Horseshoe Bend Astrophotography Workshop - Steve Porter

Horseshoe Bend Astrophotography Workshop

For intermediate and advanced photographers


Workshop begins: Thursday Sept 6th 2018 - 3:00 PM

Workshop ends: Sunday Sept 9th 2018 – 11:00 AM


--  Limit of 8 so sign up now before the workshop is full --

---> Shoot Horseshoe Bend under the Milky Way with Steve Porter <---


It's the perfect time of year to shoot Horseshoe Bend under that amazing Milky Way! Why? Because the Milky Way has been primarily to the southeast until this time of year - and now it remains visible to the southwest - which is perfect for Horseshoe Bend!

Join me in September's Astrophotography Workshop to capture some

amazing astrophotography of Horseshoe Bend!

You'll be amazed at the awesome shots you'll go home with!


Horseshoe Bend Star Trails, Page Arizona

--> Stars on the move over Horseshoe Bend <--



While astro-photography involves some advanced techniques ... anyone with the right equipment and direction can handle it. This workshop is structured to teach any photographer how to capture stunning photographs of the stars from planning to shooting to processing.


Learning to photograph the stars well is only part of the program, you need a worthwhile foreground to bring it all to life. The best astro shots highlight not only the stars or Milky Way, but need to feature a picturesque  landscape or captivating foreground subject.


Page, Arizona offers quick access to many excellent rock formations and epic scenes that qualify well as worthy foreground features for awesome astrophotography.


Planned shooting locations

Day 1) Paria Rimrocks Toadstool Hoodoos

Day 2) Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River! 

Day 3) The New Wave just west of Page  


--  Scroll down for workshop dates and cost  --


Vibrant Milky Way Hovering Over Toadstool Hoodoos, Page, Arizona

Light painting these toadstools against that epic Milky Way.


Learn from a pro to create stunning astro shots! 


We will work together referencing light pollution charts, star maps, and weather patterns to plan your shoots and choose the best foreground. We will be covering many technical considerations for the best astro photography in order for you to get that awesome shot you want - including camera and lens choice, tripod considerations, image framing, exposure and lens settings, lighting techniques, etc. You can look forward to going home with a number of stunning images that will impress and captivate all who see them!


Each day, after photographing northern Arizona scenes under the stars, we will work through the process of editing your images using a variety of techniques in both Lightroom and Photoshop. You'll learn the workflow and methods I have developed over  countless hours of editing astrophotography as we bring out those stars and fine-tune the images to absolute perfection.


--  Scroll down for workshop dates and cost  --


The New Wave at Page, Arizona

The New Wave near Page, Arizona - awesome red rock formations under a spectacular starry night.


Horseshoe Bend Astrophotography Workshop

Dates and Cost

Cost: $1,100

-- 8 participants maximum --


Thurs Sept  6 --> Sun Sept 9 - 2018   REGISTER for this workshop


One-on-one private training available on request

-- Just call to set up a schedule --


Workshop Itinerary

Thursday, Sept 6 - 2018

    03:00 PM - Meet in Page for introductions, Training on night photography and planning for the first night shoot.

    06:00 PM - Break for dinner.

    08:00 PM   Travel to Toadstool Hoodoos night shoot location.

    09:30 PM - Begin night photography shooting on location.

    02:00 AM - End of on-location night shooting. (time may vary)  


Friday, Sept 7 - 2018

    10:00 AM - Meet at Page location for training, discussions and processing of images shot the night before.

    12:00 PM - Lunch as photography discussions and training continues.

    05:00 PM - Break for dinner.

    08:00 PM   Travel to Horseshoe Bend for night shoot.

     09:30 PM - Begin night photography shooting on location.

    02:00 AM - End of on-location night shooting. (time may vary)


  Saturday, Sept 8 - 2018

    10:00 AM - Meet at Page location for training, discussions and processing of images shot the night before.

    12:00 PM - Lunch as photography discussions and training continues.

    05:00 PM - Break for dinner.

    08:00 PM   Travel to The New Wave night shoot location. 

    09:30 PM - Begin night photography shooting on location.

    02:00 AM - End of on-location night shooting. (time may vary)


  Sunday, Sept 9 - 2018

    09:00 AM - Meet at Page location for discussions and training.

    11:00 PM - Finish up and check out.


The workshop fee includes double (or multiple) occupancy accommodations with one meal on Thursday, two meals on Friday & Saturday, and a light breakfast on Sunday. Having our group all together in the same home adds to the learning experience for everyone as photography related conversation and discussions will be nearly constant. So we are hoping to keep everyone together as much as possible in order to maximize your opportunity to benefit from the workshop and go home with lots and lots of great new information and awesome photos.


Participants are responsible for their own transportation to Page, AZ. Car-pooling to the various sites can be worked out between workshop members.  

