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Fabian the Star Gazer

Fabian the Star Gazer


remarkablefiles1Meet Fabian, a remarkable man who has turned his passion for astrophotography into a wonderful hobby that he shares with others all over the world. This is the story of how Fabian’s  love of the starry skies developed into beautiful images of the world above us.  Be inspired as you read Fabian’s story – wonders can be revealed when you pursue the passions that make you happy.

Tell us about your passion for astrophotography…. how did it all come about?

One of the most vivid memories I have from my childhood, when I was around 9 years old, is telling my father to accompany me to buy a telescope. That scope was a 2″ refractor mounted in a wooden tripod. It was then that I  started to understand the mechanics of the skies: having a look at the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and the fascinating Saturn. During my teen ages, I learnt about the constellations and deep sky objects, being able to locate some of them from the highly polluted skies in Ramos Mejia, Argentina.

My interest in astronomy was so big that I was ready to start a serious Astronomy career at University, but, I changed my mind at the very last minute and decided to keep it as a hobby. In my mid-twenties, I joined the Asociacion Argentina Amigos de la Astronomia where I was able to improve my knowledge and to build up an 8″ reflector from head to toe. It was at that time, with a couple of astro friends, that we started an astrophotography adventure with reflex cameras and film !! Yes, we were still in the early ’90s.

I arrived in Perth, Australia in 2012, knowing that this city has 200+ clear nights per year. I decided this was the right place and the right time to start digital astrophotography.

 What’s the philosophy behind it?

When I look up at the night sky my heart becomes paralyzed, I feel the immensity of Nature. I feel very small, insignificant and privileged at the same time because I am able to admire it.

I get transported to the vastness of the Universe and that makes me put in perspective my minor daily earthly problems

 What’s your background?

I consider myself a bit of a hybrid person… I have an Accounting diploma from University but I have always worked as an Engineer. I guess this suits my passion for Astronomy very well – I barely remember how to put a balance sheet together.

How do you find the time to do it all?

I often asked myself that question. I need 36 hour days… I guess the secret is good planning and routines that work well.

One of my biggest steps in making time for astrophotography was the time invested in the knowledge of my equipment (telescope, camera, accessories and software). Now I am able to program the data acquisition sessions and leave the equipment working alone for hours while I spend time with my family.

Another advantage is that this activity can only be done at night when everyone else is asleep.  You will often find me awake at 1 or 2 am. Many nights I don’t get much sleep.

You took a leap of faith…  Did you ever wonder if you were doing the right thing?

I am always confident I am doing the right thing, everything in my life has arrived at the perfect moment. When I decided not to start an Astronomy career and go for Accounting, it was the right decision. When I decided to change jobs,  it was the right decision. When I decided to commence digital astrophotography, it was also the right decision.

How did you make it happen?

It just happened. I have a lot of faith that the Universe will put in front of me the right things at the right moment.

The Journey

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

This is a very technical and complex activity. It requires knowledge and skills in Astronomy, Engineering, Photography, Computing and Meteorology, and on top of that some Artistic abilities are also welcome.

My biggest challenge was and still is the data processing. This step is done with the help of software like Photoshop, StarTools or Pixinsight. The learning curve here is very steep – every image is different and requires a variety of processing techniques, the artistic part also plays a big role at this stage.

Why is it important to be brave when you decide to do something like astrophotography?

The objects to be imaged are very faint, sometimes even for the special cameras I am using.  I point my telescope, take an image and cannot see anything.  I keep imaging with the ‘hope’ it will be there at the end.  Most objects require several hours of exposure, mainly over one hour.  My longest exposure time on the same object, so far, is 18 hours.

Then, while doing the processing I might encounter gradients from the Moon,  street, my house or even my computer light. These gradients are very difficult to get rid of. I sometimes need to spend several computer hours to eliminate them.

All in all, you have to be really brave for this hobby. It will test your patience and perseverance without any instant reward.

 What are the tough aspects of astrophotography?

I guess that you now can realize that the data processing, in order to get a nice final image, is the toughest part of it.

Why do you do what you do?

Because I love Astronomy, I love to be connected with the Universe and the night sky.

I have found that imaging the skies and being able to share it with others, gives me a sense of size. It allows me to be conscious of what our real place in the Universe and the majesty of Nature is.

 What lessons have you learnt along the way?

As mentioned at the very beginning, I started at the age of 9 and almost 40 years later I am achieving my goals. I have learnt many things along the way, when put together, all contribute to where I am today.

But, again, the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that if I have the necessary courage and patience, then the results will certainly arrive.  What discoveries have allowed you to realize your passion for astrophotography?

Most of the colors of the objects, especially the nebulas are not 100% defined. Hydrogen emission is mainly red, sulphur is mainly green and oxygen is mainly blue, but nothing forbids you from using a different palette… So, this is where your inside artist comes to the fore – I didn’t know I had one !!

Copyright Fabian Rodriguez

 Who is your role model and why?

I do not have one, I think I have many. All of them are adding a grain of sand to my life. They are all special people because they are successful in being happy, pursuing and achieving their objectives.

 How has pursuing astrophotography changed your life?

Well, I had never thought that I would be able to share my passion with so many people around the world. I publish my images on an Astrophotography dedicated website where many other astrophotographers can comment and help to improve the Imaging techniques. I exchange emails with many fellow Astrophotographers from different places and I have made many Astro friends.

I have also started my own website: (This was not even in my wildest, deepest dreams).

 Wisdom for others:

What’s the secret of your success?

Perseverance, many hours under the skies and also in front of the computer.

What’s next for you? What does the future hold?

The future is a big unknown surprise, but for the time being, I would like to continue imaging the wonders of the Southern Hemisphere in order to share them with our friends above the Equator.

