Courses by Tom Kerss
Curious about astrophotography?
Have you ever thought about pushing your DSLR camera to its limits and entering the exciting world of astrophotography? It's easier than you think! With the power of modern cameras and sophisticated software, you can create your own astonishing photographs of the cosmos. Whether you want to go beyond the limits of the eye to explore the Universe, or create surreal, otherworldly dreamscapes with starlight, my online course is here to help you realise your astrophotography ambitions.
No matter what your astrophotography goals are, you can achieve them!
astrophotography for everyone
I started my astrophotography journey in 2007. With an entry-level DSLR camera and a passion for astronomy, I longed to take photos like the ones I had seen in magazines - incredible vistas of starlight, brimming with colour and delicate detail. How were such photos made? How did they look so clean and sharp? Could my camera do that?
Through years of study and practise, I answered all my questions and, along the way, developed my own methods for pushing the limits of DSLR astrophotography. After moving to London, I began to explore the problem of light pollution, and how to mitigate its effects by leveraging the power and precision of digital image data processing.
In the course of these pursuits, I became a tutor in astrophotography and my work has become widely published. I served as a judge on the world's largest astrophotography competition, and taught courses at numerous institutions, including the Royal Observatory in London. Now my live, cutting-edge day course, Astrophotography for Everyone, is available online. It's the culmination of everything I've learned, carefully curated to ensure you get the best possible start in astrophotography.
Your DLSR is a powerful tool for digitising starlight. You'll discover how to unleash its full potential.
from theory to practise
Astrophotography for Everyone is the perfect primer for anyone looking to take the leap into this rewarding and highly addicting creative hobby. You may be new to DSLR photography or an experienced photographer of other subjects. Either way, before we dive into the capture and processing of images, we'll begin our five-hour session with the theory underpinning astrophotography. By understanding cameras, optics, the night sky and starlight itself, you'll be fully prepared to plan and execute your astrophoto projects.
You'll also see why we make particular choices during the development or post-processing workflow, and better understand how certain situations might call for a different approach. Crucially, this theory will empower you to rapidly progress and avoid the many pitfalls that can lead to frustration or missed opportunities. Think of this theory as your own personal degree in astrophotography!
The beautiful canvas of the Milky Way - with its deep shadows, brilliant highlights and subtle colours - provides a unique photography challenge. You'll learn how to capture the Galaxy and reveal its full splendour.
real-time, interactive workflow
With a strong theoretical foundation beneath us, we'll go step-by-step through the capture process and development workflow, looking at several different approaches to varying subjects. I'll talk you through my methods with a series of live, real-time demonstrations. We'll start with unmodified image date, straight from the camera's memory card, and go all the way to the final image.
Here's the best part: you can follow the workflow on your own computer using exactly the same data, which will be available for you to download as a student. After the course, keep the data and keep practising! If you'd prefer to simply relax and watch... no problem! It's up to you. This course is live and interactive, so you can ask questions as we go and get answers straight away. There will also be time allotted specifically for Q&A.
[For single shots, we'll use Adobe Photoshop. For more complex images, you'll need a Windows 10 PC - several links for free software will be sent to you ahead of the course date.]
Follow my on-screen demonstrations LIVE using the same image data. Keep your downloaded data and continue experimenting after the course.
make every shot count
Digital photography is incredibly versatile. We can process astrophotos in ways once only dreamed about. Even a 'bad' image can often be recovered. We'll explore the best ways to develop single shots, in order to maximise the information collected by the digital sensor. We'll also look at cases in which an image seems unusable but, with a little patience, can be saved from the Recycle Bin.
Left: as shot with thin cloud and sea mist. Right: result of digital development. You'll master the art of saving 'bad' astrophotos and breathing life into 'dull' scenes.
Crush noise, save starlight
With such a low light scene to capture, we're always fighting to minimise the intrusion of digital noise. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but that doesn't mean it can't be treated. Simple, context-agnostic approaches can't differentiate faint stars from noise, and tend to smooth out details we would rather keep. You'll see how to target noise where it hurts the most, to wash your images carefully, giving clean but no less detailed results.
Context-aware noise removal can rescue dark, grainy regions without eating stars. I'll show you how to do it.
master the "impossible" limits
More than half of us across the world live in cities and towns, hampered by light pollution. It may spoil the beauty of the sky, but for astrophotographers it need not be an insurmountable barrier. Living in London for ten years, I've explored the extreme limits of what can be achieved in severely polluted skies.
In Astrophotography for Everyone, I'll teach you how to find those limits and exploit every advantage of digital image data in my advanced, urban astrophotography workflow. Once you apply it yourself, you'll be able to produce images that leave city stargazers in disbelief.
Left: as shot. Right: fully calibrated, developed image - free of noise and with faint objects recovered from London's extreme light pollution. You'll learn exactly how to do this yourself.
tune in anywhere!
Astrophotography for Everyone is completely online, but being a live course it has a schedule. Courses take place on a Sunday, between 12:30 to 17:30 UK time (GMT or BST.) If you'd like to join from Europe you'll just be starting later in the afternoon. If you're willing to get up early you can take part from the USA! Click here to find your local start time.
I look forward to meeting you, answering your questions, and helping you on your road to achieving your dream photos of the wonderful Universe we share.