The 1960s and ’70s were good times for hobbyists in the USA. Chemicals, electronic parts, and optical supplies were widely available – in some ways more so than they are today. When I put together a Newtonian reflecting telescope around 1976, I bought a mirror directly from the manufacturer in the next town over from where I lived at the time. I originally wanted the telescope for astronomy and I still point it at the sky once in a while. But like any long focal length objective, it also has applications for wildlife photography.