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Craig Hlady: 30 Second Astrophotography — Learning to Image the Night Sky

Are you curious about how to start taking pictures of the night sky with just a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera?

Craig will introduce both simple tripod photography and piggy-back photography that concentrates on 'prime focus' astrophotography -- that is, using a DSLR camera on just a tripod or connecting a DSLR camera directly to a telescope so that the telescope becomes the camera lens.

Why 'thirty seconds' in the title? Astrophotography is perceived as a very complicated and technically challenging endeavor, requiring a computer in the field and expensive equipment to perform successfully. However, with camera exposures up to thirty seconds a computer is not necessary to successfully take wonderful pictures of the night sky -- a tracking mount, telescope and DSLR camera are all that are required to get started in this great hobby.

DSLR Astro-Imaging is the easiest way to get started in capturing portions of the night sky, and if you're traveling, the gear is lighter than you might think. You can image wide star fields in our galaxy the Milky Way, Comets, Constellations, Planetary alignments, beautiful aurora's, combined Luna nature landscapes, polar star trails, and meteor showers.

Great results can be achieved just with a tripod mounted camera and short exposures. Cameras that are mounted piggyback on telescopes or tracking platforms can capture images that rival images produced by professional observatories. Vast arrays of equatorial mounted DSLRs are being used for real research, and DSLR astrophotographers are discovering new variable stars, novas, supernovas, and exoplanets every day.

As a youth Craig was an avid amateur astronomer and learned everything he could about the stars and planets. As he grew older, however, he became more interested in other pursuits -- some academic, some not quite so much -- and did not seriously return to his first love until after he got high school, university, his first job, marriage, and kids all squared away.

In 2008 he received a telescope for Christmas from his better half (who had no idea what she was getting herself into), put a camera on it and was hooked. Since then he has found astrophotography to require a blend of artistic and technical discipline that deeply appeals to him.

Originally from British Columbia Craig after moving around for years, he returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 and joined the Rose City Astronomers. He currently is the Sales Director and you can usually find him at the Sales Table during meetings.

Professionally, Craig holds a Master's degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of British Columbia, and spent most of his career working in the steel industry. He now pays for his hobby as the quality assurance manager for a local steel mill.