What hobbies do you have ? - Vauxhall Antara Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 01:32 Thread Starter
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I was just wondering what you all do in your spare time ?
Personally I have one active hobby and one inactive one and both have to do with fish.

I have always had a fascination for fish and have had many aquariums through the years, culminating eight years ago, when I had my car garage professionally altered to accomodate 105 tanks of varying sizes.

At its peak, there were over 3000 fish in the tanks and I was able to sell/trade stock to local pet shops which kept the cost of equipment and electricity down.

In December 2008, I went on a four day holiday with my family leaving the fishwith electrical fish feeders and timers, as their only company. Unfortunately while away from home, parts ofthe town, which included my home,had a major power cut resulting in the fuse for the garage tripping.

When I arrived back home, the tanks were all frozen with ice and every fish with the exception of a tank containing "cold water" fish, were dead. I thereafter lost interest and sold all my tanks and equipment.

Just last week, I got the bug back and have purchased my first tank and that is currently "working" away, ready for the introduction of fish in the next few days. I am not certain at the moment what variety I want to introduce but I am leaning towards Malawi chichlids.

My other "fish" hobby is fishing itself but not sea and most certainly not fly. My preference is "ledgering" where I can sit on the bank with my rod in the water and just watch the world go by or read a book. However at the moment I cannot do this due to a back problem.

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 09:52
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I've always liked the look of a well stocked tank, especially the larger sized tanks. When I lived in London a few years ago, my neighbour had one whole wall of his living room set up with very large tanks filled with large colourful fish.

I did think about having a tank myself a while back, but when I looked into it, it seemed a lot of work. Another factor against getting a tank was I had to move around every 2 or 3 years with my work, and having a fish tank didn't seem the best idea at the time.

As for my own hobbies. After I gave up my photography business, photography has remained a hobby through the rest of my life. Sometimes I've got a bit obsessed by it and at other times I've taken a bit of a rest from it. It is something I just find very enjoyable.

When I retired I took up a few hobbies that I'd had a passing interest in over the years.

I like gardening, but I wouldn't really call it a hobby. My disability prevents me from getting to enthusiastic about it, but I do enjoy cutting the grass on my little ride on mower.

I had a go at a bit of woodworking. I was always a bit of a dunce at woodworking at school, so I decided to see if I could make anything worthwhile.

Amongst other things, I made this grandfather style clock.



I then went onto a bit of astronomy. I bought a telescope and built an observatory for it in the back garden. I used to have some great nights with it and loved to take pictures through the telescope.

Here's some of the pics I took.

Here's the observatory I built.



The Apennnine Mountains on the Moon.



The Pegasus Star Cluster.



A Comet passing the Andromeda Galaxy.



Running alongside all those hobbies, I was also into computers. I used to build my own and loved tinkering with them to try to get the most out of them for the least money. Although I'm not doing much building these days, I still have a house full of old computers and cupboards full of obsolete computer parts that I just can't bare to throw out.

Last but by no means least, since I retired, I do like a good drive around the countryside now and again. Having the new Antara has spurred me on to find a few new places to visit.

So there is plenty of stuff to keep an "old git" occupied in his old age, and long may it continue. Edited by: Inchindown
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 11:09 Thread Starter
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Wow Wow Wow Inchindown
Well where do I begin ?

You are obviously a man of many talents and you have responded in exactly the manner that I had hoped in as far we can all now get to form a picture of the man/woman and what rocks their boat, rather than just having a name.

Like you I was awful at woodwork, in fact I was awful at all the technical stuff. Your clock looks stunning, so hat's off to you my friend.

Astronomy is something that I have always had an interest in ever since the days of Patrick More and his show, "The Sky at Night". I read with interest the capablities of the newly built and opened Paranal Observatory in Chile and was blown away by some of the early images that produced.

I have to say that I am equally blown away by your own

I bought a telescope for my son a few years ago but I suppose you do only get what you pay for, despite the scope costing over £150. It was terrible and you could see better with your naked eye.

I suppose that living in the area where I am doesn't help either as there are very few clear skies. If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.



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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 14:10
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If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.

Thanks for the kind words.

I used to have two telescopes.

The first was an 8 inch Celestron Schmidt Cassegrain Reflector. It was quite hard to use as it needed a manual alignment when setting up at night.

