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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've been doing astro-imaging for more than 20 years. Originally, there were not a lot of editing options, but over the years that has changed. But Astro Panel 5 offers some intriguing options.
What’s the longest exposure you’ve ever taken? Thirty seconds? A few minutes? Check out this camera that shoots a ten million-second exposure of the Sun — depending on how long you leave it tied to your roof.
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.
Samyang/Rokinon recently unveiled its new AF 12mm f/2 lens for Sony mirrorless APS-C cameras, a prime that will delight keen astrophotographers. Just how good is this new lens?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 “Google Camera 8.1” update arrived back in November, and it’s taken a few months for users to notice that Google has quietly taken away functionality for certain models of phone: the ultra-wide lens no longer takes astrophotography images.
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.
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?
With so many new cameras for every type of photographer and videographer, a few bodies from that last few years have dropped off the radar almost completed; this is one of them.
Photographing the stars is tricky and requires some know-how and preparation. Creating a time-lapse video, at night, of those same stars adds another level of difficulty on top.
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.
There are many creative ways to explore within each genre of photography. One that is both challenging and fun and can deliver mysterious and incredible results is light painting.
No telescope, no star tracker, no problem. Learn how to get started capturing the beautiful night sky with just some basic camera equipment with this beginner’s tutorial.
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.
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.
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.
Getting untracked photos of the Milky Way is significantly easier than you may think for both digital and film. The approach for film is much different than digital but still attainable with the right approach.
Over the last few weeks I’ve talked with several adventure, wildlife, and landscape photographers about the Canon R5. I think that Paul Zizka’s four-word summary has been the most direct expression of satisfaction to date: it has it all.
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.
The new Canon mirrorless which has caused such a stir for photographers in all genres. One of which, is astrophotography, so how does it perform?
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.
With the Perseid meteor shower set to peak over the next few nights, it’s time to pull together your gear for some awesome meteor shower photos. Want to know the essential items you have to bring for a successful shoot?