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Sky Photo Trip - 9 (Concluded) Current workshop is here
Aperture Telescopes has been conducting a practical astrophotography workshop in India since 2010. The workshop duration is for two months which includes online tutorials and photographing the sky in the Himalayas. At the start of the workshop participants become familiar with the equipment and the method of photography. Tutorials are sent every day and discussed with other participants online. Then participants meet at Majkhali where they shoot the sky in multifarious ways, variety of focal lengths and field of view. Immense amount of raw astrophotographs are collected which form the workshop repository. The entire workshop repository, which is about 200 gb data, is provided to every participant. The repository forms the third part of the workshop – post processing. Daily videos and tutorials (online) provide insights on how to effectively process the astrophotography data.
The location of the practical is a small Himalayan village – Majkhali. Here the sky is pristine and studded with stars, Milky Way is visible gloriously to the naked eye. The workshop is organised at a time when the sky is clear of clouds and haze. Even a small exposure with digital cameras captures numerous stars. Participants get a tremendous impetus when they see their efforts easily translating into spectacular sky images, astrophotography becomes a passion looking at the results. The workshop is conducted at Woodsvilla Resort, logistically an ideal place. You can keep your camera running automatically while you go for dinner or take a nap in your room in the tired wee hours of the night. The resort has a large terrace where all photography activities are conducted. From the terrace you can view the snow-capped peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul. Indeed a wonderful location for capturing the night sky.
What makes SKY PHOTO TRIP a unique astrophotography workshop? All equipment for astrophotography is provided at the workshop. State of the art equipment is in the hands of all workshop participants. The workshop prepares you with all the technical information for the astrophotography equipment of various kinds. At the workshop there are four individual-complete-equipment-stations, which are rotated among the participants according to their own choice.
Aperture Telescopes invites you to participate in the
Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition
• ALL EQUIPMENT • PRISTINE SKY • KNOW-HOW •
Every edition of the workshop introduces new equipment to the participants. In the 9th Edition we are proud to announce Hyperstar Imaging with a 14inch telescope. This wonderful method of photography has probably not been tried in India before. The HyperStar 14 system allows extremely fast, wide-field astronomical imaging with the Celestron 14" SCT. Hyperstar replaces the secondary mirror on 14" SCT telescope and turns the telescope into an f/1.9 imaging system at a focal length of 684mm. Coupled with a latest noise free DSLR camera, you could shoot deep sky images in a matter of 20-30 seconds, incredible! The system is ideal for automated discovery program for asteroids and supernovas too.
The mentors of the workshop have long experience in astrophotography. The workshop is led by Ajay Talwar, a TWAN member from India with an experience of 28 years in astrophotography. At the workshop you will be guided professionally through the process and steps of astrophotography. The mentors of the workshop do not demonstrate, but actually guide you with a hands-on process that you yourself will be performing. At the end of the workshop you walk away with stunning images of the sky which you made yourself!
Participation: Twenty participants are accommodated in the workshop who are spread over four photography stations. Participants who have registered early get priority in choosing photography stations on two nights. Photographers, journalists, professors, scientists, adventurers, nature lovers and of course amateur astronomers have attended and appreciated the workshop. School going children need to be accompanied by their parent, or if they are coming on their own, should have the parent consent form signed.
Online Discussions: Daily discussions are held through yahoo group email. The experience of previous workshop participants is shared in this discussion group. Before the practical at Majkhali, discussions are about equipment and method of astrophotography. You will be thoroughly familiarised with the equipment before you reach the site. The discussions start two weeks before the actual workshop. Post processing for the actual images collected continue for one month after the trip. Tutorials and processing videos are emailed every day and form the basis of discussions among participants and mentors.
The participation fee for the Sky Photo Trip - 9 is as follows:
Early registration guarantees working on your choice of stations at the workshop. Please note that your full payment as well as registration form must reach us for a confirmed registration. The participation fee includes accommodation, boarding at Woodsvilla Resort, but not the travel to and from Ranikhet. Please go through the ‘What’s included’ and ‘What’s not included’ paragraphs carefully. There is no last date of registration, a maximum of 20 participants are registered, all places get filled quickly, please register as early as possible. Full payment must reach us for confirmed registration. To register send email to Aperture Telescopes or call us on +91-124-2336947 or 9810274724.
