Night Photography Masterclass August 29th-September 1stHeld in the beautiful desert of Moab, Utah
Lodging, Meals, and Transportation NOT included
On this workshop you will be guided not only to beautiful locations but to places that will allow us the best opportunity for learning! This doesn’t always mean the icons, there are so many under appreciated corners of the Moab area! During our few days and nights together we will try and avoid the crowds, and focus on less frequented locations to create really unique, and captivating images that tell a story! This workshop is designed to help aid in finding your creativity, but of course we need to know the technical aspects to bring those creations to life! From basic single exposures to stacking, to tracking we will cover everything you need to know about creating beautiful night images! I will walk you through the creative process, seeing compositions, and all of the technical ‘stuff’ you can handle!
For 3 nights we will venture out into the night in search of amazing rock formations, beautiful canyons, and any other interesting feature that can captivate and hold the viewers attention whilst the stars, planets and galaxies rise overhead! This workshop is designed 100% around night photography concepts, and techniques including focusing in the dark, properly exposing, understanding the histogram, stacking for noise reduction, tracking, blending, and MUCH more! If you’ve wanted to dive into the deep end of night photography this is the workshop for you!
What is included in this workshop
- 3 nights of guidance under starry skies and red-rock!
- 2 classroom days PACKED full of educational goodies
- Recordings of our Post-Processing sessions, Practice files, and sample images available for you to download post-worshop
- Photography instruction
- Advanced post-processing and technical know-how
- These are the tools, tricks, and techniques we use to take our captured images to the next level!
- Park fees
- National and State parks where applicable
- Camaraderie and friendships with other creative minds!
The cost of this workshop is $1199.99 with a non-refundable deposit of $300.00
The itinerary of this workshop will begin on the evening of Thursday the 29th of August with a “Meet & Greet” at the Moab Brewery at 5pm. There we will kick back, relax, and get to know each other. We will talk about the strategy for the weekend, locations, conditions, and all around shooting the breeze.
After the meet and greet, we will head directly into the field for our first field excursion. Don’t worry, the first evening will be spent getting your feet wet with all of the basics of night photography! Each day we will venture out around sunset to ensure enough travel time to our locations and to have enough light to find great compositions. The Milky Way is visible each night for approximately three and a half hours and, weather permitting, we will take advantage of every minute of that! At the beginning of each field session, you will be given a “homework” assignment (using what you’ve learned to capture an image that is “you”). Field sessions will end around 1 am each night allowing ample recovery time to keep you sharp as a tack for classroom time and to allow time for you to practice what you’ve learned and complete your homework.
During the afternoon’s of Friday and Saturday, we will be in the classroom covering all of the techniques discussed in the field, covering new topics, reviewing photos captured by the group, and post processing instruction. At the end of each classroom session, we will have new objectives for our field sessions, putting into practice what we’ve learned each day. We will conclude the workshop with a short review and critique of your homework assignments Sunday morning from 10am-noon.
Once the Sunday morning session has ended, all students are free to go!
••All of our classroom sessions will be screen recorded with audio, and available for you to download via dropbox after the workshop. This video will be raw, and include all discussion had throughout class. This is extremely helpful, and ensures that you can focus all of your attention on the lessons given in class! No need to follow along or worry that you’ll miss something!
Things you will need to have and know for this workshop:
- A sturdy tripod
- Nothing can derail a night shoot like a tripod that’s just not sturdy enough! Travel size tripods are not recommended, in case of wind I highly recommend carrying tripod that might be heavier, rather than lighter to ensure stability!
- A DSLR, Preferably a full frame sensor but crop sensors will work!
- Crop sensors simply aren’t designed to be able to handle the same amount of dynamic range, and in low light when the noise gremlins are lingering around a full frame sensor is your best friend!)
- A shutter release cable, or wireless remote
- Using a remote ensures that you dont induce any camera shake, and this will result in an image that much sharper!)
- A wide angle lens
- Any lens with a focal length of ~10mm-24mm, and aperture of 2.8 or faster, capturing night images with wide focal length allows us to fill the frame with interest!)
- A laptop with Photoshop and Lightroom, I recommend Adobes creative suite!
- Although following along isn’t the goal, you’ll have time to work on your own images as part of the “homework” assignments!)
- Plenty of batteries
- Remember that time I said nothing can derail a night shoot like a tripod that’s not sturdy enough? well…thats right below dead batteries!)
- Lots of memory cards!
- You’ll want adequate storage space for all of the awesome photos!)
