approach to be condemned?
Obtaining data from any of these sources does not automatically confer an advantage, (indeed I have been struck by how different images processed from the same data set may appear, some fabulous, some indifferent) other than perhaps giving one the opportunity to practice processing techniques. If you are attempting to learn to play a musical instrument you are likely to progress more quickly if you practice several time a week rather than once a month, the same situation is likely to apply in the case of processing images, although in my case I fear that I may never progress beyond the imaging equivalent of grade 2 on the violin.
# 11 Feb, 2019 07:01
The scenario you describe above is by your own admission a processing exercise, nothing more.
By contrast, Terry said above that he built & maintains his own remote Obs, to me that is dedication and his images are wonderful & deserving of his many IOTD’s.
Enjoy your hobby & practice by all means but- I would not be in favour of awarding an IOTD to an image resulting from processing data acquired by somebody else.
# 11 Feb, 2019 07:30
|I am so sorry, but in my very personal opinion, I LOVE THE DATA OBTAINED FROM SOME RENTAL SITES, some times it is beautiful, but i don't like at all the idea of having that data under the same consideration as the images where people builds, or sets up, or by any other way shoot and then process their own. i know this may upset others but i can't see remote imagers on the same lot as data renters…|
# 11 Feb, 2019 09:09
Diego I absolutely agree with you, it is the purchasing of data that I feel should not be put into the same "contest" category as self acquired data. Of course this has an advantage, BUT you are only doing half the job of making an astro image.
Also agree with your comments Andy.
By all means for those who wish to pursue their hobby this way, do your downloaded data images and enjoy them and we will admire your work, but is it right that they be compared to self acquired data, where the imager has done the entire job?
# 11 Feb, 2019 09:40
Thank you for having the courage to share your opinion with us.
Assertions were also made on the "standards" of submitters and reviewers have. And on the possible promotion of the site sponsors products thru the IOTD. Both of these assertions are disturbing. Especially the former, since submitting/reviewing is a volunteer service. If particular members considers that current volunteers are not worthy by their own standards, why they don't offer themselves as volunteers and raise the "standards"?
And as Andy said earlier,
# 11 Feb, 2019 09:52
No body has ever said that you should not enjoy your hobby/pastime or that remotely collected images aren't interesting or beautiful, quite the contrary, no one has said that you should not be able to purchase data or hire equipment or hire commercial observatory, the only thing I think many agree on is that there should be different classifications for IOTD.|
Perhaps there should be two IOTD, one for Backyard and remote Backyard owned and run by the submitter of the image and then a different classification for commercial and equipment not owned by the submitter.
Personally although I love seeing all images, where they have been collected and submitted by multiple people then they should not be judged towards IOTD and just viewed and enjoyed by everyone.
I'm not getting into some of the rudeness and insults, that is for kindergarten and I certainly would not persuade people not to display their images for all to see and enjoy, lets just look at a couple of different classifications.
# 11 Feb, 2019 09:56
I think you misunderstand my situation. I don’t personally download and/or process data acquired by someone else (with the exception of processing some data from one of the rigs in Spain that my husband, Steve Milne, and Barry Wilson co-own) but I can understand why some people do that and do not see why they should be penalised for doing so.
I/we have two observatories at home (3 actually but the third contains our large Dob and has never been used for imaging) from which we image when we can. Both of the home observatories were set up jointly with my husband and we both can do all of the tasks required to set up and tear down the rigs as and when necessary. One is fully automated, the other isn’t and requires a much more “hands on” approach.
I also assisted Steve and Barry set up both of the Spanish rigs that they have. I was there for both builds, having endured crossing the Bay of Biscay with the telescope and everything else loaded into our car. My participation in both the builds was rather more than purely being asked to pass someone a screwdriver or spanner but I don’t claim ownership of either of the Spanish rigs.
In our situation we image using SGP. Unless I am missing something there is only one “run” button to press once we have agreed a series of targets, looked at framing and set up the sequences. If we follow the argument to its logical conclusion the person who pressed that button is considered to be a backyard/own remote imager for that session and the other(s) are to be regarded as “downloaders”. The situation may be reversed on another night as most of our targets take multiple sessions to complete. So you can see how quickly this becomes completely absurd.
