Nightscapes: Landscape Astrophotography | Ian Norman | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Nightscapes: Landscape Astrophotography

teacher avatar Ian Norman, Photographer / Creator of Lonely Speck

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Finding a Dark Sky Location and Setting a Date


    • 3.

      Seasons of the Night Sky


    • 4.

      Basic Astrophotography Gear


    • 5.

      Setting Up for Your First Astrophoto


    • 6.

      Expose for the Milky Way


    • 7.

      Composing Astrophotography


    • 8.

      Painting with Light


    • 9.

      Processing Landscape Astrophotos


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Gain a new perspective on your universe that most people will never experience firsthand. This class will teach you all the tools necessary to photograph beautiful nighttime landscapes under the Milky Way.

Whether you are a beginner that just got their first Digital SLR or a professional photographer looking to branch out into astrophotography for the first time, NIGHTSCAPES will teach you a unique form of photography that pushes the bounds of what you thought was possible with your camera. 

To begin, we will cover the bare essentials of astronomy needed to plan an astrophoto shoot. You will learn about light pollution and how to find the best dark sky locations near your hometown, the phases of the moon, and how to find important stars, constellations, and the Milky Way galactic plane.

You’ll use your new astronomy knowledge to plan your first astrophoto shoot.

NIGHTSCAPES will provide new insight to exposure settings for beginners and seasoned photographers alike.

You will learn how to use your equipment to its extreme in the context of astrophotography, including how to approach f-stop, ISO sensitivity and shutter speeds. You'll learn about the best equipment choices and how to select gear for astrophotography. 

We'll cover shooting techniques for focusing in the dark, capturing and composing landscapes with the Milky Way, and painting with light. 

For the NIGHTSCAPES class project, you'll create a collection of landscape astrophotographs and a unique self-portrait with the Milky Way as your background.

You'll showcase your photographs in the Student Gallery and provide feedback for your classmates.

Your final project will include making a unique nightscape self-portrait. 

A Note from the Instructor:

The camera is the paint brush for everyone. With it, we can communicate difficult ideas in a way that's faster than written words and quicker than many other art forms. It's the art medium for the masses, and that's what makes the camera so very special to all of us.

NIGHTSCAPES is about gaining a new perspective on your universe and capturing it with your camera. 

I'll see you in class. 



Class Outline

  • Landscape Astrophotography. In this class, you’ll learn how to create technically impressive nightscapes with simple, step-by-step instructions. With Ian’s helpful photography tips for beginner and professional photographers alike, you’ll learn how to create an amazing collection of landscape astrophotos, capture unique self-portraits under the Milky Way, and push your artistic perspective in new and exciting directions.
  • Finding a dark sky. Ian will define exactly what astrophotography is, and the history of how people have traditionally captured images of space. He’ll talk about an accessible form of astrophotography, which uses basic camera equipment. And he’ll teach you how to use a DSLR, in order to capture striking images of the night sky. You’ll be encouraged to take photos in a rural environment. where skies tend to be darker. And you’ll get simple tips for helping you track light pollution, and find new dark-sky locations.
  • Understanding astronomy. You’ll learn where the earth is in our galaxy, and how that knowledge will affect your photographs of the night sky. Ian will share basic online tools, and open source planetarium software. They will help you better understand the Milky Way, including how we see it from earth on different dates and times.
  • Using the correct gear. Ian will explain why a DSLR with a large imaging sensor will give you the best photographs. He will talk about fast wide-angle lenses, which he believes are the most important things for helping you with your landscape photography. And he will share the lens characteristics that will allow you to gather as much light from the stars as possible.  
  • Setting up. You’ll learn the best time to set up, and how to determine where to direct your camera. Ian will talk you through the concrete ways that you can preserve your night vision, and give you the best possible view of the stars. He will also discuss the considerations you should make when you set up your shot, and the ways to best guarantee tripod stability.
  • Exposing for the Milky Way. Ian will walk you step-by-step through making your first exposure, including how to:
    • Set the correct ISO camera setting, the aperture, and the shutter speed
    • Manually focus and set your self-timer, your white balance, and long-exposure noise reduction
    • Enable the raw recording mode to get the best image possible. 
    • You’ll also learn the ways he avoids common challenges, such as spherical aberration, noise, and grain.
  • Composing photographs. You’ll learn why framing the sky with the earth’s landscape f can put the galaxy into perspective, and create more dynamic images. Ian will explain the rule of thirds, and ways to use it to your advantage when you want to best showcase your skyscape.
  • Painting with light. Ian will share a variety of different light-painting techniques, and ways to use them to add extra punch to your landscape astrophotography. You’ll learn the ways to use a simple flashlight to add light to your foreground, or add extra details when you need them most.
  • Processing your nightscapes. You’ll watch as Ian uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to demonstrate how he processes his astrophotography. He’ll share the ways that he adjusts his white balance, boosts the vibrancy and saturation, and creates a polished, beautiful final photograph.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ian Norman

