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How To Guide: Astrophotography with a DSLR

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Getting started in Astrophotography is easier than you think but mastering it will take a life time. This is a guide for beginners or people with a small amount of experience. I’ll be focusing on taking pictures with nothing but DSLR cameras and regular lenses. No telescope required! The only other piece of equipment you will need is a tripod. If you have another type of digital camera with a “manual” setting you can still follow along though some of the options I talk about may not be available to you. Later on I will go into some other pieces of gear you can buy that will further enhance your ability to take pictures. Finally we will talk about how to process your images in Photoshop as most of the time the image straight from the camera is a bit underwhelming. All the pictures featured in the article were taken by me with a DSLR (either Nikon D300 or Nikon D700).

Milky Way – Nikon D700, 105mm f/3.5, 8x2min, ISO 3200

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Some DSLRs can be modified specifically for Astrophotography use. While DSLRs are fine for photographing stars, galaxies, and reflection nebula their weak point is emission nebula because they have an built-in filter to block out certain wavelengths of light. By removing this filter or replacing it with clear glass you can improve the sensitivity for hydrogen-alpha light. One company that will do this to your camera, or sell you a premodded one is Hutech. Canon has even released a DSLR specifically for this purpose known as the Canon EOS 60Da. The benefit of that is you still get a full manufacturers warranty. The downside? This mucks up the color balance of regular daytime shots, so it is not the best option unless you want to use that DSLR solely for Astrophotography.

Choosing A Camera

Any Digital SLR camera should be enough to get you started. If you are looking for a specific camera to buy for this purpose, Canon’s are the most popular for astrophotography but Nikon’s also do fine. The most important reasons for using a DSLR are the large sensor (for better signal to noise ratio), the ability to keep the shutter open as long as you want and the ability to shoot RAW files. This makes full-frame DSLR’s even better because their sensor is larger than regular DSLR cameras. The last basic piece of equipment you need is a tripod.

Nikon D700. 24mm f/3. • Binoculars to enjoy the view while pictures are being taken or to maybe pick out your next target. • A comfortable chair (you will be waiting a lot) and extra warm clothes if its winter time. • A sky tracking mount to take exposures longer than 30 seconds or so. Planetary photography requires a telescope but if you have a telephoto lens of at least 300mm or so . • Red flashlight to see what you are doing out in the dark.5.Other helpful equipment • Shutter release cable isn’t absolutely necessary but highly recommended. 120 seconds. This requires an extra investment so I recommend trying other methods first. If your lens keeps fogging up this might help. ISO 1600 single exposure Choosing A Location Some types of Astrophotography are doable in the middle of the city but that tends to be limited to lunar or planetary photography. • Anti-fog cloth can help with condensation that builds up on your lens under certain atmospheric conditions at night time. You can by cheap third-party ones on ebay instead of paying for a genuine one. Using a regular flash light will harm your night vision but red light won’t. I will talk about trackers later.

rural skies or better. Some of the bigger objects like Andromeda Galaxy and Orion Nebula can be done with a telephoto lens but you will still need a tracker of some kind to move your camera with the motion of the sky. but as with any Astrophoto the darker the sky the better. Think Suburbs or darker. Starscapes are shots where the landscape is mostly lit by the moon (or stars at exceptionally dark locations) and you will need moderately dark skies for this. The requirements are the similar to Milky Way shots. but if you plan on stacking many shorter exposures you have a lot more flexibility. Star Trails The Milky Way Galaxies and DeepSky objects Light Pollution . About the same as Constellations. You can get away with doing some of the brighter constellations inside a medium size city as long as you are sheltered from city lights by trees or buildings but outside the city will be best. Some objects will photography decently even in suburban skies. Photographing deep sky objects or getting a lot of stars in your image is not very doable in the middle of a city. I want to shoot… The Moon Night-time landscapes (Starscapes) Wide-field shots or Constellations Location All you need is a clear sky! This can be done right in the middle of a city. If you want to do very long single exposures you need a true dark sky site. You can get away with being closer to the city if the milky way is in the sky opposite the nearest city. For the absolute best milky way images you need to be many hours away from any cities. The good news is just driving for 15 minutes outside of city limits can really improve the sky quality.you can get some nice shots of the moon. For this it is ideal to be at least 30 miles/50km away from any city or town.

