How to Do Basic Backyard Astrophotography, Part I: Introduction - Trust Me Shops

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How to Do Basic Backyard Astrophotography, Part I: Introduction

How to Do Basic Backyard Astrophotography, Part I: Introduction

B&H explora - All posts
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Astrophotography is awesome! But, is it difficult? No! Contrary to some opinions, you don’t have to own a ton of expensive gear, have perfectly dark skies, or have mad technical skills to pull it off. In this short four-part series, we will talk about how you can go out and shoot astrophotographs with basic photographic gear, and then digitally process the images with basic techniques. In the following stories, we’ll be talking stars, discussing gear, studying capture techniques, and learning some post-processing tips for optimizing your digital files.

The digital revolution has made astrophotography accessible to almost anyone with a camera. However, the genre remains one of the most intimidating segments of photography. It’s easy to find websites featuring spectacular astronomical photographs, but when you read the “fine print” or “how I got the shot” information you find things like this:

“I used a 21-inch refractor with a Yellow #12 filter and liquid-cooled homemade CCD in a camera modified for specific wavelengths of light. It was all mounted on a motorized German equatorial mount with the camera taking 120 images over an 8-hour period. I then stacked the images together on my computer using two different software systems (one that I wrote the code for myself) to get the final image after two days of work in Photoshop.”

Because of exaggerated examples like this, many of us think that, to successfully photograph deep sky objects, a photographer has to 1) have the right gear, and a lot of it, 2) know specialized capture methods, and 3) invent varsity post-processing techniques on the computer.

Although I immensely respect (and might be jealous of) the extraordinary effort, awe-inspiring gear, and dedication to the image employed by such photographers, complex capture isn’t exactly the best way to inspire a novice to embark into the world of astrophotography.

Photographs © Todd Vorenkamp

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