The second was was the larger 11 inch Celestron Nexstar. This was also a Schmidt Cassegrain Reflector. It was fully automated and you could attach it to a laptop and just point and click at a celestial object in a star charting program and the scope would automatically centre the object in the view finder. This telescope was the reason I built the observatory. It was just too heavy to lift in and out of the house each night.

As for the cameras used for the photos.

The moon and the comet were taken with a Nikon D70 camera attached to the older non-automated scope.

The star cluster was taken using a specialised astrophotography camera made by a company called Starlight Xpress.

I also used the automated scope for imaging , but it really came into it's own when just doing plain old visual observing.

I sold the 11 inch scope some time ago, but still have the older one just for a bit of visual sky watching from time to time. I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

This picture shows the 11 inch scope mounted inside the observatory.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 15:55
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Wow again Mr Inchindown you are a man of many talents and expensive hobbies.

But then again you know the old saying the only difference between the men and the boys are the price of their toys.

Love the observatory that's taking hobbies to a new level.

As for me I enjoy doing the usual stuff I must admit I'm a gadget and tech freak and when I get involved it usually costs me Money.

I already mentioned I like music and used to spend a fortune of audio equipment and CDs etc but that ended with the arrival of a family!!!


Over the years I have dabbled with photography. When I was in my teens I bought myself an SLR camera a Canon AE1 program to be precise (George will know it I'm sure) I even had a brief fling with developing and dark rooms but gave that up due to the expense and then not having the space or time but I'm not a pro photographer I just enjoy it. I did give up on it for a while due to not having the time with family etc. A couple of years ago I decided to buy myself a digital SLR camera so I now have a Nikon D90 which is fantastic even though 90% of the time I don't use it to its full potential and leave it on the auto setting.

That leads me onto my other hobby like George im a pc buff and have been building fixing pcs etc for the last 15-20 years. I was into pc gaming for a number of years, playing online so my pc was always kept up to date and had way too much money spent on it. Theses days I'm too busy with work so I hardly ever play online and if i do its usually on the Xbox.These days i spend more time on my ipad or nexus7 so the main use for my pc is for business or printing photographs. I haven't built a new pc for nearly 2 years but its still as good if not better than most of the pc on sale just now due to the fact that I don't build them on the cheap.

Other than that I'm not big on gardening but I do like DIY and working on cars. My Dad was a joiner so unlike you guys something must have passed on from him because I can turn my hand to woodwork etc. in fact in our last house we built an extension and I did all the internal work myself including plumbing, wiring woodwork etc. it was a long six months but it was worth it in the end to see it finished and to say I had done most of it myself with a little bit help from my Dad.

Work keeps me fairly busy these days so I don't get much time to do things that I would like so my biggest hobby just now is chilling out in front if the tv watching movies or sky.

Oh and I nearly forgot its not so much a hobby but as of two weeks ago we now have a white German shepherd puppy and he takes up any other spare time I might have had before.



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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 16:58 Thread Starter
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If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.
Hi Inchindown, you have peaked my interest with your remark about using binoculars to scour the skies.

I have never understood what determines a good set of binoculars from a poorer binocular, probably not helped by all the information provided with the coding that explains things like the magnification and lens diameters etc etc, which is great to those in the "know" but a real problem to the layperson like me.

Since a telescope is a virtual none starter for me, what type of binocular should I be looking for if I wanted to view the heavens. I appreciate that binoculars don't work as well as a telescope but if I were to go down that route in the future, what make and/or model or what dimensional sets of figures should I be looking out for.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 17:04
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Originally Posted by Inchindown
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Originally Posted by Antarius
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
Oh aye that old chestnut any excuse to go out at night with a pair of Binoculars. Honest officer I'm looking at the stars.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 18:06 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Antarius
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Originally Posted by Inchindown
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Originally Posted by Antarius
If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
Oh aye that old chestnut any excuse to go out at night with a pair of Binoculars. Honest officer I'm looking at the stars.
Well Well Well......What's going on here then ?

Are you trying to infer something my friend ?



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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 18:19
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Originally Posted by Inchindown
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If I may, can I ask what type of telescope that you use to get such remarkable pictures.
I suppose I mainly just use binoculars these days.
Hi Inchindown, you have peaked my interest with your remark about using binoculars to scour the skies.