You can also get a good idea of where you would have to go to get dark skies. The main problem for astronomers is it washes out the sky and reduces the amount of stars and deep-sky objects you can see and/or photograph.Light pollution is caused by stray man-made light that is aimed at the sky. If you live in the USA or parts of Canada you can see how the light pollution is where you live by going to the Dark Sky Finder site. Aside from the aesthetic problem of the nasty orange haze in the sky instead of stars. light pollution is an incredible waste of energy. You can find more information at the International Dark Sky Association. Lighting up the sky is akin to leaving all your windows and doors open while you leave your furnace on in the winter. you would be able to use lower power lights. Why do we need to light up the sky? If all the light from street lights and outdoor lights was aimed at the ground with proper shades above them to reflect ALL of the light to the ground. Beginner Shots . A complete and utter waste of energy. For other countries if you Google your country name along with “light pollution map” you should hopefully have some luck in finding one.

Focusing can be tough in Astrophotography but moon shots are the exception. f/6. If you don’t have a remote shutter cable to trip you should use the self timer mode on your camera to take shots.3 seconds. 240mm. ISO 1600 single exposure Moon Shots The above shot of the February 20th. 2008 lunar eclipse was taken just with a 70-300mm lens and a tripod – nothing fancy. Something like 3 or 5 seconds is enough for vibrations to dissipate. A view like this wouldn’t have been possible with a telescope. Even though the moon is bright and you can use a fast shutter speed you still need to minimize camera vibrations. star trails and milky way wide shots.3. 0.In this part we are going to cover all types of shots that can be taken with your DSLR without a tracking mount – moon shots. That brightest point of light on the left side is actually Saturn. My suggestion is to use your camera to autofocus on the moon and then set it to manual focus and be careful not to adjust the focus. starscapes & widefield shots. Guide Navigation Introduction & The Basics | Beginner Shots | Advanced Shots | Photoshop Processing Lunar Eclipse & Saturn – Nikon D300. You will want to use manual . While close ups of the moon are great you can get interesting shots like this with just a telephoto lens.

exposure mode for the moon as auto exposure will overexpose it usually. Here are some recommended settings to try: Full moon: f/8. ISO 200 Half-moon: f/8. The other one is a stylized picture of the moon in some clouds. Exposure time will change with the moon’s position in the sky and other factors. ISO 400 The above are only starting points. The overexposed part is what you are normally seeing the the dim part is normally cloaked in shadow but with a long exposure you can see the shadowed section of the moon dimly lit by the earth’s reflected light. You want it to be bright but be careful not to overexpose the brightest edge. Below are some ideas for other types of shots you can take of the moon (click to enlarge). 1/500. Starscapes and Wide-field shots . The first one is showing off the “earthshine” on the moon’s surface. 1/640.

There are many ways to do this but you may struggle your first few times – don’t get discouraged. More modern DSLR lenses usually don’t have a hard infinity focus point though so you may need to do some trial and error. While they would have ruined the shots I planned on taking they arguably enhanced this one. If your camera fails to autofocus. This is probably why my 2 favorite astrophotography lenses are my 24mm f2. put it in live-view mode on .Starscape over a camp fire – Nikon D700. 60 seconds. In the above shot I was looking forward to taking some milky way shots but the clouds rolled in as you can see.8 Nikon prime. What I just said is tantamount to blasphemy though. If your lens doesn’t have a hard infinity focus point: See if your camera will autofocus on a bright star (or the moon if its out). f/4. If it does. If you have an older style lens (the ones that usually have an f-stop ring right on the lens) those lenses typically have a hard infinity focus stop so they are the easiest. great! Once its autofocused switch the focus to manual and be careful not to adjust it. ISO 1600 single exposure Starscapes are probably my favorite type of shot to take. 24mm.8 Nikon prime and 50mm f1. focus to infinity and you are done. Clouds are the arch-nemesis of any astronomer! Focus: The first thing you need to do is focus on the stars.

