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Summer Photo Op: The Perseid Meteor Shower

As you’re probably aware from the level of hype in your news feed, the Perseid meteor shower is approaching and you should get outside to see it now! Technically in late July, it is already active in our skies, but the reality is that there is a fairly narrow window of high activity only around the peak time. My own experience is that the number of meteors drops off dramatically a day before or after the peak evening.

A Quest for the Dark Side and Better Astrophotography

One of the Holy Grail quests for astrophotographers is the search for dark skies. Few of us are fortunate enough to live in ideal dark skies, but most of us are mobile enough to get to somewhere better than the center of an urban area.

Confusion at the Border: Photography Versus Astronomy

One of the biggest confusions that you might notice as you venture into astrophotography is that photographers and astronomers measure their equipment differently. Photographers tend to refer to their lenses in terms of their focal length, while astronomers refer to their telescopes by the diameter of their opening. Thus, a 75mm f/6 telescope has a focal length of 450mm. Meanwhile, a 75mm camera lens at f/6 has an aperture of 12.5mm. If a photographer is told that someone is shooting a 155mm lens hand-held, it would not raise an eyebrow, but an astronomer told the same thing would be incredulous! I can only barely lift my 155mm telescope onto its mount!

How to Reduce the Size of Stars in Photoshop

It might seem like a strange thing to reduce the size of stars in a night sky photo, but if you want to better show off deep-sky objects, it can help bring them to the fore. With so many stars in the sky, it can be a bit of a tedious task, however. This great video tutorial will show you three different methods for reducing the size of stars both easily and efficiently.

10 Common Astrophotography Questions Answered

Astrophotography is by far one of the most specialized genres out there, requiring quite a bit of specific equipment, software, and technique, but capturing things that are unfathomable distances away can be really rewarding. If you are new to the genre or looking to improve your work, check out this awesome video tutorial that answers 10 of the most common questions people have about astrophotography.

How Astrophotographers Shoot (Very) Long Exposures 

If you’ve viewed deep-sky astrophotos (not landscape astrophotos), you may have noticed that extremely long exposures (not counting mosaics) are used. In extreme cases, exposures may run over 12 hours. Unless you have a space telescope, it should be obvious that multiple exposures have been used.

How to Blend the Night Sky and Foreground in Photoshop

A nighttime landscape shot with the Milky Way over the earth below can be dramatic and eye-catching, but they almost always require two separate exposures for the foreground and the sky to get the best image quality. Once you have your two images, you will need to blend them to create a single final frame, and this great video tutorial will show you how to do it using Photoshop.

Easing Into Astrophotography With a Telescope

If you’ve been shooting (landscape) astrophotos for a while but are relatively new to astronomy, you may be contemplating stepping up to a telescope for your astrophotography. But taking the next step isn’t as simple as getting a longer lens for more magnified views. You should understand the changes in your shooting and equipment that this implies.

How to Focus Stack Nighttime Landscapes

Focus stacking is a common technique used by landscape photographers for images in which ultra-deep depth of field and high levels of sharpness are desired. You can use it for nighttime landscapes that incorporate things like the Milky Way as well, though it takes some additional considerations. This excellent video tutorial will show you a workflow for the technique as well as offer some helpful tips to ensure you get the best quality images.

A New Astrophotography Plug-in and Some Thoughts on Topaz Plugins for Astro Work

For astrophotographers who use Photoshop, here's some interesting and some good news. A just-released plug-in called APF-R (Absolute Point of Focus) can do wonders for your images. Astrophotographer Christoph Kaltseis has developed APF-R in order to achieve high-resolution, ultra-sharp images that still look natural. As astro-imagers know, trying to sharpen point sources like stars can result in ugly halos and other unwanted artifacts.

Are Night Sky Filters Worth Buying?

Astrophotography is a tricky business, even if you happen to live in the Namib desert. However, if you don't live in such a remote location, you'll likely have struggled with light pollution. In recent years, we have seen a number of filters designed to help with this problem. But do they work?

Photographing the Recent Solar Eclipse

Did you see the recent solar eclipse? It was quite a stunning sight. If you missed it, take a few minutes to watch this fantastic footage that shows the process of shooting it and the eclipse itself.

