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Nightscapes: Landscape Astrophotography

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12,226 people completed this program


Gain a new perspective on your universe that most people will never experience firsthand. This class will teach you all the tools necessary to photograph beautiful nighttime landscapes under the Milky Way.

Whether you are a beginner that just got their first Digital SLR or a professional photographer looking to branch out into astrophotography for the first time, NIGHTSCAPES will teach you a unique form of photography that pushes the bounds of what you thought was possible with your camera.

To begin, we will cover the bare essentials of astronomy needed to plan an astrophoto shoot. You will learn about light pollution and how to find the best dark sky locations near your hometown, the phases of the moon, and how to find important stars, constellations, and the Milky Way galactic plane.

You’ll use your new astronomy knowledge to plan your first astrophoto shoot.

NIGHTSCAPES will provide new insight to exposure settings for beginners and seasoned photographers alike.

You will learn how to use your equipment to its extreme in the context of astrophotography, including how to approach f-stop, ISO sensitivity and shutter speeds. You'll learn about the best equipment choices and how to select gear for astrophotography.

We'll cover shooting techniques for focusing in the dark, capturing and composing landscapes with the Milky Way, and painting with light.

For the NIGHTSCAPES class project, you'll create a collection of landscape astrophotographs and a unique self-portrait with the Milky Way as your background.

You'll showcase your photographs in the Student Gallery and provide feedback for your classmates.

Your final project will include making a unique nightscape self-portrait.

A Note from the Instructor:

The camera is the paint brush for everyone. With it, we can communicate difficult ideas in a way that's faster than written words and quicker than many other art forms. It's the art medium for the masses, and that's what makes the camera so very special to all of us.

NIGHTSCAPES is about gaining a new perspective on your universe and capturing it with your camera.

I'll see you in class.



Class Outline

  • Landscape Astrophotography. In this class, you’ll learn how to create technically impressive nightscapes with simple, step-by-step instructions. With Ian’s helpful photography tips for beginner and professional photographers alike, you’ll learn how to create an amazing collection of landscape astrophotos, capture unique self-portraits under the Milky Way, and push your artistic perspective in new and exciting directions.

  • Finding a dark sky. Ian will define exactly what astrophotography is, and the history of how people have traditionally captured images of space. He’ll talk about an accessible form of astrophotography, which uses basic camera equipment. And he’ll teach you how to use a DSLR, in order to capture striking images of the night sky. You’ll be encouraged to take photos in a rural environment. where skies tend to be darker. And you’ll get simple tips for helping you track light pollution, and find new dark-sky locations.

  • Understanding astronomy. You’ll learn where the earth is in our galaxy, and how that knowledge will affect your photographs of the night sky. Ian will share basic online tools, and open source planetarium software. They will help you better understand the Milky Way, including how we see it from earth on different dates and times.

  • Using the correct gear. Ian will explain why a DSLR with a large imaging sensor will give you the best photographs. He will talk about fast wide-angle lenses, which he believes are the most important things for helping you with your landscape photography. And he will share the lens characteristics that will allow you to gather as much light from the stars as possible.

  • Setting up. You’ll learn the best time to set up, and how to determine where to direct your camera. Ian will talk you through the concrete ways that you can preserve your night vision, and give you the best possible view of the stars. He will also discuss the considerations you should make when you set up your shot, and the ways to best guarantee tripod stability.

  • Exposing for the Milky Way. Ian will walk you step-by-step through making your first exposure, including how to:

    • Set the correct ISO camera setting, the aperture, and the shutter speed
    • Manually focus and set your self-timer, your white balance, and long-exposure noise reduction
    • Enable the raw recording mode to get the best image possible.
    • You’ll also learn the ways he avoids common challenges, such as spherical aberration, noise, and grain.
  • Composing photographs. You’ll learn why framing the sky with the earth’s landscape f can put the galaxy into perspective, and create more dynamic images. Ian will explain the rule of thirds, and ways to use it to your advantage when you want to best showcase your skyscape.

  • Painting with light. Ian will share a variety of different light-painting techniques, and ways to use them to add extra punch to your landscape astrophotography. You’ll learn the ways to use a simple flashlight to add light to your foreground, or add extra details when you need them most.

  • Processing your nightscapes. You’ll watch as Ian uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to demonstrate how he processes his astrophotography. He’ll share the ways that he adjusts his white balance, boosts the vibrancy and saturation, and creates a polished, beautiful final photograph.

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Nightscapes: Landscape Astrophotography
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