Capture Your Own Stunning Images of the Night Sky
by Brian Ventrudo, Publisher, One-Minute Astronomer
“This is the best book for beginning astrophotographers I’ve read yet.” – Lane Davis
Perhaps it was a moment near twilight, when the crescent moon hovered over the Pleiades, with Mars and Saturn nearby.
Or maybe it was the sight in your telescope of the bands and Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Or simply the thick star clouds of the Milky Way overhead on a warm July night.
And you thought, “If only I could capture this in a photograph.”
Now, you can. Because in in the last few years, even off-the-shelf digital SLR cameras (or DSLR’s) can give you the power to take beautiful photos of the night sky. Without the hassle and expense of preparing and handling old-style film cameras.
And thanks to a new guide from a world-famous astrophotographer, taking your own images of the deep sky is easier than you ever imagined.
A Legendary Astrophotographer Shares His Secrets With You
Allow me to introduce Jerry Lodriguss.
Jerry is one of the most accomplished astrophotographers and photography teachers of the past 20 years.
He literally wrote the book on taking pictures of the night sky with digital cameras. His first work, A Guide to Astrophotography with Digital SLR Cameras, was a multi-media guide to taking pro-level astrophotos with off-the-shelf digital cameras.
It won a Sky and Telescope award for Hot Product of 2007.
And it gained Jerry a wide following among stargazers all over the world for his clear and precise explanations of how to take stunning photographs of the night sky.
(As it happens, Jerry’s also an award winning sports photographer. He’s won numerous awards, and was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize when he was at the Philadelphia Inquirer).
Jerry now does astrophotography full time. And he’s turned his skill as a photographer and teacher to create A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography, a brand new guide to help you (and even me) get started taking beautiful astrophotos with a DSLR camera. Even if you don’t know the first thing about astronomy or astrophotography.
Take Great Astrophotos Your First Night Out
In A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography, you’ll start out taking simple astrophotos with a DSLR, camera lens, and fixed tripod… equipment you may already own. But just because these photos are easy to take, it doesn’t mean you won’t get great results, as the photo below will show you.
A DSLR photo of the Big Dipper
You’ll learn how to take great photos with your DSLR your first night out. And you’ll discover the key features of digital SLR cameras and lenses, including…
• Why paying more money for a DSLR for astrophotography is absolutely not necessary
• The one camera you must consider if you’re buying a new DSLR for photographing the heavens and for everyday use (Hint: You can buy this camera almost anywhere, and it’s among the least expensive of all digital SLR cameras).
• Which two leading camera manufacturers make the consistently best DSLRs for astrophotography
• A quick no-math primer on the key features of DSLR’s for astrophotography, and how digital cameras work to capture faint images
• Why you shouldn’t waste your money chasing more mega-pixels
• The most important DSLR features for astrophotography, and the one thing you must keep in mind if you’re choosing a new DSLR
• What all those buttons and settings on your camera are for, and how they affect your photos in daylight and at night
• Straight talk on digital file format, and which picture format you should use when starting out
• How digital cameras mimic film speed, and how to select the speed for different kinds of celestial objects
• The role of thermal and electronic noise in influencing image quality in digital cameras, and how and when to use in-camera noise reduction
• How to select a remote release cable: an astrophotographer’s best friend
• Camera lenses explained: the role of aperture, focal length, and focal ratio in capturing great images
• How camera lenses and telescopes differ, and when to use each for best results
• Three fool-proof methods to focus a camera on a dark sky
• A detailed list of cost-effective camera lenses for DSLR astrophotography
• Two inexpensive camera filters to consider for basic astrophotography, and when to use them
• The best camera lens to use for your first few attempts at astrophotography
Messier 51, the “Whirlpool” Galaxy, imaged with a telescope and DSLR
The “Technical Stuff” Made Easy
Once you get a taste of what you can do with just a camera and tripod, you won’t be able to wait to try your skill with your camera through a telescope.
But which telescope? What kind of mount do you need? And what other accessories do you need to capture faint images and fine detail with your DSLR?
Jerry Lodriguss will use his 25 years of expertise to guide you through everything you need to know, including…
• Which kinds of telescopes are best for beginning astrophotographers (and which scopes to avoid… the answer to this question is surprising for most visual observers)
• How much to spend on a good photo-ready scope (in some cases, the right scope will cost less than the DSLR you already own!)
• Why some of the best telescopes for visual use fail miserably at astrophotography
• The one accessory you must have to correct for a common optical deficiency in telescopes; without this tiny optical tool, you’ll have trouble from Day 1
• Exact instructions to make an amazingly simple mount for your camera to help you shoot longer time exposures of the night sky
• What you must understand about the two types of telescope mounts available today, and which mount works best for each type of astrophoto
• Why the mount for your scope is just as important (or more so) for astrophotography than the telescope itself
• A list of recommended mounts for astrophotography, and which telescope mounts are a total waste of your time and money
• Two websites to help you find top-quality mounts at discounted prices
• How to keep dew off your camera and telescope lenses
• The best batteries to use to power your camera and telescope equipment, and two reasons why a car battery is never the best choice for an astrophotographer
• The truth about light-pollution filters for astrophotography (and which filters are worthy of your investment)
Comet Lulin with a DSLR and telescope
Step-By-Step Guide to Capturing and Optimizing Your Photos
Getting the right equipment is one thing. But here’s where most newbies get completely lost: in actually using the equipment. I’ve seen many an amateur acquire their set-up, and spend thousands of dollars on equipment, then… nothing. They’re so intimidated by actually taking a decent astrophoto, they’re paralyzed with fear, and give up. And their equipment sits there unused for years. It’s sad to see.
