Hi! My name is Samir Kharusi, living in Oman.

(If this is not your first visit just scroll to bottom for recent additions, last updated 31st May 2013)

Below are a couple of pictures of myself just to let you have an idea what I look like. This site is meant for friends and family scattered all over the world and as such there will be bits from the East as well as the West. Notice how I am dressed schizophrenically even on this one page. Hope you enjoy the selection. Any link clicked from this page should open a new window. To continue beyond that just return to the window showing this page. To send me an email just click => samirkharusi

I made the animated gif below (from 4"x6" prints, before the days of consumer digicams) to use on our company's intranet whenever I needed to congratulate my staff for something or other,  before I  retired, that is. I was supervising 2650 staff plus another 6500 contractor employees scattered all over Oman, so a face-to-face handshake for a job well done was not always a quickie. Our capital + operating budgets amounted to some $2 million per day, so it was always a battle to make sure that the little guy in a far off corner in the desert was spending his own $1000 budget wisely. He needed to know that the higher-ups did care.

So, right now, I take my hat off to you for your diligence and perseverance until you found this site! I do care.
I take my hat off, for you!

Having said that, bookmark this page NOW, i.e. put it in your Favorites, and revisit every now and again    ;-)

I'll be loading up new stuff every few months.

A bit of advice to the youngsters amongst you. Decide very early on in your professional career exactly what name, spelling and format, you will be using for the rest of your career. Transliteration spelling variations from other languages create an even bigger mess. This is quite important in these days of Internet search engines. E.g. for much of my college education and rather brief career in scientific research I used to be "M.S.Kharusi" and that's where my scientific work may be Googled. I started using "Samir Kharusi" only much later, for informal stuff, closer to and post retirement, like on this website. Googling the two versions of me brings up two quite different people :-) Youngsters, you have been warned.

By the way, just to prove that  I was also a young, cool, active cat once, have a look at my photo below, taken at Lillehammer in December 1964. Yes, 40+ years ago! Way before the recent Winter Olympics; before most of the world had even heard of the place, and also long before Norway entered the oil scene. Ah, for those days when  the place was actually affordable by a student. I was staying at a Youth Hostel, just behind me in the photo; the cleanest, nicest Youth Hostel I ever stayed in anywhere. The skiing was great; none of the eternal anxiety of not having enough snow that is the case in warmer places like Austria and Switzerland... Also note the rental ski equipment. Couldn't afford to buy any. Boots made of leather (in those days plastic boots were too expensive for students so I had to suffer soaking wet feet in the Cairngorms in Scotland. Lillehammer was too cold for the snow to get wet), ski poles were real wooden poles and had leather baskets, safety-release ski binders were an unaffordable luxury. Mine below were bear-claw bindings. One advantage of rigid bear-claws  is that you can ski as violently as you wish and the binders never release... You can also break both legs and the binders never release either!

Samir in ski togs

Just as well. Through some strange youthful logic, that winter in Lillehammer many of us thought that to be really with it ("really cool" in current parlance, and why "cool"? Something to do with global warming?), you had to ski without ski poles... We even tried skiing without skis. All you need is your ski boots to have flat soles (as most do) and a steep slope with quite hard snow. It IS possible. Try it the next time you go skiing (not advisable if you are over 40!). Mind you, going up the slope on a tow rope or a T-bar without skis is not a very smooth ride either. Perhaps your skiing abilities are at a higher plane than mine ever reached, but it would be unwise to try skiing without skis and without poles at the same time. I grew up in the tropics. The local kids from Lillehammer were, of course, just amazing. After all, they even went to and from school on skis, with satchels on their backs. And their grandmothers went to the supermarket on stand-up toboggans. I often wonder how much the place has changed since then. My hat also had a tiny bell at the top. Why a bell? Don't know. Just  seemed like a good idea to most of us staying at the Hostel that Christmas.  Some had  them on their parkas, some on their boots, girls on their  bosoms, etc.  Teenagers, you know. The thing hanging from my neck was  an exposure meter. I always  went for the top in photo equipment no matter how meager my scholarship was.  That's a Gossen Lunasix for those in the know. Ah, those were the days...

Have you bookmarked this page yet? Please do so before continuing. I do not wish to lose you into cyberspace!

