Learn to Capture the Deep-Sky
After the success of our Nightscapes and Time-Lapses video course, we’re now taking you into the Deep Sky!
With our new multi-hour 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.
About the Project
If successfully funded, our extensive set of tutorial videos will offer Alan Dyer’s skill and experience, in his clear and engaging style, to show you how to shoot and process great images of deep-sky targets such as the Milky Way, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies.
Alan Dyer’s Deep-Sky with Your DSLR course will offer comprehensive and unique guides, illustrating in step-by-step fashion how to shoot in the field … then process at the computer.
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.
In addition, we’ll provide many examples and test results to demonstrate that the received wisdom for using DSLRs isn’t necessarily correct, and is often needlessly complex.
Instead, you’ll learn techniques for shooting and processing images that yield great results as simply as possible.
The course will be ideal for beginners just starting out, and for those already shooting the deep sky but who have never been happy with their results.
- Are your images too noisy and lacking detail? We’ll show you how to solve that!
- Is your equipment always causing you grief? We’ll show you how to avoid all the common mistakes.
- Are you contemplating buying an astrophoto rig? Our advice could save you thousands!
The programs will be made available as streaming videos and as digital downloads playable on any device, desktop or mobile.
Our Deep Sky with Your DSLR course will take Alan’s instruction previously accessible only in person to workshop participants, and make it available to all, with the bonus of even more comprehensive content than is possible in the live workshops.
Over several hours of instruction the unique course will cover all you need to know to start shooting and processing long-exposure images of the night sky.
The Deep-Sky with Your DSLR video course will be provided on several programs, with an estimated total of 8 hours of instruction, covering everything from camera selection to final processing:
Program 1 (3 hours)
Recorded before a live audience at our April 2018 Deep-Sky Workshop, covering:
- Steps to Success – How to get into deep-sky photography one step at a time
- How to select a DSLR or Mirrorless camera
- The merits of APS vs. full-frame sensors
- The merits of stock vs. filter-modified cameras
- How to select lenses for wide-field shooting and recommended models
- How to select the most essential accessories
- How to use a simple star tracker
- How to polar align – simply and quickly!
- How to set your camera for lowest noise: shutter speed vs. aperture vs. ISO
- Camera settings that are critical, or that you can ignore
- The merits of Long Exposure Noise Reduction and dark frames
- When do you need flat fields?
- Hardware and software options for controlling your camera
- How to select the best telescope and mount for deep-sky photography
- How to find targets and focus targets
- Tips for aligning a GoTo telescope
- Steps for getting a deep-sky shoot going
- Stacking vs. tracking – Do you need to guide?
- Guiding options – Hardware and software
- Recommended exposures for telescope shots
- The “Expose to the Right” rule
- Which filters are useful
- Best practices for the best images
Program 2 (Estimated to be 2 hours)
Recorded by day in the field at All-Star Telescope, showing:
- Steps for setting up a camera tracker
- Tips for using a camera tracker
- The merits of optional tracker accessories such as counterweights
- The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer vs. the Star Adventurer Mini
- More on the merits of various telescopes: refractor vs. Newtonian vs. SCT
- Steps for setting up a German equatorial mount
- Steps for assembling a beginner astrophoto rig
- Steps for polar aligning and balancing a mount
- Steps to get a GoTo mount going!
- How to perform a 3-star alignment
- Tips on using a typical German equatorial mount, a Celestron AVX mount
- Tips on field flatteners for refractors and SCTs
- Tips on polar aligning a fork-mounted SCT
- Using the Polemaster accessory for polar alignment
- Premium telescope options
Program 3 (1 hour)
Recorded at night, at a dark sky site, with in-the-field demos of:
- Tricks for polar aligning a tracker using stars in the Big and Little Dippers
- Tips on aiming, framing and focusing
- How to take high-ISO test shots and calculate exposures
- How to use the histogram to judge exposure
- How to set an intervalometer
- Setting up and using a Celestron AVX mount and Orion 80mm refractor
- The “workflow” steps from polar alignment to actually shooting
- Using a Bahtinov mask for focusing
- Tips for meridian flips!
- Steps to getting an auto-guider guiding (using an Orion Starshoot)
- Steps to setting PHD2 guiding software (using an actual shooting session)
- Using camera control software (BackyardEOS demonstrated)
- To dither or not to dither!
- Lots of tips for avoiding common mistakes
Program 4 (Estimated to be 2.5 hours)
The final program uses wide-field and telescopic deep-sky images, some shot during Program 3. The tutorials will show the steps for stacking and processing a set of deep-sky images from Raw frames through to a final publication-quality master image, with a professional “non-destructive” workflow using only Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CC.
