Nighttime Photography Workshop
Observing and photographing the features of the night sky is an awe-inspiring experience that so few people ever get to enjoy. The atmosphere of the night, the sights and sounds, are so very contrary from normal daytime hours that it is literally a different world — a radical world of diffused light, excessive shadows, and noises that you will simply never see or hear when the sun is up. These existential awakenings will spark your inner child to marvel at the world again. There is so much to see, so much to hear, so much to enjoy during the dark hours of each day — the moon, the stars, the Milky Way, the occasional meteor, and the spectacular northern lights displays.
Taylor Photography is a freelance imaging studio based in a 19th-century farmhouse in central Maine, owned and operated by Mike and Sonia Taylor. Mike has been a landscape and studio photographer for over 20 combined years and counting. He is an artist, a philosopher, a musician, a movie buff, and a self-proclaimed connoisseur of beverages made from malted barley and hops . . . we all have our bag of rocks to carry. Sonia has been involved in creative writing, marketing, and public relations in one form or another for over 20 years, working in publishing, advertising, retail, and auctions. She enjoys reading, history, antiques, movies, traveling, and micro-brewed beer.
Taylor Photography’s landscape astrophotography and scenic/nature images and articles have been featured on NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, Huffington Post, the Weather Channel, NBC News, Viral Nova, Discovery.com, Mashable.com, Down East magazine, UNILAD, Outdoor Photography magazine, Yahoo! News, Space.com, Utah.com, Earthsky.org, Spaceweather.com, Solarham.net, and multiple other science websites and social media pages. Mike is also a contributing member of the International Dark-Sky Association and has been working in conjunction with their organization to help raise public awareness of artificial-light pollution and its negative effects on human health, wildlife, safety, and energy waste.
"I have always been a night owl — I can remember sneaking out the back door of my home as a teenager on warm summer nights to go sit somewhere in my neighborhood and wonder about man's existence while looking up at the stars. Most folks are so busy with day-to-day life that they rarely contemplate the radical idea that we all live on a small rock that is rotating and flying through the cosmos at a speed we can barely fathom." —Mike Taylor
Very few people have invested the time to truly master the art of photographing the night sky. It takes passion, effort, energy, and motivation to go beyond the basics of understanding a camera to truly knowing what your camera sensor is capable of capturing in the dark. Getting the most out of your camera gear and being able to calmly troubleshoot during challenging conditions at night is an art form in and of itself, where practical experience and empirical knowledge come only with time and patience. Mike Taylor has spent countless hours photographing the night sky and he thoroughly enjoys teaching others everything he knows about landscape astrophotography and the processing techniques required to create extraordinary night sky images.
This is a 3 day sunset and astrophotography workshop in Acadia National Park. Acadia is well known for having some of the best dark skies remaining on the East Coast. This incredibly scenic region includes Sand Beach, Otter Cove, Otter Cliffs, Boulder Beach, Hunters Beach, Little Hunters Beach, Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond, Cadillac Mountain and more.
Mike will teach you the essential tips, tricks, light-painting techniques, and composition ideas that will take your stargazing photography to the next level, all provided in a casual manner with a humble sense of humor. He also teaches advanced night photography skills including time-lapse, star trails, panoramas, and exposure-blending techniques for intermediate to advanced astrophotographers. This is a comprehensive workshop that will consist of a welcome meeting the first night followed by 2 nights and 3 days — approximately 8 hours of in-the-field photography and 10+ hours of classroom tutorials and processing time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a lot of experience or expensive gear to take this workshop?
Not at all. While no knowledge of night photography techniques is required for this workshop, please understand this is not a Photo 101 class - you should have a decent working knowledge of your camera gear and how the Exposure Triangle (aperture, shutter speed & ISO) works.
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation. We encourage carpooling to reduce our environmental footprint, and also to park at locations with limited spaces. If you prefer to drive yourself, you can do so.
What about lodging?
Maine is a popular place and many hotels and BnB’s fill up fast. We ask that you stay close to our predetermined morning meet-up location. Some options include the Edenbrook Motel, Hampton Inn and the Bar Harbor Grand.
What does the workshop schedule look like?
We will talk with all participants regarding itinerary changes depending on weather conditions forecast. We always suggest that participants try to arrive the day before a workshop begins and stay a day after the workshop ends to remain flexible with changing weather conditions - as we check local forecasts, sometimes it becomes inevitable that we will have better weather conditions just before or just after the scheduled workshop dates, in which case we will take advantage of the forecast and go shoot on those dates.
What camera equipment do you recommend I bring?
- Your DSLR Camera that is capable of full manual mode including focusing and high ISO settings - full frame bodies are highly preferable (crop sensor bodies will certainly work, they are just not optimal)
- Your camera’s user manual (you should familiarize yourself with this anyway to use your camera to its fullest potential)
- Camera lens capable of f/2.8 or faster – wide angle lenses of 24mm or wider work best (although lenses capable of f/3.5 minimum speed can work they are not optimal)
- Tripod – A strong, solid tripod is an absolute necessity for night photography
- Extra camera batteries
- Extra memory cards
- Shutter release cable / wireless remote
- Headlamp or flashlight with red light capability
What should I wear?
- Boots or shoes with decent tread are necessary. Photography locations will be in areas with uneven terrain including sand, tree roots, rocks, seaweed tidal pools but nothing that should bother anyone who is in decent shape. Anyone who has balance issues should contact us before signing up.
- Layers are recommended - you can always take off jackets / sweaters / sweatshirts.
Should I be concerned about ticks?
Yes. All outdoor activities in New England carry the risk of picking up these nasty hitchhikers. Please use bug repellent that you can apply to your skin, or even better, permethrin, which you apply to clothes you plan on wearing in the field. Also, give yourself an extensive review when you get home at night to check for ticks.
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Bad weather is good weather to landscape photographers. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. There are many idioms that apply to the weather, and if you don’t already know, following the weather is one of our favorite things to do!
What does my tuition cover?
The price of the workshop includes all fieldwork, group instruction, individual tutoring. It does not include travel insurance, meals other than what has been specified, transportation, and lodging.
Should I bring a laptop?
Yes - bring your laptop with Lightroom and Photoshop installed to learn techniques for processing in the digital darkroom.
The payment is 50% refundable in the event you have to cancel, as long as the cancellation is made 21 days before the trip. After that time, your payment is non-refundable. Alternately, 100% of your payment will be refunded if a replacement can be found prior to the trip.
This workshop needs a minimum of three participants. In the event the minimum is not met, we may cancel or offer to move you to a different workshop.
Please refer to the CDC website for the latest guidance on COVID-19 and travel.