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

Sky Photo Trip - 9 (Concluded) Current workshop is here



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Event .

Workshop Dates .

Time .

Participants .

Tutorials, online discussions .


Venue .





Astrophotography Workshop

11 - 13 December 2015

Friday 2 p.m. - Sunday 12 noon

Twenty (maximum)

Dec '15 - Jan '16, two months


Majkhali in the Himalayas

Ranikhet, Almora, Uttarakhand

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

Satellite Map




Aperture Telescopes has been conducting a practical astrophotography workshop in India since 2010. The workshop duration is for two months which includes online tutorials and photographing the sky in the Himalayas. At the start of the workshop participants become familiar with the equipment and the method of photography.  Tutorials are sent every day and discussed with other participants online. Then participants meet at Majkhali where they shoot the sky in multifarious ways, variety of focal lengths and field of view. Immense amount of raw astrophotographs are collected which form the workshop repository. The entire workshop repository, which is about 200 gb data, is provided to every participant. The repository forms the third part of the workshop – post processing. Daily videos and tutorials (online) provide insights on how to effectively process the astrophotography data.

The location of the practical is a small Himalayan village – Majkhali. Here the sky is pristine and studded with stars, Milky Way is visible gloriously to the naked eye. The workshop is organised at a time when the sky is clear of clouds and haze. Even a small exposure with digital cameras captures numerous stars. Participants get a tremendous impetus when they see their efforts easily translating into spectacular sky images, astrophotography becomes a passion looking at the results. The workshop is conducted at Woodsvilla Resort, logistically an ideal place. You can keep your camera running automatically while you go for dinner or take a nap in your room in the tired wee hours of the night. The resort has a large terrace where all photography activities are conducted. From the terrace you can view the snow-capped peaks of Nanda Devi and Trishul. Indeed a wonderful location for capturing the night sky.

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.

Aperture Telescopes invites you to participate in the

Sky Photo Trip 9th Edition


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: Twenty 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.


Four independent Equipment Stations are available at the Sky Photo Trip

Station One - Tripod & Camera

Shoot the Milky Way! This mobile station comprises of equipment checklist suitable to click stunning night landscapes and Milky Way images. Milky Way photography is the rage of the times. Milky way is a beautiful and glorious vista of the night sky, you will learn how easy is to photograph the Milky Way. Star Trails, Time Lapse movies and night panoramas will also be shot by this station. A Canon 5D Mark-II full frame camera coupled with a circular Fisheye lens can produce time lapse movies suitable for Full Dome projection in a planetarium. A car is available to travel within 10kms with this station to travel to a suitable location for photography.


Station Two - Polarie

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.

Polarie portable mount can be used to shoot fantastic deep sky images 'on-the-go'. The Polarie can also be used for panning and producing stunning time lapse movies.


Station Three - Atlas Mount

The Atlas mount is a full fledged German Equatorial Mount for deep sky photography. It is a dependable, wireless GOTO mount, which always performs in all conditions. A 400mm lens,  modified Canon 450D Digital SLR camera, Guiding telescope, Guiding CCD camera, Atlas Equatorial Mount, laptop with all necessary software will be available for participants in this station.


Station Four (New) - Celestron 14inch Hyperstar

HyperStar imaging is the fastest, easiest way to capture deep-sky images. The HyperStar lens converts a 14inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope into an ultra-fast f/1.9 imaging system. When it comes to imaging, the most important aspect of an optical system isn't aperture, it's the focal ratio. The faster the focal ratio, the shorter the required exposure time. Normally an SCT operates at f/10. Converting it to f/1.9 makes the telescope 25x faster for capturing images! Exposures that might normally take hours now take mere minutes!

Besides reducing the time required to take deep-sky images, short exposures also relax the other requirements for imaging. With HyperStar, the exposures are so short that guiding and polar alignment are not required! This makes HyperStar the perfect system for the novice astrophotographer because learning is fast and easy. Another advantage of HyperStar is the wide field of view. Wide-field photos are normally taken with expensive apochromatic refractors at moderate focal ratios of f/5 to f/6. HyperStar offers the same field of view, high image quality, and extremely short exposures.



What's Included in the Sky Photo Trip?
  • Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis, for two nights at Woodsvilla Resort, 11 & 12 December, 2015.
  • 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 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.

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 discounted 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 - 9 is as follows:

1. Registration before 11th November ............. Rs. 24,500/- only  
2. Registration on or after 11th November .............. Rs. 26,000/- only  

Early registration guarantees working on your choice of stations at the workshop. Please note that your full payment as well as registration form must reach us for a confirmed registration. 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. There is no last date of registration, a maximum of 20 participants are registered, all places get filled quickly, please register as early as possible. Full payment must reach us for confirmed registration. To register send email to Aperture Telescopes or call us on +91-124-2336947 or 9810274724.

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. All cancellations will attract a 25% handling charge on the amount paid.
  2. Your registration can be transferred to another eligible person before the online discussions start on 21st November 2015.
  3. In case of cancellation on or after 1st December, 2015, we regret that no refund is 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.
  6. Joining the discussions in the yahoo group signifies participants' start of workshop. Registration is not transferrable thereafter.


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, normalising, 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 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.


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.

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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