manual focus as best as you can in your viewfinder then take a test shot. If not. Personally I prefer taking my own dark frames and subtracting them myself as necessary…plus that way I can take multiple dark frames. use a high ISO like 3200 and take a 5 or 10 second picture and check the stars.5. Dark Frames?: It’s a good idea to take these if you had long exposure noise reduction turned off in your camera… you may need them later in processing. To make it quick. If you don’t want to get too advanced with post processing. They are out of focus if the center is dimmer than the outside. Keep fine tuning your focus til the stars are solid points of light. put your lens cap on and take pictures using the same settings you did with the lens cap off (only ISO and shutter speed is important). you can leave “long exposure noise reduction” on. The most crucial thing is to take them in an environment with the same temperature as your regular pictures since temperature affects the noise. What this setting does is take a second picture but with the mirror down so no light can hit the sensor.your tripod and point it at the brightest star (or moon if available). I usually take my . If the max aperture for your focal length is say f/3. If you have a newer model camera you can probably get away with ISO 3200 to double your light. So for longer than 30 seconds you need a remote shutter cable to keep the shutter open (bulb keeps it open as long as its pressed – you can’t do this with your hand or your shot would be a blurry mess). out of the city) try taking a shot with a 30 second shutter speed and ISO 1600. try using something like f/5. If you are in moderately dark skies (rural. Exposure: The first thing you want to do is stop your lens down at least 1 stop to improve the quality of stars and reduce vignetting. Then the camera automatically subtracts it from your shot to reduce dark current noise and hot pixels. You are better off doing your noise reduction in post. To take a dark frame. Most DSLRs max shutter speed is 30 seconds and to go longer you need to use “BULB” mode. See if you can focus on the live view mode. Other settings: Disable any camera noise reduction settings. This is called a dark frame.

dark frames while I am packing up all my stuff at the end of the night. 6x11min exposures stacked (66min). So if your shots were 30 seconds. ISO 1600 take a few dark frames at those settings. ISO 640 Star trails are one of the most popular types of Astrophotography. f/4. Other Starscape examples (click to enlarge) Star Trails Star trails in black and white – Nikon D700. 24mm. It’s hard to perceive the movement of the sky due to the earth’s rotation unless you are .

Cameras can drain battery fast when they leave the shutter open. It’s best to stop down at least 2 full stops so you get sharper stars across the whole image. There are 2 methods of taking star trails which means you can take them in virtually any environment except metropolitan. Look for the ones with the little LCD screens. you don’t want to leave your lens wide open.6 – f/8. If you are going to use the stacking method things will go easier if you camera has an intervalometer or you buy a remote shutter cable that can be programmed to take shots at specific intervals such as the Canon TC80N3 or Nikon MC-36. The second requirement is extremely dark skies. The first one is there can’t be any moon in the sky. There are also cheaper third party models on eBay that also work for more camera models (Nikon remotes and Canon remotes). try shooting somewhere between f/5. It will vary from camera to camera but you . Getting Ready You will need to achieve proper focus as described in the above “Starscapes” section and make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged (bring a spare if you can). Anywhere from a few minutes to hours! There are some strict requirements for being able to do this method though. Using a wide angle lens it takes around 20-30 seconds for trailing to become apparent but with a 300mm lens it happens in less than 5 seconds. If you are within ~100 miles of any city or town. the longer your star trails.looking through a high power telescope and then you can watch an object pass across the field of view in a matter of seconds. The only exception being you can sometimes manage shots under 30 minutes if you use ISO 100.5. If your max aperture for the focal length you chose is say f/3. Single Exposure Method With this method you just take one extremely long exposure. It will end up overexposing not only your sky but also any landscape your happen to have in your shot. If you are rocking $2000 glass I suppose you can ignore my suggestion. The longer your lens. forget about doing that hour long exposure you were thinking about – the light pollution will wash out the sky and your stars. Regardless of what method you use.

