Night Photography, June 22-25, 2017 - Aaron Priest Photography
Night Photography Workshop

Night Photography, 3-Night Workshop

Instructors: Aaron Priest & Vincent Lawrence

Up to 6 participants (only 2 spots remaining!)

June 22-25, 2017

Capture and develop breathtaking images of the Milky Way over Acadia National Park with experienced photographers and instructors Aaron Priest and Vincent Lawrence. We’ll enjoy pristine views of the night sky--some of the darkest skies on the East Coast--as we learn to photograph the stars. The developing of the images is equally important to the shooting; this workshop will have a major focus on processing and teach the best ways to get your images to really shine.

This comprehensive workshop will feature at least 9 hours of shooting (weather dependent) and 9 hours of post-processing.

Workshop Schedule (weather dependent):

June 22nd: Plan to arrive anytime after lunch and be ready for an intro class session 2pm – 6pm. We’ll head out shooting at 10pm – 2am. 
June 23rd: Get a good sleep and be ready to dive into post-processing from 2pm – 6pm. Once again shooting from 10pm – 2am.
June 24th: Post-processing 2pm – 6pm, shooting 10pm – 2am.
June 25th: Wrap-up of post-processing in the morning.

Workshop Topics:

• Camera settings for capturing the stars and the landscape
• Planning dates, times, and movement of the night sky 
• Post processing the Milky Way with Lightroom and Photoshop
• Advanced masking and compositing of images in Photoshop
• How to shoot star trails

Photographer at Work

Anytime technology is pushed to its limits–in this case the minimal light of the night sky–the importance of quality equipment becomes obvious. You should have a camera that performs well at ISO 3200 or higher, full frame is preferable (see list below). You will likely need a spare battery for your camera and intervalometer, as long exposures at night quickly eat up battery power. The other basic gear you’ll need is a sturdy tripod, remote shutter release (wireless or cabled), and a fast, wide lens. f/2.8 or larger aperture is preferred, and 14-16mm range is ideal for sharp photos of the Milky Way. 24mm and 35mm f/1.4 primes make great secondary lenses for more detailed shots. 

Recommended Cameras:

Nikon: D600, D610, D700, D750, D800, D810, D810A, Df, D3s, D4, D4s, or D5. If renting, the D750 is a particularly good value. Some crop sensor cameras would be suitable for a secondary camera such as the D7100 or D7200, but rent a full frame camera if you don't have one.

Canon: 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 6D, or 1Dx. If renting, the 6D is a particularly good value. A crop sensor 7D or 70D could be used as a secondary camera in a pinch, but rent a full frame camera if you don't have one.

Sony: a7R, a7S, a7R II, a7S II

Several Pentax, Fuji, and mirrorless cameras are also suitable. Contact us with your list of equipment if you'd like advice.

Recommended Lenses:

Nikon: 14-24mm f/2.8 (exceptional)
Canon: 16-35mm f/2.8 II or III (3rd gen is much improved) 
Rokinon: 14mm f/2.8, 24mm f/1.4 (very good), 35mm f/1.4
Tamron: 15-30mm f/2.8 (very good)
Sigma: 35mm f/1.4 ART (very good)
For crop sensor cameras: Rokinon 10mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 II, or Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8

Be sure to bring your own laptop with required software. We will be teaching with Adobe Creative Cloud and the latest versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. Bring an external drive to backup your images on. 

Read this article on Night Sky Photography for more information on shooting the night sky, and visit Acadia Images' website for more information on the guesthouse and classroom.

Payment to Acadia Images, LLC

Photo Gallery

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Milky Way Symphony

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, Maine, July 1, 2014, 01:04 AM. On Monday night I helped Mike Taylor with a private night photography workshop for Eastern Maine Camera Club. We had a great time and this is one of the images we captured. The light on the horizon is the lighthouse on Baker Island. The meteor was just sheer luck! I saw it streak overhead while I was standing there and hoped it was in the first 30 second exposure of the sky.

I used a Promote Control in HDR mode and shot three exposures of 30 seconds, 80 seconds, & 200 seconds in 1.3 EV steps at 14mm, f/2.8, & ISO 4000. I then shot the three brackets again at f/22 with the lens cap on to create dark frames and removed the hot pixels with PixelFixer later—free download at I had already held my hands in the air for 5 minutes and didn’t want to repeat it for long exposure noise reduction in camera! Haha!

For post-production, I edited the RAW files in Lightroom. I kept the manual white balance of 3450° K and added some highlights and white to the darkest frame with a little clarity, vibrance, and saturation to make the Milky Way pop. I added a bit of highlights and lights to the tone curve as well. I also added some noise reduction, sharpening, and lens corrections. For the longest exposure I added some contrast and dropped the exposure and shadows some because it was quite bright compared to the dark sky of the shortest exposure. I then blended the two exposures in Photoshop manually with masks. I didn’t need the middle exposure, but it’s good to have more than you need than not enough! To select the sky for my mask I disabled red and green channels leaving just blue and selected highlights with the color range tool, then re-enabled the other two color channels. I had to touch up the mask some manually and add some feathering to the edge, but it helped select the lifeguard chair and myself against the sky easier. I softened the edge along the horizon in the distance, but left it pretty sharp against the chair in the sky.

After shooting this we turned north and shot timelapses of the chair in front of the North Star (Polaris) to get circular star trails until astronomic dawn. Unfortunately clouds started rolling in, which makes for a great timelapse, but not great star trails. So we decided to pack up and shoot the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, which did not disappoint through the clouds! ;-)

Acadia National ParkMaineMilky WaySand Beachastrophotographybeachmeteornightselfieworkshopnight skymount desert island

From Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island