Gem from GK Chesterton

"A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it."

From The Everlasting Man

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Sincerest Form of Flattery


If you haven't seen the astronomy pictures at Blackholes and Astrostuff , you must.  Now.  Take a long look through his archives.  Dig deep because there are amazing jewels in those mine tailings.  I'll wait.....

See?  Did I tell you? Or did I tell you?

As the sincerest form of flattery to Bob Johnson, I've decided to try some of my own astro-photography.  In this shot I captured the moon wearing a sombrero.

Now having studied Bob's work and looking at mine, the discerning audience will notice a few slight differences, which I'll enumerate in this compare/contrast (in case you're not discerning).


Standards of Excellence for Blackholes and Astrostuff

The Secret of Newton: First Attempt at Astro-Photography


Pictures often entail foresight that ranges from days to weeks, months or even years ahead.  Critical astronomical events are identified early and intense planning is made so that the shot is captured. 

I was planning on going to the store and happened to look up as I walked out of my house.

Knowledge Base

Pictures are described in great detail so that the reader of the blog gleans excellent information. Bob even has his own meteor shower named after him.

My astronomy knowledge base is just a few stars shy of stellar. “Looks like a sombrero” pretty much says it all. 


Pictures are taken in the very late night or early morning hours, after enduring hours of frigid temperatures, long-suffering patience required to wait for just the right conditions, travel far and wide, sleep deprivation is but a small price to pay.

Reached into pocket, pulled out camera, lifted camera up, walked briskly into truck and immediately turned on the heater because the extra 30 seconds in the cold made me sorta chilly.  Mind you, I did walk briskly.  Briskly, I say. 


A veritable store-house of telephoto lenses, tri-pods, fish-eye lenses, telescopes, filters, cameras.  Even a mini observatory in his yard.

iPhone,  first generation.  Hey! Don’t tease me that I don’t have 3G.  Stop it!  That’s not nice!

Technical Expertise

The equivalent of mechanical and electrical engineering degrees needed to use his gear to good effect.

I know that if you want to take a picture, you push the icon that looks like a little camera.  Plus I tried really hard not to be all shaky when I took the picture.  I was sorta chilly, remember?

Picture Quality

High resolution pictures that are jaw-dropping gorgeous.  

Not just grainy.  More grains than the beaches of Bermuda.


UPDATED 2/13/09: OK, forget all of the compare/contrast above.  Now that I have fancy animation on my picture, we might conclude that there is no practical difference between Blackholes & Astrostuff  and TSON.  Yup, virtually indistinguishable. OK, there are still a few differences, but I'm certainly closing the gap.  (Oh yeah, I suppose I should give 10 Bonus Points to Bob for showing me how to do the animation.  I'm grateful for my sudden, meteoric rise to almost joining him in the ranks of the elite of astronomical photographers on the web.  I'd also like to thank all  of the behind-the-scenes people who made this over-night photographic near-success possible.  I won't forget you.  Of course, I won't be sending as many Christmas cards, and now we can't be seen together in public, and I'll ask that you contact my agent if you want to talk to me.  And no, I won't give you an autograph.  Sheesh, I'm a busy guy with tons of obligations now.  But I won't forget you.  Hang on... Angelina Jolie is calling. "Hey Ang, what's up girl? Sure, send me the Tomb Raider 5 script and I'll take a look.  Yeah... Yeah... Hey I gotta go OK?  My peeps will call yours.  OK... Yeah... OK...  Uh huh... Hey, look I really have to go... Yeah... OK.... Uh huh... OK Ang... Right...Bye.")    


  1. Yep, nothing says, "I love you, man" that amateurish attempts to reproduce incredible photographs. Of course, I love moon shots. And love the blog you're highlighting.

    So, just go on with your bad self and, remember, we all have our strengths.

  2. Stephanie, the shame of it all was that this picture doesn't capture how gorgeous the night was. I really did think that the moon was wearing a sombrero. I won't be quitting my day job to be going into photography. And I'm fairly certain I won't be stealing much readership from Bob with this picture.

  3. I suck at picture taking even with my superlative baby models. So, there you go.

  4. You know, this kind of self-deprecating humor would be fabulous in your novel if you could just instill at least on character (preferably one of the Elyon profs or perhaps Chriton with it). You wouldn't have to change the story, but it would lighten it up marvelously.

    Just sayin'.

  5. Lol, I laughed till I stopped, too funny, thanks so much for all the kind words, hey great pic too, I have taken some cool pics with just my cell phone, like a rare daytime fireball. Now take you cool pic and visit

    upload your image, go to animation, click on reflective water and save or get an HTML code and post on your webpage, then you can be just like me,lol

  6. Super cool Bob! I'm going to try it out!

  7. Stephanie, I'm going to do it. I think you're right about giving one of the characters a softer side. Thanks for the idea (an extra 10 BPs will stretch your lead on the Board a bit).

  8. Cool, that's enough of a lead, I'm willing to give up 3 BP for a purple coat.

  9. Love the animation, super cool.

  10. Bob, the irony of this animation is that Whatcom County had some recent flooding not too far from where I live. Time to build the ark!


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