To start the workshop we picked up the guests at the Grand Junction, Colorado airport and after a quick lunch we made the short drive to Moab, Utah. We took a scenic route along the Colorado River that is lined with beautiful red canyon rocks on either side. We stopped for a beautiful landscape opportunity combining the Colorado river, stunning red rock spires, and the snow capped LaSal mountains in the background. Once we exhausted all the photographic opportunities, we continued our journey into Moab. After a quick check-in at our hotel we headed into the field for some night photography. With crystal clear skies we opted to push hard tonight and head into Arches National Park to photograph the beautiful arches with the stars shinning above. We visited many locations throughout the night in the park, and finished the night with an interesting landscape perfect for star trails. At 2 AM, we headed back to the hotel for a little sleep as we have a full day tomorrow planned.
After a relaxing breakfast we headed to the conference room to discuss night photography techniques to capture better star detail, white balance, exposure, light painting techniques, histograms and focusing strategies in the darkness of a full moon. Dr. Christian Sasse then gave as a tour of how to control remote telescopes all over the world and explained the best techniques to capture stunning images of dark sky objects in the heavens.
This morning we explored Arches National Park and photographed many of the amazing sandstone structures including the Three Gossips, Balance Rock, Park Avenue, Double Arch, the Windows and Delicate Arch. As the sun continued to rise, and our favorable lighting diminished, we headed back to the conference room for a discussion on post processing our nighttime images and the process of image stacking, dark frame subtraction, curves, and stretching an image.
As we had a partly cloudy night, we headed out for a sunset shot at a beautiful waterfall just outside of town. We were treated to a beautiful red sky tonight. After the show was over, we ordered pizzas and headed back to the conference room as there were too many clouds to photograph with the stars. Tonight’s discussion was on using specialized Astrophotography software to process and stack images taken with the remote telescopes and CCD cameras. Dr. Christian Sasse processed many images and gave the attendees image sets to work with and practice as they start processing their own deep sky images.
This morning we headed out early and went to a rarely scene boulder covered with Indian Art from 100-1,000 B.C. After everyone experimented with different compositions we continued our journey south near Blanding, Utah. Today we are taking the group into an ancient Indian cliff dwelling once occupied by the Anasazi Indians. At the trail head, we loaded up our backpacks and started our 40 minute hike up a beautiful canyon. Once we arrived at the ancient dwelling, the guests photographed the dwelling and really worked all the different compositions. As the sun got a little higher the ruin really came to life as the light bounced off the sandstone base and bounced up on the dwelling making the roof glow.
As the guests explored the site, they also photographed Indian hand-prints in a small cove done with a red dye. Its amazing that they are still there after all of these years. After 1.5 hours, we continued our journey back to the cars to head back to Moab for more night photography.
We then went further into the park and photographed the stunning Landscape Arch at night, and Pine Tree Arch. We continued our light-painting images as well as stacking star trail images on the different locations. We then finished the night with a couple of shots of the Three Gossips. On the way home, we noticed it was after 4 AM. The time just flew tonight, and we took advantage of the beautiful weather.
As we made it back to the Grand Junction airport, everyone was tired from all the shooting time, and the memory cards were full of beautiful locations and memories.