Revised in 2016, my interactive ebook describes

  • How to shoot and process still image “nightscapes” — images of landscapes taken at night by the light of the Moon or stars …

and …

  • How to shoot and assemble time-lapse movies of the stars and Milky Way turning above Earthly scenes, all using DSLR cameras.


The 500-page multi-touch ebook includes ...

  • 40 embedded HD videos (no internet connection required) demonstrating time-lapse techniques.
  • 60 multi-page tutorials with step-by-step instructions of how to use software: Adobe Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, Lightroom, LRTimelapse, Advanced Stacker Actions, StarStaX, PTGui, Sequence, GBTimelapse, and more.
  • Numerous Photo 101 sections explaining the basic concepts of photography and video production (f-stops, ISOs, file types, aspect ratios, frame rates, compression, etc.).
  • Numerous Astronomy 101 sections explaining the basics of how the sky works (how the sky moves, where the Moon can be found, when the Milky Way can be seen, when and where to see auroras).
  • Reviews of gear — I don’t just mention that specialized gear exists, I illustrate in detail how to use popular units such as the Time-Lapse+, Michron, Pluto, and TriggerTrap intervalometers, and the AllView mount, Radian2, SYRP Genie, eMotimo, Dynamic Perception, and Rhino motion control units, with comments on what’s good – and not so good – to use.

You’ll learn ...

  • What are the best cameras and lenses to buy (cropped vs. full-frame, Canon vs. Nikon, manual vs. automatic lenses, zooms vs. primes).
  • How to set your cameras and lenses for maximum detail and minimum noise (following the mantra of “exposing to the right” and using dark frames).
  • How to shoot auroras, conjunctions, satellites, comets, and meteor showers.
  • How to shoot nightscapes lit only by moonlit, and how to determine where the Moon will be to plan a shoot.
  • How to shoot and stitch panoramas of the night sky and Milky Way, using Photoshop and PTGui software.
  • How to shoot tracked long exposures of the Milky Way using camera trackers such as the iOptron SkyTracker and Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer.
  • How to develop Raw files, the essential first step to great images and movies.
  • How to process nightscape stills using techniques such as compositing multiple exposures, masking ground and sky, and using non-destructive adjustment layers and smart filters.
  • How to shoot and stack star trail images made of hundreds of frames.
  • How to assemble time-lapse movies from those same hundreds of frames.
  • How to plan a time-lapse shoot and calculate the best balance of exposure time vs. frame count vs. length of shoot, and recommended apps to use.
  • How to process hundreds of frames using Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, Photoshop, and Lightroom.
  • How to shoot and process advanced “Holy Grail” time-lapse transitions from day to night.
  • How to shoot motion-control sequences using specialized dolly and pan/tilt devices.
  • How to use time-lapse processing tools such as LRTimelapse, Panolapse, Sequence, GoPro Studio, and Advanced Stacker Actions.
  • What can go wrong and how best to avoid problems in the field.


What’s in the book ...

Getting Started

The digital revolution and how DSLRs make shooting the “world at night” possible; Plus the steps to learning how to take great images and time-lapse movies

Chapter 1: Choosing and Using Gear

Choosing a camera; Setting a camera for exposure, file type, noise reduction, focus, and other menu functions; Choosing lenses

Chapter 2: Twilight Time

Shooting still images of sunsets, twilights, conjunctions, moonrises, and twilight panoramas

Chapter 3: Auroras

When and where to see auroras (Northern and Southern Lights); How to set your camera

Chapter 4: Other Amazing Sky Effects

Shooting haloes and rainbows, lightning, satellites, noctilucent clouds, meteor showers, comets

Chapter 5: Moonlit Nightscapes

How to set your camera; Choosing the right moon phase; Where will the Moon be?; How to plan a shoot; Shooting eclipses

Chapter 6: Milky Way Nightscapes

Choosing your location; Setting your camera; How to plan a shoot (where is the Milky Way?); Shooting down under; Shooting Milky Way panoramas; Tracking the sky

Chapter 7: Stitching, Stacking and Tracking

How to shoot HDR composites, star trails, panoramas, and tracked images

Chapter 8: Reducing Noise

Best practices for shooting dark frames and multiple images for stacking

Chapter 9: Controlling the Camera

Basic intervalometers and the different - and confusing - definitions of “interval”

Chapter 10: Processing Still Images – Basics

Importing; Developing in Adobe Camera Raw; Processing in Photoshop; Using Lightroom

Chapter 11: Processing Still Images – Advanced

Stacking for star trails; Subtracting dark frames; Stacking HDRs, Stacking composites; Stitching panoramas

Chapter 12: Taking Time-Lapses

Best practices for intervals and frame count; How to calculate a shoot

Chapter 13: Advanced Camera Control

Advanced intervalometers for time-lapses; Shooting “Holy Grail” day-to-night transitions; Avoiding flickering; How to “bulb ramp”

Chapter 14: Moving the Camera

How to use Pan, Tilt, and Dolly motion control systems (Radian, SYRP Genie, eMotimo, Dynamic Perception, Rhino EVO); How to plan a motion control shoot

Chapter 15: How to Shoot Holy Grails

Three methods for shooting day-to-night transitions; Avoiding flicker

Chapter 16: Avoiding Common Problems

What can for wrong: Equipment issues (things you can control); Environment issues (things you can’t); Tips and checklists for use in the field

Chapter 17: Processing Time-Lapse Movies - Basic

The basic Photoshop workflow: Import; Process in ACR; Exporting frames; Assembling movies (the many options); A Lightroom workflow

Chapter 18: Processing Time-Lapse Movies – Advanced

Using Adobe After Effects; Using LRTimelapse; Processing Holy Grail transitions and deflickering; Creating Ken Burns moves using Panolapse, Using Advanced Stacker Actions for star trail effects

Chapter 19: The Final Cut

Editing your movie; Sources of legally usable music; Archiving and exhibiting

Chapter 20: The Time-Lapse Lifestyle

The passion and dedication required; Are you ready?

