Humankind has always been curious about the mysteries of the Universe and of what lies beyond. The need to see and capture the night sky with its resplendent elements has given rise to astrophotography.  Chiiz hosted an astrophotography workshop in the quaint hills of Majkhali. This astrophotography workshop called ‘Sky Photo Trip’ was exactly that- a trip to the night sky. Ajay Talwar mentored the workshop which aimed at capturing the deep sky photos.  A cosmic experience of 3 days of mapping and photographing the night skies in the realms of the lofty Himalayas. 

Equipment

The participants used extremely fast ~f/2 optical instruments to shoot the deep sky. Apart from the deep sky, we also photographed Jupiter and Saturn in high resolution. The following equipment was made available for participants who wanted to shoot night landscapes.

  1. Hyper Star on 14-inch CGE Pro mount
  2. 400mm f/2.8 lens, guided on EQ6 mount
  3. Meade 12 inch telescope for planet photography.
  4. Wide-angle lenses and tripods for landscapes.

astrophotography

Witness Unique Cosmic Elements

The participants witnessed some of the best galaxies in the evening spring sky like the Sombrero Hat Galaxy, Pinwheel Galaxy, Sunflower Galaxy, Whirlpool Galaxy, Black Eye Galaxy, M106, Needle Galaxy, etc. The planetary nebulae like the Owl Nebula, Ring Nebula, and Dumbbell Nebula stirred curiosity in participants.

 

Veil Nebula captured by the participants of the workshop.

 

Pre-Workshop Preparation for Astrophotography

The participants received online tutorials and discussions to discuss the method of astrophotography and familiarize themselves with the equipment. The groups remain active after the workshop for review of work or any assistance that the participants might need.

Introduction to Deep Sky Photography

Dumbbell captured by participants of the workshop

Expert Astrophotographer Ajay Talwar introduced the participants to the wonders of deep-sky photography. He taught them to set up an automated set-up which would capture images of the deep sky. Working with telescopes and high-end lenses with cameras gets complicated real quick. Ajay Talwar made it seem like child’s play.

Terrestrial Astrophotography

While the workshop primarily aimed at deep-sky photography, we could not help taking a few terrestrial Astro shots. Our mentor was more than ready to help the participants with capturing the Starry Nights.

On Astrophotography

The mentors introduced the participants to a host of skills like managing storage, batteries, managing a sequence of images, shooting panoramas, star trails, and managing histogram. The participants learned to manage productive sessions on cold nights and much more. 

Post-Processing

While processing simple images is an art in itself, the post-processing of astrophotographs is an altogether different ball game. The participants were familiarized with post-processing of raw images, batch processing, stacking, stretch, sharpen, smoothen, astrophotography actions, software filters for astrophotography.

 

Three Days and two nights in the beautiful setting of Majkhali paired with informative sessions on astrophotography culminated in a huge repository of astounding astrophotographs for the photographers and participants to take home. This, along with new techniques to capture the night sky marked the real success of the Sky Photo Trip.

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