OMSI Astrophotography Workshop 2009 Summary

Saturday, March 14, 2009, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
Classroom 1
1945 SE Water Avenue
Portland, OR 97214-3354, USA

Updated on March 15, 2009

OMSI Deep Sky Imaging Workshop

Electronic imaging of deep sky objects has revolutionized astrophotography. This hands-on astrophotography workshop focused on using astronomy CCD cameras and commercial DSLR cameras. The above photo shows Steven Jaynes presenting his "Experiences with the HyperStar & QHY8 One Shot Color Camera" session.

This OMSI Astrophotography workshop was sponsored and hosted by Jim Todd.

Feedback what the Attendees Liked Best About the Workshop

  • Liked all
  • David's lab
  • Processing theory
  • Richard Berry talk
  • The processing lab
  • Dave Haworth's MaxIm/CS3 workshop
  • Equipment demo and astrophoto stories
  • Richard's Bayer talk and Neil's processing talk
  • Variety of presentations, Hands' on lab with MaxIm
  • Hands on labs that allows one to work on processing
  • Lecture combine with workshop, Tech lecture were great
  • All great. I look forward to these workshops every year!
  • Whole day. Having presentations on CD during class helped
  • Excellent overall. I liked the sharing of experiences. I also liked the labs with MaxIm and Photoshop.
  • Neil Heacock's presentation, Seeing what equipment people are using and how they use it, Steve Jaynes working with his equipment was great!

Steven Jaynes showing his HyperStar and QHY8 One Shot Color Camera

Steven Jaynes showing his C-11 HyperStar & QHY8 One Shot Color Camera



  • 8:00 to 8:15 am Sign-in & Installation of Lab & Demo Files
  • 8:15 am Bayer Array Mosaicking and Demosaicking,
    Richard Berry
    • One-shot color CCD cameras and digital SLR cameras record color information by imposing a mosaic filter mask -- the Bayer array -- on the image sensor. The Bayer array spatially encodes the color information present in the image, but its use has profound effects on the sensitivity and resolution of the image sensor. Richard will describe how the Bayer mosaic affects astronomical images, show what must be done for proper dark-subtraction and flat-fielding, and discuss the ways that the Bayer mosaic is "demosaicked" to reconstruct the original color image. If time permits, Richard will demonstrate mosaicking and demosaicking with sample color images using AIP4WIN.
Bayer Mosaic

  • LRGB vs One Shot Color: One Astroimager's Experience,
    Dave Sandage
  • After many years of creating LRGB images with a variety of CCD cameras, Dave recently bought an SBIG ST-4000XCM one-shot color camera. Dave will describe his experiences going between these two imaging methods. Topics will include:
    • Differences between monochrome and one-shot color cameras
    • Work flow differences at the telescope
    • Processing method differences
    • Demo of one-shot color processing using CCDStack
Pelican Nebula

  • Post Processing - Going From Individual Frames to Final Image, Neil Heacock
    • Neil shows DeepSkyStacker, stacking and save options, Levels and Curves adjustments in Adobe Photoshop/Photoshop Elements, saturation tweaks, background smoothing, gradient repair techniques, finishing touches, etc.
    • Imaging equipment used
    • Image processing software
    • DLSR image processing demo
    • Noel Carboni Photoshop Astronomy Tools V1.5
  • Show and Tell Sessions
    • The View from Quail Run, Imaging Lessons Learned,
      Sean Curry
  • Lunch on Your Own
IC 1318 - Butterfly Nebula and Sadr

  • 1:00 pm MaxIm DL & Adobe Photoshop CS3 Image Processing Lab Using QSI520wsci One Shot Color CCD Camera Images, David Haworth
    • Imaging equipment used
    • Images and darks frames
    • MaxIM DL V5.02 lab
      • Making a master dark, checking dark frames
      • Dark calibration, checking image frames
      • Stacking, color balance
      • Digital Development with no sharpening
      • Curves, local adaptive filter
      • Scaling to 16-bits, Save as 16-bits TIF for CS3
    • Photoshop CS3 actions lab
      • Convert to smart object, smart sharpening
      • Hue/Saturation
      • Croping, resizing, save for the web
    • MaxIM DL Version 5 30-day demo
    • Adobe trial Photoshop CS4 Extended

Messier M8 Lagoon Nebula

  • New tools for Astroimagers in Adobe Photoshop CS4
    Kevin Nelson, Quantum Scientific Imaging, Inc.
    • Adobe Photoshop CS4 has some powerful new features. Kevin presents what's new in Photoshop CS4 that's useful for astrophotography. He's still exploring the new features in CS4, but the early list of what he's planning to cover includes:
      • Expanded use of non-destructive adjustment layers with the Adjustments panel
      • Non-destructive Smart Filters, including Shadow/Highlight
      • The new Mask panel with non-destructive mask feathering and density
      • "High-resolution web display" that integrates with Flash to create zoomable images.
    • If there's time, Kevin may also talk about using Adobe Lightroom 2 for managing the large number of files collected by astrophotographers.
    • Trial Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended
IC 5070 - Pelican Nebula by Mario Bautista

  • The Modern Astrophotographer - in one years time,
    Walt Davis
    • March 09 will represent one year in astrophotography and astronomy for me. I will focus on what the normal person can do in such a short period of time because of all the technical advances in social networking and astronomy technology.

