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Teach Yourself Astrophotography

Teach Yourself Astrophotography

Whether you are an astro novice or seasoned space expert, Teach Yourself Astrophotography has something for you. Inside we’ve included jam-packed features, in-depth tutorials, interviews with pros and creative projects. Discover professional tips and tricks that will enable you to shoot the stars with absolute ease. We’ve even covered all of the essential kit that will aid you in taking breathtaking images that are truly out of this world.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

2 min
aim for the stars

Award-winning astrophotographer Ollie Taylor (ollietaylorphotography.com) explains that from a landscape astrophotography point of view, there are several elements that make up a strong image within this type of genre. With careful planning, coordinated with favorable weather, most of the key fundamentals to a successful shoot and outcome are calculable. Naturally, the landscape element requires a wellcomposed and thought-provoking foreground interest, which must be coupled with a strong night-sky element. Practice makes perfect. Aspire to be unique, think out of the box. Rare nightsky occurrences add dynamics, or become the generic makeup of the main image subject; these types of occurrences can occasionally be incorporated with careful planning through apps and website research. Aim to produce images that engage the viewer, capturing their attention not only by the glistening night sky incorporated within the…

2 min
lunar and solar

Geographical location is not only important with regards to the effects of twilight and the solar cycle – it also influences during which months the Milky Way core is visible. For example, in the south of the UK, the core is prominent on the horizon from early March until mid-October, though the core can be seen slightly in February from the south coast. It’s a common misconception that the Southern Hemisphere enjoys annually longer periods of visibility; the latitude of 50 degrees north shares roughly the same number of nights when the core is visible as a latitude of 50 degrees south. However, the actual length of core visibility per night is far greater annually in the south. The orientation is also very different; the core is located either on or…

4 min
capture the moon

Mankind has long had a special relationship with the Moon. It’s been the subject of folklore, art and wonder since the dawn of time, culminating in the famous space race of the mid-20th Century. This eventually saw the entire planet watch in awe and fascination as Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in July 1969. Only a privileged few of us will ever go for a walk on the Moon, so it’s no surprise that our near neighbour is a compelling muse for artists as well as astrophotographers. And best of all, the Moon can be shot at any time of the year, even during periods that are otherwise challenging for astrophotographers, as Phil Young (www.newforestastro.com) explains. “In the Northern Hemisphere, around the time of the summer solstice, there will be…

1 min
focusing tips

Prolific night-sky photographers sometimes mark their lenses with a new marker point, or carefully gaffer tape the lens in place for the night once sharp star focus has been achieved. However, the latter does not account for refocusing on the foreground; even remarking the lens may prove inconsistent over time as the lens bends in and the calibration strays. Use light High-power flashlight illumination is another option. Light up a distant part of the landscape, and if it can be seen in Live View, then you’re in business. However, it will need to be 30/40 metres away for you to be able to successfully attain sharp stars. Use other filters For landscape astrophotography, there are clever alternatives that use the method of the Bahtinov within a typical DSLR square filter or a sharp star…

2 min
perfect focus

Focusing is a bit of a quandary when it comes to meandering around in the dark. Occasionally, cameras can focus on stars via autofocus, especially certain Sony models, though autofocus at night is extremely unreliable and the majority refuse to focus on auto point blank. Thankfully, modern cameras have excellent light sensitivity, and have been blessed with Live View to aid us on the conquest for sharp nightscapes. Unfortunately, as photography’s advances are delivered to night dwellers on the one hand, technology is pilfered from the other; adios hard-stop infinity marker on most autofocus lenses. Without deviating from the subject too far, lenses were developed to focus beyond infinity for several reasons. Manufacturers namely point to thermal expansion during fluctuating temperatures, and many point to extended lens motor cam durability, by allowing…

1 min
the best dslrs

Although entry-level cameras can be used for astrophotography, DSLRs with full-frame sensors are the more suitable choice as they have bigger sensors, which in turn collect more light (in very lowlight conditions) and produce images with less noise. If you’re looking to invest in a new model, the choice of camera brand really doesn’t matter in terms of the results you can achieve. The two biggest players in the market are still Canon or Nikon, so if you’ve already started with one brand, it makes sense to stick with them when you upgrade. Astrophotography often relies on very long exposures, so one of the key elements to look for in a DSLR is low image noise and high sensitivity. As well as these considerations, you should also think about any physical handling…