Appendix: Learning More and Being Inspired

Where to learn more on the web and other recommended ebooks


Published November 2014 / Updated & Expanded December 2016

ISBN 978-0-9939589-0-8


Available ONLY for Apple Mac and iPad through iBooks e-reader.

1 gigabyte download


  • Sorry, due to its rich multimedia content this ebook cannot be offered (either technically or economically) on other platforms.
  • Not available from Amazon or other retailers for Kindle or Android e-readers.
  • Not available as a traditional print book or static PDF.


Why can't I buy this for my Android or Kindle?


From the outset I wanted my ebook to contain media: slide shows, videos and interactive elements — functions no printed book, nor even many digital formats, can include. I figured a book about time-lapse imaging should contain time-lapse movies as illustrations. Other ebooks on the subject do not, or at best include a small handful of links to videos on the web, making it necessary to be connected to the internet to use your book. I wanted to avoid that.


Being a long-time Mac and iPad user, for me the choice was obvious. I opted to use Apple’s superb yet free iBooks Author program to create my book. It allows very intuitive drag-and-drop addition of media, slide shows, videos, and interactive elements. The restriction is that the resulting file can be uploaded only to the Apple iBooks Store and read by Apple devices.


Yes, I'm afraid this leaves Windows and Android fans out of luck, not to mention Kindle, Nook, or Kobo users. I love it that those fans want to buy my book!


But the fact is most of those devices, and the reader software for them, can’t display a multimedia ebook like mine. Many don’t even display colour. The diversity of non-Apple devices makes it tough to ensure your book will work on Android or Amazon tablets, Nook or Kobo e-readers, etc.


The ebook world is “wild west” of publishing at the moment. I felt that staying within the Apple ecosystem was the best way for an individual author to self-publish a state-of-the-art, media-rich ebook, and be sure it actually works. Though, be warned: my ebook is a 1 gigabyte download.


Perhaps one day I will produce a version of this ebook, or others I have in mind, in a “lowest common denominator” format such as a PDF file (the kind most authors of photography ebooks use) that can be read by all devices, but would contain only text and images. Or as a new "fixed-format" ePub3 possible via InDesign CC or Quark, but that yet to be widely adopted by non-Apple ebookstores.


So for now, I’m sticking with Apple as the leader in digital publishing. Thanks!

— Alan, December 2016

What's New in the 2016 Edition

• 100 more pages added

• New chapters on Reducing Noise; Stitching, Stacking & Tracking; and Holy Grails

• All image processing tutorials updated with late 2016 software

• Information on Nikon and Pentax cameras added

• Reviews of equipment introduced in 2015 and 2016


What Readers are Saying

"Highly recommended reading: Canadian astrophotographer legend Alan Dyer has released his new interactive book. Alan's book is more or less the complete *new Standard Reference* for time-lapse and night-sky imaging. 400 pages of meticulously crafted and collected information, tutorials, tips, videos, how-to's, and tricks about what we nightscape photographers love to do, and how we do it, and how we could do it differently. Every single dollar on this book is well spent."

— Christoph Malin, world renowned time-lapse photographer (


"I was impressed by the depth of content, the clarity of explanation, the utility of this book for both novices and experts, clear and engaging writing, and high publication quality. Alan also employed an advanced digital publishing platform to achieve a high level of interactivity."

— Michael Zeiler (


What Readers are Saying on iTunes (worldwide)

"An unbelievably comprehensive yet concise presentation of everything one needs to know .... A real tour de force and practical reference."


"Alan has created a critical resource for both new photographers and experienced folks looking to improve their craft. In this book, he lays out a clear and structured workflow ... Most importantly, he does an incredible job of using text, photos, and videos to actually show you what to do during your shoot. This is a great book."


"This book is an 'absolute must' for anyone interested in astronomy and photography and who wants to combine the two."


"The book is incredibly well put together and visually stunning. Great work!"


"This e-book is simply amazing! Everything you need to get started in time-lapse photography and night sky captures is presented in this book. From hardware to software, it's all covered. Alan Dyer got it right!"


"Everything from learning the night sky, gear requirements, shoot planning to post processing and more is included in comprehensive detail often with video clips to demonstrate the subject material. It is a must have resource for anyone doing nightscapes and time lapse photography."


"This is quite a piece of work. If you are interested in time lapse, this covers everything. What an amazing resource. Thanks Mr Dyer for this piece of work!!"


"In this book [Alan] details step by step how anyone can achieve the same stunning results with tips, detailed chapters and impressive embedded videos which you simply cannot do in a conventional print book."


"Great book which reflects all aspects of still and time lapse at night. The most complete summary of techniques, equipment, examples and references. Thank you Alan for your personal help!"


What Reviewers are Saying

"Alan’s book will give you all the basics you need to succeed. He is a master at simplifying complex subjects and giving enough information to succeed without overwhelming." Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (April 2015)


"Before you go out and buy that spare battery for your DSLR do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this e-book. It is the best photographic treat I’ve had in a long time." SkyNews magazine (May-June 2015)


"This has to be the most comprehensive, most beautiful and most intuitive night-photography training on the market." — Extraordinary Vision magazine, Issue #29 (June 2015, available for free in the iTunes and GooglePlay stores) (Watch the video review here)


"... a comprehensive introduction to the art and craft of nightscape imaging." — (listen to the audio interview here)