There's a lot of stuff on this site, so you need to come back several times to do even one full pass. I  have been interested in photography since childhood, so there will be lots of photos. Perhaps you can now check out your monitor's contrast and brightness settings. Try to set them such that the colours below are nice and deep, and also that you can see both the second brightest and the second darkest steps simultaneously. The black and white bars at the bottom should appear smooth. If you see them as having steps, like the other bars, it's because your monitor has been set to 8-bit colour. You'll need to reset it to "millions of colours". It took me a long time to assemble this little collage, so you might as well make use of it :-)

Bought myself an astronomical telescope a few years back and I have been trying to learn how to use it for astrophotography. So do not forget to have a look at my puny attempts below. There's also quite a bit of stuff on normal (non-astro) photography.

Recent favorites: Below I am including some recent photos that I am quite pleased with. I'll replace them every now and again. Each has a story behind it. To jump to the relevant page, related to a particular picture, just click on it:

Quick: Can you identify these two spiral galaxies?

Hint: No telescope was used; one was taken with a 14mm lens, the other with a 600mm lens, both at f4, on a Canon 1Ds.

Map of California or a Giant Squid? Americo-centrics call it the California Nebula:

A wide view of the Orion region; note the Witch staring at the bright star Rigel:

Thuraya (the Chandelier):

Glowing Gases blown off a Supernova in Cygnus, accentuated by H-alpha and OIII Narrowband Imaging:

And here's one that is all narrowband in deep red H-alpha, the Flaming Star:

Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, a sparkly M13:

Liked the sparkles? What about a little twinkling?

Visiting Antares, the most colorful region of the night sky:

And here's Saturn through different sized scopes, different years, but same rooftop, a TV140 (5.5" aperture), a C8 and a C14. Aperture rules!


Recent Astrostuff, from 2004 onwards, using a Celestron CGE 1400 (lately an AP1200 and a Kenko Skymemo) and camera lenses (the thumbnails give you a taster for the page):

Trapezium Peeping (looking for A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I,...)

Shoot-out, Premium APO vs Camera lens (TV 140 vs Canon 600mm/4.0L IS)

Shoot-out 2, Premium APO vs Camera lens (TV-60is vs Canon 400mm/5.6L )

C14 Hyperstar - Initial Tests (A disruptive optical breakthrough?)

Deep Sky Images at Various Focal Lengths, 14mm to 4000mm (just use whatever you already own)

CGE 1400 First Light (Planetary webcam comparo C14 vs C8)

Sizing Planetary Images to Compare against Theoretical Limits for Your OTA(Being fair to large and small scopes)

CGE First Guide (checking out autoguiding and the Canon 600mm/4.0L IS on Orion)

CGE 1400 First Guide (C14 at f-11, trembling at 4000mm focal length)

2004 Transit of Venus (Canon 1Ds + 600L + 1.4x + 2x)

Springbrook (Awesome skies of Oz, the land down-under. 1Ds piggy-back on a Titan)

Andromeda (from the Ghubra Bowl + how to measure your local light pollution)

Markarian's Chain of Galaxies (a 3-hour stare by Canon 1Ds + 600mm/4 lens)

Globular Cluster M13 (CGE unguided, Canon 1Ds+600mm/4.0L IS +2x vs 20D+C14)

Magellan, Australia (Hutech Canon 20D + EF200mm/2.8L, astro & IR landscapes)

Absolute Beginner's Guide to Deep Sky Astrophotography (Bought the DSLR, what next?)

Which DSLR Mod? ( +some filters to tackle light pollution? Autofocus in IR?)

Which Filter for Heavy Light Pollution? (tests with a modded Canon 20D)

Comments on the Idas LPS-P2 and the Astronomik CLS Filters (light pollution spectra, etc)

What colour is the night sky anyway? (check it out at a dark site)

Bayer Array and Resolution in Deep Red H-alpha (is it really lower?)

Accurate Collimation using a Donut Mask (even in poor seeing)

Practical Focal Reduction for a C14 (from f/11 to f/7.7)

Converting your Superteles into Astro Short APOs

Review of the Kenko Skymemo (as an ultra-portable DSLR astro mount)

Minimal Exposures (Can we use really short sub-exposures for our stacking?)

Ever Shorter Sub-Exposures (What about even shorter than "minimal"?)