In any event I have two points to make. Firstly, people should be allowed to pursue their hobby as they see fit, and without, often ill-informed, criticism. Secondly, it seems to me that “IOTD” implies the best image of that particular day. It would seem perverse to exclude the best image for that day on the grounds that the method of data capture was not to the taste of some whilst others are perfectly satisfied with it.
Earlier in this thread you outlined the method that you used for judging an image and that seemed perfectly sensible to me - an image created from data from Hubble needs to be exceptional to gain IOTD.
IOTD should be kept open to all and if any evolution is necessary it should be to introduce subcategories such as “Backyard image of the day” and so forth. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am against this as it would add significantly to the burden placed on the volunteers such as yourself who participate in the IOTD selection process. In any event it is unlikely that whatever is introduced would satisfy those who spend an inordinate amount of time knocking the achievements of others. So far we have had comments about balancing telescopes, buying success and musings upon the evils of our western society. Last year we had people accusing fellow hobbyists of “cheating”. This is a disgusting accusation and the individuals who made it should be ashamed of themselves. I suspect that people like that are going to continue to “seek improvements” until IOTD is only open to those in urban locations with heavily light polluted skies.
Perhaps every image uploaded to the site should be awarded a badge so that “all can have prizes”.
# 11 Feb, 2019 11:10
@Elisabeth, the images that You, Steve and Barry produce are amazing, please don't ever think I was insulting you, because that was never my intention and please keep those images coming in |
I was just suggesting that there needs to be two if not three classifications, perhaps as follows: -
1. Images taken by the users own equipment in their own backyard and processed by the user.
2. Images taken remotely with the users own equipment in a remote observatory and processed by the same user.
3. Images taken with hired and commercially operated remote sites on perhaps a pay/hour basis.
All three will be relished by all to see and view, option 1 and 2 require more skill and time to operate, indeed I fully agree, the skill level in operating a remote observatory is far greater than most acquisitions.
I do feel that by having a separate classification for option 2 is correct and indeed it does warrant equal or if not more merit that your own back yard, but once setup and operational should be classified differently not in a negative way at all.
Option 3 in my personal opinion should never be considered for IOTD, isn't it enough to see such amazing images and view them in the light or what may someday be possible.
For me my images will probably never match those of Steve or Barry or indeed yourself, I am just looking at this situation in the light that if ever I took 1% as good as photos as any of you that it was viewed in the same light as anyone else on a similar comparative basis.
I'm not going to reply any more to this thread as if we were in a pub having a drink, chillin then it would be discussed in that manner with friendly banter and goodwill to everyone.
My comments were meant as an opinion and not designed to inflame or insult, if any one feels that then please accept my apologies.
# 12 Feb, 2019 10:18
I am new to Astrobin but not astrophotography and have been following this thread with interest.|
For what it's worth, my view is quite simple. If it's your equipment and you are responsible for running it and have yourself captured the data and processed it, it's OK, whether it's remote or in your backyard. What, in my opinion, is not OK is using professional or other's data and just processing it e.g. I notice quite a few images posted are based on data from Liverpool Telescope in La Palma. These images should not be banned as they are often quite spectacular, very worthy of Astrobin and may demonstrate great processing prowess (wish I had some of that!) but should not be judged against the aforementioned 'home grown' images, whether remote or in a backyard etc.
Personally I don not see the 'best' image of the day as the one that is the most spectacular, of course it needs to look very good but the back story and technical challenges, including location should, if possible be taken into account too. Surely the very basis of Asrobin is that it is astrophotgraphy for astophotographers, not just a collection of nice or even spectacular pictures, enjoyable as they are to see. like to admire other's work but also want to learn from their images and imaging experiences / techniques.
I might add, that I would also suggest that in assessing an image in this way it is therefore also useful, if not material, to know more about either the person's location / set-up / background - so that the decision of the 'best' picture of the day can also take and other relevant factors into account. I input my own background etc. when joining Astrobin recently and it was disappointing that this is not shown at the moment - apparently there's too many other things to do! For a paid-for service, albeit nominal, I am disappointed with this response and would like to encourage those responsible to try and incorporate this information in the near future please.
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