Milky Way Over Alabama Hills and Eastern Sierras Workshop

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A Starry Night Photography Workshop

3 Day Workshop ~ Dates: April 22-25, 2014

Investment: $899.00 (50% deposit of $449.50)

Overview: The Alabama Hills and the nearby Eastern Sierras of California have been the background for many of Hollywood's classic western movies ( The rounded rock features of the Alabama Hills provide a unique foreground to the sharp and jagged Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains, including the continental United States' highest peak, Mount Whitney, which is only 14 miles away! Mid-April is a perfect time of the year for this area. The temperatures are very mild ( and there is very little rainfall.

My workshops are more about shooting than spending time in a classroom setting, although we will have four hours of inside instruction. Most of my instruction is on location while we are preparing to shoot. My workshops 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 three sunrises, three sunsets and six twilight periods — 12 to 18 hours of prime-time daylight photography, and six hours of twilight photography. All this, in addition to at least 12 hours of night photography on three 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 only seven (7) participants to help ensure you get 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, April 22 - 4:00 PM: Arrive in Lone Pine, California - our base. We will meet up at the Best Western Frontier lobby and go over our detailed schedule. This is a "buffer" day for our 3-day/3-night workshop. We will use this afternoon and evening only IF the weather forecast indicates overcast conditions on any of the other days and nights.
• Wednesday, April 23: 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, April 24: Sunrise and early morning photography. Early afternoon indoor instruction on post processing. Late afternoon and sunset photography. Milky Way night photography with local landscape features.
• Friday, April 25: Sunrise and early morning photography. Late afternoon and sunset photography. Milky Way night photography with local landscape features.
• Saturday, April 26: Travel home or extend your stay.

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

What Will be Covered?

Shooting, shooting, shooting: Unlike many workshop 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.

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 (Here's an example (
• Extra camera battery(s)
• Lens cleaning supplies
• Camera manual
• Headlamp (must include a red light - here's an example ( and flashlight
• Warm/layered clothing, including gloves ( (it can get very cold)
• 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). Although there will be very little hiking, this is a field workshop, so good health and fitness will help maximize your experience. Most locations we photograph are easily accessible from the road; however, be prepared for uneven terrain and rough surfaces. (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 3-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. Your are free to stay anywhere in the Lone Pine area. However, we recommend the Best Western Plus Frontier Motel ( Phone: (760)[masked]. Note: I have reserve four extra rooms (at a reduced rate) in my name (Royce Bair) that you can change into your own reservation (press "0" after dialing to leave the reservation system and go directly to the front desk). Other good choices are listed on the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce website (

Transportation: Each participant is responsible for their own transportation to Lone Pine, California. 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 Los Angeles or Las Vegas, and use a rental car to drive to Lone Pine (about 210 miles from Los Angeles, or about 225 miles from Las Vegas).

Entrance Fees and Permits: Each attendee will need to pay any personal park entrance fees, if any. We have obtained and paid for all necessary government permits.

Investment: $899.00 per student (alumni receive a 10% discount). A 50% deposit ($449.50) is required to reserve your space. Another $449.50 payment is due by February 22, 2014 (the second payment for alumni is only $359.60). Cancellations with full refunds (less any credit card processing fees) are allowed up to 60 days prior (February 21, 2014) 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 (

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).