Patrick Gilliand

Date: Saturday 14th October | Time: 11.15am – 12.15pm

Patrick Gilliand

Paddy Gilliland specialises in high quality astrophotography and processing.

Paddy’s interest in the skies began in the 1970’s during a family holiday – he recalls seeing an unimaginable number of stars, that image clearly left an imprint.   Many years later the dormant memory surfaced leading to the acquisition of his first scope a little over three years ago. In those three years, he has become well known for his innovative approach to processing and consistently producing world class images.

A combination of chance and unrelated attributes have cumulated into a set of skills that are tailor made for astrophotography. 

My work history starting with PC hardware and infrastructure, moving to software development and latterly business process engineering have all served me well in this hobby. The hardware and software skills aided me in setting up my equipment at my modest observatory. The business process engineering has been the foundation to my processing approach. I have developed processes, documented them well and let them evolve and improve. Recently my initial studies in astronomy and cosmology have provided me with some additional perspective and processing direction.

I do seem to have an intuitive feel for the data and how this relates to my desired output. It is tricky to explain intuition – But I do I believe that by helping others develop a solid baseline to their processing approach and helping them understand when and how to deviate from the baseline will help them not only improve but, with time understand the intuition I now benefit from.’ 

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Lecture synopsis

 High quality astrophotography and processing.

The lecture will cover a few key areas in brief so that attendees can take them away and develop on them. The first topic will be developing a processing workflow and its reuse. The second, getting a feel for the data, counterintuitively depends on the first. By having a rigorously tested processing workflow and variants you will become well practiced in their use. Repetition and familiarity will provide you with the context to deviate from the ‘process’. You will have the foundation required allowing you to learn when to deviate, why to deviate and what to do when you deviate. Of course, when you do, you need to decide whether to add the new proven steps back into the master process, or not.

The final topic is challenging the status quo a little, there are many superb tools available on the market including PixInsight and Photoshop.   However, it can be easy to adopt a function and not question whether it is really maximising the data you have.   I will demonstrate a manual approach to HDR image construction that only uses 1 length of sub-frame. However, I can obtain far more detail with this approach than with multiple length sub frames and the use of HDR Composition tools. I felt there was more in the data and found a way to realise that successfully.   If a photon has travelled thousands, millions or even billions of years to hit your camera, a few hours of your time ensuring it has not had a wasted journey seems only fair!

A sample of Patricks work below, for more full size images on Patricks site  http://www.astrobin.com/users/patrickgilliland/