Join us for beautiful skies in a great historic location.
Workshop Leaders: David Downs
Just below the hill where Ft. Griffin was established lays The Flat. It rests beneath some of the darkest skies in the state and offers a great local opportunity to capture beautiful night sky imagery as well as a glimpse into the world of Wyatt Earp & Doc Holiday.
I have attended several workshops with Barry and David and I have never been disappointed. Workshops are always well organized and I learn a lot from their experience and from one-on-one time with each of them.
Join us as we focus on the Milky Way, light painting, and even a bit of the Wild West, with longhorns and old barracks.
Friday, July 12, 2024, 5:00 PM - 1:00 AM [ SOLD OUT ]
Saturday, July 13, 2024, 5:00 PM - 1:00 AM [ 1 Seat Left ]
Sign up for both nights and receive one on one editing instruction and additional time for individual training.
Ft. Griffin State Historic Site, Albany, 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
- Noise reduction & more…
Additional workshop details
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Fort Griffin State Historic Site
1701 N. U.S. Hwy. 283
Albany, TX 76430
It's important to note that at this time we are restricting instruction to the area know as The Flat until we can get approval to shoot after hours on Fort grounds if possible.
Some past workshop attendees have simply slept in their cars after the workshop, some have driven into Albany or Abilene and others have decided to drive home. The area is safe should you decide to grab a few hours in your car before heading back.
The Albany Inn & RV Park has been used by previous participants who signed up for both nights. They stated it was clean and safe. It's only about 15 minutes from the workshop location. As a bonus there are a couple of good coffee/breakfast spots in town.
Approximately two weeks before the workshop we will host a Zoom Session for attendees to prepare everyone for an enjoyable workshop.
We will meet at ~ 5:00 PM on each day at the Ft. Griffin Campground across the highway from the Fort. We’ll get to know each other a bit and cover what to expect over the next few hours. We will cover camera settings and things you need to know before we begin capturing the Milky Way.
We will take a short break for dinner then head over to The Flat about 6:30. The Sun will set at 8:47 PM, Astronomical Twilight ends at 10:26 PM and the Galactic Core peaks at 11:58 PM with the moon setting just afterwards.
Approximately 1:00 AM we'll wrap up the formal class; participants are free to remain and shoot timelapses or call it an evening as their needs dictate.
Saturday Morning & Early Afternoon - For those that sign up for both days, David will spend some one on one editing time working with the participants images as well as additional guidance on composition and creating time lapses.
Post-workshop – We will host a Zoom session with editing instructions for images captured that evening.
Each student responsible for their own transportation to Fort Griffin. We will team up for driving back and forth from The Flat during the class.
Recommended photography gear
DSLR or Mirrorless 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.
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. Please find one with a red light option.
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…)
Bring something to take notes with.
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.
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.
For those that show up early, we may have some opportunity for daytime photography and exploration.
The area is safe should you decide to grab a few hours in your car before heading back.
If you decide to make a LONG night of it, approximately 30 minutes from Fort Griffin toward Abilene are several very large wind turbines that make for interesting photo opportunities.
No need to worry about water or snacks; we'll have both available at all times.
Location pro tips
"By 1870, a very rough town called "The Flat" sprang up just north of Fort Griffin, which eventually became a stop-off point for cattle drives headed north to Dodge City, Kansas. During that time, several notable characters and gunfighters of the Old West drifted through, including Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Dave Rudabaugh, and the brothers Bat and Jim Masterson. John Selman, who eventually became known for killing outlaw John Wesley Hardin, worked there and in surrounding counties as a deputy sheriff."
Come early and explore the area!
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.