Al Sadeem Astronomy Conducts Astrophotography Workshop at Manarat Al Saadiyat

Budding astrophotographers and curious sky observers attended the recently concluded astrophotography workshop of the Al Sadeem Astronomy Observatory last May 18.

The small-group, intimate workshop was part of the series of events hosted by Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi called “Ramadan Arcade,” which ran from May 9 to 12 and May 15 to 18.

Thabet Al Qaissieh, the observatory’s owner and co-founder, headed the session. He discussed the basics of astrophotography, the equipment needed, post-processing techniques, and also shared some of the images of his first attempts on capturing the Milky Way and other celestial objects such as the Moon.

Attendees listening intently as Al Qaissieh discusses about capturing the Moon.

Participants were eager to ask Al Qaissieh for tips when the floor was opened for questions.  One of the concerns raised was the challenges that astrophotographers often encounter.

“The weather is one of the main challenges and the biggest hassle of being an astrophotographer,” Al Qaissieh shared. “When it doesn’t cooperate, all the effort you put into setting up your equipment may be all for nothing. Sometimes, you really have to wait until the weather gets better.”

“Behind every jaw-dropping image that any astrophotographer produces is a great deal of patience,” he added.

Surely on the same night, this very challenge tried the attendees when they came out to the front plaza of Manarat and were all greeted by a cloudy sky. The telescopes were set up and ready, but the night sky was not.

Visitors and workshop participants flock at Al Sadeem Astronomy’s two telescopes in front of Manarat Al Saadiyat.

This notwithstanding, the participants—who also brought their own cameras and equipment—were happy about the discussion, and expressed their delight and excitement to apply whatever they learned from the workshop as soon as the sky clears.

A Full Circle

Most of the participants interviewed by Al Sadeem Astronomy admitted that it was the countless images of the Milky Way, the Moon, and even the galaxies they see online that pulled them into doing astrophotography as well.

Such is the group of Amar Habeeb, Aminlal Basheer, Muhammad Farjad, HamiLatif, and Shehin Khalid, who met each other at various photo walks and amateur astrophotography sessions around the Capital. They are all new to astrophotography—the newest barely a year—and are always grateful for workshops that can guide them in producing better images of the night sky.

The group of Amar Habeeb (second from left) is astrophotography ready with their tripods and DSLRs.

Same is the case for AfraAlawadhi, 25, and Sara Al Muhairi, 16, who got to know each other at the workshop.

“When I saw these amazing pictures, I just knew this is the thing I wanted to do in the future—astronomy,” Al Muhairi said, adding that she wants to take up astrophysics in college.

“I’ve only begun doing astrophotography for nearly a year,” Alawadhi shared while showing her wallpaper of the crescent moon, taken by phone. “And I want to take it to the next level. That’s why I’ve been taking down notes during the discussion. I want to have an astrophoto of my own, too.”-CV