I have never understood what determines a good set of binoculars from a poorer binocular, probably not helped by all the information provided with the coding that explains things like the magnification and lens diameters etc etc, which is great to those in the "know" but a real problem to the layperson like me.

Since a telescope is a virtual none starter for me, what type of binocular should I be looking for if I wanted to view the heavens. I appreciate that binoculars don't work as well as a telescope but if I were to go down that route in the future, what make and/or model or what dimensional sets of figures should I be looking out for.

Using your set of binoculars, what can you see on a clear starry night ?

Many thanks again

John
The mistake most people make is to think the more powerful the binoculars the better. For the most part that simply isn't the case. The reason being is the more powerful the binoculars the heavier they will be. This makes them very difficult to hold steady in your hands and usually mean you need some sort of tripod to support them

Binoculars are normally described as 8x25 or 10x50 etc.

The first number indicates the magnification factor and the second number gives the diameter of the front glass lens of the bins.

For hand held observing I would not want to go above 10x50, but even those can be heavy and lead to a shaky view of the sky. I would say 7x50 are the best for unaided hand held observing. You can go more powerful than this if you go for image stabilised bins. I use a pair of 18x50 Canon image stabilised bins. They are expensive though. The pair I've got would cost around £800 on eBay or even £1k on Amazon, although they were cheaper than that when I bought mine.

It's hard to say what makes a good pair of bins. My view is you get what you pay for with optics. Buying really cheap will just be a false economy. There are thousands of brands about, but if you try looking at those made by well known optical firms such as Canon, Nikon, Meade, Olympus, etc. you wont go far wrong. Check out the astronomy retailer websites as they will sell all the main brands. If you can, make sure you can get to try them out before you buy. Even if it is just going outside the shop and looking up and down the street. Make sure they fit your eyes and that the dioptre adjustment can be set for you quality of sight.

As for what you can see. To some extent that depends on where you stay. If you have lots of light pollution it will be more difficult to see some of the fainter object.

If you have dark skies, you will have no problem with the moon. It looks great in the bins, and it's surprising how much detail you can see. You will see most details when the moon is not full as that is the time when the shadows on the moon are longer, and this helps to throw the surface details into relief.

You will also be able to see most of the planets, although they are not all visible in the sky all the time. You can see Venus as a very bright ball of light, and you will see it also appears with phases like the moon. Mercury will only appear as a very small dot of light.
Mars will be seen a small red ball,

You should also be able to see Jupiter and Saturn. You wont see any detail on the these planets, but you will see 4 of Jupiter's moons in orbit around the plant. You might just be able to make out that Saturn has a couple of ears either side of the central ball, but you wont be able to resolve the rings. You might see some colour in Saturn.

As for things farther afield, you will be able to see some galaxies, although not very much detail. Andromeda is the easiest to see. In fact you can see Andromeda with the naked eye from a dark site. Not far from Andromeda is the Pinwheel Galaxy.



A little bit of trivia here. The Andromeda Galaxy is the farthest thing you can see from earth with the naked eye. It is about 2 million light years away and wee will crash into it in a few billion years time.

You can see star clusters like the one I showed above.

There are some nebulae like the Great Orion Nebula.



Then there are always the unexpected things like comets, asteroids and satellites.

If you really want to take this subject a little more seriously, then you should get hold of a book on star gazing with binoculars.

Hope this helped.Edited by: Inchindown
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 29th March 2013, 18:46 Thread Starter
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Once again, many thanks for your information and assistance.

Again I am totally gobsmacked with the latest set of images that you have kindly uploaded. I can only imagine the excitement and contentment that you must get from finding, photographing and then reproducing your subject matter.

You actually nailed it perfectly when you mentioned about the mistake that most ill informed people like me make, as I would have thought that the bigger the magnification the better without giving the weight a second's thought.

When I do decide to get myself a "good" set of binoculars I will take on board all your suggestions with regards to the weight and magnification of the unit that I buy. Somehow I don't think that I will be spending anywhere near the amount that you did but I will get the best that I can afford.

I will also have a look on Amazon and see what is on offer on there.

Cheers

John

ps get a book of your photographs published.....I for one could look at your images all day long


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