RBA Premium Astrophotography

AstroCamp - Death Valley

Posted: February 21st, 2019


It was my great pleasure to join Rogelio on an astrophotography workshop in Death Valley in 2018. From the moment I met Rogelio, I knew this was going to be a different experience. To set the scene, I've undertaken other astrophotography workshops, all of which were great experiences where I learned much, so I would count myself as reasonably experienced with the craft of wide-field astrophotography. But it was different with Rogelio... it was clear from the outset that he holds a vast knowledge of photographing the night sky, and this provided a much deeper and more satisfying total experience for me. In addition to his creative guidance on composition and his knowledge of image capture in low light, his image processing skills and techniques for image post-processing were a total revolution for me (and as I subsequently learned, are a direct result of his extensive experience in deep sky astrophotography). My experience with Rogelio was truly exceptional, and I recommend his workshops to anyone looking to push their wide-field astrophotography craft to the next level

Daniel J W Brown, PhD

INTRO

This is a 2 nights nightscape astrophotography camp + processing workshop with Rogelio Bernal, that's me. If you've never heard of me, check my list of awards or my work here in DeepSkyColors.com. I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

SITE: Death Valley National Park
DATE: April 5 to 7, 2018 (Fri, Sat, Sun)
CLASS SIZE: 2 to 7

PRICE FULL WORKSHOP: $699 ($279 reservation)
PRICE ONE NIGHT: $375
PRICE 1 NIGHT + PROCESSING: $475

Price does not include food, lodging or transportation, but free coffee will be available at all times during the sessions :-)




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CONTENT

Just to name some of the things we'll be doing, we'll cover scene illumination and light painting (not the same thing), including some very interesting and novel approaches. And of course, we will all produce Milky Way panoramas and maybe reflections. Each target and technique will be accompanied by explanations, details, alternatives...

Expect also an in-depth explanation about the myriad of topics one cannot get away without: planning sessions and shots, focusing, framing, mosaics, depth, light, sky, rules (and when to break them), the ISO/aperture/length equation, location, inspiration, technique and artistry... Whether you want to just take some nice night (photo) souvenirs, or your goal is to find your very own style and produce unique imagery, this in-field camp/workshop will teach you everything you need to know and more.

About post-processing, I believe that in addition to the concepts and processes everyone needs to know, which will be covered, each of us have our own book, and you'd be learning a lot about mine.

WHY DOING DEATH VALLEY WITH US?

I have covered nightscapes in Death Valley probably from more easily accessible vantage points than anyone else I know for more than 6 years, and every year  I lead the group to new locations yet to be explored as nightscape compositions. During the 2018 workshop, for example, our group (me included) were likely the first ones capturing Milky Way reflections on Salt Creek river, as well as gorgeous starry shots of the often overlooked Queen's Head (mushroom rock), and I expect to maintain that sense of adventure and discovery in our 2019 sessions. Other groups will take you to the same iconic locations (which we will too) but part of our unique script is to also get out there and find stuff we haven't seen done before.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT FROM OTHER WORKSHOPS?

Unlike other fine workshops given by other seasoned nightscape photographers, here you'll be next to a "world renowned" deep-sky photographer - in addition to night landscape photographer. Not many people are aware of this, but knowing some deep-sky imaging fundamentals is going to help you enormously on your nightscape efforts, trust me. I have surprised nightscape photographers before when it comes to this particular aspect, and I'm hoping you too will be learning amazingly useful techniques no other workshop offers today that I'm aware of. 



WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING


A high-clearance vehicle is highly recommended. 4WD not required, but also recommended. If you don't have either, please contact me.

For equipment, please bring:

  • Your DSLR camera
  • A wide angle lens of at least 24mm or wider, the fastest the better, f/2.8 or less recommended.
  • A tripod.
  • An intervalometer is highly recommended.
  • A 32GB card for your camera and a supply of batteries to last both nights shooting (bringing a charger is also a good idea, but we will not provide a charging station).
  • A headlamp (it should have a "red light" mode) and a flashlight.

  • Bringing your laptop is highly encouraged, but not a must.

  • Food and snacks! Also a decent amount of water and any non-alcoholic beverage you like.
As for everything else, remember that the weather in Death Valley can be extremely hot and extremely cold. Be prepared for very hot temperatures during the day, and cold temperatures at night, so please bring warm clothes, gloves, hat... Also bring hiking boots if possible, or at the very least, sneakers.

SCHEDULE

We'll meet Friday April 5, 2019 at the specified rendezvous at 6pm, catch sunset and stay up shooting at different locations until 2am. After 2am I continue with an optional 2 hours, more loose session until 4am. While we will not meet at sunrise, I will provide instructions, good locations and clues for anyone wanting to catch the first light of the day.

On Saturday we will meet around 4pm at a TBA location for a 3 hours processing session, after which we'll catch sunset again and spend the rest of the night following the same schedule, including the 2~4am optional session. We will not meet on Sunday after sunrise.

WHERE TO STAY

Remember that we don't provide lodging, transportation or food - just insane amounts of coffee - so make sure you can drive a vehicle around the park at night (attendees can arrange groups in less cars, at your discretion) and make your proper arrangements so you can stay fresh, fed and rested during the workshop.

For lodging, there are lodging facilities in and out of the park where you should be able to find a room, but the sooner you book it, the better. If you wait until the last minute, you may have trouble finding a place. I recommend the Stovepipe Wells Hotel, as that's the place I and other attendee have stayed in the past, but you're welcome to stay somewhere else. Other suitable lodging choices are The Ranch and The Inn

There will be a decent amount of driving at night during at least one of the nights, but nothing that exceeds 1 hour. I will try to keep most sites easy to drive to, but we might also do some light to moderate unpaved road driving. We will NOT drive 4WD-only roads unless everyone has a 4WD vehicle and is comfortable. Light hiking is also expected.


ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Frequently described by peers as one of the most recognized and influential deep-sky and night photographers in the world today, I've been all around the globe doing astrophotography in many of its forms, predominantly deep-sky and nightscape photography. I'm told to also have inspired many other astrophotographers with my personal "deep and wide" style and techniques. I have given talks and workshops about astrophotography  and image processing in USA and Latin America, Australia, Europe and Asia. For a list of awards and accolades please click here.

Just as my work has often been defined as a unique, easily recognizable personal style, expect the same from my presentations, field trips and workshops. I will not just share with you the know-how to make standard, average nightscapes. Learning the tools and basic methods is only the beginning.

  


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