G E N E R A L O V E R V I E W A N D O U T L I N E
These workshops take place in some of the most beautiful places in America. They are geared to help you master the technical aspects of your camera and to help you apply that knowledge to real life situations on your own beyond the workshop. My goal is share my knowledge Many of the Night Sky Workshop will have both morning shoot times and evening shoot times. A sleep break is built in between evening and morning shoots. During the day, you will edit down your images to your top 5 from each shoot, do your own exploring, charge your batteries and relax before out next night shoot.
Do you need prior experience in night photography to join one of these workshops? The answer is, NO. However, you should have a pretty good idea how the camera operates. What does that means? It means, you should have an simple understanding of how your shutter speed, aperture and ISO work together to form your "exposure". There will not be any "auto or program" modes used for this night photography workshop. Priority modes are fine for shooting during the daylight hours, but not at night. If you have an questions please contact me here
DATES AND LOCATIONS
Dates and locations are carefully selected to work with the Moon and around the Moon to optimize our potential to capture the best images possible. Utilizing starlight and artificial light to create magical images is what we are most known for. To witness the darkest sky possible from whatever location you are at, it is best to observe when you are close to the New Moon phase. Moon glare hides most of the stars,espcially when it is close to the Full Moon phase, so it is best to shoot "dark skies" when the Moon has set and does not interfere. On these workshops half of a night could be used with the Moon and the next half without the Moon, or with no moon at all. You can still see the Milky Way from dark sky locations when a slender moon is in the air. If you are interested in our "FULL MOON WORKSHOPS" check them out HERE!
I suggest you arrive the day prior to the workshop especially during the winter months where winter storms can often cause major delays around the United States.
NIGHT LIGHTS / AVOIDING CONFRONTATIONS
The biggest issues that arise from night sky photography workshops are lights on at night entering someone's image, and focusing at night. Both of these issue coming up on almost every workshop. When we arrive at or are hiking towards a planned location, please be aware that others may be out photographing the night sky as well. Do you best to control where your light is going, red lights should be used at night at all times. If you need to use a light to see or fix something on your camera, kindly turn around and face away from where everyone is shooting so the light does ruin someone else picture who is set and rea1dy to go. This can be unavoidable at times, I have been doing this long enough to know that mistakes happen, but try your best to control your lights. Please do not confront, yell, harass, or demand anyone to something. If someone's light is bothering you, please talk to me first and I will handle that issue. Please respect everyone's space, whether it is a participant in our group, a random visitor, or another workshop group. Treat everyone kindly and most importantly, safety first.
If we arrive at a location where another workshop group is currently set up, we will relocate to a new location. The schedule will be subject to change to allow us the best chance for superb photo ops without distractions from other people or groups.
WEATHER AND PROTECTING YOUR EQUIPMENT
Weather has been my friend for my entire life, it has also been my enemy at times. Most of the workshops are planned with "clear weather" in mind, well, unless you are on a storm chasing tour of mine, then we aren't looking for bad weather! There are many different ways our equipment can get damaged and / or destroyed. Upon signing up for this workshop you will receive tips on protecting your gear during any situation. Water, sand, dust and dirt are the biggest problems. I use Aquatech to protect my camera body and lens systems during inclimate weather.
Weather is the most constant thing on Earth. It can not be predicted and we can not guarantee that the weather will be perfect during our 1 night, 3 day or 5 day workshops. If we encounter poor weather conditions ( ex. thunderstorms, rain, snow, sleet, etc..), we will modify the schedule or move inside for post processing tips and workflow. Regardless of rain, snow, sleet, fog or lightning, you will still be able to learn the necessary skills needed to capture incredible images at anytime during the day / night. If snow or ice threatens the safety of the instructor or clients during the workshop, we may be forced to reschedule.
Leading up to the workshop, I will inform you of what to expect weather-wise during our stay.
Post processing tips , techniques and treatments are discussed during all workshops. These will apply to Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. It's doesn't matter if you use CS2 or the current version of Photoshop. All principals apply.
Payments can be made through the workshops webpage you are interested in. We accept PayPal and most credit cards, You may make a non-refundable deposit or pay the workshop in full. If you wish to send your deposit / payment in the form of a check, please let us know by sending an email to [email protected] . Your final payment should be made no later that 60 days before the workshop start date. If you are signing up within the 60 day window, you must make your payment in full.
REFUNDS / CANCELLATIONS
Unfortunately, once a payment has been made, a refund can not be issued. The workshop leader, and the photographers that join these great adventures make the commitment in many ways to make these workshops as wonderful as they are. Everyone is expected to show up ready to rock and roll for any workshop! Since most of our workshops fill up, people can often be on the waiting list. Cancelling, or not showing up last minute because of "possible poor weather" takes away that experience from other photographers who really wanted to join that specific workshop but couldn't under such short notice. Please be respectful of the investments that everyone has made.
