I've just been out doing some observin', mainly of Orion. After cycling through the Bayer designations with the naked eye, the plan called for using my brand new Olympus 8×42 EXPS I binoculars to observe the belt and the dagger more closely.
Because the Full Moon minus 2 and a thin mist layer, only the brightest stars were visible in this light polluted area. I took extra precautions to increase my dark adaption so that helped.
But when I took a look through my binoculars at the stars for the first time, the constellation lit up with all sorts of dim stars. The Orion Nebula backing Thetae Orionis was very clear, the stars around Upsilon Orionis appeared brightly and the string of Pi Orionis stars became magnificent. An incredible difference. When comparing how easy it to use binoculars over using a telescope, I realised how great binoculars are and how limited the necessity of a telescope is.
If anyone here is thinking of starting out at amateur astronomy, IMHO you shouldn't even think of mentioning the word telescope. Binoculars are all you'd need for quite a while.
For those living around Northwood and Watford area, the place to go is a shop called SRS Microsystems in Watford High Street towards the Rickmansworth Road. I also got a cable switch from them that I also used for the first time tonight. I tried a hand at long duration exposures, starting off with a moderate fourteen minute shot of the western sky.