Because everyone should have access to information and put it into practice!
#1: Basics of Astrophotography
In this tutorial brought to you by AMP&F, I am covering the very basics of astrophotography to help you shoot the night sky in a single shot. Everyone owning a DSLR or mirrorless camera has the ability to go out and start shooting the night sky to gain experience, and it’s a very satisfying or even addictive adventure that begins. You will never look at the sky in the same way.
You will need a DSLR or mirrorless camera (compact cameras generally won’t do), a steady tripod, a shutter release (intervalometer), a good lens with a low minimum f-stop, and some patience. Practice makes perfect: watch a little outside demo in the field. Astrophotography is hard because of the amount of time you spend to perfect your pictures, but it is fun and worth it.
In order to get decent pictures, you will need to set up you camera on MANUAL mode, where you will be adjusting three main components:
-The ISO (sensor’s sensitivity to light) adjusted from the menu or quick menu. Increasing the ISO will result in brighter images but noise levels will increase quickly, turning your images grainy. A safe range is between 1600-6400 ISO for most cameras, depending on your other settings.
-The shutter speed (how much time your camera lets the light in): the longer you expose, the brighter the images. For astrophotos, you will need long shutter speeds, ranging from 1s to 30/40 seconds depending on your other settings and the focal length of your camera. To avoid star trail, you should open at a maximum of 500/focal length (notice: know if your camera is full frame or crop sensor). In order to get clean shots, use a tripod and shutter remote to avoid vibrations.
-The aperture is a metallic blade ring that controls the amount of light coming in. The wider the aperture, the more light comes in. However a wide aperture will also make it hard for you to focus and get super sharp stars, along with getting some distortions. I therefore recommend trying to shoot at least one f-stop higher than the minimum native f-stop of the lens.
For higher quality pictures, switch the quality from JPEG to RAW and turn off the automatic noise reduction of your camera. You will also need to choose a cloudless night, and get away from compromising street lights (find a really dark place: find on the map: http://darksitefinder.com/maps/world.html)
Try different settings and see which ones you like the most, and keep those in mind for future astrophotos.
Thank you for watching. I hope these basics were useful and will enable more and more people to get out at night and shoot what the starry skies have to offer. Don’t hesitate to like, comment, share and of course subscribe to my channel for more videos and tutorials coming soon!
#2: Editing single astrophotos in lr
In this new tutorial of the 'Astrophotography 101' sequel brought to you by AMP&F, I am covering the basics of editing and post-processing single pictures of the night sky. In the previous tutorial that you can watch here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQcRYj4AIT8), we learned about taking single astrophotos in RAW format. However virtually everyone edits their shots to make them look great, but more importantly, to make them look the way THEY like! We will be working exclusively with Adobe Lightroom, as it is one of the most wide-spread photo-editing software (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html), and I will try to help you create your own workflow:
-adjusting angle and crop (3:36)
-adjusting the White balance (5:09)
-adjusting the lighting (7:45)
-adjusting colors and saturation (11:45)
-making local adjustments (14:52)
-noise reduction (21:45)
-last touches and exporting (22:29)
Remember that the most important is that you produce the piece of art that you like, with your own touch! There are some common opinion standards that say 'your picture shouldn't contain too much noise or too much saturation...' but just go ahead with what you think is easy on the eye!
#3: Finding the best lenses for astro
Welcome in this new tutorial!
Do you want to get started with astrophotography but do not know about lenses and hardware? Then this tutorial is made for you. The lens plays a primordial role in getting gorgeous astrophotos, because it it writes the recipe for sharpness, light and distortion, along with having a huge impact on how you will use your camera in a certain situation. Let’s say that a lens can count as much as 50% in the quality of the frame when it is shot! One more good reason not to neglect your lenses, and to get to know them better!In this video, I wanted to share my own (rather subjective and short-lived) experience about astrophoto lenses, so that beginners and more advanced photographers can benefit from it, and maybe not fall into the same traps. Indeed, while learning, you will want to buy certain items that you think are good for the time being, but thanks to this video, you might want to think twice! As astrophotography is becoming bigger but is still a rather small market for big companies, no real efforts had been made by famous manufacturers to produce affordable quality lenses for astrophotography. Canon, Nikon, Sony and more can justify the steep price of a lens because of its build quality and its sharpness, and a lot of them are good for astrophotography, but why spend thousands when you can get the same results, even better, for a couple hundred bucks?
