Arches National Park & Moab Area
Night Photography Workshop
August 5th - 9th, 2024
Instructor: Andy Cook
Time Compressed Imagery
Andy will be leading a night photography workshop to capture the stunning beauty of the Milky Way above the American Southwest. Join us as we photograph the night sky with some of the most iconic foregrounds in Arches National Park and the Moab area.
This night workshop is geared for the intermediate to advanced photographer. However, beginners with a working knowledge of their camera can gain a lot of experience and instruction. Each participant is assisted at their level. We focus on helping participants create the most appealing compositions of each location we visit. This is a workshop environment, the instructor is present to aid in the field and teach his techniques for night landscape photography. If you're an advanced photographer he is happy to help or stay out of the way.
The workshop starts on Monday, August 5th, 2024 at 3:00 pm with an introduction and discussion. Afterward, we will photograph at sunset and into the stars. The formal workshop ends after photographing late on Friday night, August 9th, 2024.
On several nights participants can expect to leave the hotel in time to capture a sunset (about 8:24 pm) and we'll stay out until we've finished. Then we return to the hotel for sleep. Participants will require different amounts of sleep so we will not schedule a group breakfast, but Andy will usually go to breakfast at least 1 hour before the chosen restaurant stops serving breakfast. Every midday Andy will be available to instruct / aid with night sky post processing using Adobe Photoshop. Then, we will have another break before it's time for a group dinner and more photography.
Note: We've schedule this workshop in August because as soon as it gets dark the Milky Way will be in position and ready to photograph, about 10 pm. We don't have to be up all night, typically we will be finished shooting and heading back to the hotel by 11 pm.
This workshop does involve some trail hiking and elevation gain to arrive at certain shooting locations, while other shooting locations will be just beyond the parking lot. The elevation range of our photography locations is 5,500 to 7,000 ft. The trail hiking may be deemed vigorous activity or light activity based upon one's condition. Trail hiking surfaces and those beyond the parking lot are generally uneven, hiking boots are recommended. Our longest trail is about 1.4 miles each way. One doesn't have to be in tip-top shape, but one's enjoyment will be enhanced by good health and preparation. Participants should consult with their doctor before attending our workshop or venturing to higher elevations.
Proper hydration is a must at higher elevations. Without it one will lose strength, energy and may develop a severe headache. To avoid dehydration one MUST drink beyond one's thirst; drink even though not thirsty. Please bring a large reusable water bottle.
Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather. Be aware that night in the high desert may be chilly. Please bring a flashlight.
We will provide packaged snacks to eat while in the field.
Equipment Recommendations: Bring all camera equipment including the camera's manual. With night photography Andy finds a cable release to be very useful. He also recommends having an intervalometer. For these check Amazon, Andy has been happy with one made by Neewer, they run $15-$25, it may not last forever, but it seems to do the job at a reasonable cost. Typically a wide angle lens with a max aperture of f/2.8 or bigger (smaller number) is required. For cameras with full frame sensors the lens should be at least 24mm wide. For cameras with partial frame sensors (1.5 LMF) the lens should be at least 16mm wide. One should test the wide aperture performance of their lens in advance of the workshop; find lens testing information at this webpage: Field Lessons and Handouts
Generally, a newer camera will have better high ISO performance than an older camera, so if you've been thinking about a new camera, it may make sense to buy it before this workshop.
One should shoot with a sturdy outdoor tripod that can adjust from standing height without cranking up a center post, to very close to the ground. This type of tripod does not have attachments connecting the legs to the center post; i.e. the legs can move independently. Unless your camera has a built-in level, we recommend having a 2 axis flash shoe bubble level, it is the easiest way to make sure photos are level. Please buy these at a reputable dealer; they run about $35.00. In order to process images during the workshop please bring a laptop with Photoshop installed. Two other useful programs to consider Topaz Denoise, Starry Landscape Stacker (Mac) or Sequator (PC). We highly recommend each participant download the phone app PhotoPills to use during the workshop.
When photographing a sunset then the information below may apply:
We recommend having a polarizing filter to use with some of the photographs on this workshop. Andy combines images of various exposures in post processing. Andy will be happy to teach participants his field and post processing techniques for doing so (requires a cable release with some cameras). A lens range from 18 mm to 300 mm after the lens multiplication factor is recommended. However, we think participants should bring their entire range of lenses.
To be as prepared as possible for this workshop, please review the 2 videos, 7 lessons and 10 workshop handouts found at the link below:
Below please find the PDF handouts recommended for this workshop. One needs to print or download to a digital device these documents before the workshop from the link above.
For this workshop we recommend that participants:
*Print: Blank Workshop Locations Visited.
*Print or download to field digital device: Night Photography Rule of 400.
*Print or download to field digital device: CFDER Field Reminder (This is useful to those new to our workshops and/or trying to develop a useful field workflow.)
*Print or download to field digital device: Steps to Capture Panorama Photographs (If the tripod is properly set up before shooting, one can take panoramas of the locations we visit.)
*Print or download to field digital device: Hyperfocal chart for camera’s LMF. (Unless you already have a depth-of-field app on your smart phone.)
*Print or download to digital device: Andy’s Camera Settings (Only if unsure about what the camera’s settings should be.)
*Print or download to digital device: Tripod Tips and Techniques (Only if one is new to tripod use or are considering a tripod purchase.)
Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Arches National Park.