Photographer / Creator of Lonely Speck


Ian Norman is a commercial photographer specializing in Timelapse Photography and Night Photography. He is the creator of Lonely Speck, where he shares astrophotography techniques and tutorials, and Photon Collective, a creative photography project community.

You can find more about Ian at his site's facebook pages for Lonely Speck, Photon Collective and on twitter and Instagram.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Trailer: If there's the most technically impressive form of photography that's accessible to nearly everyone, landscape aspect of photography is probably it. If you're a beginner that just got their first digital SLR or a professional that wants to try astrophotography for the first time, this Skillshare class will help you push the bounds on what you thought was possible with your camera. It'll create an amazing selection of landscape astrophotos, and capture a unique self-portrait enough to raise background. Landscapes is about gaining a new perspective on your universe and capturing it through camera. My name is Ian Norman. I'm a photographer and engineer from California. 2. Finding a Dark Sky Location and Setting a Date: Hi everyone, welcome to the Nightscapes skill share class. This class is all about landscape astrophotography. First off, maybe you should talk a little bit about what astrophotography is. Just as the name implies, astrophotography is a combination of astronomy and photography. Traditionally, this usually meant attaching a camera to a telescope and taking images of stuff in space, nebula, planets, galaxies, stuff like that. While images like these are absolutely amazing, they usually require really expensive gear like telescopes, tracking equatorial mountains, auto guiders, full spectrum imaging sensors, and hours of exposure and processing time. This class will show you a much more accessible form of astrophotography that's quickly growing in popularity. All we need is a digital camera with a wide angle lens, a tripod, and a flashlight to see in the dark. Rather than using a telescope with a really narrow angle of view to see distant objects in space, we use a wide-angle camera lens to capture our own galaxy as a whole with a landscape of the earth in the foreground. The first and sometimes the most difficult thing to find for astrophotography is a dark location. Most of us who live in and around cities will probably need to make a trip a couple hours away to find dark skies. Very first place to go when looking for a new dark sky location is Jonathan Tomshine, Dark Sky Finder website. It's a simple light pollution chart of North America, and it gives you a general idea of what the light pollution is like near your hometown. Let's take a quick look at Los Angeles as an example. You can see the highest levels of light pollution highlighted in white. As we move away from the city towards the North, we can see the levels taper off towards the green and blue. I highly recommend picking a spot in the green, blue or black areas of the map for the best results. Take note of a couple of possible locations for your astro photo shoot and do some extra research to familiarize yourself with those areas. Make sure that they're publicly accessible at night and consider finding a place with camping. Public lands such as state parks, Bureau of Land Management lands, national forests, and national parks are all great places to start looking. Once you have some possible locations in mind, we'll want to find a date that's relatively close to the new moon. The best times between the third quarter and first quarter the moon calendar. This will give you the most time without moonlight. On the third quarter, the moon will rise around midnight, which gives you the time between sunset and moonrise to have the darkest skies. On the first quarter, the Moon will set at midnight, meaning that you'll have the time between midnight and sunrise to take photographs. On the new moon, the Moon will rise and set with the Sun, meaning you'll have dark skies for the entire duration of the night. Take a look at for moonrise and moonset times in your area. Here it looks like I'll have some dark skies around the weekend of October 5th and 6th. I recommend recording your prospective date and pertinent information like moonset, sunset and moonrise times. This will be helpful to reference so that you know the window of time that you'll have for the darkest skies. Now that you have a time and place that will work great for your astro photo shoot, you're ready to learn some basics of astronomy in the next video lesson. 