In late 2002, I found myself watching the moon progress to the east every night. I admired the stars and contemplated the distant galaxies. Somehow, it was as if I had never looked up before. From there, I can't explain, much less understand the transformation that began. As if something was calling me? A primal instinct? Pure curiosity? I have no explanation.

We live in a golden age, given our available technology and equipment. We have moved far from the 33-1/3 records I listened to as a kid. Thanks to the Web, I discovered that others were actually taking images of deep sky objects, using their own equipment from their back yards. This, I had believed, was a privilege reserved for universities.

I purchased my first equipment and the steep learning curve commenced. Perhaps only those who practice this hobby will understand, it's a blend of sleep deprivation, frustration and excitement, all mixed with heavy doses of disappointment. We find that, if anything can go wrong, it usually does. Before my first observatory, all this in the cold, dark night. We learned terminologies and techniques that we had never heard of, much less studied, to simply set up a system and process our first images. Our first images were very bad, but beautiful at the same time.

There will always be better imagers than I, though nothing can take away the inspiration or satisfaction of ownership.

Come join me in my discoveries.

Michael Garvin