Any trails you see there will be the exact same trails you see on longer exposures. The single exposure method requires a lot of trial and error but if done properly results in some very otherworldly looking images. The basic idea is instead of taking one single 60 minute exposure you would instead take 60 separate 1 minute exposures and stack them to make it look like a single continuous star trail. I will discuss this again in the processing section of this guide. fainter stars may never get a chance to register on the sensor because they have moved before they were able to expose. if there is any amp glow. It’s quite simple. only they will stretch longer. If you let in too little.6. find the exposure setting you want for your picture and by taking multiples of that same exposure and stacking them. By using that as a baseline you can see if your sky is too bright or too dark. In most cases you will want to use ISO 100 or ISO 200 depending on your f-stop and exposure length. Stacking Method With this method you have a lot more flexibility. Finally. but the basic method to stack in Photoshop is to load up all your frames into separate layers . 30 min (1800 sec) shutter speed. Amp glow is caused by heat in the camera and usually starts at the edges of the image and gets worse. etc. You can do this in moderately light polluted environments and when the moon is out as well. You can test out how many stars you will get by taking a shorter exposure of say around 5 minutes.may need to use a power adapter for your camera instead of a battery. If you are taking pictures in cold temperatures you might avoid it all together. You can use exposures with higher ISOs to gather more stars compared to the single exposure method. if your landscape is exposed properly. ISO 100. If you let in too much light. You don’t want to have more than a second in between shots or else the gaps between images will be too large. One setting you can try first is this: f/5. some cameras will just have a finite amount of times that they can keep their shutter open (and thus their CCD or CMOS amplified) before “amp glow” becomes an issue. your picture will get washed out and overexposed. Picking the right exposure settings can be tricky. the star trails will grow and nothing else in the image will change.

single exposure The Milky Way appears as a long cloud arcing across the sky when you view it with the naked eye.de. but that “cloud” is actually the combined light of billions of stars so tightly packed together and so far away that our eyes can’t distinguish them.5. ISO 2000. You can download it here at Startrails. The constellation Sagittarius is roughly the center point of the . 24mm f/3. With a telephoto lens you can distinguish a lot of them though and what you are presented with is a wall of stars. Better yet. More Star Trails examples (click to enlarge) Milky Way Widefield Shots The Milky Way – Nikon D700. The darker regions in the Milky Way are vast clouds of interstellar dust blocking the light of stars behind them.and set all the layers to the “Lighten” blending mode. there is a fantastic little program called Startrails that does this for you and also lets you load in dark frames.

The best part to photograph is the Sagittarius region (the bottom part of the above picture) which has lots of detail and lots of small bright red nebula. If it’s anything worse than green. If you can find your location on a light pollution map (such as the one I linked to at the bottom of page 1) see what shade of color you are in. don’t forget to take a series of dark frames for all the exposure settings you used. Suggested exposure for your first try: f/4. 30 sec. The Milky Way should be immediately apparent on your rear LCD when you preview the picture. Getting a good Milky Way shot is highly dependent on the light pollution levels. forget it. As discussed in the star trails section. Blue is better and Black is perfect.galaxy and when you look there you are peering to the middle of our galaxy though most of it is obscured since we are looking at it from the side. Had the town been North instead I would have been able to capture more detail in the Milky Way. ISO 1600. Finally. You will now need something to move your camera with the motion of the sky. . In dark locations this is plenty of time to reveal the structure in the Milky Way. The shot you see above was taken on the edge of a green zone. If you want to take close ups of sections of the Milky Way or photography other deep sky objects like nebula and galaxies you will need to move onto the Advanced section of this guide. you can get away with around 30 seconds before trailing is a problem in a wide shot. the problem was there was a small town directly south about 10-15km which is where this shot is pointing. Try one at ISO 3200 as well if your camera’s noise doesn’t get out of control at that setting. especially with a high ISO like 1600 or 3200.