3. Seasons of the Night Sky: Hey nightscapers, welcome back. In this video lesson we'll talk all about the astro part of astrophotography. For basic understanding of astronomy, I think one of the most important things to wrap your head around is where we are in our own galaxy. When we look at a landscape astro photo like this, we're looking at our own galaxy on edge. To illustrate this, let's look at Google's awesome 100,000 Stars app online. When we first open the website, we see a cloud of stars that represents a small part of our local galactic neighborhood. Our sun is one of the stars in that cloud. If we zoom out to see a larger portion of the galaxy, we can see our solar system's approximate position relative to the other 400 billion stars in the Milky Way. Were just about halfway out on one of the spiral arms from the bright galactic center. When we look out at the night sky, were actually looking at our own galaxy on edge. If we zoom back into the view of the sun, we see what the galaxy looks like from within one of the spiral arms. You can see the bright dense galactic center past dark lanes of interstellar dust. This is exactly what we can see when we look up at our own night sky. In order to further understand what we are seeing and where to look, we'll be using a program called Stellarium. It's a free and open source planetarium software and it's immensely helpful for planning astro photo shoots. Stellarium is relatively easy to use, once we have the application open, we have a very simple user interface with menu bars on the edges near the bottom left corner of the screen. Here we can set things like date, time, and a whole bunch of other view options. But first things first, let's set our location with a compass rose button. My astro photo shoot will be near Los Angeles, so I'll go ahead and search for that. Next, we can set a date by clicking on the clock. I'm planning an astro photo shoot around October 5th, and let's say we want to see what the night sky will look like around sunset at 6:30 PM. Now that the location, date, and time are set, the last thing I'd like to do is increase the brightness of the Milky Way. We can do this real quick by selecting the speech bubble button and increasing the Milky Way brightness parameter under the sky tab. I like to use about six or so for the brightness. There we go. This should make it a lot easier to figure out where to look and should give us a better idea of what our photographs will look like. If I increase the rate of time, I can watch and see what happens over the course of the night. The bright galactic center sets to the West, and later in the evening, the constellation Orion rises in the Northeast. Depending on what time of the year you're taking this class, the night sky will probably differ. This is because of the Earth's revolution around the sun over the course of the year. In late December, the sun is between the Earth and the galactic center. The galactic center is only in the sky during the daytime. In June, the opposite is true, the earth is between the sun and the galactic center, so the brightest part of the galaxy is visible at night. We'll be most interested in photographing along the galactic plane, because that's where the most stars are and that's where we will have the most interesting detail of the night sky. The information that's helpful for finding the galactic plane are the constellations along the planet Milky Way. It'll be helpful to note which of these constellations will be most prominent in the night for your astro photo shoot. We can use them to find the Milky Way galactic plane. For my October 5th shoot, looks like a Aquila and Cygnus will be visible in the sky. While you're in the field, the easiest way to actually find these constellations is to use a Stellarium app for your smartphone. This makes it particularly easy because then you can just point your smart phone at the particular part of the sky to find out what constellation you're looking at. Of course, if you picked a nice dark location, the Milky Way should be visible to the naked eye anyway. Now that we know roughly what to look for in our night sky, all we need to do is gather up our photo gear before we head out. 4. Basic Astrophotography Gear: Hi, nightscapers. Welcome back. Let's review the gear that you'll need to make your first astrophotos. The first thing we need is a digital camera. There are a number of different cameras that will work well, but a digital SLR with a large imaging sensor will tend to give you the best results. Most digital SLRs come with what's called an APS-C sensor, which is about 24 by 16 millimeters in size or about the size of a postage stamp. Some professional level digital cameras come with a larger full-frame sensor, which is about 36 by 24 millimeters in size. Larger sensors are great for nightscapes because they allow us to use larger lenses that can gather more light. Point-and-shoot cameras generally have really tiny sensors and in turn, have really tiny lenses that aren't as good as gathering light. That leads us to the second and arguably the most important thing that will help with your nightscape photography, a fast wide angle lens. In general, you want a lens that's about 24 millimeters or shorter. The shorter the focal length, the wider the lens. Wide angle lenses helps us see more of the sky and allows to use longer shutter speeds to gather more light. The trait of a lens that will help us gather as much light as possible is the speed or aperture f/number. The lower the f/number, the larger the