Refine your star shooting art

SOUTHERN UTAH – Professional photographer, Royce Bair, who specializes in star-shooting seminars is coming to St. George Thursday to do an in-depth seminar for Washington County residents. Geared toward the beginning or the more experienced DSLR photographer, Royce will share his latest information on the how-to of star-shooting photography, followed by a lengthy and technical Q-and-A session.

A group of night photography students waiting for the moon to set, so they can photograph the Milky Way behind a light painted Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park, Utah, date not provided | Photo courtesy of Meredith Bowman, Photography Club of St. George, St. George News
A group of night photography students waiting for the moon to set, so they can photograph the Milky Way behind a light painted Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park, Utah, date not provided | Photo courtesy of Meredith Bowman, Photography Club of St. George, St. George News

Star shooting

In many areas of the southwest skies are dark enough with little or no light pollution that people can see the Milky Way and the constellations fairly easily with the naked eye.

With telescopes man can study much farther into the universe. And recently, with the increased sensitivity of the digital single-lens reflex, or DSLR, sensor in digital cameras, people can capture these celestial images within a 30-second exposure with just the right settings – ISO – Internation Organization for Standardization – aperture, white balance, and so on.

Although many prefer to just allow the modern DSLR do the work on automatic in most of our daytime shots, with a little knowledge about manual settings, anyone can capture these images successfully for a brilliant forever memento of that special place and dark sky visited that evening.

Many photographers are beginning to enjoy and specialize in this fulfilling photo art, and some professionals who are on the forefront are teaching seminars and multi-day workshops year-round in the best dark sky locations. Zion National Park is a favorite dark-sky workshop location, for example. The Grand-canyon Parashant has just been given an award for its dark skies.

Many St. George residents can just step outside in their back yards and shoot the starry skies with great success, or take a hike to locations as near as Snow Canyon State Park and many others short hikes to obtain the darkness needed.

Bair’s star-shooting seminar

This seminar will be significantly more in depth than any program I’ve ever done,” Bair said. “The seminar will last for two hours. I will then stay for another hour to answer (questions) and give extensive training to those who wish to learn more.”

Participants will be shown a digital slide presentation loaded with a lot of technical how-to information, such as: planning when and where to shoot, forecasting, finding dark skies, calculating star alignment, choosing the right lens, exposure calculation, noise reduction techniques, light painting, and blending exposures. Expect a lot of time to be devoted to Q&A.

Participants are invited to bring their own star shots on a USB as Bair will give individualized critique as time permits. There will be handouts at the event and online resources that people may access to get started or refine their star-shooting art. Post-processing techniques will be discussed as well.

Many amateur and professional photographers have experienced the thrill of seeing how their DSLR sensor can capture the night skies much more effectively than their naked eyes can normally see them. Yvonne Baur, who holds a degree in photographic arts from Dixie, said. She plans to attend the seminar for some refining pointers from Royce.

Event details and resource

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