Many people are disappointed when they look through a telescope and see faint deep-sky objects as subtle gray smudges. They don’t look anything like the gorgeous pictures they see in books and magazines. Those amazing color images are made possible by the magic of long-exposure astrophotography. Besides capturing what you can see visually, astrophotography allows you to take pictures of things that are too faint to be seen, and colors that can not be seen at all.
New low-noise DSLR (digital single lens reflex) DSLR cameras, such as the Nikon D50 and Canon EOS Rebel XT (350D), are now reaching the price point where nearly everyone who has a telescope can afford one. The extremely low-noise properties of this latest generation of DSLR cameras make them ideal for astrophotography. And through digital processing, you can improve the color and contrast of the images they take, and make your images as outstanding as those you see in the magazines.
This “book on a CD-ROM” is a practical guide to astrophotography with these modern DSLR cameras. It explains how digital cameras work and everything you need to know about how to take astrophotos with them. It also tells you how to process the images after you have shot them, with step-by-step directions that produce beautiful results. Beginner astrophotographers often ask how to determine the best ISO and exposure to use for their particular sky conditions at their observing site. This book tells you the answers to these questions, plus many others that you haven’t even thought to ask yet!
You can start out easy, with a simple camera on tripod and shoot beautiful scenic shots of the Moon, planets and star trails and constellations. Then you can advance to wide-angle piggyback photography. And finally you can master long-exposure deep-sky photography of nebulas and galaxies. The book takes you through all the stages, one painless step at a time.
In the image processing chapter, you learn how to work with simple, easy-to-take JPEG images right out of the camera. You learn how to remove vignetting, color correct and enhance images, sharpen and reduce noise.
In the advanced image processing section, you learn how to correctly calibrate raw images with support frames such as dark frames and how to apply non-linear processing through techniques such as digital development. These basic and advanced image correction and enhancement techniques can be used with images taken with any DSLR camera.
This is not a traditional paper book. It is a digital book on CD-ROM that you can view on your computer using any internet web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Opera. It offers unique features such as “mouse-overs” that allow comparisons of images before and after processing. An example is shown below. Hold your mouse cursor over the image to see a comparison between the original image as the camera recorded it and the final image after applying the color correction, adjustment, and enhancement techniques described in this book.
A powerful built-in search engine provides automatic links to the pages containing the search terms. Video tutorials and practice files are included on the CD-ROM.. You get more than 100 minutes of video tutorials, with step-by-step instructions for complete image processing and enhancement of JPEG and Raw images. The original image files used in the tutorials are also included for you to practice with.
With this book you will discover how easy it is to: take beautiful astrophotos with just a simple camera on tripod; shoot the Sun, Moon, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and other celestial objects; and use your DSLR camera to shoot through your telescope. It shows you how to determine the correct exposure and ISO to use for astrophotos; how to focus your camera for razor-sharp images; and how to take short exposures of faint deep-sky objects and combine them into a longer exposure; and how to shoot raw format images and improve them with calibration frames. After you’ve taken your images, the book shows you how to perform brightness, contrast and color correction; how to correct vignetting and uneven field illumination; and more
Low-noise DSLR cameras have opened up an exciting new world of digital astrophotography. These cameras are capable of taking remarkably beautiful images of celestial objects. With this book you can become a master at astrophotography with a DSLR camera. What are you waiting for!
The author, Jerry Lodriguss, is a prize-winning sports photographer and expert in Photoshop who has been an astrophotographer for more than 25 years. His articles on Photoshop, digital processing and scanning astrophotos have been published in Sky and Telescope and other magazines, and his astronomical images have appeared in books and magazines throughout the world.