Have you always wanted to take beautiful photos of the Milky Way? Not sure what camera settings to use, or how to get better photos? I had the same problems! After spending the past 5 years learning as much as I could about astrophotography, I wanted to create a series of videos that would help anyone take better images of the night sky. Most importantly, this tutorial series had to show the entire process! It starts by planning your photo shoot, then picking the right camera gear, learning which camera settings to use, setting up the star tracker in the field, and even post-processing the RAW photos! Each star tracker course contains over 14 hours of content!
A star tracker is a relatively simple device that moves the camera at the same speed as the stars. Now that you are no longer limited by the Earth's rotation, you can easily take 4+ minute exposures! This allows you to capture a stunning amount of detail and color, with virtually no grain. Of course, there is one drawback. You will need to take 2 photos from now on, one photo for the foreground, and another for the sky. Once you have both images, you can blend the two together in Photoshop. While this can be tricky, I've developed a few blending techniques that even a complete beginner can do!
First, you need to determine which star tracker will work best for your needs. You have plenty of options to choose from, including the iOptron SkyTracker Pro and SkyGuider Pro, and the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer and Star Adventurer Mini. You can visit my complete Star Tracker Buying Guide for more information and comparisons between each model. While all of these trackers will allow you to capture amazing images, they don't exactly come with clear, easy instructions.
If you want to learn how to do deep space astrophotography, you'll love my new Deep Space Course. This course will teach you how to find, photograph, and edit 12 of the best deep space objects with just a DSLR, telephoto lens, and star tracker! For more information on the Deep Space Course, click here.
The MoveShootMove star tracker is the most portable and lightweight option for Milky Way photographers. This little tracker will fit inside your pocket and allow you to shoot 4+ minute exposures with a wide angle lens. That will translate to incredibly clean, detailed photos of the night sky! The MSM also has a fantastic polar alignment configuration that makes this process a breeze (for those living in the Northern Hemisphere anyway). I highly recommend the MSM tracker for Milky Way photographers who like to hike at night! This course will teach you how to plan out your photoshoot, which camera settings work best, my recommended camera gear, how to polar align your star tracker, my recommended shooting method for nightscape photography, and how to process and blend your photos!
The iOptron SkyGuider Pro is the heavy duty star tracker that I currently use. It features a clutch mechanism, declination bracket, and counterweight that will allow you to capture stunning deep sky images with a telephoto lens. However, it's also one of the most complex and difficult star trackers to actually use, especially for beginners. Don't worry though, that's why I created this course!
In the SkyGuider Pro course, I will show you exactly how to setup the SkyGuider Pro for your specific needs - whether you just want to do wide-angle nightscapes, or deep space astrophotography. As always, we cover everything you need to know, from start to finish. You will learn how to plan your night photography trips, how to take your images, how to use the SkyGuider Pro correctly, and even edit your images. Since the SkyGuider Pro can handle telephoto lenses, I've included a special deep sky tutorial. This will show you the proper way to set up the SkyGuider Pro specifically for telephoto lenses, and how to edit your nebula or galaxy images using numerous advanced techniques.
We'll even cover how to use an auto-guider with your SkyGuider Pro! This opens up a whole new world for deep space astrophotography. Without an auto-guider, you are usually limited to 1 minute or less exposures at 400mm+. Once you have an auto-guider configured properly, you can easily shoot 3+ minutes at 400mm+! In the Auto-Guider module I'll show you everything you need to know about buying, installing, and using an auto-guider with your SkyGuider Pro.
The Star Adventurer is one of the most popular star trackers on the market. It features an 11 lb payload capacity that will allow you to use a full-frame camera and telephoto lens with ease! In the Star Adventurer Course we focus on both wide angle and telephoto images. You'll learn how to capture stunning nightscapes with your star tracker, and also how to photograph and edit distant nebulae and galaxies. This course covers it all!
Since the Star Adventurer has the ability to use an Auto-Guider, we'll also cover this whole process in-depth. An auto-guider should allow your Star Adventurer to get much better tracking results, especially when shooting above 200mm. This increased accuracy will make a massive difference on your overall image quality. In the Auto-Guider Module, I'll teach you everything you need to know about buying, installing, and using an auto-guider to get great results.
The iOptron SkyTracker Pro is a small, lightweight tracker that's perfect for the beginner or someone who wants to keep things simple and lightweight. The SkyTracker Pro will work great for wide angle photos and camera rigs up to 5 lbs. If you want to use a heavier setup, or telephoto lens, you will likely want to jump up to the SkyGuider Pro, which features an 11 lb payload capacity and can easily handle a 150-600mm lens when set up properly.
The SkyTracker Pro course will teach you everything you need to know about astrophotography including: Planning, Camera Settings, how to setup the SkyTracker Pro in the field, and even Post-Processing!
The SAM is the most versatile star tracker on the market. It features WiFi capabilities and an app that will allow you to control the entire star tracker from your smartphone. While this opens up a whole new world of possibilities, especially for timelapses, it also complicates the whole process. In this course, I will teach you how to use the SAM Console App to get the most out of your Mini. We will look at each timelapse mode, how to setup the star tracker in the field, and how to edit your images. As always, this course includes the full process from start to finish, with over 10 hours of instructional videos!