single 1 min exposure Advanced Shots In this section we will discuss shots that require the use of a tracking mount. Guide Navigation Introduction & The Basics | Beginner Shots | Advanced Shots | Photoshop Processing .The Milky Way – Nikon D700. 24mm f/5. ISO 3200. This will require a bit of financial investment but there are some budgetconscious options like the home-made barn door tracker.

Picking a tripod head for your mount . One suggestion would be the Manfrotto 055XPROB. then a ball head and your camera. This is a popular model and found for sale easily (Amazon. Picking a Tripod You are going to want something more than you run-of-the-mill $20 tripod for this type of work. Adorama or eBay are options). The Tripod.- Without having a way to track the stars you are limited to star trails and ~30 second exposures. While you have a huge variety of pictures to take with that restriction (as seen on the previous page) you open up a whole new set of possibilities if you have an equatorial tracking mount as seen above. the tracking mount itself. the tripod head for your tracking mount. There are 5 main components to a setup like this.

ball-head. Tracking . With a ball head you will have to hold your entire apparatus as you align it – definitely possible but probably frustrating. Adorama or eBay). There are 3 main types of tripod heads – pan/tilt (usually used for video). This is so you can keep your tracking polar aligned but freely move your camera in all directions to take different shots. Adorama or eBay) which has a large weight capacity and very smooth and accurate fine tuning. Any ball head will do as long as it can support the weight of your camera. and geared head. camera and lens but the best type by far is the geared heads as they make fine tuning your polar alignment much simpler. I recommend something like the Manfrotto 496RC2 (Amazon. Ball head for your camera The ball-head goes from your tracking mount to your camera. It also has a built-in level which is helpful. Tracking Mount Options Home-made Barn Door Tracker With a couple pieces of wood and a few pieces of hardware you can make a tracking mount that you manually turn yourself (typically at 1RPM). A popular choice is the Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared Head (Amazon.The next piece of the chain is the tripod head that your tracking mount will attach to. Any type will work as long as it can support the combined weight load of your tracking mount.

They also make a polar alignment scope for it for precision alignment that costs almost as much as the Polarie itself but I have had no problems getting good alignment using the little “polar sight” hole that is on the Polarie itself.won’t be very accurate but if you build it to exact specifications and polar align decently you can have widefield exposures of around 5 minutes without any trailing. It’s a cool compromise that lets you do nice 1 minute starscape . Adorama oreBay). It is probably too shaky and inaccurate for telephoto shots but for wide or medium shots it will definitely get the job done. I built one following the instructions in this guide here before moving onto other methods. The Polarie also features lunar and solar tracking modes as well as a special 1/2 speed “starscape” mode where it tracks at half speed to better keep landscape elements from blurring but at the same time offsetting star trailing somewhat. The downside is you will be manually turning it the whole time which means sometimes for hours at a time. I don’t think the scope is a necessary purchase unless you plan on doing a lot of 300mm+ long exposure shots. Here is another guide for making one. The Vixen Polarie portable tracker I really love the Vixen Polarie (Amazon. It’s smaller than your camera body. It costs about $400 and that is priced very competitively compared to other alternatives. runs off two AA batteries (2-3 hours of tracking on those) and is insanely easy to set up.

