Master your photography while capturing legendary night skies and incredible vistas.
Workshop Leaders: David Downs & Barry Benton
Known for having the darkest night sky in the lower 48, Big Bend National Park offers the incredible opportunity for capturing the Milky Way in all its glory.
With each workshop I take from David and Barry I learn more and more. Their relaxed approach and their commitment to making sure my questions are answered and that I get the shot is so rewarding. This won’t be my last workshop with them. – Marsha L
Big Bend offers an amazing array of landscape photography opportunities including rivers, peaks, valleys, and desert plains.
Come join us to capture your best images yet and be inspired for a lifetime.
Thursday, August 18, 2022 – Sunday, August 21, 2022
Big Bend National Park, TX
- Focusing in the dark
- Creating & avoiding light trails
- Planning for dark skies
- Creating foreground interest
- Proper color balance for night sky
- Processing Milky Way images
- Blending images
- Panoramic landscapes
- Noise reduction & more…
Additional workshop details
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All workshop excursions will be based out of the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which is within Big Bend National Park.
Chisos Mountains Lodge
1 Basin Rural Station
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
Phone: 877-386-4383 or 432-477-2291
Each participant is responsible for making their own reservations at the Lodge. Although the time of year is off peak, we would encourage participants to make their lodge reservations early. There is also a campground near the Lodge that will accept tents and small RV’s.
The dining hours vary from year to year at the Lodge and it’s possible that the onsite restaurant will be closed during a portion of the time we are there. The rooms have small refrigerators and microwaves so quick meals can be prepared in your room. There is also an onsite gift shop/food mart with a variety of offerings. We will be eating in Terlingua the night we visit there for cemetery photos.
We will always have snacks/water on hand while traveling around the park.
Approximately a week before the workshop we will e-mail all registered participants with a detailed agenda, map, etc. So that you’ll know what to expect, here’s our tentative agenda:
Day 1 – 4:00 PM – Meet on the patio outside the Lodge. We’ll cover the agenda for the next 3 days before grabbing something to eat and heading out to take photos for the evening.
Day 2 & 3 – We’ll head out early for sunrise photos and explore the tremendous landscape opportunities in the park. We’ll visit old farmsteads with a chance for wildlife and flora photos. One on of the evenings we will visit the Terlingua Ghost Town, have dinner and visit the amazing cemetery with all it has to offer creative photographers. And of course, the night skies are the centerpiece of the trip with opportunities to learn lightpainting, Milky Way and timelapse photography under the darkest night skies in the lower 48 states.
Day 4 – We will have an additional opportunity for sunrise images before check out at 11:00 AM.
Post-workshop – We will provide additional video courses on editing based on images taken during the class.
Each individual is responsible for their own transportation to and from the workshop. For our transportation during the workshop we will be taking personal vehicles but between Barry and I we can carry 4 or 5 participants for those who prefer not to drive their own.
Recommended photography gear
DSLR camera – Crop Sensor or Full Frame
Wide angle lens – The wider the better. For a full frame, 14mm would be best and for a crop sensor a 12mm. I suggest exploring renting a lens through a local camera shop or online through BorrowLenses.com, lensrentals.com or if you’re in the DFW area try aperturent.com. You will also want something with a large aperture so look for an f2.8 or larger.
Mid-range (24-100) zoom lens – This will be used primarily for landscapes rather than night sky so there’s not a need for an f2.8 aperture.
Long telephoto lens – If you have access to one, a long telephoto will enable you to capture potential wildlife and unique landscape shots.
Tripod – The sturdier the better as we will be taking up to 30-second exposures and there can be a breeze. It doesn’t need to be tall, just sturdy.
Remote shutter release – Alternatively, an understanding on how to set a 2-second shutter delay for your camera.
Headlamp – You’ll need a way to light your feet as you walk around. Some areas are rocky and contain cacti as mentioned earlier.
Apps (optional) – Consider downloading/purchasing the PhotoPills or TPE apps if you plan on doing more night sky photography. It’s also great for planning sunrise and sunset outings.
Batteries – Bring an extra battery if you have one. If not, make sure you have your charger.
Storage – An extra SD or CF card (maybe 2 or 3…)
Lastly, bring a desire to learn and have fun! You’re going to walk away with a great experience and a much better understanding of how to take amazing Milky Way images.
Bring something to take notes with.
Despite the warm weather we will likely experience, plan on wearing long pants. There are cacti and other plants that can leave a nasty scratch.
Bring insect repellent. We will have some in case you forget.
No need to worry about water or snacks; we’ll have both available at all times.
Location pro tips
The drive to Big Bend is by itself fully loaded with jaw-dropping vistas, make sure you take the opportunity to grab some shots along the way!
Once you get to Big Bend, the landscape is a bit mind bending. There are SOOO many different geological photography opportunities and terrain that runs the gamut from flat pan to Emory Peak at nearly 8,000 feet.
As much as we’d like to set the temperature and control wind and rain for the workshop we simply aren’t that good. We will do our best despite any weather obstacles to make sure you leave with a wealth of information and practical experience.
Reserve your spot now!
Important info! We encourage you to create an account when you register so future workshop forms will be prepopulated with your data. Shortly after registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail and a separate email allowing you to pay your registration online. You are not fully registered until your payment is received.
Class size is limited. Reserve now to guarantee a spot.