If any workshop gets postponed by Jeff Berkes Photography due to weather, an act of god, natural disaster, or for any other reason, you will retain full workshop credit towards a future workshop with us of your choice. If a 1 night workshop has bad weather and we can not have a positive experience in the field, we will reschedule you for a make up class or apply your credit towards another workshop with us. Jeff Berkes Photography makes the final decision on if a workshop is happening or not based on weather forecasts and other outside factors. If weather is forecasted to be questionable during a 1 night or 2 night workshop, the instructor is the only one who gives the final go ahead on that workshop. You must attend that workshop if it's "A Go!" to get your full credit in the event that it is washed out by weather. If a participant chooses to skip a workshop because of weather when the photographer gives the green light, you could lose the full amount paid towards that workshop. When Jeff Berkes Photography decides to give a "Green Light" for a workshop under a questionable weather forecast, you must attend the workshop to retain your credit. If you do not attend the workshop you could lose you credit or will be limited to join a specific workshop 30 days out from it (as long is it isn't sold out).
We understand that things come up last minute, If something comes up in your schedule, please let us know as soon as possible so we can make it work for everyone.
All workshops that are 2-6 nights in length happen as scheduled, rain or shine. I am there to teach you techniques, tips, tricks, and put you in the best positions for great photographic opportunities. These workshops are planned at specific times to make the it the best it can be. If the workshop is a go, it is because my professional experiences have taught me valuable lessons over the last 25 years and I see great potential there. As I always say " You'll never know, if you don't go!". As a FYI, there are very few times in the past where a workshop had needed to be postponed over the last 14 years
TRANSPORTATION AND HOTELS
Transportation to the workshop , during the workshop and after the workshop is not included in the ticket price. Hotel accommodations / camping fees are also not included unless otherwise mentioned on the workshop page. Meals are also not included but I do supply bottles of water.
CAMERA EQUIPMENT / WHAT YOU NEED ?
Depending on where the workshop is located, it will determine what is needed as far as clothes and other gear not related to your photography equipment.
- DSLR / Mirrorless Camera with high ISO settings (for night sky photography)
- Camera Manual. (Even if you are familiar with it, it's good to have with you)
- Lens with a minimum of f/2.8 with a focal length of at least 17mm to 35mm for wide sky shots. f/3.5 could work, but it's not optimal.
- Strong and Sturdy Tripod for long exposures
- Long lenses for other detailed compositions within the greater landscapes
- Intervalometer for timed shots, super long exposures and timelapse photography. Some camera's include this functions. Check to see if yours does
- (2) Fully charged batteries with battery charger (minimum)
- Plenty of memory cards (16GB - 64GB)
- Laptop and card reader to transfer images and back them up
- Hiking boots | shoes | Hat | Gloves
- Headlamp, with a red light setting
- Flashlight for light painting
- Sunscreen | Bug Spray
- Camping chair
- Drinks and Snack for when you get hungry
- Filters for Daytime landscapes ( circular polarizer, 2 - 6 Stop ND grad filters, 10 stop solar filter for long exposures during the day)
If you would like a private (one-on-one) workshop, they can certainly be arranged in any of the 50 states. Please contact me with specifics of where you would like to conduct the workshop? What dates are available for you and how many days/ nights do you prefer. Here are a few of the popular tours.
- Arches NP, Colorado Rockies, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier NP
- Fall Colors Tour | Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Florida Keys Milky Way Madness
- Lighthouses of North Carolina
- Mt. Rainier, Cannon Beach, Olympic National Park
- Night Sky / Autumn in Yellowstone NP and Grand Tetons
- Night sky / Autumn in Colorado
- Arches and Canyonlands National Park, UT
- Death Valley, Yosemite and Mono Lake
- Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
- Great Lakes Region
- And many others!
CERTIFICATIONS & SAFETY
Your safety always comes first, besides our families. Nature is the most beautiful thing, but it can also be dangerous and sometimes deadly if we do not give it the proper respect it deserves. We do not want to get caught up in the moment and slip off a cliff, get bitten by a rattlesnake on Death Valley or have a wave blind side you in Florida while trying to capture that perfect shot on the beach. None of these have ever happen to me, but I do read stories of such things happening. I will let you know what to expect upon signing up for the workshop of your choice. A 10 minute safety speech is given at the beginning of all workshops to make sure we are all on the same page.
I am certified by the American Red Cross in Adult / Infant CPR / First Aid and AED. This certification is usually required for all photography workshops being conducted on the grounds of most National Parks. I also hold a degree in Photography and have worked in many area's including the Professional Sports (NFL), Steve McCurry of Nat Geo / Magnum, Advertising / Commercial, Portraits and weddings among many more.
DISCLAIMER / ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Jeff Berkes Photography reserves the right to make changes to the schedule, dates if need be. We are not responsible for bad weather, delays or cancellations. We are also not responsible for lost or stolen items, injuries, sickness, death or damages to personal equipment and lost of personal travel expense.
NATIONAL AND STATE PARK RULES AND REGULATIONS
Failure to comply to park rules and regulations will result in you being ejected from the workshop. By signing up for a workshop you agree to all of the following. The Holder, and all participants in this activity must communicate with park staff and other visitors in a courteous, knowledgeable, and professional manner. Any harassment and/or threats to any National Park Service employee, State Park Employee, volunteers, or the public will not be tolerated. Practice a leave no trace approach, do not destroy, remove, or tamper with anything within the parks boundaries.
This workshop does not include travel to, from and during the workshop, meals or overnight accommodations (except where specified)
For more information please contacts us here at [email protected]
If you would like to suggest a workshop location or are interested in signing up for our mailing list please contact us here. 2020 Night Sky Photography Workshops are being planned at this time. Email us if you would like us to add a certain location to the schedule and we will try to make that happen for you.