Preview of the Deep Sky with Your DSLR Video Course


Deep Sky with Your DSLR Video Course contents

Some scenes from the video course

  • Program1-1
  • Program1-2
  • Program2
  • Program3-1
  • Program3-2
  • Program4-1
  • Program4-2

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. Includes all the Q&As from audience members.

Program 1 also contains studio updates on selected topics.

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• 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

• Auto-Guiding Techniques and Gear

• 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, I demonstrate the fine points of setting up and using several typical deep-sky systems, showing 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.

The program includes loads of tips and techniques for balancing, polar aligning, and performing the Go To alignment, with suggestions for useful aids and accessories.

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• 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 I demonstrate the use of a Star Adventurer tracker, and our chosen example entry-level Orion ED80 + Celestron AVX mount combination to actually take images under the stars on autumn nights.

I show polar alignment, Go To alignment, and the process for focusing, framing, and setting exposures, based on high-ISO test shots.

I demonstrate the Orion StarShoot auto-guider and PHD2 Guider software in use, including the steps for setting PHD2’s options and dialog boxes.

I also show an advanced “dithering” session with camera control software linked to PHD2. I wrap up by summarizing things that can go wrong!

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• 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

I illustrate the “best practice” workflow for developing Raw files using exclusively Adobe software. But I discuss several alternative programs and workflows using non-Adobe software.

I 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: I do not demonstrate PixInsight.)

I 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, as demonstrated 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.

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• 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”

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Total Length of All Programs — 9 hours 30 minutes


The course is available for purchase from All-Star Telescope for:

• $149.95 Canadian, as both streaming and digital downloads, or for

• $169.95 as video files (playable on a Mac or Windows PC) on a shipped USB memory stick


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