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Learn Astrophotography,...... Deep Sky,...... Time Lapse Movies,...... Nightscapaes,...... Sky Photo Trip V11.,...... 25-27 November 2016 (Fri-Sun)

(SPT04 is Concluded)

Current Workshop - SPT V11.




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Event .................. Astrophotography Workshop (Concluded)

(The page for 7th Edition is here)

SPT 2nd Edition Pics

Date ................... 16th - 18th November 2012
Time .................. Friday 1400 Hrs - Sunday 1200 Hrs
Participants ........ Sixteen Maximum
Venue ................

Majkhali in the Himalayas

Ranikhet, Almora, Uttarakhand

29° 40' 58" North, 79° 30' 02” East, 1900m

Satellite Map

SKY PHOTO TRIP - One-Of-A-Kind Practical Astrophotography Workshop in India. The location is a pristine dark sky, high in the Himalayas. All high-end equipment is provided, ALL. Participants walk away with Stunning Night Landscapes & Deep Sky photographs shot themselves. The lead facilitator of the workshop is Ajay Talwar, a TWAN photographer from India.

Participation: Only sixteen 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.

Equipment Stations available at the Sky Photo Trip .....

Station One

The most versatile and movable station of our workshop, minimum focal length among the four stations, 18-55 mm lens, Digital SLR camera, Tripod, Intervalometer. This station will be used for shooting interesting star trails, panoramic pictures & time lapse movies.  In this fourth edition of our workshop we have added "Dolly" - a automated motion track to shoot-move-shoot-move and create a moving night landscape. Special emphasis will be given to creating TWAN style images and time lapse movies using this station. A car is available to travel within 20kms with this station.


Station Two

Station two features the world's smallest equatorial mount - Polarie. The small camera like gadget will be used to follow the stars precisely, gather light and reveal faint nebulae. A wide angle lens, Digital SLR camera, laptop with all necessary software is provided. This station will be used for shooting large areas of Milky Way, sometimes along with the landscape in the field of view.

Station Three

A 200mm lens, or a 500mm apochromat telescope, Canon 450D Digital SLR camera which has been specially modified for astronomical photography, Guiding telescope, Guiding CCD camera, Atlas Equatorial Mount, laptop with all necessary software. This station will be used for shooting nebulosity such as the North American Nebula, Orion constellation, Rosette and many more.

Station Four

Meade 12” LX200GPS, 2x & 4x powermate, DSLR with movie capability or a Philips ToUcam planetary imager, laptop with all required software. This station will shoot videos of Jupiter and its surface. During the Sky Photo Trip we will be able to see the Great Red Spot transiting Jupiter. The focal length of the telescope is 3000mm or it can be doubled to 6000mm to capture the fine planetary details. Jupiter is in Opposition on 3rd December and will be visible most of the night during the workshop.

Solar Telescope: Apart from the above four stations there will be a H-alpha solar telescope available for photographing Sun's prominences and other features.

Online Discussions: Discussions through group email are the forte of our workshop. You will be thoroughly familiarised with the equipment before you reach the site. The experience of previous workshop participants is also shared in this discussion group. The discussions start one month before the actual workshop and continue two months after the trip for processing your astro-images.

Astronomical Events during the Fourth Edition:
  • Evening Conjunction of Crescent Moon & Mars in the middle of Milky Way.
  • Capture 'Earthshine' on the dark side of the Moon.
  • Jupiter rises over the Panchachuli Himalayan peaks.
  • Auriga rises over the Nanda Devi and Trishul Snow capped peaks from the Sky Photo Trip location.
  • Transit of Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
  • Shadow of satellite Io falls on Jupiter.
  • Venus and Saturn during the morning Zodiacal light.
  • Leonids meteor shower reaches its peak during the nights of Sky Photo Trip.

What's Included in the Sky Photo Trip?
  • Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis, for two nights at Woodsvilla Resort, 16th & 17th November, 2012.
  • All meals at the hotel are included.
  • Flexible timing breakfast in the room, rest of the meals in the restaurant only.
  • 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 DVD containing all the lecture presentations 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 DVD 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. large telescope, available for visual 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 20 kms of Woodsvilla resort during the course of the workshop.

What's not included?

  • Travelling to and from Ranikhet is not included in the participation fee. We will be able to provide a car pick up from Ranikhet main market. This pick up will be available only from Ranikhet, but not any other location.
  • Any food & beverages, mineral water bottles ordered in your room, except breakfast, or any other chargeable activity offered by the hotel and availed by the participant will be paid by the participant on their own at the time of checkout.
  • Accommodation before and beyond the workshop dates will have to be arranged beforehand, and will be extra on actual rate charged by the hotel.
  • Reimbursement, refund of fee or rescheduling  the workshop is not possible in case of bad weather, clouds, rain or any other natural cause because of which we are not able to conduct the astrophotography practical sessions. Though it will be our endeavour to make most of the situation by having more indoor sessions.

