An Astrophotographer Who Happens To Raise Cotton

"A Typical Cotton Farmer"
A Photo of yours truly prior to an all night session of observing. Sorry about the quality of the photo but I really did try fixin it up in Photoshop but every time I tried, I kept getting this dialogue box saying, "ARE YOU KIDDING?" As a matter of fact, my wife put this photo on top of the TV to keep the grandkids from watching too much of the boob tube on Saturdays when they visit.

I was born and raised in NE Arkansas (don't worry, I have a conservative outlook on things) and farmed up there for 13 years. I finally came to the decision that my family and I would better benefit if I used my farming skills working for someone else. We moved to Louisiana in the spring of 1979, built a house here and embarked on a new career as a farm manager.

Well here it is 2008 and I find myself at retirement age. After 43 years toiling in the heat, cold, dust, mud and a myriad of other things to worry about and suffer over I've decided it's time to hang it up and move on to a simpler life.

I've also decided to go back to school and take courses in drafting and computer aided design. I've been doing CAD work on the side now for over five years and have even managed to make a small bit of money out of it. Working at the computer is something I enjoy doing and it does get me out of stresses of farming.

In case you are wondering who I really am, I am a short cuss of 5'6", gray haired, 150 lbs and fairly ugly. My wife Dottie and I raised two daughters, both of whom have long sense "flown the coup" and are now married. The girls have since blessed us with four beautiful grandchildren. My oldest daughter now has here Masters degree in nursing and is working as a nurse practitioner and the youngest is now one of the dreaded insurance salesperson.

I like wearing bluejeans, my shirt tail out and baseball caps with the John Deere logo. I have the deplorable habit of being a cigarette smoker but deserve some credit for not being a drinker. I just never developed a taste for the stuff.

I used to build and fly radio control model airplanes until my life-long love of astronomy hit me. I still have all the airplane gear but haven't found the time to fool with it lately. Hopefully with retirement and working at home on the computer, I will have more time to devote to my life long love of model aviation.

Another hobby which has developed into a sideline business is 3D CAD work. In case you don't know what CAD means, it is Computer Aided Design. After about ten years of CAD drawing, I suppose I got proficient enough that IMSI, the developers of TurboCAD, saw fit to use my artwork on the Avanquest (a reseller of TurboCAD in the UK) release of TurboCAD Professional v10 and also one year later of v11. This was quite an honor for me. I've also been published by AgConnections who does the farm record keeping software for Syngenta Farm Chemical customers. My current plans for retirement are to do piecemeal CAD work from my home after getting a certification as a CAD technician.

At present, I have three telescopes in use. My primary scope is an 8 inch LX200 that I have permanently mounted in a backyard observatory. This is the instrument through which nearly all my astrophotography is done. I also have a 6 inch Criterion Custom Dynascope (no, this is not an RV6) that was salvaged from a local school district that was about to haul it to a public landfill. This scope has been restored to like new condition and provides extremely sharp views. In fact, its resolving power is better than the LX200 but sadly doesn't have the ability to get to the faint fuzzies because of the smaller aperture. Only recently, I have purchased a Meade ETX that I hope to use as a guidescope on the LX200. This will be a project in the works as the practice of putting a moveable focus mirror guidescope on a schmidt cassegrain (also with a moveable focus mirror) opens up a whole bag of worms with the problem of mirror "flop". We'll see how this goes in the future.

A farmer, astronomer and CAD technician? WEIRD!

An eight year old photo while on vacation to Seattle. Dottie made this photo while we were in the Space Needle Restaurant. The dazed look is from looking at the prices on the menu.

  • My Other Interests
  • A Few Of My Favorite Old Tunes
  • Other Interests Page Under Construction

    Well, the verdict is in about using a moveable focus mirror guidescope and a moveable focus mirror SCT to image with. The answer is FORGET IT! Exposures of more than about 10 minutes will invaribly show the results of mirror movement in either one or the other scope. SCTs must be guided with off-axis guiders to get around the mirror movement problem.

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