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Milky Way Zion ~ May 27-29 Workshop

NightScape Photography Workshop in Zion National Park

2-Day Workshop ~ Dates: May 27-29, 2014

Investment: $599.00 (50% deposit of $299.50)

Overview: Main emphasis is on Milky Way - landscape photography. This is the perfect time of the year to capture the brightest portion of the Milky Way in Zion NP, and the temperatures are mild and very pleasant. Although the park's shuttle system will be running, our night photos will not require us to use the shuttle —you'll be able to use your own car for every Milky Way shot we take. This workshop is $300 less than my other workshops because it is one day shorter, has three hours less class instruction, and allows two more attendees (9 instead of 7). NOTE: If you want a 3-day workshop experience in Zion NP, with a greater variety of landscape locations, and more class time instruction, you may wish to consider my Nov. 11-14 Zion Workshop (see a more complete comparison at the bottom of this page).

My workshops are more about shooting than spending time in a classroom setting, although we will have three (3) hours of inside instruction. Much of my instruction is on location while we are preparing to shoot. My workshop are also about having a lot of fun with fellow photographers who share a common passion.

This will be much more than just a night photography workshop. We will also be covering two sunrises, two sunsets and four twilight periods — about 8 hours of prime-time daylight photography and twilight photography. All this, in addition to about eight hours of night photography on two of the darkest evenings of the month! You can expect to finish this workshop with a significant portfolio of images you will be proud to showcase.

My goal is to share with my students everything I know about night photography. Nothing is off limits. I will do everything I can to make you a better photographer. I want to give you the tools to apply your vision to night photography.

Class Size: This workshop to limited to nine (9) participants. although this is two more than my normal 2014 workshops, this was my average class size in 2013. Despite the larger class size, the areas from which we will be photographing will allow us to easily spread out, and you will still receive the level of attention you deserve. To help create a strong bond within the group, I encourage you to share ideas and help each other learn during the workshop.


• Tuesday, May 27 - 4:00 PM: Arrive in Springdale, Utah - our base. We will meet up at the Cable Mountain Lodge (147 Zion Park Blvd.) and use this first afternoon and evening for indoor classroom instruction and orientation. This is a "buffer" day for our 2-day/2-night workshop. If the weather forecast indicates overcast conditions on any of the other days and nights, we will postpone our indoor classes and use this time for shooting!
• Wednesday, May 28: Sunrise and early morning photography. Group breakfast (all other meals are on your own). Early afternoon indoor instruction on night photography techniques. Late afternoon and sunset photography. Milky Way night photography with local landscape features.
• Thursday, May 29: Sunrise and early morning photography. Late afternoon and sunset photography. Milky Way night photography with local landscape features.
• Friday, May 30: Travel home or extend your stay.

~ A more detailed, hour-by-hour itinerary will be sent to attendees in early May ~

What Will be Covered?

Shooting, shooting, shooting: Unlike many workshops that spend much of their time in classroom instruction, we will spend most of our time traveling to and shooting at some of the area's best locations!

Understanding night exposures: You will learn how NightScape photography is different from regular landscape photography.

Shooting Techniques: In addition to tips for daylight and twilight photography, you will learn how to prepare and operate your camera for night shooting. You will learn how to properly exposure for a starry night sky, including the Milky Way. Topics covered:

• How to focus your lens and use your camera at night
• Understanding white balance/aperture/shutter speed/and ISO relationships
• How to reduce noise
• Many personal tips and special techniques

Night Preparation: You will learn how to find subjects on the night sky, including the location of the Milky Way. Planning the right time to go. How to find dark skies. Finding foreground landscapes that compliment the night sky. Using the right light source to enhance your foreground (light painting), when needed.

Advanced Post Processing Methods: You will be taught new skills in how to enhance your night sky photos. I will teach you how to bring out the beautiful, latent colors of the Milky Way and the night sky that are naturally there —without having to resort to the artificial stimulus of garish saturation increases that some photographers use.

Reference Book: Before the workshop begins, you will receive a personal copy of a 129-page ebook that will give step-by-step instructions on night photography preparation, shooting techniques, post processing steps, and help in locating celestial features in the night sky.

Equipment to Bring:

• A DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera capable of shooting in RAW format
• Extra camera body - if you have one
• Lenses ranging from wide angles to telephotos
• One wide angle lens should be at least 24mm or wider, and f/2.8 or faster. (You can rent lenses and camera bodies at for the workshop if needed.)
• Sturdy tripod
• Memory cards - at least 32GB in total
Remote release or intervalometer
• Extra camera battery(s)
• Lens cleaning supplies
• Camera manual
• Headlamp (must include a red light) and flashlight
• Warm/layered clothing, including gloves (it can get cold at night)
• Extra food and/or necessities you may require
• Polarizing filter (optional)
• Graduated neutral density filters (optional)
• Laptop computer loaded with Adobe Photoshop. You will not need your computer during our shooting sessions, but I recommend you bring a laptop to the post processing tutorial. You can install a 30-day trial from Adobe.

