About Me

My first 'real' Telescope

I grew up in Missouri, with most of my years living just outside St. Louis. I was interested in astronomy from a very early age, and had a cousin who had a small reflecting telescope. When I first saw the rings of Saturn I was pretty hooked. By the time I was about 12 I was already picking up Sky and Telescope on the newsstand. Of course, like many budding amateur astronomers, my telescope was a cheap department store Tasco, but it gave good shots of the moon, and reasonable shots of Saturn and Jupiter.  By the time I was in middleschool, my dad helped me get my first reflecting telescope, a 4 inch Dynascope made by Criterion. It had a clock drive, so I could look at things long enough to see something and not worry about them drifting out of the frame. 

I even tried photography back then, but holding a box camera up to the eyepiece was not very effective, although I did get a few blurry shots of the moon. 

By the time I got to high school, my interest in Astronomy was very high, and I signed up and was chosen for a NASA program for young kids wanting to get into the physical sciences. It also gave me a chance to work as a guide at the McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis, answering questions from the public about astronomy. 

I went on to college (Drake University) and took quite a few Physics and Astronomy courses. I also had many cold nights at the University Observatory which was located at the side of a golf course. I wound up with a major in speech-communications-Fine Arts  and after Graduate School (Bowling Green State University in Ohio) I moved to a career in Journalism. I've won a few Emmy's for TV reporting, and 2 Columbia-DuPont Awards for investigative reporting. 

I worked in TV News in Ohio and Florida. My favorite years were the 8 years I spent working for the Washington Post owned TV station in Jacksonville, Florida as a Vice President for News leading an excellent team of reporters and technicians.

bronstonbook2

I spent 4 years working at the BBC in London as a Project Manager, helping to develop the most advanced news production system in the world. It's now in use at CBS, ESPN, NPR and thousands of other newsrooms in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. After life in the U.K. I went to Seattle for 8 years as Director of New Media for Fisher Broadcasting Company, then it was on to Arizona where I do some consulting and went on to write a book about film producer, Samuel Bronston. Bronston, who died in 1994, produced such memorable films as King of Kings, El Cid, 55 Days at Peking, Fall of the Roman Empire and Circus World. I was also invited to participate in the new DVD release of El Cid, and went to Hollywood to be interviewed. Then I did the commentary for the Fall of the Roman Empire DVD alongside Bill Bronston, the son of the Producer. (You can click on the book cover to link to Amazon and get yourself a copy. Amazon has the latest Bronston DVD releases as well).

Currently I am a writer/reviewer at Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity. I’m also thinking about a second book, and have been a writer at LifeinLoFi.com, a website that deals with iPhone photography. I'm a film and classical music reviewer for Audiophile Audition. I wrote for TUAW for 6 years until owner AOL eliminated the website, and I was a staff writer for 3DTV.com. 

Living in Arizona I get to do a lot of imaging in our great dry desert weather. With the observatory in the back yard it is pretty easy to get things set up and turned on. Although images take hours to acquire and even more hours to process, it is a really gratifying hobby. One of the hardest parts of imaging is learning to process the data. I got the most help from attending one of the Adam Block 2 day seminars. It was really valuable and jump started me into advanced techniques. 

I was honored to have my image of SH2-160 published as a full page image in the June, 2009 issue of Sky and Telescope Magazine. More recently Sky and Telescope published my image of the Snowman Nebula in the July, 2013 issue. I've also had images published in Wired Magazine, at Space.com and Universe Today.

If you like my landscapes and astronomical photos they are on display and for sale at Claire's Cafe and Gallery in Catalina, Arizona.

For 5 years I was a volunteer at the University of Arizona Flandrau Observatory, running the telescope and answering questions from the public. It was a great way to see that kids today are as excited as I was when I first saw that view of Saturn all those years ago.

All images © Mel Martin 2017     Contact Me