The Astrotrac portable tracking mount The Astrotrac (Amazon or Adorama) was first to the market with an affordable and portable tracking solution for DSLR users. I have now posted a more detailed review of the Polarie here. One feature it does have is a tracking port for autoguiders to further improve tracking accuracy. Piggy-back on a telescope If you already own a telescope on an equatorial mount with a motorized tracker you can simply piggy back your camera onto the telescope (there are adapters sold for this purpose) or even directly attach your camera to the . It also holds a lot more weight than the Polarie but the downside is its less portable and slightly more expensive. It comes standard with a polar scope though at most places you can buy it and when you factor that in. Due to its design the Astrotrac is technically more accurate at tracking – accurate enough for people to use telescopes on it. It features solar and lunar tracking modes like the Polarie but lacks the half speed starscape mode.shots instead of the regular 30 seconds while keeping both landscape and stars in decent focus. The Polarie wouldn’t exist without the success of the Astrotrac. its only slightly more expensive than a Polarie + polar scope combo. It also requires 8 AA’s to operate instead of 2 AA’s and must be rewound after tracking for a while.

10x3min (18min total). Alignment is different in the northern and southern hemispheres.telescope. Then the mount rotates at the same rate as the sky to keep the stars in place. Polar Alignment North America Nebula – Nikon D700. Northern Hemisphere Alignment The star Polaris is almost exactly at the northern celestial pole. For the barndoor tracker you would sight along the hinge and for the other mounts they have either a scope to use or in the case of the Polarie a small hole to look through. If you know how to find “The Big Dipper” then you can find Polaris. Look North and use this diagram. 105mm.8. ISO3200 In order to track the stars you must align your tracking mount to the celestial pole. . That is called prime focus but I won’t be covering that here. I want to focus on what can be done with just your camera and regular lenses. f/2.

Polaris is unmistakable once you first learn to find it. You can also use the Southern Cross method as shown in the diagram to get you close to the pole.5 compared to Polaris at magnitude 2. It is a dim magnitude 5. . There are 2 main methods of finding it. forming an equilateral triangle with the third point being the celestial pole gives you an easy way to find Sigma Octantis. Southern Hemisphere Alignment The star closest to the southern celestial pole is Sigma Octantis in the constellation Octans. If you can see both Magellanic clouds.

300mm.M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy – Nikon D300. Light frames These are your regular pictures. In addition to regular frames (called light frames) there are other frames you should be taking to maximize the quality of your final image. A number I often use is 6. I just find it to be a good compromise of quality and the amount of time it takes to capture it all. There’s nothing special about this number.6. . f/5. This can drastically reduce the amount of noise in your final picture and all that extra signal will let you stretch the faint details of deep sky objects much better in post. Take as many as you can! Eventually you will hit diminishing returns for adding more exposures but more never hurts. 6x2min Stacking. Stacking is when you take a bunch of images of the exact same thing and then stack them on top of eachother to improve the signal to noise ratio. stacking and more stacking Now that your camera is tracking the stars you can fully take advantage of exposure stacking.

. The goal is to get an evenly illuminated frame. It is VERY important to take dark frames at the same temperature as your light frames as temperature has a big effect on noise and hot pixels. One way I like to take flat frames is a clear twilight sky before you can see any stars. Flat frames should be shot at the same f-stop and focal length as your Light frames. or throw a few white sheets in front of the lens with a bright light source behind it. If your camera has a histogram you want the peak to be right in the middle. You can also use a light box. dust spots and other optical system anomalies. Aim the camera away from the sun so there’s no gradient and its evenly illuminated across the frame. I like to usually get as many dark frames as I do light frames. It’s best to use Aperture priority with the lowest ISO setting of your camera (usually ISO 100 or 200). It’s good to take a few of these for stacking. They will be useful later on in the processing section. One tip to remember is to shoot your darks and flats at the same orientation as your lights (portrait or landscape) – it just makes things easier when you are processing everything. Flat frames Flat frames are used to remove vignetting. Great.Dark frames I discussed these in previous parts of the guide but dark frames are identical to light frames except you put the lens cap on your camera when taking them. Like light frames you want lots of these to stack. They are then subtracted from your light frames to remove all that unwanted junk. so you have all the frames.

