Astrophotography with DSLR Cameras:  Capturing the Deep Sky - Stars, Nebulas and the Milky Way

Saturday, March 3, 2018 - 1:00 - 5:30 PM
Location:  All-Star Telescope, Didsbury, AB

Deep-Sky with DSLR Cameras

Digital “single-lens-reflex” (DSLR) cameras are the ideal choice for anyone getting into astrophotography. They work great for capturing deep-sky objects without forcing you to climb the steep learning curve demanded by specialized CCD cameras.
What’s It About?
In this 4.5-hour workshop, Alan Dyer will take you through the steps for getting those great deep-sky images, from selecting a DSLR camera, to processing the final image, with the emphasis on shooting the Milky Way, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies with both piggyback methods (using tracking platforms) and prime focus techniques (by shooting through a telescope). 
Who is This For?
The Workshop is intended for backyard astronomers serious about taking deep-sky images using tracking platforms and equatorially-mounted telescopes, then processing them with advanced techniques such as stacking. 
If you do not own a DSLR camera or a telescope system now, our 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, our Workshop should teach you the reasons!
If you are getting good Raw images now but want to learn how to make them look great in Photoshop, our Workshop is also for you. 
What Will You Learn?
  • How to select a DSLR camera and the merits of APS vs. full-frame sensors and 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 for piggyback and prime focus photography
  • How to set your DSLR camera for maximum performance and minimum noise
  • What are the options for controlling your camera for automated shooting, including:
  • ... Choices of intervalometers and ...
  • ... Use of control software such as BackyardEOS/Nikon and Astrophotography Tool programs
  • How to focus and find targets
  • Which filters are useful
  • Use of focal reducers and field flatteners with telescopes
  • What exposures to use and whether to guide long exposures or track-and-stack short exposures
  • What are the options for autoguiding a telescope
  • How to take and apply dark frames and flat fields
  • The advantages to shooting in Raw format
  • How to process Raw images and software options

Specific examples and test results will be included to demonstrate that the received wisdom for using DSLRs isn’t necessarily correct. The emphasis will be on methods that simplify the capturing of images as much as possible without sacrificing image quality.

We’ll finish off by stacking and processing and stacking 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:

  • Using Adobe Camera Raw to maximize highlight and shadow detail
  • Adobe Camera Raw’s superb noise reduction
  • Correcting colour from filter-modified cameras and light-polluted skies
  • Lens correction routines for “flattening” images
  • Options for aligning and stacking images for reducing noise
  • Use of “smart filters” and adjustment layers for non-destructive editing
  • Use of masks for selective adjustments, gradient removal and merging different exposures
While Alan will use the latest Photoshop CC, many of the image processing steps he’ll highlight are applicable to Photoshop alternatives such as Affinity Photo and ON1 Photo Raw, and to previous CS5 and CS6 versions of Photoshop, and to a very limited extent to Photoshop Elements and Lightroom.
What Will We NOT Be Covering?
  • We will not be dealing with planetary webcams or cooled CCD cameras, nor the specialized software needed to process images from those cameras, such as Registax, DeepSkyStacker, PixInsight, AstroPixelProcessor, ImagesPlus or Nebulosity.
  • We will not be dealing with assembly of colour images from filtered monochrome images from CCD cameras.
  • We will not be covering how to take camera-on-tripod “nightscapes” nor time-lapse videos. Those techniques are thoroughly covered in our Nightscapes & Time-Lapse Video Tutorials offered by All-Star Telescope. 
What you should know before arriving:
• While we will cover fundamentals such as setting manual exposures and focus, workshop participants should be familiar with the basic operation of their DSLR cameras, and the meaning of terms such as ISO, f-ratio, and shutter speed. This is not a Workshop on the basics of operating your DSLR camera — we assume you know how to use it to take decent images by day. We’ll tell you how to use it by night!
What you should bring:
• Workshop participants need bring only whatever they wish to make notes with. Outlets for powering laptops will be limited. All registrants will receive a link to download a PDF copy of the presentation’s slides, including screen shots of all image processing steps.
Our Instructor
Alan Dyer has been using DSLRs since 2004 and shoots the sky exclusively with these amazing cameras. He is co-author, with Terence Dickinson, of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide. Dyer is a contributing editor to SkyNews and to Sky and Telescope magazines. His images have appeared in books and calendars, on websites such as, Astronomy Picture of the Day, and in publications such as a National Geographic magazine and the annual RASC Observer’s Calendar and Observers Handbook. He is a member of The World at Night ( astrophotography group. Asteroid #78434 is named for him.
See his photo blog at and his photo galleries at for examples of his work. 

Limited registrations available.

Cancellation Policy: Due to space allocation and scheduling, no refund on cancellations after Februry 17, . Cancellations before Februry 17 must be sent via e-mail to confirm cancellation and will be assessed a 20% processing fee

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