The Milky Way and Beyond
March 8-11 2019, 5 Participants
Photograph the Milky Way behind stunning, remote locations and learn the most effective techniques for bringing out the stars in post-processing. The Milky Way can make any already beautiful landscape look that much more phenomenal and learning how to photograph it gives you one more way to shoot familiar landscapes and give them a new look and feel in your photographs.
- Early spring is our favorite time of year to photograph the Milky Way. The Milky Way is angled low to the horizon and is perfect for landscape images and panoramics. You will learn both natural light and low-level lighting techniques.
- We have many unique spots scouted out for this workshop. You can trust us to get you off the beaten path!
- We are including lots of post-processing time to help you make the most of your night sky images. Image critique will be given throughout the workshop.
- The itinerary is kept flexible so we can chase the best weather conditions. As long as skies are clear, we'll focus on Milky Way and or star trails. We have permits to guide in Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, Grand Staircase Escalante, and the Vermillion Cliffs so there are lots of options.
- Trip concludes at one of the best restaurants in Kanab to celebrate this novel experience and the new friends we've made.
- The itinerary is being kept flexible to allow us to chase the best conditions. If skies are clear, we'll focus on early morning Milky Way shooting. If storms and clouds are moving through, we'll spend more time photographing during the day. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
- Day 1 (Fri March 8): Meet at 2PM at the Best Western in Kanab for a mandatory introductory session. After a dinner break, we'll run out and grab sunset photos at a nearby location.
- Day 2 (Sat March 9): We'll leave at 2AM for a rough drive out to Alstrom Point, a superb viewpoint high above Lake Powell where we'll capture the full Milky Way arc. We'll stay out there for sunrise and hit a few of our favorite spots on our way back to Kanb. After a midday nap, we'll reconvene for a late afternoon post-processing session.
- Day 3 (Sun March 10): We're up early again this morning to photograph the Milky Way near one of our favorite arches. You'll learn some advanced lighting techniques. We'll return to Kanab for breakfast and do another post-processing session. In the afternoon, we'll head out to one of our secret spots not far from town, with a nice collection of hoodoos and colorful rock formations.
- Day 4 (Mon March 11): We lucked out! Conditions look great for Milky Way this morning, so we're heading out to Bryce Canyon at 2AM. Bryce Canyon is a phenomenal place to learn both natural light and low-level lighting techniques and even how to blend the two techniques. We'll stay at Bryce through lunch. We'll regroup a few hours later for a final post-processing session and our group dinner. You can always leave sooner to catch a flight if needed.
- Workshop Extension: If anyone is interested in extending the workshop by 1 or 2 days, please let us know and we can put together some great ideas for you!
Please arrive in Kanab, UT prior to 2PM on Friday March 8 for the orientation session at the Best Western Hotel. We didn’t include hotel stays on this trip to allow you the flexibility of a lodging option of your choice. If you book with the Best Western Red Hills, you will get a 10% discount by mentioning our workshop. You will need lodging for the nights of 8th, 9th, and 10th. We will finish the workshop around 8PM on March 11th so it's up to you if you want to stay in Kanab that night or head somewhere else. You will also have the option to skip the last post-processing session and or group dinner if you need to catch a flight.
All participants on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition. We aren't planning any long hikes on this trip, but the uneven terrain, sand, and steep uphills can make short hikes seem much harder. You should be comfortable walking around 2-3 miles per day.
We timed this workshop for optimal early spring Milky Way photography. However, we can't control the weather and if skies are cloudy one day, we'll plan an outing to a different location and focus on sunrise/sunset photography. Don't worry - we'll make the best possible use of our time. Our job is to get you the most stunning photos and help you learn as much as possible!
The weather can vary quite a bit in early spring. It could be temperate and sunny with cool nights. Or it could be very cold, windy, and possibly even snowing. You need to come prepared for the worst conditions. Up at Bryce Canyon, it can be well below freezing early in the morning, so you'll need to bring warm layers to ensure you don't get cold photographing at night. Please see the gear list further down.
- All ground transportation and photography guiding during the trip.
- Post-processing and image critique
- Lighting equipment and fixtures for night photography.
- Group dinner on our final day in Kanab.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Kanab, UT.
- Hotel Accommodations.
- Alcoholic Beverages.
- Meals and snacks with exception of the final group dinner.
When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit. If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 30-days prior to arrival to the credit card we have on file.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Fast Wide Angle Lens. Our favorite night photo lenses include Tamron 15-30mm f2.8, Rokinon 14mm f2.8, Nikon 14-24mm f2.8, and Canon 16-35mm III f2.8.
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses will come in handy if we go to Bryce, Alstrom Point, or the Grand Canyon.
- Circular polarizer filters are useful. Bring any ND filters if you have them.
- Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
- Remote cord for your camera. An intervalometer will be especially useful for doing long exposures at night.
- Laptop if you wish to backup your photos or follow along during the post-processing instruction.
- We may be able to rent you gear if you don't have everything you need.
Personal Gear List
- Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants .
- A rain jacket and several warm layers since it can get cold at night.
- Sun hat, winter hat, gloves.
- Headlamp for night photography.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses.
- Water bottle or hydration bladder
David Swindler is a National Geographic award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked many years in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. Thus, the technical side of photography came very easy to him. Back in 2014 he decided to quit his day job to follow his true passion. As a photographer, he has traveled to many locations around the world and has extensive experience with landscape, wildlife, night, and macro photography. He finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT. Follow the links below to see more of Mr. Swindler's work.
Mr Swindler has been leading guided photo tours for several years and knows many different camera systems and how to capture the best photos. On his trips, you'll travel to impressive locations and receive photography instruction at the same time! Unlike many other photo guides, his clients are his top priority while out in the field. Read what others are saying about his trips here: Trip Advisor. Mr Swindler has extensive outdoor experience and will ensure your safety and well-being. If you have any questions, please Contact Us and we'll be happy to assist. Happy travels!