Participation Fee:

The participation fee for the Sky Photo Trip is as follows:

1. Registration on or before 30st September ............. Rs. 18,400/- only  
2. Registration after 1st October ........................ Rs. 19,400/- only  

Early registration guarantees your choice of stations on two nights of the workshop. Please note that your full payment as well as registration form must reach us on or before the last dates. The participation fee includes accommodation, boarding at Woodsvilla Resort, but not the travel to and from Ranikhet. Please go through the ‘What’s included’ and ‘What’s not included’ paragraphs carefully. To register send email to Aperture Telescopes or call us on +91-124-2336947

Payment Methods:

  1. Pay cash at our administrative office at the following address: Aperture Telescopes, B49, Vijay Rattan Vihar, Sector 15-II, Gurgaon - 122001, Haryana.

  2. Send us a cheque or demand draft favouring 'Aperture Telescopes' payable at Gurgaon at the above address.

  3. Direct cash/cheque deposit at any HDFC bank across the country, 'Aperture Telescopes' Current Account No. 13812020000392, Branch - Sector 15, Gurgaon, Haryana.

  4. Online bank transfer to our ‘Aperture Telescopes’ HDFC bank, Current Account No. 13812020000392, Branch - Sector 15, Gurgaon. RTGS/NEFT/IFSC Code: HDFC0001381.


  1. Cancellation before 26th October, 2012, Handling Charge - 10% of the participation fee paid.
  2. Cancellation on or after 26th October, 2012, Handling Charge - 25% of the participation fee paid
  3. Cancellation on or after 9th November, 2012, we regret that no refund possible.
  4. 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.
  5. Price quoted is a package, no partial refund or credit is possible in case of services not used.

LocationAbout 10 kms from Ranikhet, on the road which leads towards the famous Golf Course of Ranikhet, continue onwards and you will reach Woodsvilla Resort. It has an open terrace overlooking the Himalayas and wide open to the beautiful night skies. Absolutely no light pollution here, stars above the horizon and little twinkling village lights below the horizon. Faint stars are visible as soon as they pop out from behind the Himalayan peaks. You could carry your camera & tripod around for stunning views of the pine, deodars and the Milky Way, on the Ranikhet Golf Course. Make a time lapse movie of the stars rising above Trishul peaks and the few vehicles moving below in the valleys.

Ranikhet is known for its towering view of the Himalayas as it is close to the base of the mountains. The view of the majestic 26500 feet high Trishul takes one’s breath away. The Trishul view changes dramatically at sunrise, afternoon and sunset, as the angle of the sun rays changes.

About 15 kms from Majkhali, at Katarmal, there is a 800 year old Sun temple. You could also travel to Sitlakhet, and easily trek to the top of the peak for even more astounding views of the Himalayas.

Please note that travelling to Majkhali will have to be arranged on your own. We would facilitate participants coming together in hired cars, by maintaining an online list of participants, so participants can interact with each other.

Woodsvilla Our location Woodsvilla Resort is ideal for astronomy, negligible light pollution, observation terrace just above the rooms, so anytime you feel like a little rest, just come down to the comfort of your bed, rest for an hour and be back to your astrophotography session. A large terrace for astronomy, conference hall, all this in the middle of a small Himalayan village ...... an ideal place for our workshop. The hotel also conducts trekking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities & section with Burma bridges, pool, Table Tennis and the restaurant is named 'Cloud 9'!

Accommodation: The hotel has large, clean rooms, with bay windows overlooking the Himalayas. All the rooms have twin beds as well as an extra bed installed beside the bay window. Accommodation will be on twin room sharing for Sky Photo Trip participants. Participants registering early will have priority in deciding their astro-roommate. On completing the registration you will be sent a link to access the document detailing rooms and occupants, which you will be able to edit yourself. The hotel has provided us with all inclusive plan, all the meals are on the house. You may order your breakfast in your room with ample time flexibility. Lunch and Dinner will be according to the hotel timings in the restaurant only. Late night hot beverage and a snack will be provided on the observation terrace. Anything extra ordered in the room will be paid by the participants themselves at checkout.

Presentations: 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 two more months until all images acquired at the Sky Photo Trip have been finished.

Participant Groups: The 16 Participants will be divided onto 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.

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 40 GB of images & videos are collected during the workshop.

Expected temperature, at night, will be between 4-6° 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, such as running shoes or hiking boots.

All equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring along your camera, or any other equipment.

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