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Shooting the Stars Online

This workshop has concluded. The next session has not yet been scheduled.

Learn how to make spectacular photographs of the Milky Way online. Recent advances in digital-camera technology have made it possible to capture the magnificent night sky as we see it, with no apparent movement of the stars. This course will focus on techniques for planning, shooting, and processing beautiful photos of the glowing heart of our galaxy. Classroom topics will include:

  • How to use two computer programs, Sun Surveyor and the Photographer’s Ephemeris, to plan when and where to go to shoot the brightest and most interesting part of the Milky Way. 

  • The best cameras and lenses for shooting the Milky Way.

  • Focusing and composing at night.

  • What aperture and shutter speed to use to achieve correct exposure, reveal the largest number of stars, and prevent star trails.


Milky Way over Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado

  • How to plan, set up, shoot, and stitch together a complete Milky Way panorama, which may have an angle of view of 180 degrees left-to-right and 90 degrees top-to-bottom.

  • How to process photos of the Milky Way in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC. I’ll start by showing students my approach to editing a single-frame shot of the Milky Way in Lightroom, then show students how to use Photoshop to combine two frames, one exposed for land, the other exposed for sky, to create an image that is richly detailed throughout.


Students will put their new knowledge and skills to immediate use by going out and shooting at night. Students with access to a dark-sky location will try to shoot the Milky Way; students who are unable to get far enough from city lights to see the Milky Way will hone their night photography skills and shoot images they can use to practice the Lightroom and Photoshop techniques I’ll teach.


This workshop will be much more than an impersonal webinar. Enrollment is limited to ten students. All lectures will be delivered live via Zoom video conferencing software so students can ask questions. Group sessions will be recorded and the recording made available for download for six days after each group session.


In addition to six hours of group lectures and discussions, each student will receive one hour of one-on-one time, again conducted via Zoom. Students can use the time to get help mastering Lightroom and Photoshop techniques for compositing night images using either the sample images I provide or their own images. Alternatively, they can use the time for a portfolio review of their existing night images or to discuss any aspect of nighttime or daytime landscape photography that interests them.


All students will receive extensive handouts on the key information covered during the workshop, including Mastering Dramatic Light, a 41-page PDF on how to shoot great images in high-contrast situations. When the workshop is over, students will have a deeper understanding of how to find and capture magnificent images of the night sky.


Workshop dates:

March 10, 17, and 24, 2021, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (three two-hour classroom sessions, plus one individually scheduled one-hour one-on-one session for each student).


Tuiition: $345

Enrollment is limited to 10 students.


Read the syllabus

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