I'd like to start off with an initial blog post to introduce myself and this website...
My name is Jason Guenzel and I am an astrophotographer.
That sentence may seem simple enough, but I have never actually typed it out until now. As happened with me, this journey often starts out merely as a passing curiosity. More than a decade later it blossomed into a passion, likely bordering on obsession. It's hard to put into words how or why this happened, but I can say with certainty that much of the enjoyment comes along with sharing these views with all of you.
This all started in August of 2009, with a vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After leaving home without a decent camera, I made the decision to stop on the way and make a purchase. I picked up a Canon Rebel T1i DSLR and the 18-55 EF-S kit lens.
I've always had an interest in nature and landscape photography, but never really had the means to take any decent pictures. Finally, with that trusty little camera and a unfounded sense of confidence, I started snapping away.
I can pinpoint my first purposeful astrophotography attempt down to that very trip, on August 16, 2009 at 6:30am.
This was taken from a hotel balcony while crudely balancing the camera on a chair. Venus can be seen just below the thin crescent moon. The beautiful backdrop is looking east over South Bay of Lake Superior near Munising, Michigan. On the left is Grand Island and beyond is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Zooming in shows the Moon and Venus in some more detail...
In retrospect, I'm quite proud of this as a FIRST attempt. Today, this camera's shutter has, quite literally, hundreds of thousands of clicks. Though I have matured into some different and more specialized equipment, the Canon T1i has served me well and I still use it on occasion.
Surprisingly, it took me another 4 years of experimenting with other areas of photography before I made a decision to get a telescope. Even at that, I didn't have intention to take pictures. I really wanted to get into visual astronomy, or so I thought! In July of 2013, I bought an 8" Celestron EdgeHD / AVX kit. After that acquisition, I plunged headfirst into the adventure that is astrophotography.
Today, I'm still using that very scope to capture detailed images of deep space from my backyard. Here is one such example, NGC6888 - The Crescent Nebula.
This journey has taken me in countless directions, branching out into different subject matter, sharing work on various platforms, and fragmenting my attention away from a consolidated "home base". This website is an attempt to bring everything back under my own roof, so to speak, and offer resources in a way that I was previously unable to.
Welcome to TheVastReaches.com !
I sincerely hope you enjoy the content here which I work hard to deliver. I'm well aware that it is a busy world, so consider signing up for my email list to get a periodic summary on what is new!
Thank you so much for taking a moment to read my story and clear skies to you all!
- Jason Guenzel