The other weekend I held my first Milky Way night sky workshop. The night was a huge success! I was organized and ready to answer any questions that were thrown at me. I was really nervous that I would be asked a question that I didn’t know the answer to. We started the night off with shooting the sunset. The light was gorgeous, creating a warm orange hue radiating off every surface. There was not a cloud in the sky which can make for less exciting sunset images. Cloudless skies were what we wanted after all, because we were there to capture the Milky Way.
Why Take a Workshop?
1. Learn a new skill So you want to learn how to take awesome images of the Milky Way. Take a workshop and get hands on learning and experience. Learn from someone who’s work you admire. Find a workshop that will fit into your schedule. If you want to learn how to edit your images, make sure that is included in the workshop.
2. Save time! I know I have over three years of research and trial-n-error under my belt. I have also taken a few workshops myself to learn the tricks of the trade. That is three years you don’t have to spend struggling teaching yourself. Whichever workshop you choose to take, you will benefit from years of experience saving you time.
3. Meet people who have the same interests as you Learning and sharing life with others is way more fun. Being around photography nerds is a great way to energize your love for photography, or any other passion. You just might meet your new favorite person to go shoot with.
4. Learn something you were not expecting to learn. Workshops put you face to face with a pro for hours or even days. This gives you the ability to ask many questions. Make sure you come prepared with your questions by keeping a running list in a notebook. Throughout the night I am able to give many tips and tricks I have learned along the way. I know I love to talk shop about photography.
5. See new places. There are specific things one needs to create interesting night sky images. The first thing I look for is dark skis. Therefore, you will usually be in the middle of nowhere, but nowhere is usually more scenic. Chances are you have not been to nowhere before. Some workshops will require to travel to far off distant bucket list locations. Either way a new place to explore.
6. Get a different point of view All photographers, no matter the skill level, have different styles and ways of doing things. You may end up really liking something I do and you may think I’m crazy for doing another thing. I might really like something about your ways and pick it up. There is something you can learn from each person you meet. The important thing is to be open to the opportunity.
7. Learn a new way to create an image. One thing I love about photography is there really isn’t a right and a wrong way to create an image. There are rules and tried and true methods. But, If I want to be my own tripod and lie on my back and capture the night sky then I’m going to see what happens. In a workshop you will meet other photographers all at different levels in their art. Strike up a conversation with a few and learn some of their favorite ways to create images.
8. Get the best locations at the right time. Right place at the right time. To be able to learn to take Milky Way images you need to be able to see the milky way on the back of your camera. In order to achieve that you need dark skis. To create an awesome image, you need an interesting location. You also need to know where to point your camera. The person running the workshop will have already scouted all this out for you. They will get you to the right place at the right time.
9. Practice what you learn before you forget it and have to look it back up The learning part is only so long then it is time to shoot. You are able to practice what you just learned right beside the person that you just learned it from. If you have any questions or are just needing assurance you are on the right track, then I’m right there to help you. It is important that you take workshops that have limited participants. This way you get more face time with the instructor. I choose to only have 10 people in the field at a time for my workshops, this allows me to really be able to make sure every person is taking awesome images.
10. Get feedback on your images. One of the greatest tools you will gain from a workshop is the ability to get feedback on your images. I have a few avenues for my students to keep up with me and for me to keep up with them. They are safe places for image sharing and constructive critiques.
11. Renew or spark a new passion for photography. Some people get burned out, even if photography is your passion. Learning a new skill or even just being around other people who are excited to be there can stoke up that passion for the art.
12. Hands on learning. I don’t know about you, but I can struggle with trying to learn something out of a book. Plus, you have a living, breathing person who knows what they are doing to build your confidence as you learn. I really struggled with focus and after taking a workshop realized I had it right the whole time. But I needed someone else to look at my images and tell me.
The real question is why not take a workshop?
Here are a few images from the workshops: