I'm absolutely not as good in writing (and speaking) in English as I'm (supposed to be) in my native language, so I'm not sure that I'm really going to keep this space in a language I've almost no mastery at all, but it's a fact that this small web site is intended to be addressed to international visitors. Then - first - I beg your pardon for any nonsense expressed in an incomprehensible way I will happen to write and, second, I do not exclude that sooner or later (well, quite sure it's going to be soon) I'll get tired and frustrated, and I will resume writing in Italian, in which case be aware that Google translate is certainly smarter than me.
So, welcome on AstroHabu.com.
I could not say exactly when this all started. The photo I chose for this first post is a not so good picture of a total lunar eclipse I took in 2007 with my first DSLR, a Canon 20D equipped with a cheap 70-300mm zoom that was part of the basic kit. It was probably the first time I had pointed my lens at the sky and I did it only because of that special event, not just because I had a specific interest in astrophotography, an argument I did not know anything at all.
I've been handling cameras since I was a young analog boy and in my almost forty years as a worldwide traveler in five continents I collected tens of thousands of slides in the earlier years and then hundreds of thousands of digital photos from 2004 onwards, but still photos - mostly - of places, people, or mountains, my other great passion. Nothing to do with things in the sky.
Many years ago I also published some photographs for travel magazines and it has already happened to me to sell pictures of my expeditions around the world, or mountain shots of mine. There has been a time I strongly believed I'd have been a photographer when I grew up, then the life brought me elsewhere, as usually happens.
For sure, I had never been involved or interested in astrophotography, at least until a couple of years ago.
I can't say exactly how and when the whole thing started. What is certain is that at some point Covid-19 arrived in your and my life and I stopped traveling. I got off my last flight at the end of January 2020 and have hardly moved away from home since then.
Certainly one evening there was a beautiful full moon and I started to shoot at it from my terrace to pass the time and dust off my Canon. And I found that, no matter how hard I tried, the photos sucked and my cheap 300mm lens couldn't even get as close to the Moon as I really wanted. In fact, the Moon was always pretty far away and small.
I started wondering if those big and heavy zoom lenses I had ignored for years cost really a mortgage, or if perhaps, surfing the internet and taking a look at eBay, I could find some good bargain.
What I know is that at the beginning of 2020, before the Covid era and everything started, I was on the verge of selling all my photographic equipment because I was at the point where I almost relied on my mobile phone camera. I did not feel anymore with traveling with heavy and expensive equipment in my luggage which was really useful only in very rare events like safari or extremely challenging light conditions.
Few months later, in the fall of 2020, I was instead wandering around with a new Sigma 150-600mm lens, just after having bought an older 50-500mm only few weeks before and a whole series of other small, useless and expensive accessories: an intervalometer, a couple of new tripods, some very expensive filters, things like that in short.
I also know that in the summer of 2020 I was completely entangled with that story of the comet Neowise which everyone wanted to shoot at and I wanted to catch it too.
I didn't know anything about star photography, much less comet photography, even much less how the hell to find a comet in the sky, let alone image stacking, registering, and things like that. In short, there were millions of things to study and also there was the sky of this cursed urban area where I live, which is one of the most light polluted places in the world and the sky is yellow even in the middle of the night.
At one point I also realized that hey, wait a minute: thirty and more years ago I did a thesis work on image processing for my degree, just on stacking and image registration algorithms. Wow! Then it's a matter I should manage in some way, or at least remember something about!
Eventually, I also remember that at a certain point in this story, more or less one year ago, when I was already photo-bombing at the moon, spending my days checking the weather forecast and the nights awake photographing as many moon phases as possible, I came across by chance in a YouTube video on taking beautiful photos of the Andromeda galaxy and the Orion nebula with a normal DSLR and few other cheap means.
That tutorial was a bit like when John Belushi sees the light and wants to put back the band together, if you know what I mean. Suddenly I understood what I wanted to be when I grew up: an astrophotographer. Well, I was 56.
My name is Carlo and I'm 57 now. I have two children, one of whom, the nerd, is adult enough for helping me to get my hands on this web site code, while the younger, the artist, designed the AstroHabu's logo.
I live in Northern Italy, in one of the most light polluted area of the world, where you really could not believe stars exist, and AstroHabu.com is on mainly as I have been unemployed for a few months now, so I took the opportunity to do something I really like and not waste my time at all. If you buy something here, you're also incidentally supporting me in trying a new way, apart from my own pleasure to know that someone likes my astroworks.
I will use this space to write about astrophotography technique and my experience about, what I have learned to date and what I am still learning. There is an infinite world of things to learn when talking about astrophotography, things ranging from physics, astronomy, photographic technique, tools, geology, chemistry, and the knowledge of each of these disciplines gives its contribution to learn how improving in astrophotography.
I will also tell about my dis(adventures) with shooting at the sky and the story behind some of the photos that I will publish in here.
And then I will collect, if anyone will contribute, suggestions, requests, questions, various insights.
Welcome on board, hope you enjoy my works, hope you will buy something you like as well and tell about this site to your friends!