aperture or opening of the lens and the better the lens is at gathering light. I highly recommend using a lens that has an f/number of 2.8 or lower. This 24 millimeter lens has an f/1.4 aperture which makes it really good for nightscape photography. The last couple of things we'll need are our tripod and a headlamp. Some other really helpful items to keep in your camera bag are extra memory cards, extra camera batteries, and extra batteries for your headlamp. That's just about all we need to make our first nightscape images. If you're interested in more information about choosing new equipment for astrophotography, check out the additional resources section of this unit. 5. Setting Up for Your First Astrophoto: Hey nightscapers, welcome back. In the last units we prepared everything we needed for our astrophotoshoot. You should have a date and location picked out and you should also have your gear packed up and ready to go. My recommendation is to arrive at your location well before sunset. This will give you the time to explore the area and pre-visualize where you'd be shooting your astrophotos. Right before sunset is a good time to briefly open up your Star Chart app to determine the direction the Milky Way will be in the sky once it gets dark. Recall the constellations that you took note of while you were planning with Stellarium. As it gets dark, there are a few things that you can do to help preserve your night vision and give you the best possible view of the stars. Reduce your camera and smartphone screen brightnesses and consider switching your headlamp to its red night vision mode. As the stars start to appear in the sky, use your smartphone app to determine what constellations you're looking at and try to look at the constellations that you took note of when planning. If you don't have a smartphone available, just give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness and find the parts of the sky that seem to have the most stars. If you picked a good spot, you should be able to find the Milky Way with your naked eyes. Once you know where to point your camera, it's time to set up your tripod. When setting up the tripod, consider deploying it in a way that gives you the most stability and the best perspective to frame both your landscape and the part of the night sky with the Milky Way. Many tripods allow you to unlock and change the angle of the legs so that you can deploy them closer to the ground for stability. If you have slightly windy conditions, you might also need to tie a camera strap to the center column or even remove the strap altogether. If you're still having trouble with stability and your tripod has a hook on it, consider hanging a mass of some kind like your camera bag from the center column of the tripod. Finally, let's go through our camera menus to select the best settings for shooting astrophotos. I recommend double-checking these settings in order to get the best results. It's no fun when you realize that you spent your entire night shooting in small compressed JPEG mode instead of RAW. First, set your camera to manual exposure mode. This will allow us to set the shutter speed, the aperture, and the ISO. Next, enable RAW recording mode. Astrophotos usually require some post-processing in the computer, and we'll need to preserve as much of the image data as possible for the best results. JPEG is usually much more difficult to make large adjustments with in post-processing. Next, enable manual focus on your lens. It's nearly impossible to autofocus on the stars, so we'll need to focus manually. I also recommend setting the focus ring roughly to infinity. If your lens doesn't have distance marks for the focusing skill, you can usually just rotate your focusing ring all the way in and then just a touch back to get it close to infinity. Next, activate the self timer mode. This will give a couple seconds delay before the shutter opens to allow any vibrations in the camera and tripod to settle. You can also use a remote trigger or intervalometer to trigger your camera and prevent vibration. Next, set your white balance to auto or AWB. The night sky has a whole range of colors and they vary greatly depending on the amount of light pollution or moonlight, and since we're shooting in RAW mode, we can actually change the white balance of the image in the computer later. Next, enable long exposure noise reduction. Most modern SLRs have this feature, but it might be hidden deep in the camera's menus. If you're unsure of where to find it, refer to your camera's instruction manual. Long exposure noise reduction reduces noise in your astrophotos by taking two photographs, a normal exposure, and then a second exposure where the camera doesn't open the shutter. Since this second dark frame contains only noise and no image, it can be subtracted from the normal exposure to create a final noise reduced image. It usually creates much better results, but at the cost of processing time. For example, if you use long exposure noise reduction on a 30-second exposure, you'll have to wait a full minute before you can touch your camera again, 30 seconds for the normal exposure and another 30 seconds for the dark frame. Finally, if your cameras supports it, enable live view mode. This will flip up the mirror of the camera, open the shutter, and allow us to use the camera's LCD to focus on the stars. That covers the most important things to set up before you start making your first exposures. To double-check, we set the camera to manual mode, enable RAW recording. We set the lens to manual focus and focused at infinity. We activated the self timer mode. We set the white balance to auto. We enabled long exposure noise reduction, and we activated live view mode. Now that your camera is all setup, let's make our first exposures in the next video lesson. 