1. Equipment for Astrophotography
a. Configurations of equipment in astrophotography, i.e. various focal lengths used in astrophotography from fish eye lens for 'all sky' to 3000mm focal length for 'High Resolution Planetary Photography'
b. Method of astro-photography, which covers night landscape, star trails, panoramas, time lapse movies, deep sky photography - wide field and narrow field, high resolution planetary.
c. Method of photography involves 4 steps with each kind of equipment station
iii. Test Exposure
iv. Start Sequence of images
2. Processing of Astronomical Images
a. Raw image processing for night landscapes
b. Batch raw processing and actions on batch of files
c. How to build star trails
d. Making time lapse movies (after batch processing)
e. Stitching night panoramas (special attention because in night panoramas there are few alignment points between adjacent frames)
f. Raw convert, normalising, grading, precise aligning & stacking of sub frames of deep sky images to give one stacked image
g. Stretching, smoothing, sharpening, saturation of astronomical images.
h. Stacking of high resolution planetary videos to produce images of planets with details visible on the surface.
Presentations (at Majkhali): Detailed presentations will be held for the participants on the topics related to equipment handling such as polar alignment, focusing, guiding, image acquisition methods, shooting support frames, software available. Topics related to image processing will be presented and discussed in the conference hall on the second day after several images have been acquired under the night sky. A short presentation on the third day will concentrate on final image processing and advanced topics. Discussions will then continue on the online forum for one more month until all images acquired at the Sky Photo Trip have been finished.
Participant Groups: The 20 Participants will be divided onto 4 groups and will be able to use the different stations on the two nights. The groups and rotation will be decided by the participants themselves during the online discussions before the workshop. Early registration ensures you get your choice of station during the workshop. Late registrations will have to opt for the station that's available.
About 10 kms from Ranikhet, on the road which leads towards the famous Golf Course of Ranikhet, continue onwards and you will reach Woodsvilla Resort. It has an open terrace overlooking the Himalayas and wide open to the beautiful night skies. Absolutely no light pollution here, stars above the horizon and little twinkling village lights below the horizon. Faint stars are visible as soon as they pop out from behind the Himalayan peaks. You could carry your camera & tripod around for stunning views of the pine, deodars and the Milky Way, on the Ranikhet Golf Course. Make a time lapse movie of the stars rising above Trishul peaks and the few vehicles moving below in the valleys.
Ranikhet is known for its towering view of the Himalayas as it is close to the base of the mountains. The view of the majestic 26500 feet high Trishul takes one’s breath away. The Trishul view changes dramatically at sunrise, afternoon and sunset, as the angle of the sun rays changes.
About 15 kms from Majkhali, at Katarmal, there is a 800 year old Sun temple. You could also travel to Sitlakhet, and easily trek to the top of the peak for even more astounding views of the Himalayas.
Please note that travelling to Majkhali will have to be arranged on your own. We would facilitate participants coming together in hired cars, by maintaining an online list of participants, so participants can interact with each other.
Our location Woodsvilla Resort is ideal for astronomy, negligible light pollution, observation terrace just above the rooms, so anytime you feel like a little rest, just come down to the comfort of your bed, rest for an hour and be back to your astrophotography session. A large terrace for astronomy, conference hall, all this in the middle of a small Himalayan village ...... an ideal place for our workshop. The hotel also conducts trekking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities & section with Burma bridges, pool, Table Tennis and the restaurant is named 'Cloud 9'!
Accommodation: The hotel has large, clean rooms, with bay windows overlooking the Himalayas. All the rooms have twin beds as well as an extra bed installed beside the bay window. Accommodation will be on twin room sharing for Sky Photo Trip participants. Participants registering early will have priority in deciding their astro-roommate. On completing the registration you will be sent a link to access the document detailing rooms and occupants, which you will be able to edit yourself. The hotel has provided us with all inclusive plan, all the meals are on the house. You may order your breakfast in your room with ample time flexibility. Lunch and Dinner will be according to the hotel timings in the restaurant only. Late night hot beverage and a snack will be provided on the observation terrace. Anything extra ordered in the room will be paid by the participants themselves at checkout.
What to Bring: Please carry an external USB hard drive to copy all the images and videos captured during Sky Photo Trip by all participants. These images will form the basis of post processing online discussions that will go on for two months after the workshop. Usually about 200-250 GB of images & videos are collected during the workshop.
Expected temperature, at night, will be between 5-8° C, but prepare for weather that is at least 5° degrees colder. Wear layered clothing, and carry ear and head protection. A hooded jacket is very useful on windy nights. Make and use a check list to see that you don't leave home without something you need, such as your red flashlight as well as extra batteries. Bring a thermos, and something for a late night snack. Even better, bring along some goodies to share with your friends around you. Being active late at night makes most people hungry. Chocolates are an instant energy provider and will also better your vision with the increased blood flow. Wear sturdy and closed footwear to protect you from cold. Remember low temperatures are good for astrophotography!
All equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring along your camera, or any other equipment.