Wide-Field Imaging with CCD Cameras
I started out by doing "piggyback" astrophotography and was very excited when Sky & Telescope published one of my pictures in 1984 a portrait of Cygnus above the towering pine trees in Yosemite National Park captured with a 50-millimeter lens and guided with an 8-inch (20-centimeter) telescope.
A few years later I purchased a Celestron 8-inch Schmidt camera and continued to perfect my wide-field techniques. The camera's excellent resolution, fast focal ratio (f/1.5), and vast angular coverage (4.5° by 6.5°) make it a wonderful instrument for recording large, faint celestial objects with relatively short exposures. The introduction of fine-grained films, such as Kodak Technical Pan 2415 for black and white and Kodak Pro 400 for color, made such cameras even more attractive to astrophotographers. I had a great time shooting with the Schmidt, culminating with my photos of Comet Hale-Bopp in the spring of 1997. In fact, the results were so good that I was able to make a 20-by-36-inch color print of the comet from a 35-mm negative.
In 1998 I packed my medium-format Pentax 67 camera and portable telescope, and, along with my friend John Gleason, took the gear to the dark skies of Coonabarabran in New South Wales, Australia. We came back with stunning, wide-field color souvenirs of the Milky Way and other deep-southern sky gems. I was now a certified wide-field junkie!