Astrophotography With a Google Pixel Smartphone? Really?

The recent addition of an astrophoto time-lapse mode (uncovered by XDA Developers) coming to Google’s camera app on their Pixel line of phones piqued my interest. Not that I think it will replace all of our “real” cameras, but I do have a deep appreciation for the engineering wizardry required to push right up to the physical limits of a tiny sensor and lens. And as an astronomy enthusiast, any developments that might open an appreciation of the night skies to a wider population get me very interested.

How to Get Started in Deep-Sky Astrophotography With a Telescope and Your Camera

Astrophotography is a very challenging genre, requiring specialized equipment, technical knowledge, top-notch technique, and a lot of patience, but it can be tremendously rewarding when it all comes together and you get a stunning image of something that is an unfathomably large distance from our home. If you are new to deep-sky astrophotography, this great video tutorial will show you the basics of getting started with a camera and a telescope.

5 Tips for Capturing the Milky Way With Your Astrophotography

The Milky Way is the first major landmark after capturing stars in astrophotography, depending on where you are in the world. However, capturing it can be tricky, require some know-how, and the right equipment. So, here are five tips to help you get it right.

Creating Time-Lapse Videos With Just Lightroom and Photoshop

Lightroom and Photoshop are generally considered to be tools for standard (still) photography, but simple video tasks can be handled entirely within your photographer’s Lightroom and Photoshop subscription package (no need for Adobe Premiere Pro), and without any third-party add-on tools. In particular, the pair of programs handles time-lapse videos quite nicely.

Looking Ahead to Future Eclipses

While the lunar and annular solar eclipses are fresh in our minds and travel is gradually returning to some semblance of normality, it’s a good idea to begin to think ahead to future eclipse photo opportunities (especially total solar eclipses) in the next few years. Why plan so far ahead? Unfortunately for most of us, the opportunities to photograph a solar eclipse within our lifetimes can be counted on a few fingers. Lunar eclipses are a little easier to plan for but still require some planning.

A Look at an Astrophotographer's Best Image

Astrophotography is a tremendously challenging genre, requiring specialized equipment, excellent technique, a lot of knowledge, and loads of patience. However, when you get a good image, it is all worth it, as you can capture some of the most remarkable photos of our universe. This great video follows an astrophotographer as he captures what he considers to be the best photo he has taken so far.

A Guide to Photographing the May Lunar Eclipse

In 2021, one of the astronomical targets you may want to challenge your photo skills on is the lunar eclipse occurring on May 26 (the evening of May 25-26). While lunar eclipses are generally not hard to see, since half the world can see the moon at any instant, not everyone can see the full extent of the approximately three-hour event. For this one, Pacific Ocean hemisphere residents are favored, but the west coast of the U.S. gets to see totality followed by the still partially eclipsed moon set opposite the sunrise.

10 of the Best Ultra-Wide-Angle Lenses for Astrophotography

Astrophotography is one of the few genres where gear can make a profound difference that is impossible to replicate without it. One of the most important tools — if not the most important tool — is the lens on the front of your camera.

Skills Every Photographer Should Have for Night Sky Photography

The night sky offers stunning photographic opportunities for all sorts of genres, but with those comes an array of challenges that require some specialized skills. This helpful video tutorial discusses some of the most essential skills photographers need to have for night sky work.

Drastically Reduce Noise in Milky Way and Nightscape Foregrounds Using Photoshop

In recent years, technological advances in camera sensors have made it possible to capture incredible landscape images at night, but they still struggle to capture detail when the light is very low or nonexistent without introducing high amounts of noise to the image. This technique, known as "median stacking," will help reduce or even eliminate noise in your nightscape foregrounds, resulting in clean, detailed images that are ready for print or online scrutiny.

Hunting for Meteors in Your Night Photos

The standard procedure for photographing a meteor shower is to photograph as wide a swath of the night sky as possible all night long. With modern digital cameras, this usually means setting a camera to shoot 15-30 second exposures at around ISO 1,600, with a 2-5 second pause between frames, resulting in a night’s haul of more than a thousand frames! While this photography can be fully automated, allowing you to sleep overnight, the real work of finding the meteors in your shots starts in the morning! We’ve cast our fishing net out, and now, it’s time to haul it back in to see what we’ve found.

