Arches NP & Moab Night Photography Workshop

Workshop location; In this panorama there is just enough moonlight to make the night sky slightly blue and to side light the collection of nearby mesas and buttes revealing their red hue. The bright core of the Milky Way is framed by a large gap between two nearby tall mesas. In the distance, under the Milky Way are more side lit mesas.

AUGUST 5th - 9th, 2024

Space Available
$1690 USD
Instructor: Andy Cook


Andy will be leading a night photography workshop to capture the stunning beauty of the Milky Way above the American Southwest.

FOCUS: Photograph the night sky with some of the most fascinating foregrounds in Arches National Park and the Moab area.

ADDITIONAL: In Arches NP we intend to utilize Time Compressed Imagery; start photography at dusk and finish after Milky Way appears, then combine the scene in post processing. Outside of the park we may also use dimmable light panels.

Andy will provide post processing instruction. Participants should return home with many of their images already processed.

Workshop location; A handful of hikers wearing packs and headlamps face away from the camera looking at Delicate Arch at night. Their headlamps light the arch and silhouette some of the hikers. The dark sky is still blue, but the stars and Milky Way are becoming visible.
Delicate Arch at Night
Photography location; At night Fisher Towers near Moab, UT stand tall and monolithic looking as side light brings out vertical, striated detail in the red hued pinnacles. In the sky, arching above the towers, is the Milky Way.
Fisher Towers & Milky Way


The workshop starts on Monday, August 5th, 2024 at 3:00 pm with introductions and a discussion in the hotel lobby. Afterward, we will photograph at dusk and into the stars.

LODGING LOCATION: Comfort Suites, 400 N Main Street, Moab, UT 84532. 435-259-5455
Check-in Monday, August 5, 2024; Check-out Saturday, August 10, 2024.

Workshop ends after photographing late on Friday night, August 9th, 2024.

Workshop location; The foreground of this image shows an old, tattered barn surrounded by antique farm implements. Behind is a hillside ablaze with Colorado autumn colors.
Milky Way & South Window


MORNING: Optional group breakfast at least 1 hour before the chosen restaurant stops serving breakfast.

MIDDAY: Andy will aid / instruct with night sky post processing using Adobe Photoshop, then a break followed a group dinner.

EVENING: 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, we will not be up all night.

Photography location; In this vertical, night photo of Double Arch in Arches National Park, the camera is under the arch and pointed up. This brings the arch in from the upper left corner of the frame and down toward the bottom right, where it's anchored to a rock wall. In the large opening in the center of the frame, between the arch and the ground, sits the Milky Way.
Double Arch & Milky Way


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Workshop location; The very bottom of this night image shows a road passing over a small hill. On each side of the road, arid, rocky topography rises dramatically creating a v-shape in the image. The Milky Way fills this v-shape and rises into the sky above the road located near Moab, Utah.
Milky Way Over Road


participant experience level

EXPERIENCE: Intermediate and Advanced.
Because participants need to work their cameras in darkness and our post processing techniques are advanced this workshop is not advised for beginners.

workshop group size

GROUP SIZE: Target number of participants is 6.

workshop effort scale

EFFORT: Moderate to Difficult - Involves trail hiking and elevation gain to arrive at certain photography locations. The longest trail is about 1.5 miles each way. Some locations will be just beyond the parking lot.

workshop weather conditions

CONDITIONS: We will start hiking before sunset, expect it to be very hot. Night in the high desert may be chilly.

ELEVATION: The elevation range of our shooting locations is 4,100 to 6,000 ft. Proper hydration is a must at higher elevations.

Workshop location; A time compressed, vertical image showing Delicate Arch as it appears at twilight after sunset. Most of the sky was captured a few hours later, it is star filled, slightly blue and the Milky Way tracks straight up.
Time Compressed Image


suggested workshop airports

AIR TRAVEL: Likely airport choices are Moab, UT, Grand Junction, CO and Salt Lake City, UT.

Driving time from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, UT is about 2 hours.
Driving time from Salt Lake City to Moab, UT is about 4 hours.

car information

DRIVING CONDITIONS: Maintained dirt and paved roads. A standard rental car should be sufficient. We prefer participants car pool with each other to limit our impact and get to know one another.

Workshop location; Balanced Rock in Arches National Park sits high in the starry night sky. The Milky Way fills the area behind and around Balanced Rock and diagonals toward the upper, left corner of the image.
Balanced Rock & Milky Way


equipment information


FOR ARCHES & MOAB NIGHT: 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.

Test the wide aperture performance of lenses in advance of the workshop: PDF How to test lens sharpness.

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 $20-$35, it may not last forever, but it seems to do the job at a reasonable cost.

TRIPOD: Sturdy, solid; not thin legs. Viewable at one's standing height without bending over.

SOFTWARE: 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.

OTHER: Hiking boots and ability to carry lots of water.

NOTE: Most images on this workshop page were taken using dimmable LED light panels and not in August.

Workshop location; At night Fisher Towers near Moab, UT stand tall and monolithic looking as side light brings out vertical, striated detail in the red hued pinnacles. In the sky, arching above the towers, is the Milky Way.
Fisher Towers & Milky Way