The first part of the video is dedicated to explaining how a lens contributes in a clear (aperture 3:37), sharp (Sharpness 5:37) and undistorted (coma, abberation, fall-off 5:00) astrophoto. In a second part 6:46 , I cover a ranking of the best lenses for astrophotography by focal length, according to my own hands-on experience and knowledge. The ranking is off course biased and not comprehensive (remark: it covers only lenses for Canon and Sony cameras, which I own), and it may not be the same as your own experience. However having worked on astro timelapse and single shot astro-photography, I am starting to get the hang of what’s good and what works less. You can find lenses at:
Super wide angle 6:53
Wide angle 9:36
Medium format 12:20
Large format 14:05
In the conclusion 15:49, I unveil the overall winner of them all, the holy grail of the astrophotolenses: The Samyang/Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, as it the best quality glas with excellent corner-to-corner sharpness, virtually no coma (sorry about the pronunciation of the word in the video, I’m French :=) ), or vignette, and costs half the price of usual Canon or Sony lenses. I recommend this lens to anyone as their go-to lens for astrophotography! Thank you for watching.
#4: NOISE, ISO & Camera
In this new tutorial of AMP&F from the ‘Astrophotography 101’ series, I focus on three main points as a consequence of going further in improving the quality of untracked single astrophotos as seen in my previous tutorials.
In a first part, I spend some necessary time talking about NOISE, the major element destroying the quality of astrophotographs. Noise basically comes from three main sources. Environmental noise (5:23) comes from all the obstacles that block the trajectory of needed photons on their path from the light source to the sensor. It can generally be avoided by increasing the SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO (SNR) by swamping the potential noise with loads of light. Being aware of shooting conditions can also help in by-passing this type of noise, especially by choosing cloud-free, haze-free and low-humidity places/times. The second source is the on-chip read noise (9:16) and happens inside the sensor. While some noise is intrinsic to the camera and comes with it, others like heat noise can be avoided by shooting in cooler conditions or decreasing the exposure time (and/or by using calibration frames). The third type of noise, the off-chip read noise (12:29), is inherent to the circuit of the camera and can be avoided by shooting with a high SNR, or by choosing an ISO-invariant camera.
In a second part, I talk about the misconceptions of what ISO is and does. While it is NOT the sensitivity of the camera, it is merely an amplifier that amplifies the signal AND the noise that comes after the sensor. The ISO increases the environmental and on-chip read noise, but in the same proportion as that of the light, so it is only the SNR that determines if the noise will be visible or not (till a high threshold). The off-chip read noise adds to the available noise after amplification, showing why getting loads of light is primordial.
One should look into finding the camera’s optimal ISO to get the best dynamic range and the least effect of read noise. You can do the ISO test yourself (18:42). Choosing your camera can mean a lot in astrophotography with respect to noise. You need to pick one that has the best light effectivity and sensitivity, the best dynamic range and the best read noise performances. I establish an un comprehensive and biased top 5 cameras for astrophotography (21:48).
In a last part, I explain the different methods of post-process noise reduction, whether it is stacking, making astropanos, tracking or using calibration frames.
I hope these basics about noise, ISO and sensors were useful and will enable more and more people to get out at night and shoot.
Welcome to this new tutorial brought to you by AMP&F. After talking about the basics of astrophotography and how to take single astrophotos, it was only fitting to learn how to put them back to back to create a beautiful and simple film. Most amateur really want to get into it to capture milky way, auroras or moon shots, but never really dare. So here is your chance of easily understanding the basics and steps to adopt. Once you’re started, you will never look back and will be addicted to astro-lapse!
Join our Facebook group ‘Astrolapse’ for helpful info and stunning media sharing:
In the first part of the video, I focus on the prerequisites of shooting a time-lapse:
1) The gear needed for your shots
2)how to plan your shooting according to the location, the time of year, the weather conditions… Useful links to plan where celestials objects will be at according to your location and time of year is Starwalk (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.vitotechnology.StarWalk2Free&hl=en). Other ones to predict auroras are Aurora Service on the web (http://www.aurora-service.eu/aurora-forecast/) and Aurora forecast app (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/northern-lights-forecast-aurora-borealis-alerts/id1092949787?mt=8) which are to me the best ones.