Recorded in the studio demonstrating:
- A simple but powerful workflow using Photoshop
- Suggestions for non-Adobe alternative programs
- How not to process with Photoshop
- How to develop Raw images
- How to maximize image quality at the Raw stage
- How to apply lens correction for flattening images
- How to apply noise reduction to Raw files
- How to stack and align images to reduce noise in Photoshop
- How to use smart objects and smart filters
- How to apply darks and flats (when needed) with Photoshop
- How to apply non-destructive adjustment layers
- How to create and apply masks for selective adjustments
- How to exposure blend using masks
- How to apply final sharpening non-destructively
- Using recommended third-party filters and plug-ins
- Using third-party action sets to apply special effects
NOTE: Our video course will not cover:
- Planetary webcams or cooled CCD cameras, nor the specialized software needed to process images from those cameras, such as CCDStack, Deep Sky Stacker, ImagesPlus, Maxim DL, PixInsight, or Registax.
- How to shoot Milky Way nightscapes and time-lapses. These are covered in our previous video course, Nightscapes and Time-Lapses: From Field to Photoshop, funded through KickStarter in 2016 and available from All-Star Telescope. http://www.all-startelescope.com/sales/index.php?cPath=209
The course reviews a workflow using just Adobe Photoshop (CS6 and higher recommended). However, the steps are applicable to non-Adobe competitors such as Affinity Photo or ON1 Photo Raw.
NOTE: The final content and order of topics is subject to change in the final editing.
Our extensive Deep Sky with Your DSLR video course will be made possible if our KickStarter funding is successful.
We invite your participation in its production. Your support will cover the costs of professional video production and editing, and the marketing and distribution costs.
We expect the final retail price of the set of programs to be CA $149.95 for the digital downloads and streaming videos. (They will not be sold on shipped drives or disks.)
However, by participating in the KickStarter funding you have the opportunity to obtain the multi-hour video course at discount pricing, and you’ll be the first to receive the programs when they are complete, expected by spring 2019.
Alan Dyer — Presenter
Alan is one of Canada’s best known astronomy authors, having co-authored three editions of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide with Terence Dickinson. Alan is a contributing editor to Canada’s astronomy magazine, SkyNews, and to Sky and Telescope.
His photos have been featured on Spaceweather.com, APOD Astronomy Picture of the Day, the Weather Channel, CBSNews, NBCNews, in National Geographic magazine, and in many other magazines and calendars. One of his images was selected as the cover for the 2017 edition of the prestigious Observer’s Handbook of the RASC.
In 2018 another of his photos was featured on a commemorative stamp issued by Canada Post.
Alan is a member of The World at Night photography group (TWANight.org), one of only two Canadians in this exclusive group.
Alan has presented workshops on astrophotography across Canada and around the world. Participants in these live workshops have provided these comments:
"I have attended photography courses, and the best photographer I have met has been Alan Dyer. His knowledge is unsurpassed ... Alan is the best of the best and next best is not even in sight.”
"Alan Dyer's presentation was world-class.”
"Well done – interesting, informative and inspirational.”
"I was able to take images with my DSLR I didn't think were possible! Thanks!"
“Best money I ever spent! Your mastery of Adobe products is amazing!”
Check out Alan's deep-sky images at his website at www.amazingsky.com
and on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/amazingsky/albums/72157636372335885
Bev & Ken From— All-Star Telescope
All-Star Telescope, Distribution and Marketing. Ken is an avid amateur astronomer who became hooked on the night sky during a three year volunteer stint in central Nigeria. Having built several Dobsonian telescopes for visual observing, Ken has also become an avid astrophotographer. In 2006, Bev and Ken opened All-Star Telescope where they have connected with hundreds of others interested in astronomy. See The All-Star Telescope Story, produced by Tim Carlielle.
With a passion for southern skies (and warmer weather) they have taken astronomy equipment to South Africa, Zambia, Nepal, and Hawaii. Each year they host a New Mexico Star Party and offer regular Observer Nights and imaging sessions at All-Star Telescope near Didsbury, Alberta.
In 2013 Celestron selected All-Star Telescope for their Canadian "Perspectives on Imaging" Award. They have hosted Alan Dyer’s workshops on Deep-Sky Astrophotography and on Nightscape and Time-Lapse photography for the past ten years.
All-Star Telescope will be hosting the digital downloads, and managing sales once production is complete.
Tim Carlielle — Video Production
Tim has been passionate about video production since high school, when he spent a summer volunteering at a technical school in Rwanda making short videos about the lives of the students and teachers there. After seeing firsthand the impact the videos had on increasing awareness and raising funds for the school, Tim started a video production company and has been doing that ever since.
Tim greatly enjoys the creative aspects of video production and photography, and after producing Nightscapes and Time-Lapses: From Field to Photoshop with Alan Dyer and All-Star Telescope, he was eager for another chance to work together.
Together this team will create the ultimate video tutorial to deep sky astrophotography. This is your opportunity to be a part of the journey!
Risks and challenges
Our team has a successful track record for producing tutorial videos, with the KickStarter funding and production of our Nightscapes and Time-Lapse course in 2016. We hope to complete the video tutorials finished and the digital download sent out by spring 2019 so you can take advantage of warmer summer nights to get started with astrophotography.
We will attempt to minimize delays in production but health and unforeseen personal circumstances can factor into production. A significant amount of the filming is already completed, and most of what remains to be done is the editing, which presents little risk of delay. The tutorials will be delivered digitally, so there is also no risk of supplier or shipping issues delaying the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)