Deep-Sky with DSLR Workshop - Alan Dyer

  • Testing CCD Cameras
  • Starclouds and Dark Nebulas Mosaic
  • Winter Triangle & Orion (35mm 5DII)
  • M45 Pleiades Star Cluster, the Seven Sisters
  • IC 1396 & Garnet Star in Cepheus
  • Cygnus Nebulosity (135mm 5DII)
  • Belt of Orion & B33 Horsehead Nebula (92mm 6D)
  • Web Demo-DeepSky7
  • 6-M31 Finished

How to Shoot & Process


Digital “single-lens-reflex” (DSLR) and new mirrorless cameras are the ideal choice for anyone getting into astrophotography. They are capable of providing publication-quality deep-sky images, without forcing you to climb the steep learning curve demanded by specialized CCD/CMOS cameras.

In this 3- to 4.5-hour workshop, I take you through the steps for getting those great photos, from selecting a DSLR or mirrorless camera, to processing the final image.

The emphasis is on shooting deep-sky images (the Milky Way, nebulas, star clusters) with simple trackers using camera lenses and with prime focus techniques through a telescope.

If you do not own a DSLR/mirrorless camera or a telescope system, this workshop will help you choose and use the right gear and software.

If you are taking images now but are wondering why your results don’t look as good as the images you see others publish, this workshop should teach you the reasons!

COURSE CONTENT (Varies with the length of the workshop)

I review...

• How to select a DSLR camera

• The merits of APS vs. full-frame sensors

• The merits of stock vs. filter-modified cameras

• How to select lenses and the best accessories

• How to select the best telescope and mount for deep-sky photography

• How to connect your camera to your telescope

• How to set your DSLR for maximum performance and minimum noise

• The hardware and software options for controlling your camera

• How to focus and find targets

• Which filters are useful — clip-in filters vs. screw-in

• Use of focal reducers and field flatteners with telescopes

• What exposures to use 

• How best to auto-guide long exposures

• How to take and apply dark frames

• How to stack images to reduce noise

• The advantages to shooting in Raw format

• How to process Raw images

I include specific examples and test results to demonstrate that the received wisdom for using DSLRs isn’t necessarily correct.

The emphasis is on methods that simplify the capturing and processing of images as much as possible without sacrificing image quality.

I finish off by stacking and processing a set of deep-sky images from Raw frames through to a final publication-quality master image, with a recommended “non-destructive” workflow using only Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Camera Raw, demonstrating...

• Lens correction routines for flattening images

• Noise reduction filters and plug-ins

• Use of smart objects and smart filters

• Adjustment layers and selective masking and ...

• Photoshop's little known but powerful functions for stacking, aligning and blending/combining images

What the workshop does NOT cover:

I will not be dealing with planetary webcams or cooled CCD/CMOS cameras, or with the specialized software needed to process images from those cameras, such as RegiStax, Astro Pixel Processor, ImagesPlus, or PixInsight.

The workshop reviews a workflow using just Photoshop.

I will not be dealing with assembly of colour images from filtered  images from monochrome astro cameras.

I will cover only briefly the use of other popular free or low-cost software programs such as Deep Sky Stacker and Nebulosity.

Content will vary with workshop length and audience. 

Each workshop participant receives a handout PDF via download of the presentation's slides including of the processing steps demonstrated live in the workshop.

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