Rocky Mountain Night Skies Workshop

I’m not sure why I didn’t do this post as the first images from my National Parks trip.  The main thing that got my wife and I to schedule this trip was to attend the Night Skies Photography Workshop in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Moon rising at Moraine Park

The group went out to RMNP at sunset and watched as the evening sky slowly got darker and the stars began to pop out in the night sky.

Clouds floated about on the horizon which made for some interesting patterns even if we would have wished for a completely clear view.  The moon was visible early on which again, is not ideal for the Milky Way sightings we all wanted but, you have to take what nature gives you and the moon is a beautiful sight itself.

We hit a couple of sites for sunset and dusk shots before moving to West Horseshoe Park for our star-gazing.

One thing to know: if you go to the Rocky Mountains in May you need to be prepared for COLD weather.  Daytime temps were comfortable but being out overnight from 7PM to 1AM with wind and snow blowing at you is bone-chilling!!

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Workshop attendees adjusting settings

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Milky Way over the Rockies

I still can’t believe how absolutely packed the sky was with their lights.  It is absolutely amazing to see the night sky in the mountains in an area that is far from the city lights.

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I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly get better instruction for such a reasonable price.

Dave Krause and Rob Wood of National Park Trips Media took great care of us and Tamron’s Image Masters: David Akoubian, Ken Hubbard and Andre Costantini gave us classroom instruction and a whole night of in-the-field tips, guidance and insights.

For those who can’t wait to try your had at this kind of photography.  The biggest thing to remember is, you need a place that is REALLY dark and a good tripod!  An out-of-the-way corner in your backyard won’t do.  You need to be somewhere seriously remote from city lights.


Now here’s the secret formula that works well for camera settings:

  • A good wide-angle lens
  • ISO: 1600 – 3200
  • Aperture: Wide open  f3.5 – f1.2 if you can get there.
  • Shutter speed: 15-30 seconds (If you go longer, you may start getting star trails.)

All images in this post were taken with:

Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 15-30MM F/2.8 Di VC USD
Processed with Adobe Lightroom



Author: stgrundy

Photography is my way to capture and share the amazing beauty of God’s handiwork in the people and places that I experience every day. I focus mainly on nature and travel subjects but also do alot of event work for my church and the occasional wedding or portrait session. My residence is Roswell, Georgia – a northern suburb of Atlanta. I try to get around the Southeast as often as possible and would love to explore other parts of the USA and the rest of the world. Member of: Roswell Photographic Society Contributing artist: Getty Images

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