Physical Requirements: Easy to moderate (you must be at least 18 years of age). Most of our photography locations are accessible from your car with very little hiking. (For your safety, Royce has taken American Red Cross CPR and First Aid Training.)

Does weather affect the schedule? Definitely! Weather is an uncontrollable factor with night sky photography. While partly cloudy skies can add interest, completely overcast skies will block all the stars in our night scenes and dampen our daylight shoots. Although I cannot guarantee clear skies and perfect conditions, it is uncommon to have several days of poor conditions. Even if the skies are overcast we will continue to go out and learn everything this workshop has to offer. NOTE: Although this is a 2-day/night workshop, I have scheduled us to arrive one extra afternoon and evening early. If weather becomes an issue, we will use this "buffer" time for extra sunset and night photography —otherwise, this will be optional time that we can use for additional classroom instruction, socializing, and preparation. If we decide to use this buffer night for photography, one of the overcast evenings will be canceled (trust me, you will appreciate the extra rest if you've just completed an all-nighter the day before).

Are significant others allowed? Yes, as long as they are not a photographer.

Lodging and Meals: are not included. You are free to stay anywhere in the Springdale, Utah area. However, we recommend Cable Mountain Lodge (147 Zion Park Blvd.,[masked],[masked]), because it is the closest hotel to the park, and this is where are classes will be held. We have reserved a block of discounted rooms under the name, "Royce Bair Photography Workshop". Lodging lists 33 other hotels in the area.

Transportation: Each participant is responsible for their own transportation to Springdale, Utah. You are also responsible for local transportation to our featured photography locations within the area. You can use your own car, a rental car, or your can arrange to carpool with other members of the workshop.

Getting There: We recommend you fly in and out of Salt Lake City, St. George, Utah or Las Vegas, Nevada. Driving distance from Salt Lake City to Springdale is about 307 miles (about 4.5 hours). Driving time from St. George to Springdale is about 41 miles (less than an hour). Driving distance from Las Vegas to Springdale is about 163 miles (about 2.5 hours).

Entrance Fees and Permits: Each attendee will need to pay for any personal park entrance fees ($25). We have obtained and paid for all necessary government regulatory permits.

Investment: $599.00 per student (alumni receive a 10% discount). A 50% deposit ($299.50) is required to reserve your space. Another $299.50 payment is due by March 27, 2014 (the second payment for alumni is only $239.60). Cancellations with full refunds (less any credit card processing fees) are allowed up to 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. If you cancel within 59 days of a workshop event, and we can fill your spot, we will refund 100% of all monies collected from you, less any credit card processing fees. If we cannot fill your spot, your total workshop fee will be forfeited. No exceptions can be made for this policy. Any cancellation must be in writing (mail or email). Travel insurance is recommended, along with refundable airline tickets.

Testimonials: "Royce did a wonderful and professional job! He was very knowledgeable and more than willing to share his expertise and time answering questions and working with any individual on their particular questions/concerns." - C.Y. Roby

"The Best! Royce is an excellent instructor. He is very thorough, yet makes the technical details easy to understand. He covers each of the camera settings and why they are important. Reviews astronomical information, so you know where and what to look for so you will know when you are on your own.

He covers information that is important as the night progresses. He was there visiting with each person to make sure they understood the instructions and were getting good pictures. Then he follows up the class with additional information and resources. If you are thinking about taking one of his classes - do it! Opportunities to learn from such a master are rare." - Doug Lawrence

Read More Testimonials

COMPARISON ~ Comparing the MAY and the NOVEMBER Zion Workshops:

Workshop Cost:  May is $599 vs. $899 for November

Number of Days: The May workshop is 2 days and nights, vs. 3 days and nights for the November workshop; however, both workshops include an extra "buffer" day for weather.

Lodging Cost: May rooms are more expensive than November rooms because of higher demand; however, the May workshop is one night shorter. If you decide to stay at the Cable Mountain Lodge, the May rooms are about twice as expensive as November rooms, but they are Classic Suite rooms, rather than November's smaller studio rooms.

Class Size: The November workshop is limited to 7 attendees, vs. 9 for the the May workshop.

Indoor Class Instruction: May's indoor class time instruction is only 3 hours, vs. 6 hours for the November schedule.

Milky Way: This is the biggest difference for some people. May has the best and brightest Milky Way potential. By November, the Central Bulge of the Milky Way has slipped below the horizon.

Daytime Photography: November's 3-day schedule has the potential for more photography than May's 2-day schedule. The slanted rays of the November sun allow for good shots throughout the day, whereas in May, your best photography is only in the early morning or late afternoon.