6. Expose for the Milky Way: Hi nightscapers, welcome back. In the last unit we set up our cameras, so now we're ready to start making exposures. Before we worry about precisely focusing, we should set the focus to infinity and take a test shot with some initial exposure settings. The cool thing about the night sky is that the stars are always the same brightness. So if there are no other light sources such as light pollution or moonlight, we can usually use the same exposure every time. Start with one of the exposure settings listed here and then adjust accordingly. Pick the combination with the lowest f-number that your lens can do. If you don't have the option to pick an ISO high enough to match one of these exposure settings, just set it as close as your camera will allow. For example, my Canon T2i with an 18 millimeter, f3.5 lens can only go as high as ISO 6400. So I'll set my exposure to f3.5, ISO 6400 and 30 seconds for now. These settings should work about 95 percent of the time for your first exposure if you're shooting in dark sky conditions. The only thing that may affect the exposure is the amount of light pollution or moonlight. I start with these numbers every single time I shoot astro photos, the Milky Way, and then I make small adjustments as necessary. Let's briefly talk about each of these settings and why we pick them. For the aperture F-number, we want to start with the lowest F number possible for our particular lens. The lower the F number, the larger the opening of the lens, and the more light the lens can gather at any period of time. Common minimum F numbers for lenses are f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0 and f/5.6. Each higher f-number in this sequence has half the light gathering area of the previous one. That means that an f/1.4 lens gathers eight times more light than an f/4.0 lens at the same focal length. Since we're particularly concerned with collecting as much light as possible in these dark conditions, we want to start with the lowest f-number possible. Photographers usually call this shooting wide open, as opposed to shooting stopped down. The only reason to stop down to a higher f-number is if you're asked for a photo which is showing overly blurry edges. When you use low f numbers, some lower-quality lenses may show blurry corners due to imperfections in the lens design, usually called spherical or chromatic aberration. If this bothers you, you can usually stopped down to the next highest f-number to reduce the effect of aberration. But this comes at the expense of light gathering capability and you usually need to compensate by increasing your ISO. ISO is how much gain or amplification your camera uses to boost the signal of the image. Higher ISOs allow us to see darker features in the night sky, but at the expense of higher noise. Because the light of the stars is relatively low, we almost always need to use an ISO above ISO 1600, and often as high as ISO 12,800. This usually means that we'll need to tolerate relatively high amounts of noise and grain in our astro photography. If your images are too noisy to the point of being unusable, or if the levels of light pollution or moonlight are bright enough that your images overexposing, you may need to reduce your ISO just a bit. Keep in mind that noise can be corrected with the long exposure noise reduction feature in your camera, and also in post-processing with photo editors like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Finally, we should start with a 30-second shutter speed. Thirty-seconds is typically the longest shutter speed that a digital SLR will allow us to use without needing to use the bulb function or an interval ometer. Just like a low f-number, a long shutter speed allows the camera to gather more light in these dark conditions. 