--  Scroll down for workshop dates and cost  --


Great Milky Way over Marble Canyon, Arizona

Beautiful starry skies over this vast expanse of Marble Canyon looking out to Vermillion Cliffs.


Astrophotography Considerations


As with any genre of outdoor photography, weather plays a significant role. With astrophotography, clouds are not a show-stopper. Some of my most favorite astro compositions include some clouds in the shot – sometimes a lot of clouds. That being said, even if we have clouds at a particular workshop shoot, we will likely just work with them. However, if a weather system comes through that kills a location, there are many many places throughout northern Arizona and Southern Utah, convenient to Page that we can consider as alternatives - just have to drive a little further maybe. It is common with astrophotography to drive for hours to get that awesome shot under the stars.


Our workshop date is relatively late in the astrophotography season for a reason. The Milky Way is not visible at night (or day ) except between April and early October each year. It is visible to the southeast in the early season and to the south and southwest late in the season. In order to shoot the Milky Way within a decent frame of Horseshoe Bend, you have to wait until late in the astrophotography season because the best Horseshoe Bend frames are looking west. This is why this workshop was scheduled for September – it’s the best time to shoot astrophotography of Horseshoe Bend if you want the Milky Way in the frame.


What will you be taking home with you?


You will leave the workshop with some truly beautiful photos of the starlit sky in really cool places that you fully own because they are all you - you will shoot and edit them start to finish. In the process, you will be gaining an in depth knowledge of the tried and tested methods I have developed as a pro to create amazing astro astrophotography.

Here are some of the many aspects of general landscape photography and astrophotography related topics we will be discussing in the workshop: 

- Planning and preparation for the most productive and successful photo shoots.

- Learning to use a variety of apps to understand star/Milky Way movement and using what you learn to plan your shoots.

- Photo equipment bag organization and general photo equipment considerations.

- Best ISO settings; what they are, what they mean to you in general and very importantly; ISO considerations for astrophotography.

- Why shoot RAW and not JPG.

- Tips on how to identify potential image frame problems and benefits in star shots.

- Shutter  / aperture / ISO settings for the optimum night sky capture.

- Cameras, lenses and other equipment considerations in night sky photography.

- Identifying and working within the limitations of your particular brand of camera/lens and other equipment when shooting the stars.

- Shooting multiple exposures in order to reduce sensor noise or to create star trail images.

- Night sky shooting techniques that will ensure the stars are properly focused.



Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

Brilliant red rock colors stand out just before sunrise at Horseshoe Bend in the early morning light


The processing techniques you learn will change your photos forever!

Understanding how digital imagery works is key to mastering the image editing process whether day or night photography. I am a technical photo-geek, and have developed a workflow and system to my photography that guarantees your photography skills will improve when applied. You will learn to implement new image management and Lightroom/Photoshop editing methods that will change and improve how you process images forever.

Here is a summation of the many processing topics we will cover on image processing:

- Understanding how far to take your editing in Lightroom before exporting and finishing the process in Photoshop.

- How to make the most of the tools available in Lightroom so important to astro photography by learning how they work - including color temperature and tint adjustments, graduated filters, spot removal, the adjustment brush, haze filter, clarity tool, etc, etc ... we will cover it all.

- How to use some of the basic photoshop tools including curves, hue/saturation, color balance, etc. on astro shots without messing things up.

- How to import multiple images as layers into Photoshop and merge them to reduce noise or create star trails.

- Manipulate, adjust and clean up your astro images using liquify and warp without causing problems.

- Learn to adjust and balance the color in your image between sky, highlights and shadows in order to avoid that over-baked look.

- We will cover a variety of tools available in photoshop for  selecting only specific areas of your image to apply an effect.

- Using the sharpen tool in conjunction with noise reduction together to enhance or clean up specific areas without going too far.

- The use of luminosity masks in photoshop to add a whole new level to your image editing.

- Imbedded color profile considerations and final preparations for print or web presentation.

All this and much more discussions and topics evolve in our workshop group.


Not all cameras are made equal

Photographic Equipment Considerations


For astophotography, I started a few years back with a Canon 5D MK2 which did fine, and now shoot a Sony A7RII, Nikon 14-24 f/2.8G, or Canon 24-70 f/2.8L. I chose the Sony system primarily for the amazing quality of their image sensor - especially at high ISO settings, and the huge 42 megapixles.


With astrophotography work, long exposures and low light means noise problems. The best systems for astrophotography will be the more recent models offered by a given brand. As we all know, sensor technology changes super fast - so the latest is greatest.


A very bright (f/2.8 or less) wide lens (like 14mm on a full frame camera) is best but we can still work with the 24mm range. The smaller the aperture numeral on a lens (F-stop), the brighter the lens (you should already know that). For night sky shooting, the brighter the better. For horseshoe bend, you will need to come with at least a 24mm f/2.8 lens. If you don't have one - rent one for this workshop. With a lens like this or better, whatever camera system you have - I can help you learn to take photos of the stars with it!