When the sun goes down the landscape takes on a completely different mood. With starlight or moonlight as the only light source to work with, photography in these conditions presents unique challenges - however this brings unique opportunities for creative expression in night time landscape photography.
Starry skies, moonrise shots (distant and close-up), star light trails and even on the darkest nights photographs of the Milky Way can be captured. Light pollution levels around Glastonbury are relatively low compared to more urbanised areas so there are plenty of locations to choose from for different types of shot. This therefore will be the setting for the Astrophotography Workshops to take place - where obviously using the Tor as a backdrop proves to others that you've been here too! It's an iconic backdrop from almost any distance and we will be sure to keep that in mind wherever we find ourselves.
Workshop Structure: Two Themes
While both the stars and the moon are equally exciting to photograph, when the moon is up it makes star photography a lot more demanding due to the light of the moon overpowering everything else in the night sky. For this reason I have created two distinct workshop themes (mostly on separate dates) so that there is no significant conflict between the moon and stars. There are a handful of dates each month where it is possible to cover both themes on the one night (close to a new moon for example) and where possible these dates will be made available for booking on both sessions if that is a participant's wish.
Stars and Star Trails
This will cover how to set a camera up to create sharp and clear photographs of stars in the night sky and create anything from a dramatic starry backdrop through to long star trails and short time-lapse sequences which illustrate the rotation of the earth against the night sky which isn't so obvious to the human eye.
Topics will include:
- Creating a steady platform with a camera and tripod for night photography
- Good working practices when working in low light
- How to ensure your camera is focussed properly when working in the dark
- Optimising exposure settings to suit the creative intent (stars, star trails and time-lapse)
- Planning and preparation for night photography
- Basic photo editing to develop the final images
Moonrise and Moonlit Nightscapes
The nocturnal landscape really comes alive under moonlight. From moonrise to moonset and with all of the phases of the moon to work with too, there are lots of options and moods which can be created in a photograph taken under such conditions. Taking shots of the moon high in the sky with nothing else around is relatively easy even for a beginner. It is much more rewarding to feature landscape elements or man-made structures too for a sense of scale or to force perspective and create great looming moonrises over small distant objects for those 'big moon' pictures that always make the front pages of the national press.
Topics will include:
- Common exposure settings for moonscape and close-up moon shots
- Pre-planning essentials to ensure best results
- Addressing common challenges when photographing the brightest object in the sky when it's dark
- Good shooting strategies and creative ideas to develop further in future work
- Basic photo editing tips and tricks to develop the final image files
Equipment You Will Need
- A DSLR, Bridge or Compact camera with full manual control capabilities (some 'point & shoot' cameras and mobile phones will be excluded from this)
- A sturdy tripod
- A remote shutter release with a locking feature to enable 'bulb' mode (i.e. to lock the shutter open for long exposures)
- Small torch or headlamp
- Warm clothing and sturdy footwear appropriate to the season (it's a lot colder outdoors at night)
- (optional) Intervalometer for time-lapse shooting - unless your camera has a built-in interval timer function of course!
This is the same for both workshop themes and may be subject to change due to weather conditions on the evening.
- Assemble group at meeting point / meeting room
- Host introduction and workshop primer session (hot refreshments will be provided)
- Make way to workshop location - some walking will be required (refer to guidance on clothing, above)
- Practical workshop session (duration approximately 1 hour)
- Return to meeting venue for review, critique of some images, Q&A and final wrap-up
No matter what Mother Nature decides on the evening, the workshops will be content-rich such that there will be more than enough material to inform, inspire and motivate attendees to take what they have learned and explore further afterwards.
It is therefore anticipated that workshops will still go ahead even if weather conditions are not conducive to practical work, for example if the stars and / or moon are not visible due to an overcast sky.
If individual attendees are prevented from making their way to the workshop due to more localised weather or other circumstances please refer to terms and conditions below.
How To Book
There are two booking forms below for each of the themes 'Stars and Star Trails' & 'Moonrise and Moonscape'. Decide which workshop theme you are interested in and complete the booking form for that theme only. When you have chosen a date on which you would like to attend and entered your details, click on 'SUBMIT' to confirm your place and then you will be taken to the payment screen where you will submit your payment and finally secure your booking.