Deep Space Course

The 2023 Edition of the Deep Space Course is now available exclusively on Howtube.  

The Deep Space Course was originally created back in 2018.  At the time, all I had was a DSLR, telephoto lens, and SkyGuider Pro.  This forced me to learn the night sky, since there was no fancy "go-to" function.  If you have a similar setup, you'll feel right at home throughout the course!  I'll cover the SkyGuider Pro and Star Adventurer to start off with.  Then we'll continue to add new gear to the mix, which should ultimately make our lives easier. 

Once you're comfortable with my "Beginner's Workflow", where we use a star tracker, DSLR, and telephoto lens, you can check out the "Intermediate Workflow".  This is where we add an auto-guider to the mix.  This should allow your star tracker to run much more accurately, giving you better-quality images.

Finally, we have the "Advanced Workflow", where we incorporate a dedicated astro camera, filter wheel, ASIAir, and auto-guider.  This should give you the best-quality images with your star tracker.  

If you're ready to upgrade to a go-to mount, we'll cover that entire process too.  I'll walk you through the basics, and show you how to make everything much simpler with the help of the ASIAir.  We'll also discuss some of the unexpected problems you may encounter when upgrading to a larger, faster telescope.  

In 2022 I went back and re-recorded all of the processing tutorials with my latest techniques and software.  We'll mainly use Photoshop for the processing, which should be a perfect fit if you're already a photographer.  I'll have links to my own RAW, FITS, and TIFF files so you can follow along with me during the tutorials.  Below each video you'll find a full written description of our workflows too, so you can quickly refer back to them if you're a bit confused.

The latest 2023 update includes PixInsight tutorials.  My goal with these videos is to teach you the basics of PixInsight, and make sure you feel comfortable using the advanced software.  Then we go back and look at some of the flaws of the Photoshop workflows and see how we can improve on those points in PixInsight.  For example - histogram stretching.  With Photoshop, we have to do a series of Levels adjustment layers to bring out the faint details of our nebula or galaxy.  This can be very difficult and time consuming!  With PixInsight, all we need to do is hit CTRL A and the image is perfectly stretched.  There are also powerful plugins that can simplify and speed up the rest of the workflow.  With a little practice, I think you'll really start to enjoy using PixInsight for your 2023 images.  

The Deep Space Course currently has over 100 videos, with more coming throughout the year!  You're free to download any of these videos directly to your computer and watch offline.  Maybe you want to take the "Beginner's Workflow" out into the field with you, no problem!  Just click the "Download" button in the howtube video player, then copy that video file to your phone or tablet.  

Click here for more information on the Deep Space Course.

Milky Way Course

The Milky Way Course is a combination of all the earlier "Star Tracker Courses" and my "Astro Post-Processing Course" combined into one.  You'll get access to full tutorials on the SkyGuider Pro, Star Adventurer, and MoveShootMove, all in the same place!  I've also created 3 distinct workflows you can choose from in this course.

First up we have the Beginner's Workflow, which is meant to keep things simple.  All you need is a wide angle lens, camera, and tripod.  I'll explain what camera settings work best, how to actually take your images, and how to process them on the computer.  With a little practice, you'll be up and running!

Next is my personal workflow, which I'm calling "The Lazy Workflow".  This is designed to make your life easier!  How can we get the best quality images with the least amount of headaches?  You'll need a star tracker for this workflow though.  I've got full-length tutorials for the three best-selling trackers in this course.  

Finally we have the Dithering Workflow.  This is intended for the advanced shooters, who want the absolute best-quality images.  You'll be taking 4+ images, with a slight motion in-between each shot.  Once you stack these photos on the computer, any sensor-related problems should be removed.  That includes Hot Pixels, banding, color mottle, and more!

One of the problems with online courses is that you want to watch the videos offline, when you're actually out there in the field.  With that in mind, I've enabled Downloads through the howtube video player.  Feel free to download any videos from the course directly to your computer.  Then you can copy them to your smartphone / tablet, and watch whenever / wherever you want!  

As always, this course will continue to receive free updates in the future.  

Click here to learn more about the Milky Way Course


Star Trails Course

One of the problems with Milky Way and Deep Space is that we can't really shoot when the moon is out.  It tends to wash out the fainter details in the nebulae / galaxy.  However, we can still capture an amazing star trails image!  One of my goals with this course is to teach you how to create a beautiful star trails photo, regardless of the phase of the moon.  

We'll also cover two different workflows in this course.  The Standard Workflow is our starting point.  You'll take hundreds of ~20 second photos over the span of a few hours.  We can use these images for both a star trails photo, and timelapse video.  You may encounter some problems with this workflow if your computer is older, or you don't have a fast SSD.

The Alternate Workflow has been designed for those with older computer, larger megapixel cameras, and anyone who wants to save some space.  We'll be taking a few dozen ~4 minute exposures.  This will still create a nice star trails image, but we won't have to deal with hundreds of RAW photos anymore.

The course itself is broken up into 3 modules - Planning, On Location, and Post-Processing.  We'll start off by discussing the gear you actually need, how to work around the moon, planning out your compositions, and more.  Next, I'll head outside and show you how to setup your camera for the various workflows.  Finally, we'll go through and edit our photos together. I'll include my own RAW, TIFF, and JPEG files, so you can practice along with me in the tutorials.  We will be using Adobe Bridge, Camera RAW, and Photoshop for most of the processing.  Whether you are on Mac or Windows, you'll be able to follow along just fine.

Click here for more information on the Star Trails Course.