Astrophotographers: amazing photographers behind the lens
Astrophotography is an art that captures the wonders of our universe in all its splendor. To do this, one needs patience, skill, and the right equipment – not to mention plenty of creative talent! In this article, we’ll focus on several outstanding astrophotographers including Adam Block, Cuiv the Lazy Geek on YouTube, and Alyn Wallace. Please note that these are my favourites and in no particular order.
I wouldn’t be an astrophotographer myself if I wasn’t inspired by others and so I am listing in this post some of the current astrophotographers I admire and also will mention some of the names of those from the past and who have become big names due to their many achievements in the field of astronomy.
First, let’s start with three astrophotographers from the present.
Adam Block is a Tucson-based astrophotographer who’s been photographing the night sky since 2001. His stunning images of deep space objects such as nebulas and galaxies have been featured in National Geographic and Astronomy Magazine, making him an acclaimed astrophotographer with many admirers. When photographing these celestial bodies with a 32-inch telescope, Adam often produces images that are truly out-of-this-world with vibrant colors and intricate details that breathe life into the universe.
Here is one of his images that I really like:
Adam Block has created some really good astrophotography resources and in particular tutorials on post-processing which are really fantastic. Here is a link to some of his Pixinsight tutorials.
Cuiv the Lazy Geek
Cuiv the Lazy Geek is a well-known astrophotography YouTuber from France who creates educational and entertaining videos. His passion lies in teaching viewers how to capture stunning images of the night sky with a DSLR camera and telescope, showcasing planets, nebulas, and galaxies. Cuiv’s videos make great resources for anyone interested in astrophotography as he simplifies the process so anyone can understand it.
There are a couple of reasons why I have included Cuiv here (real name Yannick Dutertre). The first is that I love his youtube videos. He is a real geek but knows how to explain complex information and I have gained so much from watching some of his videos in the past. The second reason is that I have been able to communicate with him by email and he has always been very approachable and very helpful.
If you need to find out about NINA, he is a great source of information on that amongst many other topics including the length of exposures and imaging in a city environment with high light pollution levels as he lives in Tokyo.
So if you haven’t watched any of his videos, I suggest you do.
Alyn Wallace is a Welsh astrophotographer and YouTuber who has been documenting the night sky for over a decade. He’s renowned for his stunning images of the Milky Way and captivating time-lapse videos depicting it. Alyn often travels to remote locations to capture starspots, sharing his expertise with others through informative yet entertaining videos that aim to empower viewers to capture such breathtaking beauty of their own night skies. Check out his youtube channel here.
I really enjoyed his videos especially when I was new to astrophotography but his images are absolutely sublime and very inspiring!
And here is one of the many Milky Way shots that Alyn has taken:
Finally, Adam Block, Cuiv the Lazy Geek on YouTube, and Alyn Wallace also have incredible astrophotographers. Each has their own unique style and approach to capturing the beauty of the universe, yet they all share an enthusiasm for astronomy and deep dedication to their craft. Their images and videos will surely motivate anyone interested in discovering the night sky’s mysteries.
5 Famous Astrophotographers from the Past
Edwin Hubble (1889-1953): Was an American astronomer renowned for his discoveries in extragalactic astronomy. He was the first person to prove that galaxies exist outside our own galaxy and that the universe is expanding.
Before Hubble’s discoveries, most scientists believed the Universe was stationary but he showed how other galaxies and objects in space are moving away from us.
Annie Jump Cannon (1863-1941): She was an American astronomer who developed the Harvard Classification Scheme, a system for classifying stars based on their spectral characteristics. She was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Oxford University.
Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997): An American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930 and made significant contributions to the search for a ninth planet and the discovery of several asteroids. he also discovered new clusters of stars and some galaxies. His contribution to astronomy is therefore quite important.
George Ellery Hale (1868-1938): American astronomer who played an integral role in developing astrophotography. He founded both Yerkes Observatory and Mount Wilson Observatory, both essential institutions in furthering our comprehension of the universe.
Caroline Herschel (1750-1848): German-born British astronomer who made significant advances in observational astronomy. She discovered several comets and became the first woman to receive a salary for her work as an astronomer.
So what does it take to become an astrophotographer?
Perhaps you’ve become inspired reading this about famous and popular astrophotographers. If so you might be thinking of starting astrophotography or you might wonder if you’ve got what it takes to succeed in this field.
What kind of astrophotography are you interested in? I love deep sky photography but you might prefer something else.
In my experience, doing astrophotography throughout the year for several years now, I know what it takes to become an astrophotographer. Not everybody has the inclination nor skillset or capability to succeed in this field of astronomy.
First, you’ll need to be interested in learning about the Universe, and the objects in the night sky. You’ll need to be scientific in your approach, yet creative and imaginative to manage aspects like post-processing or composing photographs that will catch the eye. you’ll need to understand basic mathematics to cope with many technical aspects of photography and astrophotography settings.
You’ll definitely need problem-solving and experimental skills. This is very much a practical hobby based on theory. You’ll need dedication and be up to the challenge to constantly improve.
You’ll need an artistic eye or your images will be dull and boring, you’ll need to bring your data to life in glorious colours that inspire others.
I think we need a sense of awe and wonder in our imaginations to contemplate the deeper questions and meaning of what we do as astrophotographers.
Motivation is key for an astrophotographer because you require patience and a lot of time and effort to produce each image, often the result of waiting for good conditions, and staying up all night to photograph details you can’t see hundreds and hundreds of times over. After this, you’ll need to learn how to bring your data to life using software on your computer.
I’d like to end this by thanking all you astrophotographers out there and those of you who read this and aspire to become one. Good luck! Go for it!