Rough Science Spectrograph (beyond pixel peeping, analyzing your filters' spectra)

Snapshooting Stellar Spectra (no scope, no tracking mount)

Thermal Signal+Noise Comparison in Canon 20D, 40D, 500D (20min darks at room temp)

Planetary Perch Observatory (my roof top sky shed)

Planetary Perch 2 Observatory (2nd attempt at roof top sky shed)


Astrostuff  using a Celestron Ultima 2000-8" scope and mount, mostly prior to 2004:

Moon & Planets (Attempts at close-ups of our neighbors using film, astro CCD, Canon D30, webcam)

Mars by webcam, at its closest in 60,000 years (and why imaging the planets is so difficult) 

Sampling Saturn (Diffraction limits, what magnification? Field test by webcam)

Orion (Season's Greetings! The Constellation and M42, its Great Nebula, on film and CCD)

Struggles Using a Fork-Mount SCT on M42 (from film to SBIG 237 to D30 to 1Ds)

 Jebel Shams Star Party (first attempts at Wide Angle Milky Way photos, film) 

Ghubra Bowl Star Party (Wide Angle Milky Way + the North America Nebula on film)

Tanuf and other Astro  Rambles in 2000 (Ultra Wide-Angle Milky Way, M31 by a 50mm lens, etc)

 Sharaf al Alamayn (Photographing our Galactic Center, Canon 1Ds with a macro lens)

Deneb and Environs (Rich, wide star- and nebula-fields + Canon 1Ds colour response)

Little Gems of the Night Sky (Multi-Colored Double Stars, Canon D30)

1999 Partial Solar Eclipse at Muscat on film

January 2001 Full Lunar Eclipse (Animated Photos from Muscat, film)

Fullest Full Moon (Apollo Landing Sites + Lunar Imaging, Film or Digital?)

Moon Under Earthshine by Canon 1Ds

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (see it move! D30)

Saturn and Asteroid Vesta (Dance of the Spheres, D30)

Rare Planetary Alignment (of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, D30)


A Brief History of Our Local (PDO) Planetarium


Miscellaneous (mostly non-astro):

Infra Red HD Video using Hutech Canon 500D(T1i)+Astronomik ProPlanet742 IR-Pass Filter

Golden Oldie Home Movies; Two Very Different Societies in Transition to Modernity (half hour each)

After 40+ years perhaps it's time to share these personal memorabilia with the youngsters

Igloolik, Canada, 1971

Oman, June 1972

Trying out a Canon EOS D30 (the first consumer-priced DSLR)D30 Photos

Tamron 28-300, f3.5-6.3 Zoom: Useful?

Canon's Mighty 50/1.8  (awesome range of a $65 lens; from macros to galaxies to ultra-wides!)

4000-Pixel-Wide Shoot-out (Canon 1Ds vs Hasselblad + Phase One H20)

Canon Tele-Extenders (Good enough for astro? 1.4xII + 2xII on the 600mm/4.0L IS and 200mm/2.8L II wide open)

Some photos I have taken over  the past few decades:
Oman Scenics

Jebel Akhdhar (and Princess Diana, D30)

Portraits

Just Pretty Pictures

The Grand Canyon in the USA is one of those must-see sights. The bottom of the Canyon gets ridiculously hot mid summer. Yet everyone and his brother-in-law visit the place during the summer. Why? I chose to visit mid winter. It's quite different from (and a lot better than) what I expected. See

The Grand Canyon in Winter (+Bryce, Zion, Death Valley, Yosemite)

Colours of the North American Fall Season, 2003, Canon 1Ds

Landscapes in Infra Red

Scanning old photos and resizing digicam images for email (in case you are quite clueless!)

An opinionated view  on: Dabbling in Stock Markets

Celebrating Retirement at end 1999

1960s Nostalgia of my School Days Long Gone

Zanzibar Government Staff List 1960 (Details on the 500 who ran the country)

My Mother's Kiswahili Novel, Imepita Jana, Now Available Worlwide (Volume contains both English, "Gone is Yesterday" & Swahili Versions)

My Attempt at Solar Heating a Swimming Pool (Using locally manufactured irrigation tubing)


Recent Additions:

Planetary Perch 2 Observatory (2nd attempt at roof top sky shed)

Ever Shorter Sub-Exposures (What about even shorter than "minimal"?)

Snapshooting Stellar Spectra (no scope, no tracking mount)

Deep Sky Images at Various Focal Lengths, 14mm to 4000mm (just use whatever you already own)

Zanzibar Government Staff List 1960 (Details on the 500 who ran the country)

My Mother's Kiswahili Novel, Imepita Jana, Now Available Worlwide (Volume contains both English, "Gone is Yesterday" & Swahili Versions)

My Attempt at Solar Heating a Swimming Pool (Using locally manufactured irrigation tubing)

Also Check Out My Golden Oldie Home Movies; Records of Two Very Different Societies in Transition. Scroll back up to find them


To drop me an e-mail just click on:

Samir Kharusi