30 seconds is also just about the longest shutter speed that we can use with our wide-angle lens before we start to see star trails in our image. Star trails are caused by the rotation of the earth. You can check to see how much star trailing you're getting by using the magnify function on your camera when you play back your photo. If the stars are trailing too much, just reduce the shutter speed a bit. Once you've made any necessary adjustments and have decided on the exposure settings that seem to work best for you, you should be able to use the same exact settings for the duration of the night until the light changes due to something like the moon rise or sunrise. For more detailed guidelines for adjusting your shutter speed, aperture and ISO, check out the written lessons in this unit. After you take your first exposure, you should make sure that the stars are in focus by using the magnify function while playing back the image. There are a few methods to help us focus more accurately in the dark. The first method is to use live view mode and sending your frame on one of the brightest stars in the sky. Use the magnify function and adjust your focus ring until the star is a small bright pinpoint. If you're having trouble seeing even the brightest stars on the LCD, you can also try focusing on a distant artificial light source, like a distant building or town, or even on a headlamp placed about a 100 feet away. If you're using an older model digital SLR that doesn't have live view, you'll need to use trial and error to see your focus. Take an initial test shot, and then adjust your focus for the next consecutive shot until you're convinced that you've achieved sharp focus. These focussing methods require a bit of patience, but once you have the focus set, you shouldn't need to adjust it again unless you accidentally bumped the focusing ring. One helpful trick is to use a piece of masking tape or gaffers tape on the focusing ring, to reduce the chance of bumping it. Now that you've determined your exposure settings for the night and have your focus set, you're free to start experimenting with different compositions. Check out the next unit for more tips on composition and ideas for your nightscape self portrait. 7. Composing Astrophotography: Hi nightscapers, welcome back. In the last unit, we started taking our first exposures. Now that you have your exposure set, you can leave it where it is, and concentrate on your composition. A night photograph is going to be a lot more interesting when you can combine the beauty of the night sky with the beauty of the landscape. It's one thing to see an intricately detailed image of the Milky Way as a galactic center, and it's a whole different experience seeing the Earth in perspective relative to the rest of the galaxy. It seems simple, but the way that we frame the sky and the landscape together can make a huge difference in the quality of our photographs. The rule of thirds is probably the most common rule of composition in all of photography. Some of you might already know about it. It's pretty simple to remember, but it can really help you create some amazing photographs. To use the rule of thirds, simply divide your frame into a grid with three horizontal rows, and vertical columns. Then you can use the guidelines to place elements of your photos such as the horizon, and use the intersections to place your subject or points of interest. Since you're trying to showcase the sky, you'll typically want to use about two thirds of the frame for the sky, and the bottom third for the landscape. Another concept to guide your composition is the idea of positive and negative space. When you're framing your subject, whether it's a rock formation, a tree, a group of friends, or yourself, try positioning the camera really low to silhouette the subject against the sky. This emphasizes the shape of your subject by using the sky as negative space, and makes for a more compelling photograph. Let's think about the rule of thirds and positive and negative space with a few more photographs. This next photo uses the rule of thirds, but this time in a portrait orientation. Once again, we have the horizon line along the bottom guidelines. So two-thirds of the image is the sky, and one third is the foreground. The subject is also silhouetted to create a strong positive space against the negative space of the sky. Notice how the subject is positioned along the left guideline, and his head is at one of the intersections. This last image of a couple was taken on one of my private photography workshops in Alabama Hills in California. The guy actually chose the workshop to proposed to his girlfriend, and this is one of the photographs from that night. Alabama Hills has a bunch of natural arches, and this is one called the Mobius Arch. Notice how I made sure that the sky was visible through the center of the arch to create a strong positive and negative space. It also makes use of the rule of thirds. We have about two thirds sky again, and the couple is placed on one of the intersections. Try to use the concept of positive and negative space and the rule of thirds for all of your astrophotos. I'm sure that when you're picking your five best astrophotos of the night, you'll probably like the ones that use these concepts most effectively. Now that we've covered the basics of composition and how to frame your nightscape photographs, let's move on the light painting in the next video lesson. 