Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition

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By-Aperture Telescopes

About The Listing

Type of Trip : Photo Tours

Level : Easy

Location : Uttarakhand

Duration : 3 Days 2 Nights

Trip Start : Majkhali near Ranikhet

Trip End : Majkhali near Ranikhet


Welcome to the wonderful world of astrophotography. On this tour you will be clicking beauty of universe, stunning Earth & Sky pictures with Meteors, Comets and the Milky Way. Amazing images of starry skies featured here are by former participants of the workshop. The 9th Edition is introducing the HyperStar with a large 14inch telescope for the first time in India, it allows extremely fast astronomical imaging. Already some amazing photographs has been clicked, all that’s missing are yours!

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What's Unique?

  • On this unique photo tour you’ll be clicking stunning images of the sky.
  • All equipment for astrophotography is provided at the workshop.
  • State of the art equipment is in the hands of workshop participants.
  • At the workshop there are four individual-complete-equipment-stations, which are rotated among the participants according to their own choice.
  • The mentors of the workshop have an experience of almost 28 years in astrophotography.
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Discussing the most stunning astrophotography from the world, and how was it shot. (Location - Indoor Presentation)
Getting to know the four photography stations intimately. Method of astrophotography with each station. (Location - Observation Terrace)
How to automate your astrophotography.
Post processing the images made by participants the previous night. (Location - Conference Room)
Advanced image processing - stacking multiple deep sky images, making time lapse movies, layers, select, sharpen, smoothen, saturate.


A stunning participant group image at the start of nautical twilight with stars and Nanda Devi in the background. (Observation Terrace)
Shooting Geminids meteor shower with all sky camera. (Mobile Station)
Star Trail photography. (Mobile Station)
Building landscapes and panoramic images at night. (GigaPan station)
Astrophotography with people as subjects, and lighting techniques.
Making a time lapse night sky movie.
Shooting fascinating deep sky (nebulae, clusters and galaxies) with three stations - one mobile station and two large telescope stations.
Shoot Comet Catalina over the Himalayas at the break of dawn.

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  • Day 01: Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition.

    10:00 Check in at Woodvilla Resort, in Majkhali, Ranikhet.
    13:00 Lunch.
    14:00 My Imaging Paradise - Movie.
    Participants' & Facilitators' introductions, Participant expectations. 
    Discussing stunning landscape astrophotography from the world.
    Distribution of vault & goodies, discuss Vault contents.
    Collect participants' HDD.

    15:00 Star Trails - Movie.
    What is Landscape Astrophotography and how to conduct it?
    What's best to photograph?
    Focus, frame, test exposure, start exposure sequence.
    Station 1 - Equipment familiarisation, method of photography.
    16:00 Station 2 - Polarie, equipment familiarisation.
    Station 3 - Atlas GEM, equipment familiarisation.
    How to conduct Deep Sky Photography (method)?
    Station 4 - Meade 12inch, equipment & method of photography.
    17:00 Tea and snacks, dress up warmly for night photography.
    17:14 Sunset at Woodsvilla Resort, Twilight begins (golden light).
    17:15 Group Photo in Golden Light.
    18:30 Session 1 - Astrophotography Begins on Station 1, Station 2 & Station 3.
    18:37 Astronomical Twilight ends, true night begins.
    20:30 Station 1 - Star trail photography before proceeding for dinner (camera will keep shooting automatically for the entire duration).
    Station 2 & 3 - Sequence of deep sky photography, light frames for an object will keep continuing while the participants take turns for Dinner.
    21:00 Dinner according to participants' convenience, Station 2 to be manned.
    23:00 Group Photo with all participants and starry background, hot beverages and light midnight snacks.
    00:00 Session 2 - Astrophotography begins on all stations including Station 4.
    05:20 Astronomical Twilight starts, true night ends. Wind up equipment, cover with plastic bags.
    06:00 Backup all images files in the repository. End of sessions - Day one.

    Day 02: Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition.

    14:00 Understanding Processing Software.

             a) Canon Digital Photo Professional, Irfan View, ACDSee (exif data, raw plugin).

             b) Build a star trails, Startrails & photoshop layers method.

             c) Photoshop - tools, palettes, layers, alt/toggle layers, curves, camera raw (new camera & versions), batch processing, photo merge.

             d) Gradient Xterminator, Nik's Dfine, HLVG.

             e) Understanding Images Plus - converting, normalizing, grading, aligning and stacking of deep sky images.

             f) How to process raw images for stacking.

    14:50 Power Drinks Break, watch a time lapse movie.

    15:00 Examples of processing images from previous night photography.

            a) Processing Nightscapes or Night Landscapes.

            b) Deep Sky Processing - Stretch, Sharp, Saturate, Smooth, Select.

            c) Photo merge a panorama.

    16:00 Example of making a time lapse movie.

    17:14 Sunset at Woodsvilla Resort, Twilight begins.

    18:00Tea and snacks, dress up warmly for night photography.

    18:30 Session 3 - Astrophotography begins.

             Demonstration of Drift Polar Alignment on Station 2.

    19:24 Astronomical Twilight ends, true night begins.

