Welcome to The Constellation Ranch!
Hey everyone! My name is Jerry and I have loved Astronomy since I was in the 8th grade. My mother and step father bought my first telescope, a Meade Starfinder 8" reflector, in 1990. I think this was their way of keeping me out of trouble. Needless to say, It worked very well! I was able to witness the Shoemaker-Levy comet break apart and slam in to Jupiter with this telescope. A few years later, I was subscribed to Astronomy magazine and a "beginner" of the Fort Worth Astronomical Society. By the time I was 15, I was attending the Texas Star Party in Fort Davis, Texas and viewing supernova 1993j in M81. The sky in that part of the country is absolutely amazing! If you have never been to McDonald Observatory on a clear night of the new moon, I highly recommend you see this once in your lifetime.
During my youth, I had to stay focused on school and starting a career. This limited my ability to pursue the true passion. Astrophotography. At TSP 1993, I saw an image developed on film (I think) by a gentleman named Tony Hallas. It was an image of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) and was the most amazing thing I had ever laid eyes on. I knew right then and there that I was destined to eventually get the ball rolling. At that time, digital imaging was just getting started for amateurs and not very affordable at all. It still has it challenges in the affordability department today. I was fortunate enough to sell the Starfinder and pick up a used 10" Meade LX200 classic dinosaur. You remember, that one scope that the whole star field could hear slew? It came with a bunch of accessories for film photography but youth had a grip on me.
Things faded a bit while I focused on school and my career. I lost touch with Astronomy and FWAS for a while until 2012. I spent half of 2012 performing research and refreshing my memory on the happenings of astrophotography and the night sky. Since when did they start calling the owl cluster E.T. or Wall-E??? I no longer wanted to be a dedicated "viewer" as I was ready to go hardcore. I purchased a small bit of equipment and opened the shutter on my first DSLR photo in April of 2013 at the 1st annual Palo Pinto Mountains State Park Star Party in Strawn, Texas. It was a shot of the star cluster M13 in Hercules.
Thanks for stopping by to visit my astrophotography page. This website will be dedicated to the great hobby I have learned to love and those I have befriended along the way. Please feel free to enjoy any and all information you see on this website. If you would like a copy of any print or have any questions regarding content, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an arrangement. Any image displayed on this website is free to be used in press or other material outside of this website as long as proper credit is given to Jerry Gardner of Fort Worth, Texas. Contact me for full size images or further details.
P.S. My last name has been changed to reflect my correct family name as of 2015. You may see some reference to this and my previous name (Keith). I'm just mentioning this in an attempt to clear up some confusion that I have been contacted about.