- An external hard drive
- This ensures that your files will be saved in redundancy, as part of the workflow instruction)
- Flashlights and/or headlamps
- Please, PLEASE, avoid using anything with a RED light, although Red light affects your night vision far, far less than white light, this same red light casts a very long way and is extremely difficult to ‘deal with’ in post processing, thank you in advance!)
- Cool clothes
- Night time temps can linger in the 80-90º’s and possibly higher, but dress in layers so that if you are too hot or cold, you can shed or add them!
- Snacks, and water
- The desert isn’t a friendly place, and the biggest threat to your health is dehydration. Even when the light is gone the dry heat can still drain your reserves)
- A star tracker will be available for the group to use, and practice with, BUT if you have your own, please bring it!
Things you might want:
- Trekking poles
- The terrain of Moab is mostly sandstone, which is grippy but very un-even. If you aren’t the most sure footed the trekking poles can help immensely!
- Its usually very sunny during the day, you will want sunglasses!
- Bug spray
- With the huge amount of snow the La Sal mountains received this past winter there is loads of water filling the nearby Colorado River, and all of the streams that empty into it, therefor the wetlands (yes Moab has them!) are yielding hoards of mosquitos.
- Sturdy shoes
- Along with trekking poles, sturdy shoes will ensure that you dont roll an ankle or worse!
- A spare tripod, remote, or anything else that might fail in the field.
What topics will be covered during this Masterclass:
- Scouting and preparing~choosing locations, weather, mapping..
- Using a variety of resources like weather apps, google earth, and night photography planning apps like Photopills, or the photographers emphasis can give you a serious edge on success)
- Finding the Milky Way, stars, and more
- Finding a connection to nature
- Oftentimes the biggest hurdle in creating great images is establishing a connection with the location or even just the scene
- Composition~tell a story
- Once you’ve established that important connection compositions will seem to jump out at you, you’ll be ‘seeing’ and feeling instead of wandering and hoping!
- Focusing in the dark & understanding depth of field
- Maybe the most common struggle that I am approached about is not being able to nail sharp focus in the dark
- Exposing properly
- When there is very little light, exposing becomes much more challenging, and knowing how to achieve the cleanest, most noise free image is challenging.
- Tips & Tricks for optimizing your night photography
- avoiding common mistakes
- Understanding the histogram
- That confusing little graph; how to read and understand it!
- Stacking for noise reduction
- How to overcome dynamic range, and noise
- Creative use of foreground, and wide angle distortion
- How to use distortion to your advantage, and how to lead your viewer into the frame with strong foreground elements!
- Focal length blending
- Combining focal lengths to achieve a more proportionally correct image
- Blue-hour blending
- How to capture, and blend a landscape taken at blue hour, with a sky taken later in the darkness to overcome dynamic range, and a capture ALL of the details!
- using a motorized star tracking mount to maximize sharpness, use extremely low ISO, and capture dimension in the stars otherwise unachievable by conventional means.
- Capturing multiple frames to ‘average’ out noise!
- Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop workflow
- From import to a polished, finished image!
- Web and Print preparation
- Downsizing, sharpening and color profiling to ensure your images look EXACTLY as you want them to no matter what!
In case of poor weather:
In the event of rain, or cloud we will take shelter in the classroom covering even more topics! This is however unlikely for the time of year in Moab!
About your instructor
Josh, or Joshua, as his close friends refer to him, is an ex-engineer turned full time landscape photographer who seeks beauty and perfection in nature. His images take on lives of their own with his wizardry behind the computer.
“I want my images to transport you, for your mind to be immersed in the scene as my mind saw it, for you to feel like you’re standing by my side with the wind on your face and sun on your shoulders”
Josh spends most of his time in the Southwest after making Moab home with his small family of desert rescue dogs, and beautiful wife Lacey. Spending half the year traveling to less warm locations around the world in search of his next image, in search of his inspiration.
Josh isn’t a fan of flashy business tactics, and instead relies on his character, and work to be his biggest asset. Joshes passion right next to capturing and processing his images is teaching, and relaying all of his knowledge to his students. His irregular and non rigid background in photography gives him a special outlook and set of skills that help his students in seeing the world differently!
“There are so many critics in this world that will tell you how, why, where, and when to create, and I say that we should all create as we see fit, and create images that tell stories not just about nature but about ourselves. I use my imagery to convey my feelings when words just aren’t enough”
**Cancellation Policy** Deposits are non refundable and if cancelled the deposit will go toward another group or private workshop.
ABOUT JOSHUA SNOW
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