Practice is a ticket to the stars of astrophotography
I AM sure that everyone loves to look at the universe beyond earth and many of you would have wondered what it would be like to capture images with your own cameras.
Astrophotography can be very easy and inexpensive.
Even your average 'point-and-shoot' cameras or mobile phones can capture breathtaking skyscapes, but astrophotography can also be incredibly demanding.
Close-ups of tiny, feint nebulae, and galaxies require expensive equipment and a lot of time, patience and skill.
Between these two extremes, however, there's a huge amount of wonderful images you can get with a digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera.
According to Pete Neuman, a tutor with Ipswich U3A on astrophotography, photographing the universe above us using a Digital SLR camera can open up a new field of photography.
"Anybody can do it if you can afford to purchase a digital SLR camera and a tripod," Mr Neuman said.
Astrophotography is an art form.
It uses the same skills as regular photography such as compensation, planning, framing and an amount of luck.
It can be a lot of fun but ultimately, like normal photography it is the photographer, and not the camera or equipment that is the most important ingredient.
"You can purchase a lot of equipment and spend a lot of money taking photos of the universe, especially if you start to purchase telescopes, camera mounts and other photographic equipment that will help getting images of the galaxies," Mr Neumann said.
"However, the modern digital camera is much more sensitive and can see more than that of the human eye, which means that you can get reasonable images without purchasing expensive equipment."
There is a wealth of information about this subject on the internet; stories, video tutorials, blogs and much more that can provide all the information you need if you want to get into this type of photography.
The key to astrophotography is to have realistic expectations and to pick subjects that are appropriate for the equipment you currently own.
You may not get the images you want straight away, but with practice you will get reasonable images to suit your needs.
More important than the quality of the image is the excitement that comes from simply seeing it on the back of your camera, and this alone can set you off to shooting more images.
Success in gaining a satisfactory image will make you want to shoot more and more. Practice makes perfect, apparently, and digital photography provides that instant feedback about the image you have just taken.
It doesn't cost you any more to take hundreds of shots as you can always delete the ones that do not work out and keep only those that are suitable to your needs and viewpoint.
If you would like to learn about photographing the universe and own a digital SLR camera then contact Ipswich U3A on 3282 7484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.