Special events

Deep sky or deep space often means photographing astounding deep-sky objects in the night sky such as the Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula, Pinwheel Galaxy and Star Clusters through telephoto lenses or telescopes using tracking mounts. It can all be accomplished for less than you think!

Objects are often faint and underwhelming when viewed through the camera eyepiece, yet explode with color and detail when photographed.

The main techniques needed for this particular form of astrophotography include comprehending camera settings required to capture long exposures, how to achieve and maintain sharp focus, and of course, post processing!

This is a beginner to intermediate deep sky astrophotography workshop. It is necessary to be familiar with your tracker and be able to operate your camera in the dark.

This is a great place for the beginner deep sky astrophotographer to start their journey or the intermediate photographer to hone their skills before moving on to the more advanced techniques.

Join us in Mesa Verde National Park in May or October 2021 around new moon for 3 nights of great astrophotography imaging under some of the west's darkest skies.

Some of the more popular targets we will shoot include:

-Rosette Nebula

-Trifid Nebula

-Andromeda Galaxy

-Triangulum Galaxy

-Bodes Galaxy


-Rho Ophiuchi

-Eagle Nebula

-Lagoon Nebula

Required Equipment and Accessories :

Astrophotography requires a professional level camera and lens in order to be successful and get the image results you are looking for.

If you do not have a professional level camera or lens, we would highly recommend purchasing or renting them.

-DSLR or mirrorless camera (crop or full frame)

-Telephoto lens (150-600mm is recommended)

-Tracker - I recommend the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Kit or iOptron SkyGuider Pro Kit which comes complete with everything you need including declination bracket, and counter-weight for less than $500.

-Sturdy tripod


-No less than two batteries

-Extra memory cards

-Headlamp with red filter

If you need to purchase or rent ANY of the required equipment - please, feel free to contact Craig at 520-732-1440 to help you get set up.

Recommended Items:

-Warm clothes (as the night gets later it does get cooler)

-Gloves and hat

-Boots with warm socks

-Snacks and beverages

-Camping chair or a portable seat. We do a lot of standing

What You Will Learn:

-The best times and places to photograph the night sky

-How to find the best dark sky location

-Best equipment to use

-How to best setup your equipment on location

-How to accurately polar align your tracker

-How to locate and frame your specific target in the night sky

-How to focus your lens in the dark

-How to set shutter speed and ISO for optimal exposure

-Creating lights, darks, bats and bias frames

-Stacking and processing RAW images

Post Processing Demonstration:

Digital processing is a crucial step in astrophotography for creating striking images.

One afternoon I will demonstrate processing RAW images using Deep Sky Stacker and Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. If you would like to follow along during this post processing demonstration I recommend you bring a laptop with you. If you don’t already own Deep Sky Stacker or Lightroom Classic CC - you can download a trial for free.

Deep Sky Stacker Download here.

Lightroom Classic CC Download here.

Workshop Dates:

May 2021:

Mesa Verde Workshop I Dates: May 7, 2021 to May 10, 2021 *Departure on May 10th.

Mesa Verde Workshop II Dates: May 10, 2021 to May 13, 2021 *Departure on May 13th

October 2021:

Mesa Verde Workshop III Dates: October 3, 2021 to October 6, 2021 *Departure on October 6th.

Mesa Verde Workshop IV Dates: October 6, 2021 to October 9, 2021 *Departure on October 9th.

Tuition: $1995.00

Deposit: $499.00


What is Included?

The cost of the workshop DOES include:

-Three nights of instruction in the field using your tracker and camera

-Post-processing demonstration session

-Transportation during the workshop

-Park entrance fees and permits

This workshop DOES NOT include:

-Transportation to / from the workshop

-Flights or car rentals

-Lodging or meals

Lodging: Our home base for this workshop will be located in Cortez, Colorado where we will reserve a block of rooms at a reduced rate.You are free to stay anywhere in the area.

More Details:

Participants: Limit 4

Experience Level: Who will benefit from this workshop?

This is designed for the beginner to intermediate astrophotographer as defined below:

Beginner I : Someone having a strong knowledge and firm understanding of their camera with "little to no" experience in deep sky astrophotography.

Beginner II : Someone having a strong knowledge and firm understanding of their camera and have "tried" their hand at deep sky astrophotography.

Intermediate : Someone having a strong knowledge and firm understanding of their camera with "some" experience in deep sky astrophotography.

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