Hailing from Northeast Ohio, Photographer Peter Zelinka has made a name for himself in the world of astrophotography in just a few short years. One can surf his social media footprint and see that Peter has devoted his full attention to creating eye-grabbing images.
Editor’s Note: I bumped this on Monday for an Earth Day article, so Peter’s article is a couple days late.
Peter on YouTube
In the last year alone, Peter has utilized YouTube’s platform to create videos focused on road trips, trackers and post-processing. Along with the videos, Peter has a full schedule of workshops and a solid catalog of tutorials. Most of the tutorials on the website are free, but he does offer a paid Deep Sky Tutorial.
The Deep Sky Tutorial is devoted to teaching photographers how they can create images of deep space objects. In the course description, it states that the course is designed for photographers with DSLR cameras, a star tracker set up, and a telephoto lens. The course covers how to shoot nebulae and galaxies and how to post-processing the images.
There are approximately 18,385,374 ways to post process a Milky Way image. Myself, I have gone through probably 95% of those methods until I finally settled on one last year. I would be doing myself a disservice though if I was not looking to improve.
Unbeknownst to me when I was first starting laying down virtual ink on this virtual papyrus, I had watched one of Peter’s YouTubes last fall. The video is Peter instructing people on how to reduce stars in their astrophotography images. Wait. What? Yes, you read that right. Peter shows us a technique for reducing stars in our Astro images. Sounds pretty counterproductive, but hear me out on this one.
Peter Covers Advanced Post-Processing
There are a trillion schools of thought when it comes to post-processing photographs. Even Milky Way photography is not immune to the controversy. The idea behind reducing stars in a Milky Way image is to allow the Core to be “cleaner” and to stand out just a little bit more. I tried it out on some of my photos, and it was a technique that I found that gave the steak just a little more sizzle. Not enough to overdo, but it was just right. The method does require the use of layer masks, so you will want to learn that skill if you do not already know how.
Check out Peter’s video on the subject:
Peter Teaches About Trackers
Star trackers, such as the iOptron SkyTracker Pro, have become popular in the last few years. If we go back to our photography foundation, we remind ourselves that photography is “the capture of light” to create an image. As we know, the longer we have the shutter open, the more light the sensor captures.
Let’s go back to our Milky Way for Beginners series for a second. In that, we state that we have to calculate how long we can have the shutter open before the scene starts to blur. This motion is due to the rotation of the Earth. To counteract this blur, we need to move the camera,
What is a Tracker?
In layman’s terms, a tracker is a motorized mount. This mount once set up, will allow the photographer to use longer shutter times to capture Milky Way images. Going back to our foundation again, a longer shutter exposure gathers more information for us to use. Opinions may vary, but I envy tracked photos. They really grab my eye.
Peter has several videos regarding trackers on his YouTube channel to include buying guides and tutorials on how to use them.
Peter’s series covers several trackers that are currently available – the iOptron SkyGuider Pro and SkyTracker Pro, and the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer and Star Adventurer Mini.
In closing, Peter Zelinka has a great YouTube channel, one that gives us plenty of motivation to get out into the field. And make sure you check out his website and social media. Not only does he have some fine astrophotography there, but he’s got some excellent landscape, wildlife, macro, and black & white photos there. It’s well worth seeing.
Peter Zelinka’s Contact Info