My father instilled a deep interest in astronomy for me early in life, but living just outside Chicago always limited my viewing to images in magazines. Even visual astronomy with a decent telescope was limited to the moon and planets unless I wanted to drive 100 miles out from the city. I couldn't really learn the sky when all I could make out were the planets and the brightest stars in Orion.
In 2005, I thought I'd take crack at imaging the sky. Due to my own lack of knowledge, it was a miserable failure. Family, career and living in a third floor walk-up apartment pushed astronomy to the side for several years but not too long after my father passed in 2016 I felt the pull of astronomy and astrophotography pulling at me again. I cobbled together an imaging setup and started learning the right way this time. Technology and available information had come so far in the 11 years since my first attempt that even a modest setup could produce some great images. I decided to share the things I learned along the way with a website/blog, some school presentations on astrophotography and a video here and there. I've come a long way in imaging over the last 3 years, but I'm still learning new things all the time.
My first "real" telescope was a monster Meade LXD75 10 inch Schmidt Newtonian that my wife bought me for Christmas in 2004. That setup had so much potential, but I had no idea what I was doing! The optical tube was destroyed in a flood years later, but the mount is still used to image all these years later by my nine year old daughter! I've more recently updated to the LX85 mount and 80mm Series 6000 refractor as my main imaging system, and it hasn't disappointed. Images are crisper, cleaner and with more contrast than any other setup I've used. Ten minute exposures are no problem for the LX85 mount. Ever since the mid-90's I remember skipping past the articles in astronomy magazines to ogle the ads with the big blue fork mounted tubes. 25 years later, my preferred scope is a small refractor on a lightweight EQ mount weighing under 40lbs loaded with gear. From the giant blue ACF's, to the monster LXD75 SN, and now to the Series 6000 refractor, I've always looked to Meade first for quality optics.