Michael A. Stecker


Jay Ouellet, D.C.
Quebec City


Contact information
Locator Map
Level of accuracy:
Quebec City, Canada

Born in Quebec City, I got a 50mm refractor for Christmas at 10 years old. Seeing the craters on the moon got me hooked. I immediately started writing letters requesting brochures from all the telescope companies advertising in Sky & Tel. At 13, I bought a used 3'' Unitron. Things were looking better. At 15, I bought my first camera, a Canon QL-TL...took pics on a tripod and knew I had a long way to go before matching those great images in the magazines. Put everything on hold as I went to Mcgill University (Physiology), then Laval University (Administration), then another 5 years at CMCC in Toronto (Chiropractic). As a Chiropractor, I have treated over 100 of the music 'stars' visiting and performing in Quebec City, including Bon Jovi, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Iron Maiden...etc...and as I am somewhat known in this neck of the woods for astrophotography, I have been lucky enough to often been called with double-entendre the 'Chiro of the stars', as I regularly go on TV explaining up and coming celestial events. A big fish in a small pond, I guess. In, 1996, I received my AP 130 EDF. I learned techniques off the web from the pros: Vaughn, Provin, Wallis, Stecker, Hallas and Rodriguss. I needed reading glasses after all this.  In November 2000, Astronomy magazine selected one of my images, Tango for Two, as the cover and did an eight page portfolio on my film work, with the angle of taking astrophotos in freezing weather. Yup, no fun being outside in -25C for 6 hours at a time. I also own the original AP Stowaway, f:4.9, which is a wonderful portable platform. My work since that 2000 issue has been considerably refined as my know-how of Photoshop has significantly improved. I now shoot exclusively wide-angle. The pearl in my system is the Canon EF200f:1.8. NASA uses these for detecting near-Earth objects. Extremely sharp lens. I also enjoy the Canon EF135f:2.
Of interest to fellow astrophotographers, applying our nightsky imaging know-how to cityscapes creates a whole new interest. I was approached by a Montreal publisher and have just completed a book of nighttime portraits of Quebec City, to be published in April 2006.

Astronomy Tale
My car was at the garage and I borrowed my secretary's dad's 10 year old Subaru back in 1999. He assured me, ''heck it's a Subaru''... So I headed out of the city to a mountaintop 100 miles away to shoot M51. It was early April, so at +8C....this would be easy. At 1AM, I had finished the shoot and was slowly driving down the mountain when suddenly I couldn't see anymore: my lights were failing....then the motor. The alternator died. I almost did too....the temperature had plunged to -25C with the wind-chill factor and I wasn't dressed for this.....I walked down to the highway 6X that night and walked back to the car....hyperthermia got me walking. Finally at 6 AM, a police car spotted me walking aimlessly like a zombie. Cost me $300 to tow the car and almost cost me my life. This was one of the final reasons why I now prefer shooting wide-angle with much shorter exposures. Oh yes, be careful next time you borrow someone else's car, even if it is a Subaru !!

Areas of interest

Now, I do exclusively Wide-Angle. Especially if no EQ-mount is required. These two lens mentioned above do the trick.

Astrophotography publications
Astronomy, Sky and Telescope, SkyNews
Quebec: Encounters with the night (April 2006), Pocket Sky Atlas, Space 365
Many TV, radio and newspaper interviews
Denver Museum of Natural Sciences, RASC Calandar, Four photo expositions, etc...

Observing site
100 miles north or south of Quebec City for long exposures. For tripod mounted wide-angle shots, anywhere. Latitude: 47deg.

Astronomical Equipment
Astro-Physics 130 EDF
Astro-Physics 92 mm Stowaway
Canon EF 200f:1.8, EF135f:2, EF50f:1.4
Losmandy G11
20D digital SLR
Apple computers for processing and public displays

Yup, I'm still alive. My daughter Jess is now at Laval University and I have more free time. Last published photo: ASTRONOMY, April 2006, last page.


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