  • Experiences with the HyperStar & QHY8 One Shot Color Camera, Steven Jaynes
    • Steve presents the HyperStar technique and itís alternatives, including his experiences with the QHY8 Single-shot color TEC-Cooled CCD camera. He covers the f/2.0, f/5.0, f/6.3, f/10, and f/20 configurations for the SCT, describes the software suite he uses, and why he chose them. He will also cover his Autofocuser configuration and procedures he uses for imaging.
    • Road to my current Astro-photography set-up
      • Film & Off-Axis Guiding
      • SAC Webcam
      • ST-4 AutoGuider
      • Canon 40d DSLR
    • Schmidt-Cassegrain (Celestron GPS-11) HyperStar configurations
      • f/ratio options and considerations
      • The Hyperstar System Ė Ultra-fast medium focal-length configurations
        • Options for Meade and Celestron SCTs
      • Mount Considerations: Altazimuth, Fork-Mount with Wedge & GEM
    • QHY8 One Shot Color TEC-Cooled Camera
      • Technical Description
      • Experiences
    • Autofocusing techniques and equipment
    • Autoguiding, or not
    • Software Suite:
      • Maxium DL 5.x
      • Focus Max
      • Nebulosity
      • Photoshop
      • Neilís Astrophoto Tools
    • Alternative Travel Kit
    • Gallery of Results
Horsehead and Flame Nebulae


Richard Berry

Richard Berry

There is very little that Richard Berry has not done in astronomy; Former editor for Astronomy magazine, co-author of books such as "The CCD Cookbook Camera" and "The Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing" and author of the "Build Your Own Telescope". He is one of the developers of AIP4WIN software. His talks are always a treat to listen to and a valuable asset to the astronomy community.

Kevin Nelson

Kevin Nelson, Quantum Scientific Imaging, Inc.

Kevin Nelson is co-founder of Quantum Scientific Imaging, a manufacturer of cooled CCD cameras designed by and for astrophotographers. Kevin is an avid sailor and history buff whose interest in stargazing began with studying the Age of Exploration and celestial navigation. Today, Kevin shares the joys and challenges of imaging the night sky from his backyard with his two young sons.

Dave Sandage

Dave Sandage

Dave Sandage has been an active imager and visual astronomer since childhood. His first astro images were piggyback shots using Tri-X film in the early 70's. He moved on to hypered tech pan film in the late 80's and started CCD imaging using an SBIG ST-5 in the 90's. Dave currently images using a variety of cameras including an SBIG ST-2000XM and an ST-4000XCM from his observatory in Forest Grove. Dave co-authored the user's manual for the Gemini Telescope Control System, and more recently wrote a series of articles on guided imaging in AstroPhoto Insight magazine. Dave has spoken on numerous topics at imaging conferences and star parties

Neil Heacock

Neil Heacock

Neil Heacock is an IT professional who moved out of the city for the first time in 2003. After living in LA, Seattle and Portland, he moved to somewhat more rural area of Clark County and really saw the stars. This birthed a strong interest in astronomy which has continued to grow and develop over the past 6 years. In 2006 Neil began to dabble in astrophotography and after attending the 2007 Northwest Astrophotography Conference his imaging stared to mature. Neil primarily considers himself a visual observer but with such amazing and easy to use imaging systems available he now images with one setup while observing with another. Neil uses a Canon 20D DSLR camera and the images he produces are excellent.

Steve Jaynes

Steve Jaynes

Steve Jaynes has had an interest in astronomy since first viewing the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter in a 60mm department-store refractor the fall of 1961 soon after starting the 7th grade. He earned a 3" reflector by selling Christmas cards that same year. He maintained an active interest in all areas of science though out school, including astronomy as part of his Earth Sciences undergraduate program.

As an adult he received a 4.5" reflector from his wife as a Christmas present, built his own 6Ē Newtonian, and later horse-traded an early Z-80 computer for a Celestron C-8. He continued both his observational astronomy and his first foray into astrophotography using the venerable C-8 coupled with a Nikon SLR body and an off-axis guider.

In the mid 90ís, spurred by a move to California for a temporary work assignment, Steve parted with the C-8 intending to replace it with a more modern scope with electronics equipped mount and a larger aperture. Unfortunately that replacement was delayed until 2004 when he purchased his current Celestron GPS-11. Since then, heís been rebuilding his observing and astrophoto equipment kit, recently adding the Starizona Hyperstar kit to the scope and an eight mega-pixel QHY-8 single shot cooled CCD camera and has been active in both visual and photographic astronomy than ever before. His early efforts with the new kit have been very gratifying allowing him to capture images in a few nights that he wasnít able to capture in several years of film photography.

Steve supports his astronomy hobby by working as the manager at IBM Corpís Network Transformation Laboratories, with over 40 years in the computer industry. He enjoys sojourns to remote locations, using his solar-power equipped travel-trailer as a home-away from home. Since 2004, heís viewed from western locations from Canada to Mexico, attending the All-Arizona Messier Marathons in 2006 & 2008.

Walt Davis

Walt Davis

Walt Davis is an amateur astronomer who has a strong interest in astrophotography. Being a software engineer/architect and with modern advancement in computerized telescopes, Walt realized that unlike when he was a kid, today it was possible for the normal person to observe the night sky. What he could not have foreseen is the so called "e;Astrophotography Bug"e;. He now focuses mostly on wide field imagery using high end camera lenses like the Nikon 600mm f4 ED super telephoto lens. To see some of his imagines visit http://www.waltdavis.net/astronomy/

David Haworth

David Haworth

David Haworth enjoys astronomy imaging and processing those images to bring out details that cannot be seen easily by visual observing with the same size optics. David Haworth started astroimaging with a Cookbook CCD camera he built in 1996 and since then has used many types of cameras to image the sky. David wrote Chapter 2: "Afocal Photography with Digital Cameras" in the second edition of "The Art and Science of CCD Astronomy" which was published in December 2005. David's images have appeared in magazine front covers, articles, books, catalogs, videos, music CD covers, T-shirts, other web sites, etc.