Tips for Photographing a Meteor Shower

The annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is nearly upon us, peaking on the evening of April 21-22. While it’s not the best of the annual meteor showers, it is a good opportunity to try your hand at the challenge of capturing an image of a meteor. And even better, you may already have all of the equipment on hand: tripod, DSLR or mirrorless camera, and wide angle lens.

The Incredible Journey From 9 To 5 To Astrophotographer

Taking the leap into photography as a career can be a terrifying prospect, but on the other hand, some of us are simply not happy stuck in the tedium and repetition of a more traditional 9 to 5. This inspiring video essay discusses one man's journey from a 9-to-5 job in IT to professional astrophotography.

Is Light Pollution Destroying Astrophotography?

Light pollution is a widespread problem, not just for astrophotography, but for anyone who simply enjoys looking at the night sky. And unfortunately, it looks like the problem is only getting worse.

Go Behind the Scenes of This Incredible Galaxy Photograph

Astrophotography is a genre that requires specialized equipment, deep knowledge, and a lot of patience. It is a treat to watch a talented astrophotographer in action, and this neat behind-the-scenes video shows you the process of shooting an entrancing galaxy a whopping 55 million light-years away.

Could You Shoot Astrophotography With a Kit Lens?

There is probably no other genre where light is at more of a premium than astrophotography, where ultra-wide apertures, high ISOs, and specialized equipment are the name of the game. This fascinating video shows what two professional astrophotographers were able to accomplish when limited to a very slow kit lens for their work.

3 Ways To Photograph the Moon, From Start To Finish

Capturing the moon has been something photographers have tried since it was possible to do. However, it's trickier than most people think, particularly to capture real contrast and detail.

The Top Astronomical Events of 2021 for Astrophotography

Whether you are looking to get into astrophotography or take your skills to the next level, 2021 has lots of great astronomical events happening all over the world. Planning in advance and being in the right place at the right time is the first step to getting amazing shots.

My New Go-To Strategy for Reducing Noise

Long exposures and high ISOs can bring out hot pixels. Worse than just regular high ISO noise, hot pixels are those little brightly colored dots that stick out like a sore thumb. Their random nature has made them tough to deal with effectively, until now. Want to know the easiest way to get rid of them?

This Photo Took Over 11 Days to Expose

As photographers, we generally think of long exposures as being on the order of a few minutes, maybe a few hours if you get deep into astrophotography. This exposure took far longer than that, however; in fact, it took over a week to gather enough light for the final image.

Canon R6 Versus R5: Which is Better for Astrophotography at High ISO?

The two Canon mirrorless bodies announced earlier this year caused quite a splash in most areas of the industry. One genre of photography which can really test a camera is astrophotography, so one photographer takes them out into the desert to shoot the stars and compare their results.

8 Steps to Better Milky Way Editing in Lightroom

Editing pictures of the Milky Way is difficult to get right. Which white balance do you use? How bright should the scene be? How do you remove excessive noise without stars disappearing? Well, follow these eight steps for image editing success on the galactic scale with Lightroom Classic.

Five Reasons You Should Be Shooting Astrophotography

It doesn't take long to burn out on a single photographic genre, especially for a creative person not being challenged enough. If you’re in danger of burnout and could use a unique challenge to reignite your passion for photography, consider astrophotography.

'The World at Night': An Astrophotography Book by Babak Tafreshi

The night sky is photographed more today than ever before, and yet, dark sky areas are shrinking at incredible rates. That's something The World at Night (TWAN) program and Babak Tafreshi are trying to educate others on with this new book and the amazing collection of images within.

How to Photograph the Milky Way in 5 Simple Steps

Learn how to photograph the Milky Way galaxy by choosing the correct equipment, using the right camera settings, and planning ahead with precision to avoid disappointment. You can also use these tips to photograph other astrophotography shots such as meteor showers.