But as you read A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography, this won’t happen to you. With short, easy-to-follow instructions, and without technical jargon, you’ll learn how to use your camera in manual mode and how to correctly set your DSLR for astrophotography through a camera lens or a telescope.
You’ll see for yourself:
• The easiest way to capture memorable images of meteor showers with your DSLR
• How to take appealing time-exposure photographs of star trails
• The next-easiest type of astrophotography: piggyback mounting your DSLR on your telescope to capture stunning images in dark sky
• How to replace your camera lens with your telescope: the basics of prime-focus astrophotography
• The basics of photographing the moon and sun… perhaps the easiest targets for capturing through a telescope
• Taking photos directly through your eyepiece (called afocal astrophotography, this is far easier than it sounds)
• An equipment checklist for astrophotographers (use this list, and you’ll never experience the frustration of leaving behind a critical component)
• The key elements you must keep in mind as you plan an astrophoto
• An expert guide to aligning your telescope mount to the poles… the critical step in avoiding ruinous star trails in your photo
• How to estimate correct exposure time for most celestial objects, from the full moon to the faintest nebulae
• How to use white balance to make sure the background sky in your photos turns out the right tone and color
• 10 master tips for taking great astrophotos (and having fun doing it)
• How to calibrate your computer monitor to view your digital images in the best color
• A whirlwind tour of the options for image processing software for digital photos, and a straight-up recommendation of free software that’s ideal for beginning astrophotographers
• How to evaluate and correct your photos for problems in exposure, noise, focus, color, and contrast
• Free online tools to digitally remove noise from your images
• A digital trick to sharpen the focus of your images (and the trade-offs you have to consider before trying this technique)
• What you absolutely must do to safeguard your image files (both originals and modified versions)
A star party under the Milky Way
You’ll even get a taste of the advanced techniques the experts use to produce magazine-quality astro-images, including:
• The amazing benefit of image stacking… adding many short exposures to make a long exposure with more contrast and less noise
• How to calibrate and improve your images using dark frames, bias frames, and flat-field frames to reduce the effects of noise and optical peculiarities of your system
• The basics of how to enhance your images and bring out the maximum amount of color and detail using free software tools
• How to use the Live View feature of your camera to capture a video signal of planets, and process the signal with free software to achieve amazingly high resolution (this technique produces planetary images with a small telescope better than the biggest ground-based telescopes only 15 years ago)
• A primer on guiding and autoguiding long-exposure photographs to ensure crisp images of faint deep-sky objects
• How to control and automate your DSLR with a computer to take the hard work out of astrophotography… with these tips, you can even take a nap during longer exposures
• The basics of making incredible time-lapse movies out of still photographs… you can do this just with a camera and tripod and simple free software.
There’s even a section on common mistakes and problems illustrated with actual images so you can see what things look like when they go wrong. And there are solutions for correcting these problems and common mistakes.
Capture Your Own Images of the Cosmos
With A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography, you’ll take beautiful astrophotos with your DSLR camera using simple and easy techniques. Even if you’ve never photographed the night sky.
You’ll learn to take simple but lovely photographs with a camera and tripod. And you’ll get step-by-step guidance on the fine art of how to photograph the deep sky with a DSLR and a small telescope. And because your camera captures fainter stars and detail than you can see with your eye, or even with a telescope, you’ll be amazed at the amount of detail you’ll record.
A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography overcomes the limitations of a traditional paper book. That’s because it’s in a digital format, shipped to you on a CD-ROM. The files are in HTML, just like a web page, so you can view it on your computer in any web browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Opera. It’s just like browsing a website. And it’s compatible with Windows and Mac computers. Just put the CD in your computer, click “Start”, and away you go.
You can also copy the entire book to your hard drive so the pages and images will load quicker.
The pages have been formatted so they print directly from your web browser. And they include several “mouse-over” examples that show “before/after” versions of astrophotos to help illustrate the techniques in the book. Plus you can easily hop back and forth in the book with the built-in links and table of contents.
To order A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography, just click on the link below. The cost is just US$39.95, a modest price indeed for what many are saying is the best book on astrophotography ever written for beginners.
In real dollars, it used to cost more than that to develop a roll of film just 25 years ago. And to get the kind of expertise you’ll gain in this book in a course at your local university or astronomy club, you’d pay $100 to $200 or more. And that’s if you can find a local expert willing to teach you this kind of material.
And A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography comes with a full guarantee… if for any reason you’re not satisfied with the book, just send it back with a quick note and you’ll get a full refund. No questions asked.
So why not give A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography a try? Pop it in your computer, have a look at the first few chapters, and you’ll be out with your camera and tripod that same night. It’s that easy to use. And you’ll be on your way to discovering how to capture more of the beauty and wonder of the universe than you ever imagined.
Publisher, One-Minute Astronomer
P.S. Here’s some feedback from a few advance readers of A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography:
“If you’ve been inspired by the beautiful astrophotos seen on the internet and in magazines and books and you’re contemplating exploring this facet of the hobby, A Beginner’s Guide to DSLR Astrophotography will prove a wise investment. ”
– Jim Sweeney
“This is the best book for beginning astrophotographers I’ve read yet. It makes recommendations on specific equipment and gives detailed instructions on how to use that equipment to deliver good images quickly. It also discusses how to improve those images in easy steps. The only thing missing is how to control the weather! I highly recommend it”
– Lane Davis
“This is the book I wish I had before I ever aimed a camera at the stars.”
– Steve Mattan