RBA's Astrophotography

AstroCamp - White Mountains

Posted: April 15th, 2019

It was my great pleasure to join Rogelio on an astrophotography workshop 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


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.

SITE: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California - Home to the Ancient Bristlecone Pines
DATE: August 2 to 4, 2019 (Fri, Sat, Sun)
CLASS SIZE: 2 to 7

PRICE FULL WORKSHOP: $699 ($279 reservation)

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


Make your selection


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.


I have covered nightscapes in White Mountains more frequently than anyone else I know, for more than 6 years (here you can see some of my work in White Mountains at night). Every year I lead the group to classic locations where famous trees are, as well as new areas yet to be explored as nightscape compositions, 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.


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. 


You need a vehicle, as there will be driving, mostly from the Grandview Campground to the Patriarch Grove. No 4WD is required but this is 12 miles of unpaved road, above 10,000 altitude, with some areas that could be in rather poor condition. Again, no 4WD is required. A high clearance vehicle is also not needed as long as you're careful.

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 White Mountains this time of the year can be hot and freezing as well. Be prepared for hot temperatures during the day, and very cold temperatures at night, so please bring warm clothes, gloves, hat... Also bring hiking boots if possible, or at the very least, sneakers.

Patriarch Grove is at 11,000 feet altitude. For this reason, people subject to severe altitude sickness are suggested to NOT take this workshop. There is no help up there other than the basic first aid the instructors can provide. In any case, it is recommended that all attendees spend at least an hour or two at the Grandview Campground the evening of the workshop to acclimate. You will have more energy and will be sharper if you do that.


We'll meet Friday August 2, 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. White Mountains is, in my opinion, a place that gets better lights at sunrise than at sunset (the sunsets of the Sierra from the Sierra View overlook are out of this world, though!)

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


Remember that we don't provide lodging, transportation or food - just insane amounts of coffee - so make sure you can drive a vehicle 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.

The best and nearest bet for spending the night if you're okay with camping is the Grandview Campground, although as a first-come/first-serve campground, a site is not guaranteed when you arrive. If you arrive anytime after 8pm, while you could get lucky, chances are all sites could be already taken.

Other than that, there's (rather limited) lodging options in the town of Big Pine, and a much wider selection in Bishop. The drive from Bishop to the Grandview Campground takes about 40 minutes.


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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