We are really privileged to be in Australia, I would say that more that 95% of the astro community resides in the Northern Hemisphere and they have no access to those objects. They are delighted to see what we can show them.What advice would you give anyone who dreams of pursuing their artistic passion and talents?

Firstly you need to know what you want and what makes you feel happy.

Secondly, just go for it with all your strength.

What advice would you give anyone who isn’t doing what they love?

The only way to feel complete and happy is to pursue what mobilizes you and what you love, so stop what you are doing and put yourself in motion !!!

What is the best advice you have received?

Be patient !!!

How do you think each of us can live the fullest life possible?  

Pay a lot of attention to the ‘little voice’ inside you and do not hesitate in following it’s words.

A Bit of Fun:

Tell me 3 things about you that I would never expect just by looking at you:

  • I used to write Formula One articles for a couple of Argentinian newspapers.
  • My family says I am a good cook.
  • I like Fancy Dress parties and I also like to dress up for them.


Favourite Quote:

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

Happiest places:

Anywhere under the stars.

Biggest passions in life:

Astronomy, Formula One, Cycling.

Most inspiring film you’ve seen:

Not a particular film but the series ‘Cosmos’ by Carl Sagan.  

Most inspiring book you’ve read:

‘Contact’ by Carl Sagan. 

 Best light-bulb moment:

Asking my wife to marry me.  My wife and I met when we were 18, starting university – we were always close friends. When I was 26, I got married (not to her), she came to my wedding, and then 6 years later I divorced. By that time, she was preparing her wedding (not to me) and I was also invited. She then decided not to go ahead with it.

A year later we were having dinner, as old friends, and I suddenly asked her: “Why don’t we try now?”

We got married the following year and we have a wonderful family with three lovely kids.

Anything is possible… what’s your wish?

Wow, what a proposal !!! Remember the Star Trek TV series? Well, I wish I was able be to travel around the Universe and contemplate the wonders I try to image from close up and… perhaps to ‘talk’ to someone out there.

Philosophy you live by:

Nothing in life is to feared; it is only to be understood.

From the Jungle to the Vines – an update

From the Jungle to the Vines – an update

I am so delighted to share an update with you about Melissa and Clint’s adventurous move to their vineyard and farm in the South West of Western Australia. They have exciting news to share with us:

It brought a tear to our eyes as, together, we fixed the very first label to our first product, a Chardonnay.  After two long years we were ready to officially launch our small family business.

In March 2015 we made a decision to move from Perth’s concrete Jungle, and to give up a fifo mining salary, in order to chase a dream of establishing a small family vineyard in the country.  Our chosen property consisted of two messy vineyards, old machinery, a wine shed and a liveable shed.  We have called this shed home for two years while we build our new family home on site.

Three key things quickly became apparent when we moved.  Firstly our vineyard needed work, a lot of work!  Without having love nor care for close to six years, our vineyard was overgrown and filled with (thankfully treatable) disease.  Secondly, we identified why many vineyard owners enter the industry with a significant amount of capital backing… We entered with one salary and minimal capital.  Lastly, we were in over our heads working with a challenging crop, lacking the knowledge or experience required to provide our vineyard with the love and care needed to bring it back to its former glory.  Although these challenges appeared significant, they only fuelled our passion and desire for building our business and offering quality wine.

It is fair to say that the last two years have been rather hectic.  We have both kept our business moving in a positive direction by generating income working for an employer situated over 100km’s from home. We launched our honey and olive oil product lines, however that proved to be more of a hobby rather than an income stream.

In addition to working, we are completing the rehabilitation effort on our vineyard.  We provided our friends, family and the public with an opportunity to sponsor a row of vines, in order to assist with the rehabilitation effort.  We are so very thankful for the amount of support received with this offering.

Clint and I have both taken up study in viticulture and agriculture respectively, in order to develop the key knowledge required to provide our vines and land with what they need in order to grow and thrive.  In addition to this study, we were keen to launch our wine as soon as possible, without compromising on quality.  This is where our neighbour joins our journey.  When he first met us, he did not see potential competition, he saw a young couple with a dream.  We could never thank this well respected winemaker enough for giving us his time and sharing his experience with us.  Without him, we would not have had the opportunity to release such a high quality product to the market in 2017.  It is our goal to work together in order to showcase the quality of wine offered in the Manjimup and surrounding areas.  We are also passionate about proving how collaboration and working together will result in taking our industry to the next level.

Although this seems like a significant couple of years, we saved our greatest achievement for the end of this chapter.  In December 2016, we welcomed our first child, a daughter, into this world.  Even at just 5 months, Piper is thriving, surrounded by too many farmyard pets, including our ‘cellar dog’ Paris, her future family business (should she choose it) and two adoring parents.  We know that she will grow up all too soon and will love nothing more than to explore our land, with Paris at her side.  

On reflection, we have travelled far in our journey, but the truth is we have really only just begun.  The next couple of years will see Chateau June-Jerome continue to deliver quality wine, and we are seeking opportunities to stock our products in restaurants and boutique bottle shops across Perth. All of our vine rows will be rehabilitated and producing chemical free fruit, and we will start the expansion into new and exciting varieties.  We will also start planning to open our land up to the public, with the development of a cellar door.

If you would like to continue following us on our journey, or even check out our wine, please visit our website, or on our facebook page


Here are the links to Melissa and Clint’s earlier adventures and journey:

My funny bone tickle

My funny bone tickle

I was driving and saw a car number plate that still has me chuckling: A royal blue Mini Cooper with the number plate “Sassenach”. It’s Gaelic for English. Oh so clever and sassy!

Also, if you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, it will make you chuckle even more!

What tickled your funny bone today?