1000mm. stack of 10x1minute frames What should I shoot? Here’s a few targets to get you started.The Orion Nebula – Nikon D300. You can use a program like Stellarium (free) to find these. iPhone/Android/tablet apps and other ways to help you find objects easily. There are also lots of books. • • • • • • • • • • Hyades and Pleiades star clusters Barnard’s Loop and the Orion Nebula Large and Small Magellanic clouds (southern hemisphere only) Andromeda Galaxy (best for 200mm+) North America Nebula The Whirl Pool Galaxy (300mm minimum) Lagoon Nebula and Trifid Nebula Omega Nebula and Eagle Nebula Flaming Star Nebula Horsehead Nebula .

Trifid Nebula. I’ll also be focusing on a few Photoshop plugins that can greatly enhance your processing capabilities. Lagoon Nebula. This includes converting your raw files and getting them into Photoshop. Shot at only 70mm! So hopefully you have some shots to work with now. Guide Navigation Introduction & The Basics | Beginner Shots | Advanced Shots | Photoshop Processing . There are some freeware tools we will be looking at too for stacking purposes. Let’s move onto the final part which is processing in Photoshop. If you are a complete beginner you will probably be lost but this isn’t a Photoshop beginner’s guide.4 nebula in one shot – from top to bottom: Eagle Nebula. Omega Nebula. I’m going to assume you have a working knowledge of Photoshop. These will all be done in video format so I apologize if my monotone voice puts you to sleep. Photoshop Processing A lot of the techniques I describe here are most likely possible in other image editing programs but my only real experience is with Photoshop so hopefully it is easily translatable if you are using something else.

Basic Processing The easiest ways to immediately improve your image are to neutralize the sky background (basically white balancing) and correctly setting black and white . Note you will probably have to switch it to 720p or 1080p and go fullscreen to be able to read anything.- Stacking with DeepSkyStacker If you have more than just light frames you can use the freeware programDeepSkyStacker. I explain the basics in the below video.

StarSpikes Pro plugin This little plugin is a way to add some character to your stars with Diffraction spikes and glow effects.0 (also available at Adorama). Note you will probably have to switch it to 720p or 1080p and go fullscreen to be able to read anything. Note you will probably have to switch it to 720p or 1080p and go fullscreen to be able to read anything. Final Words I hope you enjoyed this guide and it encouraged you to try your hand at Astrophotography. Note you will probably have to switch it to 720p or 1080p and go fullscreen to be able to read anything. It’s available from their website. PictureCode Noise Ninja. Either plugin will serve you well and are much better than the default noise reduction that ships with many image editing programs. Noise Reduction Plugins The Photoshop noise reduction plugins discussed in this video are Nik Dfine 2. . anything I should change or if there’s more tutorials you want to see. and Topaz DeNoise (my favorite one).levels. I also discuss how you can bring out more structure in things like the milky way or nebulosity. Stacking Star Trails Here is a quick little video to show you how to stack multiple-exposure Star Trail images using the free Startrails application. Please leave comments with your feedback and let me know if there’s anything big that I missed. Links of Interest These are some links suggested by readers.

Magic Lantern Firmware – Custom firmware for the Canon 5D MKII. This may make some of them viable for some forms of Astrophotography. Canon Hack Development Kit – Allows you to take RAW exposures and have full manual control with many Canon “point and shoot” cameras. Backyard EOS – Camera control software for Canon DSLRs (hook up your DSLR to a laptop and take pictures from there) Astronomy for Beginners – Resource for both observing and astrophotography for beginners. . longer exposures. T1i/T2i/T3i or 50d/60d and potentially more. ISOs. and more. more shutter speeds. Another Barn Door Tracker – A third design for the home made barn door tracker. This is a custom firmware that can add an in camera intervalometer.