Monthly Program


Just Look Up!

Adventures in Astrophotography

Steven Labkoff, MD

Shannon Calvert, President of the Westport Astronomical Society

Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to take a photograph of a heavenly body other than the moon and perhaps Jupiter, you had to go to a local observatory and become friends with the curator. But today, with the advent of DSLRs and mirrorless digital cameras, images that were once the purview of the Encyclopedia Britannica or NOVA can now be made with your own camera equipment! CMOS and CCD sensors that used to be available only to major universities or research scientists are now in the hands of amateur astronomers.

This talk will discuss how to take photos of distant galaxies, colorful nebulae and brilliant globular clusters with some of the equipment you already own! But be careful, once bitten by this hobby, you may find yourself hooked and addicted to the beautiful images that you can produce if you just look up! Topics to be covered will include:

How to shoot

  • The easy:
    • The Moon
    • The Milky Way
    • Meteor Showers
    • Night objects
  • The Medium
    • Andromeda
    • The Pleiades
    • The Orion Nebula
  • The Hard
    • The Messier Series
  • Equipment
    • Star Trackers
    • Camera-friendly star tracking mounts
    • Telescopic mounts
    • Telescope purchases
  • Software for Processing
    • Lynkeos (free)
    • PixInsight (230 euro)

By the end of this lecture you should be able to take simple astronomical images and decide if you want to take the deep plunge!

Speakers: Steven Labkoff & Shannon Calvert

Steve Labkoff is an accomplished photographer, and a budding astrophotographer. After joining the Westport Astronomical Society (after joining DRPP), he has spent the last year working on honing his skills whenever there is a clear night!

Shannon Calvert is a professional graphic designer and award-winning photographer based in Easton, CT. He serves as president of the Westport Astronomical Society: a club with over 140 members that hosts the largest public-accessible telescope in CT. Check the WAS Website for schedules. Members of WAS are enthusiastic about encouraging science in the community and include an active group of astrophotographers eager to help newcomers. You can learn more about Shannon at and WAS at –