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Biography and Artist’s Statement Taking pictures of the night sky has been an interest of mine for about twenty years. Way back when, I bought a small department store telescope for looking at the moon and stars, and then wondered about taking pictures of the objects I saw in the eyepiece. At first, I just held the camera up to the eyepiece and snapped the shutter. Those were the days of chemistry based photography with the results not immediately available. There were no digital cameras back then and the process of trial and error was much longer. The first pictures were crude, to say the least, but at least recognizable. While I have no formal training in astronomy, just by the sheer number of hours spent at this pursuit, I have become an expert at taking pictures of the night sky. The process is technically demanding and took years to learn and perfect. It involves facility with telescopes, fancy digital cameras, the night sky (of course), computers and multiple pieces of sophisticated software. Because of the many moving parts involved, there is a lot of coordinated activity to make it all work; “many balls up in the air all at the same time”, as it were. The equipment is in constant need of tweaking to get good results. With the amount of coordination involved, even minor errors can be catastrophic; one thing gone wrong, one hiccup, and a whole nights worth of imaging goes to waste. Many times, I have wanted to give up out of frustration and wasted time. But then…when the gods smile upon me… and I get a great image, it all becomes worthwhile. Until a few years ago, the equipment required hands-on monitoring. That is, I was awake at three o’clock in the morning on the back porch, coaxing the equipment to produce better results. More recently, I have been fortunate enough to obtain equipment that makes the process more automated and I can sleep at night. My wife thinks this a major improvement; not to the images, but to our marriage. The process is technically oriented, yes, but there is artistry too. The artistry comes from the mind’s eye projecting itself onto the object, giving it form and appeal as an image. Since you can’t see the object with the unaided eye, exactly what is it supposed to look like? There is no single best answer to this question. The artistry comes with making an aesthetically pleasing composition, while remaining true to the object as a part of nature. Only in the last couple of years have I progressed to the point where I can honestly present the work I do as art. There is no training course for this stuff. Expertise comes from the doing. Because of the amount of labor involved, getting an image to finally work is actually quite thrilling. At the most fundamental level, what I take pictures of is what we as human beings came from; and all life on this planet. There is creation in the universe; and death. Who could not be inspired by such a thing? When not taking pictures of stars, I practice medicine as a diagnostic radiologist. This, plus life with my wife and two small boys, occupies my daylight hours. My family and I live in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. Jim Turner January 31, 2013


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