Introduction to Astrophotography

This introductory class will show you how to capture the great expanse of the universe using relatively inexpensive gear and the right processing tools.
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Astrophotography is taking off in popularity because of the convergence of high quality, inexpensive consumer cameras, proliferation of GPS electronics and a pandemic that keeps us at home. Galileo redefined the relationship between mankind and the universe with a telescope far inferior to what you can buy today at Walmart for $44.95. His camera was a sketchpad. Today, with a $1000 telescope and a $600 camera (or much less) any of us can take images that exceed scientific observatories just a generation ago.

But, with all this capability already within your grasp at home or just an Amazon web page away, it can still be intimidating to figure out how to get started. There are buckets of YouTube videos that while helpful, still make it easier to just say “I’ll try this another day” rather than just getting out and taking your first image tonight.  Which you can!

This session will provide any photo enthusiast with the basics of how to get started in astrophotography. We’ll start with an overview of the 3 types of astrophotography: nightscapes, planets and deep sky objects. Then, demystify how to get started with your iPhone or the DSLR and lens you already have. We’ll cover connecting your DSLR to a telescope and how to process images with Photoshop and other astro-specific software packages.  We’ll differentiate between what’s “good enough” for your first images and how to grow into better and better images as you go. And of course, we’ll show lots of examples and how they were shot.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
  • How is astrophotography different from your daylight images
  • Three types of astrophotography – Nightscape, Planetary, and Deep Sky Objects
  • Avoiding intimidation from most webinars & videos
  • A telescope is just a big lens for your DSLR
  • Magnification vs aperture & field-of-view
  • Connecting a camera to a telescope
  • Long exposures, tracking and guiding
  • Signal to Noise – eliminating noise
  • Processing images
  • Aligning images
  • Stacking (averaging images)
  • “Stretching”
  • Using Photoshop and Curves
  • Getting started tonight with DSLR or iPhone

All photos featured on this workshop page were taken by instructor Jim Pollock in his backyard.

  • Cost per person is $55 early registration, $65 late registration.
  • Login in to the Zoom meeting at least 15 minutes before the class starts to become familiar with the program and work out any technical issues that may occur.
  • Class starts promptly at 7:00pm CT and lasts until 9:00pm CT.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 20.

Q: How will the online sessions be different from being in the classroom?
A: Like in the classroom, the online sessions are demonstration classes where you do not need to have specific astrophotography gear during the class.

Attendees will be on mute but can ask questions through various methods on Zoom, such as the chat feature. If there is a specific question, the instructor can answer those questions after the session has ended or by email.

We encourage you to use the video feature when you join the Zoom class! It will help us feel connected and engaged as a class, even though we aren’t all in one place. To use the video feature, you will need a webcam.

Q: Where is the class held?
A: This class will be held online using Zoom.

Q: Do I have to live in North Texas to take the online classes?

A: No! Have you always wanted to take a photography class with your friend or family member but you aren’t in the same location? This is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill with a buddy near or far.

Q: How will I know if the class makes or not?
A: If the class doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than the day before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: If you cancel 3-7 days ahead of the scheduled date of the class, you will receive no refund or 50% transfer credit toward another similar class within 3 months of the cancellation date. There is no refund or transfer credit for cancellations within 48 hours of start time of the class or workshop. Full details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Jim Pollock

After receiving an electrical engineering degree from MIT, Jim worked at a scientific instrumentation division of Hewlett-Packard before involvement in 8 early stage technology companies including 4 startups of his own. He is currently the CEO of LumenAstra, a startup commercializing a patent from the University of Colorado for a non-invasive, wearable core body temperature sensor. For kicks, Jim plays the piano, bikes a couple thousand miles a year and stares into space through his telescope. Always pursuing efficiency, he has combined two of his favorite hobbies by entering the world of astrophotography and loves sharing it with anyone who will listen (or has no way to leave).

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