Stars: Both a portfolio and a DIY tutorial

Copyright (C) Peter Shah
Copyright (C) Peter Shah

At first, Peter Shah seems to be the usual astronomy photographer. He goes out at night to look at the sky with a photo camera and a very big lens on a tripod. This is actually wrong. Peter Shah is actually a perfectionist. Where most amateur astronomers learned to grind a mirror by themselves in order to build a bigger, better astro lens, Peter has perfected the art of improving the little details that make a difference between a good lens and a near perfect photo.

For example, covering the concrete pier, where the 8 inch lens is affixed, with a gold mylar sheet was a step into reducing unwelcome heat radiation that was impairing his pictures. [Peter Shah’s equipment]

You should absolutely go and check his wonderful stars and nebulae’s images. Peter authorized me to copy here a photo I would love to be able to do (any time I start shooting stars, of course): A full color photo of the Horse Head Nebula (in my eyes, one of the most marvelous sight in our skies).

Now, as we are on YLovePhoto and I am always tempted to help my readers improve their photos, I also found a useful article by Jason Anderson (from Canon Blogger) posted on the excellent DIY Photography web site. You will learn how he built a DIY star tracker (very much what astro-photographers would do). But you will start by the excellent basic advice of 5 tips:

  1. Use a tripod
  2. Turn on the in-camera noise reduction
  3. Drop your ISO to its lowest setting
  4. Make sure you are working with fully charged batteries and have some spares!
  5. Try to shoot in a remote area where there is not much stray light

The Create Wonderful Astrophotography Images With A DIY Star Tracker article will have you brain working. Maybe, you will try your photo camera at night, too.