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 photography.
Starry skies, star trails and moonrise are relatively easy to capture on the Somerset Levels around Glastonbury due to the open and mostly flat landscape compared to more urban areas. Locations vary throughout the year and even on consecutive nights due to celestial timings (we follow the heavens, they don’t follow us) so part of the experience I will share is in knowing where to be and when to get the best opportunities for clear views. Also since Glastonbury is the setting for these workshops I will endeavour to make sure that the Tor features as a backdrop to prove to others that you've been here!
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 (on separate dates) so that there is no significant conflict between the moon and stars.
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
Experience Level - PLEASE TAKE NOTE!
These workshops are not recommended for absolute beginners. There is a lot of information to absorb in a relatively short period of time including pertinent camera settings and shooting strategies to adopt to achieve the best results. If you are unfamiliar with manually changing such things as ISO, shutter speed, aperture or exposure metering method then you will not get much benefit from attending these workshops. My individually tailored 1-2-1 sessions for beginners are a better means of getting to grips with photographic terminology and they also allow me to dedicate more time to you which would have to be split with other participants on these workshops too.
Equipment You Will Need
A DSLR, Bridge or Compact camera with full manual control capability
A sturdy tripod
A remote shutter release (optional)
Small torch or headlamp (advised)
Warm clothing and sturdy footwear appropriate to the season (it's a lot colder outdoors at night)
Intervalometer for time-lapse shooting - unless your camera has a built-in interval timer function of course (optional)
This is the same for both workshop themes and may be subject to change due to weather conditions on the evening.
Meet up at my gallery on High Street, Glastonbury
Introduction and workshop primer session (refreshments 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 gallery 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. Please bear this in mind when considering booking.
For further information please refer to terms and conditions on the relevant booking page.
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 can make your payment to finally secure your booking.