Shuttle Access: The park's mandatory shuttle system is in operation during the May workshop, and it is not during the November workshop —giving you more un-restricted access. However, all of our May Milky Way shots will not require shuttle access, so we will still be able to use our own cars for these night photos.

Seasons: May has new leaves, and November has autumn leaves. May is also slightly warmer than November, especially at night.

- - -

NightScape Blog: If you can't make it to this workshop, be sure to follow my night photography blog. I'm constantly featuring the work of some of the world's best nightscape photographers, with great behind-the-scenes info and tips. I also provide equipment and software reviews (example: Shooting Stars - an eBook review).

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  • Christopher W.

    Fantastic workshop! I highly recommend it to all. I learned a lot and really enjoyed our group and leader! Eager to see more pics. I'll be posting my images later this week.

    June 2, 2014

  • Dana S.

    Great seminar, Royce. How was Thursday night/Friday Morning?

    May 30, 2014

    • Royce B.

      The weather at Checkerboard Mesa was cloudy and with some rain. We waited it out, and within an hour it turned out to be a great night. I set up two stationary lights, and Tom expertly guided me with the moving spotlights. It was a fun night.

      June 2, 2014

    • Royce B.

      Take a look at Marc's photo:­

      June 2, 2014

  • Michael M.

    What a great time with a great group of photographers and genuine good people. Thank you all so much for making it a great week catching some of the most spectacular photos! Royce, thank you for your commitment to us, to making sure we "had the shot" before we went on to other was an awesome workshop!

    May 30, 2014

  • Beth

    Fantastic workshop...fantastic group of participants, I learned a lot!!

    May 30, 2014

  • Marc G.

    Outstanding workshop! Royce was extremely generous with his time and knowledge during the outing. I highly recommend his workshops.

    May 30, 2014

  • Greg S.


    May 30, 2014

  • Royce B.

    A wonderful group of artist/photographers, eager to learn, and willing to make it happen. You "guy" were great (sorry, Beth ;-) !!!

    May 30, 2014

  • Nicole A.

    I am ecstatic to just find out that this workshop is happening while I am on vacation during this time in Zion (for the first time) and happen to be staying at Cable Mountain lodge. I'm not certain I can join the workshop simply because it is smack in the middle of our trip. But this couldn't be more perfect! And I see there is one spot left - is this true? In the event I can be part of this (slot left and bf doesn't mind), Would a 50mm 1.8 lens suffice for capturing the milky way? My lenses: I have a 35 (1.8), 50 (1.8), a[masked] (5-5.6) telephoto and the 18-55 [masked]) lens my cam (Nikon 5100) came with. I have little technical knowledge and my night time pictures are terrible. I do have a tripod and remote shutter. I just don't know if I have adequate lenses for astrophotog. And I'm down to a week for prep.

    May 17, 2014

    • Royce B.

      Hi Nicole! Yes, there is one slot left :) — The Nikon 5100 is quite adequate for astro work, as are your 35mm (1.8) and 50m (1.8) lenses. However, I would suggest that since we are still 10 days out, that you may wish to consider renting the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (about $40/week). It will give you better wide angle coverage than your 18-55mm, and with a wider, constant aperture (It also has proven sharpness and low coma aberration at f/2.8. I'll send you an email with more details and suggestions. —Royce

      1 · May 17, 2014

    • Nicole A.

      Sound good. Thanks! I've been researching lenses and looking at the rental site you listed.

      May 17, 2014

  • Christopher W.

    All meals are on you own, is that correct? Can you email me the discounted rate at Cable Mountain Lodge, if it is not published?

    March 23, 2014

    • Royce B.

      Our special group rate for the Hillside Classic Suite rooms is $179.10 - This is a busy time of the year (and choices are slim to non-existent), or our rate would be even better (for instance, our Nov. rate for a King bed room is $80.10).

      March 23, 2014

    • Christopher W.

      Thanks, Royce. The more I read about your workshop, the more interested I become. Sounds like an optimal time of year to capture the Milky Way. I'll RSVP soon, as I know this adventure will fill up!

      March 23, 2014

  • Greg S.

    We'll do it this way. Looking forward to seeing you.

    March 15, 2014

    • Royce B.

      Greg, I'm so excited you are going. I still need to get back to you about our Delicate Arch photo project, but I've been swamped...

      March 21, 2014

10 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Milky Way Zion ~ May 27-29 Workshop

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 60 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: If you cancel within 59 days of a workshop event, and we can fill your spot, we will refund 100% of all monies collected from you, less any credit card processing fees. If we cannot fill your spot, your total workshop fee will be forfeited.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

Regardless of the refund policy set by the organizer, Meetup may issue refunds on an organizer's behalf if we determine that Meetup's Payment Policies have been violated.

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