things i'm pleased with
"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique" .. Walt Disney
"That's been one of my mantras - focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end ... " Steve Jobs
Computers were an obsession from the day I got my Commodore Vic-20. Two years ago I was “converted” to Apple after a long struggle, and now I cannot see past every product they create. My MacBook is at the centre of all my hobbies.
Combining my love of photography and astronomy this is a relatively new hobby. I have basic versions of the equipment needed to capture interesting pictures including a 150mm reflector telescope and Canon 1100d for imaging, 80mm refractor and astro webcam for guiding to compensate for the earth’s rotation, and UHC filter to remove light pollution.
I’ve written ambient electronic music under the name Ambient Generation since 2003. Originally composing using hardware synthesizers I have now moved to purely software production based around Logic Pro with various instrumental and effects plug-ins. I have released four albums which are available in places such as iTunes and Spotify.
Congratulations to the European Space Agency. Great news that Philae is charged up and ready to send back more valuable data from the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This could really help our understanding of the early universe and how life started to evolve on Earth.
The Orion Constellation is full of interesting Deep Sky objects so I’m trying to make the best of it during the early months of this year whilst it is visible. For months there have been hardly any cloudless nights which has been frustrating but in the last week we have had a few in a […]
Had another go at imaging this nebula. It wasn’t a perfect night but cloudless nights have been rare this year so I thought i’d have a go anyway. I took 15 x 180 second exposures at ISO800, and then 15 x 30 second exposures at ISO800 for the brightest (core) of the nebula. I then […]
When I started in Astrophotography less than a year ago and realised how complicated it was, I promised myself that once I started producing images I was happy with I would write a simple tutorial. By writing this I am not saying i’m an expert, or that this way is the best way to do […]
Managed to take my first picture of a comet last night. Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is visible as a grey blur in binoculars, or a green dot through a small telescope. Once i’d found it through my telescope I took 7 x two minute exposure pictures and then put them together in this video in […]
What equipment do I use to write music on?
Over the years the equipment has changed often, but basically for electronic music you always need some sound sources, effects, monitoring, and a digital audio workstation. I always try to use only the basic equipment necessary to get reasonable results – it’s too easy to get involved in an endless cycle of buying and selling equipment instead of actually sitting down and doing some composition. Years ago everyone used hardware and some of my favourite synthesisers I owned included the Roland JV1080, Novation Supernova II, and Access Virus B; effects included the Lexicon MPX500, Boss VF1, and the Smallstone Phaser. I always used a PC running Cubase since version 3.5 for sequencing, recording and mixing.
Now however hardware is not required (although some still prefer it for its tactility) and everything I have is contained within my Mac running Logic Pro X. My favourite sound sources include the Spectrasonics and Native Instruments software plugins and my effects are SSL and Lexicon software plugins. I master using IK Multimedia T-Racks.
What equipment do I use for astrophotography?
As with my music equipment I try to buy the most basic equipment possible to allow me to get reasonable results. My imaging telescope is a Skywatcher Explorer 150PDS reflector attached to a Skywatcher EQ5 Pro mount. I then use an Opticstar AR80S Guidescope with Opticstar PL131M camera to guide the mount using PHD guiding software so as to compensate for the earth’s rotation. My camera is a Canon 1100D with the factory fitted infra-red filter removed, and I usually use an Opticstar two inch Ultra High Contrast filter to reduce light pollution. I use StarTools to help process the images along with Apple Aperture.