Shooting for the Stars Workshop
Presented by Glenn Springer, TIF, RHCC, HHCC, GTCCC

Our workshops are about improving the photos you make with your digital camera

Warning: by the end of this workshop,
you will be a better photographer!

Zooming the lens while the shutter is open, overlaid with layers in Photoshop
Click image to enlarge

What is this workshop about?

You don't take snapshots of stars. You actually have to invest some thought.

There they are, those millions of stars begging to be photographed. But trying to shoot them can be a really frustrating affair if you don't know what you're doing.

Shooting stars is different from shooting during the day because you can't see what you're doing. Preplanning and knowing your equipment is essential.

This workshop is about going over what you need to do to go out and shoot stars and come back with images you can be proud of. It has two parts: a theory section taught indoors for half a day and an actual shoot at some time when the stars align, "and the skies are not cloudy all day" (ok, night!)

There are several different methods of shooting stars: they include,

  • Single short exposures of a star field
  • Long exposures resulting in star trails
  • Multiple single exposures blended together with StarStaX
  • Multiple single exposures blended together in Photoshop
    • time lapse
    • star trails

We'll be learning how to do most of these. There are other, more expensive, fancier methods we might look at but won't cover.

 

What do I need to take this workshop?

I'm not asking you to buy the Hubble Telescope. But there are some things you're going to need to take this workshop.

  • A DSLR camera
  • A wide angle lens, preferably f/2.8 or better
  • A sturdy tripod
  • A LOCKING shutter release cable (you can find these on eBay for under $10 out of China)
  • Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  • StarStaX software (free download for Mac or PC, available here)

It is assumed that you are comfortable with the basic functions of your camera and that you know how to work with layers in Photoshop.

30 second exposure, effects added in Photoshop. Click image to enlarge

How long is the course? What do I need to bring?

(Classroom Portion)

Half a day.

Bring the camera equipment listed above.

Do NOT bring your computer, we only have time in half a day to demonstrate how to use the software, not to practice with it (I can do that in a supplementary session if you want, please contact me).

(Field Portion)

About 3-4 hours starting at midnight.

Bring the camera equipment, a chair to sit on, a flashlight, warm clothing, some water and munchies, and BUG SPRAY.

Multiple exposures combined in StarStaX, further editing in Photoshop
Click image to enlarge

Where is the course held? When? How many students?

We're up in the Haliburton Highlands.

Right near the intersection of highways 35 and 118. It's about 10km from Minden (exactly 10km from the Tim Horton's!), 20 or 25km from Haliburton.

If there are 6 or fewer students, it will be in my house. More than that, we'll have to find a bigger venue.

The actual shooting portion of the workshop will be in a suitable location nearby. I have a few options scouted out.

SCHEDULE

Classroom Session: SATURDAY, JUNE 28 at 2pm

alternate date: THURSDAY, JULY 10 at 6pm

Shooting Session: We don't know. It entirely depends on the weather. We're shooting for some time around the end of July (Ideal date is July 27, new moon). After the peak of mosquito season!

Note: the Perseids Meteor Shower is scheduled for August 11-13 but the moon will almost be full. It's not the best time, but I'll likely be out there anyway if the weatherman cooperates...

 

How much does it cost?

$40 per person. Haliburton Highlands Camera Club (HHCC) members get a $15 discount.

 

 

        

A single 30 second exposure light painted with a flashlight and a loooooooong exposure (more than one hour)

What about the fine print?

There's not an awful lot. Just common sense.

  • You have to prepay for the workshop.
  • If you don't show up, we keep your money.
  • This is a last-minute workshop so no cancellations but I'll credit you for another one of my workshops if you let us know well beforehand
  • What if the weather's lousy?
    • That's the whole point. You can't shoot stars when it's cloudy. So the actual shooting session will be scheduled at the last minute.
    • The classroom portion isn't affected by weather.
    • Dress appropriately.
  • Special circumstances are special circumstances and we're human too.
  •  We're going to need some information about you before the course.

    • Who you are, how to contact you, your age (ok, at least are you over 18)
      • If you're not over 18 we'll need a parent or guardian's signature
    • Your equipment, software and experience.
    • You'll be asked to sign a waiver. If you fall down and hurt yourself, it's your fault, not ours.
    • You'll be asked to sign a model release. If you end up in one of my pictures and I want to use it to promote the courses, I can.
    • We'll ask you to share some images you made so that we can use them to promote future courses.

    OK, that was a longer list than I thought, but it all makes sense, right?

Are we friendly to those who are physically challenged? Almost. There are two small steps to the deck and one more into the house. It's not perfect, but it's your call. The outdoor venues I have in mind are readily accessible by car, no hiking involved.


A single exposure, enhanced in Photoshop and some digital painting added
Click image to enlarge


The moon is a lot brighter than you think! Some light painting with a flashlight added in for good measure

Blending existing lights and stars can be tricky

How do I contact you?

 

 

 

How do I register and pay for a course?

 

Payment is via PayPal. You can use a credit card without opening a PayPal account.
It's a really secure way to do business.

Note: we assume you have all the equipment and software mentioned above. If not, you can certainly attend but you will be unable to duplicate the results or participate in portions of the practical (shooting) session.

 

HHCC Member?
Location/Date