Nov 9, 2014

Astrophotography Workshop

At the end of August I had the chance to attend an astrophotography workshop by Sean Parker in North Lake Tahoe. This was my first time attending a photography workshop of any kind and I didn't know quite what to expect.

After signing up Sean was very helpful and knowledgeable, recommending lenses and making sure I had all the gear I needed. I have tried my hand at astrophotography in the past and never had great results so I was looking forward to learning from such a talented photographer. When I arrived, Sean talked through everything I needed to know about setup, camera settings, shooting the night sky and milky way. Within 15 minutes I had my camera setup and was shooting. One of my best photos of the night came from the first few I took.

After spending some time learning how to shoot the milky way and take composite photos, Sean taught us about light painting with headlamps and other light sources. To finish up our shoot on the beach we did a series of self portraits, resulting in my favorite photo of the night.

For the second part of the night we drove up the mountain and setup to take star trails. We shot a few photos to get setup and then let our cameras do the work. I ended up shooting for 80 minutes and taking 191 photos. The work came later during post processing where I batch edited all the raws and then edited out all of the planes from each individual image. Once this was done I used StarStaX to combine all 191 photos into a single photo.

Almost as an after thought I decided to try a timelapse as well since I already had the photos and went through all the work to edit them. I'm pretty happy with the result having never done it before.

I attempted to shoot the following night as well, but the evening turned out to be very cloudy. The workshop couldn't have gone better, Sean is an excellent teacher and a phenomenal photographer, he is more than happy to share the tools and techniques he has spent so much time finding and developing. I learned a great deal about photography and the night sky in general. If you're at all interested in photography I highly recommend you take one of his workshops, I know I look forward to the next time I can attend one of Sean's workshops. I also have a feeling I'm going to be spending a lot of money on gear in the future, I'm hooked.