Saturday, January 22

Astrophotographer shares tips on recording deep-sky astronomical objects

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Astrophotographer Vincent Cheng. — Photo by Chimon Upon

Astrophotographer Vincent Cheng. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: When it comes to photographing the stars, Vincent Cheng’s images are out of this world.

And why not? As a full-time astrophotographer since 2009, Cheng shoots the night sky, capturing the Milky Way, constellations and deep-sky objects.

This all sounds complicated to a layman. The level of detail and amount of time it takes to capture celestial bodies brings to mind sophisticated and very expensive equipment that puts astrophotography out of reach for most people.

But Cheng quickly invoked amazement when he showed his audience photos of the Milky Way that he took with the everyday smartphone. Yes, you already own one piece of equipment that takes you one step closer to catching your own piece of sky.

Sure he owns and uses the ‘serious’ hardware too but it comes with its own set of problems.

“My luggage is always overweight when I travel,” he quipped, adding how this made him look for lighter alternatives when chasing constellations, nebulas and other deep-sky objects across international borders.

Hailing from Hong Kong, the city of terrible light pollution, Cheng believes that one should enjoy the art of astrophotography without being limited by equipment.

He is able to use any camera, including older models, compact cameras and mobile phone cameras, to capture stunning images that get featured on websites dedicated to astrophotography.

One of his works ‘Milky way and the Victoria Harbour’ was featured in Apple Daily. Another of his masterpiece on Lovejoy comet (c/2014 Q2) was featured in Specola Vaticana’s 2016 calendar, January page.

Cheng is the only full time speaker in the field of astrophotography, with photographers flying to Hong Kong for his courses. It is a rare treat for Kuching photographers that he is currently here.

He had an audience of around 70 people on Monday night at the Planetarium Sultan Iskandar, where he gave an introduction on astrophotography, talked about equipment, and answered some questions.

Tonight (May 11) is Part One of his Basic Astrophotography Workshop, where participants will be introduced to equipment, trackers and filters. It will be held at Great Wall Camera from 7pm onwards.

Tomorrow night, the class will head outdoors to put what they learned into practice.

His visit here is organised by Canon Marketing Malaysia, in collaboration with Planetarium Sultan Iskandar and Great Wall Camera.

For more information on this workshop, contact Louis at 019-8899643.