A Winning Formula: Imaging Tips with Rogelio Bernal Andreo
Purpose: A deep, deep dive into astrophotography with one of the best and most recognized names in the industry. If you’re looking to up your game, or even get into the hobby, this is a great place to start.
Rogelio Bernal Andreo: One of the most acclaimed and celebrated astrophotographers of all time, Rogelio has been featured on the coveted “Astronomy Picture of the Day” more than 50 times. His techniques and images are something to marvel at and has similarly been featured on major publications like National Geographic.
This Episode You’ll Learn:
- The humble beginnings of the best astrophotographers
- Extensive information on Rogelio’s setups and techniques
- Tips and general practices for capturing and processing deep sky images
- A broad approach to creating your own style in astrophotography
“Seeing the Milky Way for the first time really changes your perspective.”
“The best camera and telescopes in the world on a bad mount won’t get you anything.”
“Find the view first, then go after it however you choose.”
2:34 - How the Master Got Started
Driving along Pacific Coast Highway, south of Big Sur, Rogelio’s family pulled the car over to gaze at the night sky. Upon exiting the car and looking up, he was captivated by the Milky Way for the first time in his life. Fumbling with his camera, he captured the scene in better detail than his eyes ever could, and he was hooked. Could I, a regular person, capture those incredible images we see here and there? The answer is yes, and that encounter has led him to the top today.
9:20 - Rogelio’s First Deep Sky Picture
Rogelio was extremely disappointed the first time he imaged the Orion Nebula. This wasn’t because the nebula itself is not a good-looking object, but because his results were sub-par to what he was expecting and hoping for. He had a lot of noise in the image and did everything he could to make it better, but still wasn’t happy with it; as a result, he proceeded to learn little-by-little over the next year and a half to take some truly breathtaking images.
11:56 - Tips for Imaging Dim Objects Surrounded by Bright Ones
Our hosts and Rogelio go over several tips for imaging and processing deep sky objects. Listen in to what they have to say!
19:31 - Is This Something Anyone Can Do?
The short answer is yes, anyone can do this. The long answer is also is, and this hobby can be approached in more than one way. Rogelio’s origins are in computer science and graphic design, so the progression to astrophotography processing came naturally. At the same time, he has seen amateurs who took up the hobby from scratch and, after a couple years, are imaging like the pros! Your background does not matter in this--it may influence your progression, but you are not limited or inhibited in any way no matter where or when you begin.
26:55 - Creating Your Own Style of Astrophotography
Rogelio began the way that we all do with astrophotography by framing an object center screen but realized he wanted to do more. He started getting multiple objects in the same image and doing more landscape astrophotography as well. If we’re in these beautiful areas, surrounded by darkness and nature, why not capture the scene in its entirety?
37:52 - Rogelio’s CCD Setups
Dustin and Tony dive deep into Rogelio’s astrophotography setups and he explains why he uses what he does. He will sometimes bring both of his imaging setups for the incredible wide-field images we’ve seen, or a single setup for a single project he’s got in mind. Rogelio also relates why he doesn’t really use narrowband filters and what his general preferences are when heading out to a spot and imaging there.
49:11 - The Two-Scope System
Everything starts with a mount. Rogelio has used the same telescope mount for the past decade and has never had a need to swap it for another. Some sound advice he was given, and that both Dustin and Tony agree with, is to spend 70% or so of your initial bulk budget on a good mount. No matter where astrophotography takes you, a sturdy foundation is your best bet.
64:00 - Wrap-up and Conclusion
Like what you listened to? Hate what you've heard? Let us know in the comments below!
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Check out the previous podcast with Meade Instruments President Victor Aniceto. He lets us in on the turbulent history of Meade and how, against the odds, they've revitalized the company and are soaring back to the top. Listen in here.