Astrophotography Basics Part 1: The Milky Way

Paul Gana, Landscape and nature photographer from Colorado

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35 Videos (3h 13m)
    • Astrophotography Intro

    • About the Gear: What I use 5DmkII

    • About the Gear: What I use Canon 50mm F1.8

    • About the Gear: What I use Tripod

    • About the Gear: What I use Canon Rebel T2i

    • Camera Settings 1: ISO

    • Camera Settings2: Aperture

    • Camera Settings 3: Shutter Speeds

    • Camera Settings 4: White Balance

    • Camera Settings 5: The Final Pieces

    • Preshoot Planning: Bortle Scale

    • Preshoot Planning: Dark Site Finder

    • Preshoot Planning: Stellarium Setup

    • Preshoot Planning: Stellarium Fun

    • Preshoot Planning: Stellarium final

    • In the Field: An introduction

    • In the Field: Waiting for it to get dark

    • In the Field: When the Weather Does Not Cooperate

    • In the Field: Dusk

    • In the Field: Bulb and Magic Lantern

    • In the Field: Final Lesson, Focusing at Night

    • Post Processing: A Little About RAW

    • Post Processing: Lightroom Basics

    • Post Processing: Lightroom lens correction

    • Post Processing: Photoshop Noise Reduction

    • Post Processing: Color Efex Pro

    • Post Processing: Milky Way Sharpening

    • Post Processing: Curves

    • Post Processing: Dodge and Burn

    • Post Processing: Orton Effect

    • Merging Two Exposures: Lightroom

    • Merging Two Exposures: Photoshop

    • Lightroom When shooting with Entry Level Camera

    • Light Painting Basics

    • The End


About This Class

Ever look up at the night sky and marveled at it's magnificence? Do you love photography? Do you want to learn how to capture the stunning nighttime sky in all it's glory?

I know I do and I get out every chance I can to photograph our night skies, and from me you will learn all the steps needed to make each night shooting session successful

You will learn how to photograph the Milky Way, our home galaxy.

The first part of this course will involve the planning stages of a successful shoot. What software is necessary and camera settings that are an absolute must

The second part I will take you into the field as I am taking the photos, I will also include basic light painting techniques

The third and final part I will show you basic post processing of your photos.

I will not be holding anything back, there will be no trade secrets, everything I know and all my techniques will be taught

I will include many assignments along the way for you to try out without having to leave your home, that is until you are ready to go out into the field where the real fun begins

There is just one catch, you do need to have basic knowledge of photography, such as what an F-stop is, basic understanding of ISO, shutter speeds and compositions, plus a camera capable of shooting in bulb mode and adjustable ISO settings

If you don't have it already you can get 30 day free trials for Photoshop here and Lightroom here


Bortle Sky Scale

Dark Site Finder


Weather Underground

Clear Sky Charts US and Canada only

Magic Lantern Canon cameras only

Camera shutter releases camera specific

wireless shutter releases

Topaz Denoise  30 day trial

Nik Color Efex Pro is now FREE woohoo

3 of 3 students recommendSee All

Wow, what an incredible wealth of astro-photography information. Very impressive! Thanks Paul!
Neil and Linda Shearing ☑ . Marketing online since 1997!





Paul Gana

Landscape and nature photographer from Colorado

Growing up I had a passion for illustration and cartooning. I even had, at one point, an ongoing comic series called Unkempt Man sadly that was set aside, people thought I would be crazy to try to get something as bizarre as that published in that time period, but with the creation of South Park, Salad Fingers, Happy Tree Friends and Cyanide and Happiness in the following years, perhaps I would have been safe continuing it. Anyways, I was also dabbling in photography though it had not yet became a serious interest for me. I also had a significant interest in painting, though I was not the best with the brush, yet I loved watching Bob Ross and was devastated when he died. Despite the ending of Unkempt Man my creative spirit never ended

I started my serious interest in photographing Colorado's landscapes as a means of documenting my climbs of the state's many majestic mountains. Over time I realized that the state's scenery was worth sharing. What a more perfect place than Colorado can there be. I have heard Colorado being referred to as 'Gods Country', and in the words of the great Teddy Roosevelt when on a tour of this state referred to it as a place that "Bankrupts the English language!". I couldn't agree more.


After seeing the works of John Fielder in my early days as a fledgling photographer it inspired me to take it further, after all I already had the artist blood in me and photography was just the natural progression of that inclination. After John Fielder I was inspired further into the fine art side of photography by the legends of Edward Weston and Eliot Porter and with the late yet still contemporary Galen Rowell. I also continue studying the arts of classic landscape painters such as Albert Bierstadt, William Turner and the modern art scene to keep my artistic senses fresh

Most of my photographic skills have been developed by trial and error, with it being mostly error. I have also read as many books on photography as I could to get tips, and have asked everyone who does this for a living as many questions that I can think of.

I am always looking for out-of-the-way scenic places in Colorado that I feel are truly worth sharing to the world, and believe me there are countless places in Colorado that are like this. I could spend the rest of my life hiking and backpacking and 4-wheeling this great state and still not discover all the wonderfully sublime places this state has to offer. Whether it's a back country campground, or an open meadow in the mountains, or maybe a little known canyon or creek or one of the several thousand mountain peaks that exceed 10,000 feet, there is too much this state offers to list. My quest to experience nature at it's greatest will always be an adventure. No matter how great people have said about other places around the world, my quest is here in Colorado, where there is plenty of everything that is found around the globe in my own back yard.

Paul Gana