Astrophotography is a somewhat unique genre in photography. You’re often dealing with such crazy extremes of focal length and exposure times that many of the normal rules of photography just don’t seem to apply. Or, at least, not in quite the same way. It often requires a technical understanding beyond most other types of photography, as well as a better understanding of your gear’s limits.
It’s not that difficult to start getting into, though. In this 10-minute video, Trevor Jones at Astro Backyard gives us an introduction to learning astrophotography, talking about the gear he started with, how it’s built up over the years, and his recommendations for budding astrophotographers starting out today.
Trevor has created some amazing imagery with some very modest equipment, including cameras like the pretty old entry-level Canon EOS 450D – a DSLR which can be found in the used market today for under $100. Ok, so he had it hooked up to a $700 Explore Scientific ED80 telescope, but that’s really not a very expensive purchase, either, when you consider the cost of regular photography lenses. Plus, even as you upgrade your camera, you won’t have to keep replacing the telescope.
Astrophotography takes many forms from photographing large bodies like the Moon and the various planets (and non-planet) of our solar system, through landscapes including the Milky Way, to deep space tracking of distant galaxies and events. The latter of which, Trevor says, is the most challenging, and the one he most enjoys.
While you can use some fairly basic equipment on the photography side of things, the astro side can add some pretty specialised equipment to your shopping list, particularly for the deep space stuff. And buying the right equipment is key. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive kit, especially when you’re starting out, but it needs to be the right kit.
The 10-minute video goes into quite a lot of depth on the gear, where you can save money, where you really need to spend the money, and how it all works. It’s a fascinating watch if you’re interested in learning astrophotography.