Starting from Scratch astrophotography day

Humfrey Rooms, Castilian Terrace, Northampton

Sunday 21 May 2023, 11:00 to 17:30

With contributions from 

Dave Eagle

Mary McIntyre

Robin Scagell 

This course covers all aspects of astrophotography at a beginner’s level, whether with DSLR/mirrorless cameras or specialised astro cameras, from wide-field photography with an undriven camera to through-the-telescope imaging. opics will include

* Basic night photography with a DSLR, using tripod and a range of lenses. Control of the camera, choice of ISO, shutter speed, lens, etc. 

* Driven exposures, eg piggybacking, use of driven platforms such as Star Adventurer etc.

* Attaching a DSLR to a telescope, including a mention of afocal imaging for those with compacts and phone cameras. Increasing the focal length for planetary imaging (Moon and planets)

* Planetary and lunar imaging through a telescope using a webcam – capturing and processing images. Choice of cameras, increasing the image scale, tips and tricks

* Long-exposure imaging through the telescope – comparison of DSLR and dedicated cameras. Choice between single-shot colour and mono cameras. Autoguiding

* RGB imaging, choice of filters, and basic image processing using Photoshop.

* Computer control of the camera and the telescope using manufacturer’s remote capture software and proprietary software such as APT. Control of the telescope using software such as SkyMap etc.

About the speakers

Dave Eagle is the author of several guides to all forms of astrophotography

Mary McIntyre is a noted astrophotographer who has organised previous courses on astrophotography

Robin Scagell is Vice President of the SPA and author of many books and articles about astronomy.


Our friends at First Light Optics will be bringing along examples of suitable equipment for basic imaging, such as mounts and cameras, so you can see what you’re getting into.

Cost and how to book

SPA or BAA members £10; non-members £12.

To book, please go to

Refreshments (tea/coffee will be available on the day for a small extra charge but participants should bring their own lunch to the meeting. Note that there will be only a short lunch break, so there will be no time to go off to the shops and buy something on the day!

How to get there

The Humfrey Rooms are the headquarters of the Northampton Natural History Society. Here’s a link to the location: Alternatively, use this link to

Note that car parking outside the venue is now for residents only. Multistorey car parks nearby charge £2.20 for the day.

The programme

Details will be issued nearer the time, but the timetable is shown below. Note that as there is a lot of material to get through, the lunch and afternoon breaks are limited in length and there will only be short breaks between lectures! Detailed course notes will not be handed out, so bring a notebook!

11.00 Lecture 1

11.45 Lecture 2

12.30 Lecture 3

 1.15  Lunch (45 mins)

2.00 Lecture 4

2.45 Lecture 5

3.30 Break (30 mins)

4.00 Lecture 6

4.45 Lecture 7

5.30 end