    21:00 Dinner according to participants' convenience.

             Station 2 should be manned at all times.

    23:30 Hot beverages and light midnight snacks.

    00:00 Session 4 - Astrophotography Begins.

             On all stations including Station 4.

             Continuous photography of Jupiter's Events.

    05:20 Astronomical Twilight starts, true night ends.

             Wind up equipment, cover with plastic bags.
    06:00 Backup all images files in the repository. End of Sessions of Day Two.

    Day 03: Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition.

    10:00 Distribution of workshop repository to the participants

    10:15 Techniques of Processing in astrophotography

             1. Example of Single Image Processing from last night photography

             2. Example of Stacking, Stretching, Saturation, Noise reduction, All in

             Images Plus software.

    11:00 Advanced Processing Techniques in Photoshop:

            1. Photoshop Curves

            2. Photoshop Layers

    11:30 Online Discussions in the Yahoo Group for Post Processing. End of Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition.


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* Extra discount for a group size of 4 or more! Ask Here
Package Options Standard Entry EMI Option
Entry Closes On 01 Dec, 2015
Single entry ₹ 26,000 EMI starts* ₹ 2,310
  • Single room supplement.: ₹ 7,500

Who else is going?

Men (1)
Women (0)
Child (0)
Adult (1 )
Senior Citizen (0)


  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis.
  • All meals.
  • All instrumentation for astrophotography will be provided.
  • There will be four complete and separate equipment stations on location for participants’ use.
  • The use of all mounts, telescope, cameras, imagers, laptops and all associated accessories will be provided to all participants during the workshop.
  • A digital vault containing all the lecture presentations and all tutorials will be provided to the participants. Photographs clicked by ALL participants with the workshop equipment during the Sky Photo Trip will be provided to participants on their own hard disks, even if they have not imaged through any particular station. The repository will also contain various astrophotography software used in the workshop that can be distributed legally.
  • Apart from the astrophotography equipment there will also be Aperture Light Bucket i.e. visual telescope, available for sky scanning on site.
  • A car will be available at night to travel to nearby locations like the Ranikhet Golf Course or any other village that seems suitable for Fish Eye lens tripod photography and within 10 kms of Woodsvilla resort during the course of the workshop.
Doesn’t Includes
  • Travelling to and from Ranikhet is not included in the participation fee.
  • Any food & beverages, mineral water bottles ordered in your room, except breakfast.
  • Accommodation before and beyond the workshop dates.
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Terms & Conditions

All cancellations will attract a 25% handling charge on the amount paid. Your registration can be transferred to another eligible person before the online discussions start on 21st November 2015. In case of cancellation on or after 1st December, 2015, we regret that no refund is possible. Reimbursement or rescheduling of the workshop is not possible in case of bad weather, clouds, rain, or any other natural cause beyond our control, because of which we are not able to conduct the astrophotography practical sessions. Price quoted is a package, no partial refund or credit is possible in case of services not used. Joining the discussions in the yahoo group signifies participants' start of workshop. Registration is not transferable thereafter. Aperture Telescopes reserve the right to cancel or modify any session in the Sky Photo Trip. No compensation or partial refunds will be made for any change. However if the entire workshop is cancelled, by reason of too few registered participants, full refund of the participation fee will be made. However, you will not be entitled to make any further claim for any injury, loss, expenses, travel expenses, cancellation of tickets or damage (either direct or consequential) or for any loss of time, or inconvenience which may result from such cancellation. Aperture Telescopes will provide enough security as per standard norms at the venue, however you are expected to take care of all your personal, valuable belongings. You will be fully responsible for allowing any use of your personal equipment to any other participant in the workshop. The company will not be responsible for any loss or damage to your equipment arising due to theft, negligence or any other cause. During the workshop & astrophotography sessions, you will be handed over all equipment such as telescopes, mounts, camera, laptop and accessories. You will be given a list of all equipment that you are supposed to handle. Ensure that all the equipment are at its designated place before the session starts. It will be your responsibility to return the same in good and working condition after completion of your astrophotography session. You will be responsible to make good any loss / damage to any equipment during the time it was under your control. A fair amount will be decided for the value of the loss. Our decision in this matter will be final and no other claims will be entertained. Participants need to carry a virus free hard disk with about 200-250 GB free space for taking back the entire workshop repository. The hard disk must be handed over at the start of the workshop.

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Tips, Hints, Precautions

  • 1. What is sky photography?

  • Sky photography is the art of photographing heavenly bodies (planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, etc.).  The incredible pictures you’ve seen of the Milky Way or the rings of Saturn, that’s sky photography.  Many amateur astronomers quickly become interested in astrophotography (sky photography) as a way to enhance their astronomical viewing sessions. Specialized sky photography techniques actually enable you to get better views of the night sky than what is achievable just by looking through a telescope.


  • 2. 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.

  • 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: 20 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.


  • 3. Could you please eleborate more about Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition?

  • Course Content (online discussions and tutorials):
    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
           i. Focus
          ii. Frame
          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, normalizing, 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 into 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.


  • 4. 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.

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Registration Form, Sky Photo Trip 9 - Download here

Easy Formalities
  • Registration Form
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