Arches & Canyonlands National Parks
Night Photography Workshop
May 27th - June 2nd, 2019
May 20th - 26th, 2020
Below is information for 2019, after this workshop passes it will reflect 2020 information.
Instructor: Andy Cook
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 and Canyonlands National Parks.
The workshop starts on Monday, May 27th, 2019 at 7:00 PM with an introduction in the instructor's hotel breakfast room. Afterward Andy will help participants prepare their cameras for shooting later on Monday night. The formal workshop ends after photographing late on Saturday night / early Sunday morning (June 2nd, 2019).
Generally, participants can expect to leave the hotel about 9:00 PM each night and we'll stay out until we've finished which is usually between 1:00 AM and 2:30 AM. Then we return to the hotel for sleep. About 11 AM we will eat a meal. After eating we may spend time walking shops/galleries in Moab or with night sky post processing instruction/aid using Adobe Photoshop. Then we will have another break before going to an evening meal and then it's time for more photography.
Sunrise and sunset photography is not the emphasis of this workshop, we may attempt to photograph several sunsets.
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. We will provide bottled water in the field, please drink it.
Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather. Be aware that night in the high desert can be quite 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. Consider bringing a laptop with Photoshop.
If we photograph a sunset then the information below will 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 & Canyonlands National Parks.