After the success of our Nightscapes and Time-Lapses video course, we now take you into the Deep Sky!

 

With our new video course you’ll learn how to capture fabulous deep-sky images with your DSLR or mirrorless camera, starting with simple star trackers, then with guided telescopes on computerized mounts.

 

You’ll learn how to turn your raw camera images into beautiful publication-quality photos, with simple yet powerful processing steps.

 

The focus is on using DSLR and mirrorless cameras, then processing with Adobe Photoshop, avoiding the complexity and steep learning curves demanded by specialized CCD cameras and astronomy software.

 

Deep Sky with Your DSLR offers 9.5 hours of engaging video instruction, divided over 6 video files. The course is available for purchase for $149.95 Canadian from All-Star Telescope, as both streaming and digital downloads.

 

Program 1 – Topics in the Live Workshop

Length of Part 1  2h 21m

Length of Part 2  1h 10m

 

A classroom workshop, recorded before a live audience in April 2018, forms the core of the Course, and covers a wide range of topics on camera, lens, and equipment selection, and the best practices in the field with DSLRs. We’ve included all the Q&A from audience members. Program 1 also contains studio updates on selected topics.

 

  • Steps to Success – Tips to Get Started
  • DSLR Basics / Choosing a Camera
  • Picking Lenses and Accessories
  • Using a Sky Tracker
  • Camera Settings and Dark Frames
  • Controlling the Camera
  • Prime Focus Shooting
  • Finding and Focusing
  • Exposures and Filters
  • Guiding
  • Summary Tips
  • Update #1 – Mirrorless Cameras
  • Update #2 – Fornax LighTrack II Tracker
  • Update #3 – Bias Frames – Do You Need Them?
  • Update #4 – Bahtinov Masks – Do They Work?
  • Update #5 – The Polemaster

 

 

Program 2 – Topics in the Daytime Field Shoot

Length   1h 28m

 

To expand upon the Workshop, in Program 2 we demonstrate the fine points of setting up and using several typical deep-sky systems. We show simple trackers and apochromatic refractors (Orion, TeleVue, Stellarvue) as well as 8- and 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrains, plus several Sky-Watcher and Celestron mounts (AVX, EQ6-R, CGEM, CGX, plus a fork mount), all in daylight and shot at  All-Star Telescope in rural Alberta.

 

We include loads of tips and techniques for balancing, polar aligning,

and performing the Go To alignment, with suggestions for useful aids

and accessories.

 

  • Setting Up a Star Tracker
  • Setting up an Entry-Level Apo Refractor
  • Setting Up a Go To Mount
  • Learning the Sky
  • Using a Celestron EdgeHD 8-inch SCT
  • A TeleVue127 on an EQ6-R Mount + Polemaster
  • Using a Stellarvue 102 on a Celestron CGEM II
  • Using an Astrographic Newtonian – The Quattro
  • Using a Fork-Mounted Celestron EdgeHD 11
  • Using a GEM-Mounted Celestron EdgeHD 11

 

 

Program 3 – Topics in the Nighttime Field Shoot

Length  1h 11m

 

In this program we demonstrate the use of a Star Adventurer tracker, and our entry-level Orion ED80 + Celestron AVX mount combination to actually take images under the stars on autumn nights. We show polar alignment, Go To alignment, and the process for focusing, framing, and setting exposures, based on high-ISO test shots.

 

We demonstrate the Orion StarShoot autoguider and PHD2 Guider software in use, including the steps for setting PHD2’s options and dialog boxes. We also show an advanced “dithering” session with camera control software linked to PHD2. We wrap up by summarizing things that can go wrong!

 

  • Using a Star Tracker, the Star Adventurer
  • Using the Entry-Level Orion ED80 + AVX Mount
  • Setting Up PHD2 Guiding Software
  • Auto Guiding Tips and Settings in PHD2
  • Final Tips and Advice

 

 

Program 4 – Topics for the Processing Tutorials

Length of Part 1  2h 26m

Length of Part 2  0h 55m

 

In Program 4 we illustrate the “best practice” workflow for developing raw files using exclusively Adobe software. But we discuss several alternative programs and workflows using non-Adobe software. We show how NOT to process astro images (avoiding the practices of most amateur astrophotographers), and instead promote the professional practice of non-destructive processing in Photoshop. (NOTE: We do not demonstrate PixInsight.)

 

We then process several typical images, first developing raws with Adobe Camera Raw, then stacking, aligning, and layering images in Photoshop:

 

  • A wide-angle tracker image of the Cygnus Milky Way, showing stacking, then layering a diffusion filter image for a special effect.
  • A telephoto tracker image of the Sword of Orion area, bringing out faint nebulosity.
  • A prime focus image of M27, the Dumbbell Nebula, with the Celestron EdgeHD 8.
  • A prime focus image of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, with the Orion ED80, showing exposure blending.
  • A “Quick-and-Dirty” image capture example of M42, the Orion Nebula.
  • A multi-panel mosaic of the Orion area stitched with Photoshop.

 

A segment shows the effectiveness of dithering, shown in Program 3. Did it work? The program wraps up with a summary of best practices and “take home” points from the entire 9.5-hour course.

 

  • Our Processing Plan
  • Processing Workflows
  • How NOT to Use Photoshop
  • Alternatives to Adobe CC
  • Image Example #1 – Wide-Field Tracker Image
  • Update – Dithering or Not!
  • Image Example #2 – Telephoto Tracker Image
  • Image Example #3 – Prime Focus 8-inch SCT Image of M27
  • Image Example #4 – Orion ED80 Refractor Image of M31
  • Quick-and-Dirty Image Example of M42
  • Image Example #5 – Assembling a Mosaic
  • Advanced Software Options – PixInsight, with recommended tutorials
  • Key “Take Home Points” Summary

 

Total Length of All Programs  9 hours 30 minutes