3)Some theory behind a time-lapse
4) Shooting on location
a) Adjusting your camera settings
Links to my other tutorials: Basics of astrophotography
ISO & Noise:
How to choose your lenses for astrophoto:
How to process your single astro photos:
c) Adjusting your remote settings
d) Start shooting
5) POST- PROCESSING: creating a workflow
a)Import & save
b)Edit & process
c)Export as a series of images
d)Assemble (pick your frame rate, quality, dimension and codec)
e) Watch: you’re done!
In the second part of the video, I quickly go over some of the elements that can be improved from the planning and all the way to the workflow. I will certainly make other detailed tutorials upon request on these last elements, as they are important for getting stunning quality astrolapses, but for now, you beginners need to get out there and try out numerous times, there’s the key to success! Thank you for watching and I hope you enjoyed the video. I really hope you found it useful and that it will help you start astrolapse!
#6: Basics of aurora photography
In this episode, I quickly go over the basics of aurora shooting, and notably how to take a single exposure of the northern lights. To shoot the aurorae, you need to go to a location where they easily show, like Norway, Iceland, Canada, Sweden, Russia…From there, choose a clear night (the moon isn’t such a problem for auroras as they can be very bright, but choose preferably a moonless night to see all their details and colors), and go instal your camera in a nice location that you had spotted before. From there, follow the instructions of my tutorial:
- Install your gear (low-light performant camera, fast bight wide lens, sturdy tripod, intervalometer, maybe a lens heater to prevent the formation of condensation) (Watch my astro-tutorial about basics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQcRY... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgmUp...)
- Focus manually on a source of light in the far distance
- Adjust your settings: you might want to try different settings according to how fast and how bright the aurora is, but a good starting point is: Lowest f/stop that your lens allows, or a tad higher for more sharpness
Optimal ISO (watch my tutorial on finding it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTziT...) or ISO between 1600 and 6400 as a starting point
Shutter speed between 1 and 15 seconds depending on the other two. Be careful though, the longer you expose, the blurrier your aurora will be because it will have moved. The quicker the aurora evolves, the shorter your exposure time should be, so you’ll have to compensate with your two there settings.
The key to succeeding single aurora pictures is to look in the green body of the aurora (glowing oxygen) and watch for blown out highlights (too much light that it appears white). A little is okay, but too much will lead to a loss in details and data! There are tons of techniques to improve your aurora pictures and I will continue to post more advanced tutorials about them, but this should get you started on your journey to capturing your first lights! On a side note, you will be so blown away by its power with a huge rush of Adrenaline that I advise you to watch the spectacle first, and then start taking your pictures… It is to me something that you have to see with your own eyes first!
#7: dealing with light pollution
Welcome to this new tutorial of Astrophotography 101 - VLOG. Today, I’m putting myself through a decent hike/climb to the top of Mont Jura to shoot some astrophotos. The point of this video is to show you that taking great astro pictures in a light polluted area is possible if you follow these easy tips to minimize the effect of light pollution in the field and back home through post-process. In the first half of the video, I’m giving recommendations to shun light pollution in the field as much as possible. During your planning phase, you might want to check out this light pollution map to decide on a darker location and avoid completely bright areas: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#z... In the field, don’t shoot directly towards light pollution and plan your shot according the position of light pollution. I also recommend that you buy some extra pieces of equipment that are game-changer in the matter: for starters a light pollution filter (preferably external and square). You can find some good ones here: Pure Night LP filter: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#z... NISI natural light filter: https://nisifilters.com.au/product/ni... Optolong Clear Skies Filter: https://nisifilters.com.au/product/ni... Go for the external and not the clip-in filter as they usually bring distortion, coma, vignetting, color misbalance and noise. Plus they are made for long focal lengths, not wide ones. The second piece of equipment you can add to your shelf is a portable star tracker like the Vixen Polarie (https://www.vixenoptics.com/Vixen-Pol...) or the Star Adventurer Mini (http://www.skywatcherusa.com/star-adv...) to track the motion of the background sky in order for you to reduce the ISO and expose for a longer time. About the settings, you should reduce your ISO because light pollution introduces more shot noise, and increase your exposure time (using the 500 rule or longer if you have a tracker). Aperture should remain the same as usual, watch my other astrophoto basics tutorials to know more. Back at home, you can also reduce the effect of light pollution in your final picture by tweaking some editing tool inside Adobe Lightroom. Light pollution has become a ubiquitous problem that we should take seriously to allow future generations to enjoy dark skies and not a constant orange glow. In the meantime, this tutorial shows you that it is possible to limit the effects of light pollution near cities and come closer to a photo that has been taken in a dark spot. I hope you enjoyed this video.