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Photo-Stories: What is Astrophotography?

Deep space/Solar system/Wide field/Time-lapse/Milky way Astrophotography is photography of astronomical bodies and celestial events. A picture of the moon was the first “astro-photograph” taken in 1840. Since then, astrophotographers have been capturing details in the moon, sun, planets and asteroids, as well as imaging stars, nebulae and galaxies that are invisible to the human eye. With recent technological advances, a dedicated and vibrant subculture has developed around the process of capturing images of our universe.

From smartphones to specialised equipment, and with a variety of sub-categories, the possibilities for picturing our solar system are endless. Usually, post-processing is an important part of the astrophotographers repertoire. Images are manipulated to adjust colour and contrast, with more sophisticated techniques that composite thousands of images together to sharpen images. For this Photo-Stories event, we showcased the incredible PhotoAccess tutor, and pioneer, Joe Cali.


Who is Joe Cali? Jo Cali has been taking and making photographs for the past 40 years. Throughout his career he has shown his work in a huge number of solo exhibitions, curated group exhibitions, published work in magazines, taught workshops and given private tuition on a wide variety of photographic topics techniques and media. As well as PhotoAccess, Joe has taught at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Museum and Gallery and the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Joe Cali is also a distinguished technician, having worked as a mass spectrometrist and laboratory manager in the Research School of Earth Sciences at the Australian National University. But astrophotography is Joe’s true passion, since he joined an astronomy club when he was only 15 years old. In particular, Joe became convinced that solar eclipses, in particular, are one of the most spectacular experiences in nature since he saw his first total eclipse in central central Bolivia 4km above sea level in 1994.

If this wasn’t impressive enough, Joe is an absolute master in post-processing software. A Lightroom and Photoshop guru, Joe regularly leads our Digital Toolbox workshops and is so attuned to the systems that he is able to tell on sight how other astrophotographers have doctored their images. In short, the level of expertise and wealth of knowledge that exists in Joe Cali is, well, astronomical. PhotoAccess is so proud, and grateful, for the continued support of such an outstanding photographer.


What happened? Joe gave an incredibly informative presentation on what astrophotography can be, and what it means to him. Joe covered the full gamut of different types of astrophotography from deep sky telescopic imaging of nebulae, clusters and galaxies to nightscape (wide angle pictures of landscapes and starscapes), solar and lunar eclipses, aurorae and comets, as well as a showreel of his spectacular images. This presentation is for non-specialist astrophotographers, and anyone interested in the world of imaging our universe is encouraged to view the recording below.


The below recording was taken at 6pm, 17th February 2022.


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