8. Painting with Light: Hi, nightscapers. Welcome back. In this video lesson, we're going to talk briefly about light painting and ideas for your nightscape self portrait. There's a variety of different light painting techniques, and all of them will add some extra punch to your nightscapes. Try making use of some of these techniques for your nightscape self portrait. Without an additional light source, most of our nightscape astrophotos will have really dark foreground details. We can easily fill in these dark details with our flashlight or headlamp while the camera's shutter is open. Start by enabling the 10 seconds self-timer on your camera. When you're ready to go, press the shutter button and use the timers delay to walk out towards the subject that you're lighting. When the shutter opens, sweep the beam of your headlamp all over the subject during the exposure. I suggest that you try lighting the site of the subject rather than just the front of the subject in order to create the best looking shadow detail. Try to keep the beam moving so you end up with the most even distribution of light across the subject. To control the brightness of the light painting, just count the number of seconds that you have your light on. I recommend starting with about five seconds. If that's too dark or too bright, just increase or decrease the amount of time that you have your light on for the next exposure. This is also a great technique to use on nights with moonlight if you want to add some extra punch to your moonlight photos. One of my favorite forms of light painting is when a light sources in the shot. In this photo, I just removed my shoe lace, tied it to my headlamp, and spun it around in a ring. There are all different variations on this technique. Try drawing other shapes, and even try spinning the light on a string while you also rotate your body around in a circle to create a light orb. The possibilities are pretty much endless with what you can create with light painting. Start with some of these ideas for your self portrait, and let your imagination run wild. By now, you should have everything you need to create your own nightscape self portrait. Upload your best results to your Skillshare project page, and share it with your classmates. I really look forward to seeing what you can create. 9. Processing Landscape Astrophotos: Hey everyone. In this video lesson, we're going to review how to process your landscape astrophotos. I'm going to be using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 for this demonstration, but the same concepts we'll cover here apply to basically any raw editor that you wish to use. For the example photo here we have a photograph I took from Trona Pinnacles in California. What you're seeing here is the Milky Way galactic center near the constellation Sagittarius. This particular image was taken with a Canon 6D and a Rokinon 24mm lens set to F1.4 with the 13 second exposure at ISO 3200. The very first thing that we're going to start with is white balance, but before we start adjusting our white balance, we want to boost the vibrance and saturation. We'll revert back to some less ridiculous levels of saturation a little bit later. The reason for this is that the colors of the night sky are rather subdued and in order to get a more precise white balance setting, we want to be able to see what color everything is. Now we can start making our white balance adjustments by changing the temperature and tint sliders until we start seeing the most diverse selection of colors in our photo. It looks like this setting gives us the best combination of colors. You can see that we have a whole rainbow colors here from orange light pollution to green airglow and pink nebula. Now that we've done that, we should go ahead and return our vibrance and saturation down to less ridiculous level, just set them roughly neutral. The very next thing that I do once we have a neutral white balance is to increase the contrast of the image. This will accentuate the amount of vignetting or light fall off that the lens produces, so we can correct for it later. I usually like to use the Tone Curve control first. First, I'll boost the highlights to increase the brightness of the galactic center. We'll use a relatively strong contrast curve here to accentuate the details of the Milky Way. I'll pull down the shadows as well. My recommendation is just to concentrate on what the center of the image looks like for now and don't worry too much about the light fall off in the corners of the photo. Once we have a really contrast the image, we can then correct for those dark corners by using the vignetting correction to bring up the brightness. Just make enough adjustments so that you have nice even tones across the image. I like to leave a little bit of light fall off just for the effect that it creates. Finally, we can do some minor tweaks in the brightness of the image just by adjusting the exposure slider and bring back some of the colors by boosting the saturation and vibrant sliders. So that covers the most basic processing for your astrophotos. Take a look at the before and after comparison to see how much a difference it make. Now that the image is processed, it should be ready to export for sharing.