Introduction to Nightscapes – Photography Workshop in Thanet, Kent – Friday 6th and Saturday 7th August 2021
Come and join me on the beautiful Isle of Thanet where you’ll learn how to take your very own nightscape photographs. We’ll be photographing right into the early hours with the hope of capturing the stars and scenery of the Kent Coast. I’ll be teaching you the process and techniques that I use to capture and edit my night sky shots.
This workshop will include two sessions. On the Friday night we will meet each other and begin photographing the stars straight away. I’ll be there to guide you through each step so don’t worry if you haven’t done any nightscape photography before. The following morning (not too early after a late night), we will meet at a local indoor space for the editing session. Here, you will learn how to edit your nightscape photographs to get them ready for printing or displaying online.
If the weather is forecast to be cloudy on the Friday but clear on the Saturday night we will photograph on the Saturday to increase our chances of capturing the stars.
Our small group size with a maximum of 4 photographers will allow me to spend time with each person to ensure you get all the help that you need. If the sky is clear you should leave this nightscape photography workshop with a beautiful starry landscape shot!
Be sure to check the list of frequently asked questions below to find out more about this nightscape photography workshop.
- Photographing session will run from approximately 10pm-2:30am. The Saturday morning editing session will run from roughly 11am-2:30pm
- Full details of where to meet will be provided upon booking
- Refreshments and accommodation are not provided
On this nightscape photography workshop you’ll learn the basic techniques and process that I use to capture my night sky landscape photographs. This will include both taking the photographs and editing them.
We will start by looking at our photography kit. You’ll learn some of the advantages and disadvantages of various pieces of nightscape photographic equipment.
We will then set up our cameras and tripods ready to shoot the night sky. I will help you with every step and teach you the importance of the camera settings that we use in nightscape photography. By the time astronomical twilight ends you will be ready to take the shots that you will be processing in tomorrow’s editing session.
The editing session will take place in a local indoor space. We will upload our shots from the previous night and begin processing them. For this we will be using Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. This is where you will begin to see your photographs come to life!
Once we have finished editing our nightscape photographs we will discuss everything that we need to consider when planning future nightscape photography shoots.
If the weather is forecast to be poor on the Friday night but good on the Saturday night, we will photograph on the Saturday night instead of the Friday. In this situation you will edit some of my own nightscape photographs on the Saturday morning. This will allow you to learn the editing process and to edit your photos from the Saturday night when you return home.
This nightscape workshop is designed as an introduction to nightscape photography. Therefore, you do not need any previous experience of photographing at night. However, I do recommend that you get to know your camera by familiarising yourself with changing the Exposure, Aperture and ISO whilst in Manual (M) mode.
All of my photography workshops are taylored for people who use either digital SLR (DSLR) cameras or digital mirrorless cameras. For astrophotography, some older DSLR cameras may not be suitable as they don’t have the high ISO performance of more modern cameras. Your camera should also have the ability of extending the exposure using Bulb Mode. This is important as we will be using long exposures on this workshop.
In addition to a suitable camera, you will need a suitable lens to go with it. Many kit lenses that cover the wide angle range will be suitable for this workshop. However, my preferred type of lens for nightscape photography is a designated wide-angle lens, ideally with a minimum aperture of f/3.5 or less.
If your camera and lens combination is not weather sealed, I recommend using a lightweight waterproof cover to prevent damage from any condensation that may form on your kit.
You will also need to bring a sturdy tripod. Although there are lots of expensive tripods out there that do a great job of holding your camera still, I personally use a very old and relatively flimsy hand-me-down from my granddad. As long as it holds your camera still and allows you to alter the angle and direction of your camera, it should be fine.
A cable release or remote shutter is essential for this workshop.
For the editing session you will need to bring a laptop that is capable of running Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. You will also need a subscription to Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. These will need to be downloaded to your laptop before coming on the nightscape workshop. At the time I am writing this, Adobe have a Free 7 Day Trial on these two programmes. If you set this free trial up just before coming on the workshop it will be perfect for the editing session.
As an accessory to your laptop I personally recommend a mouse as this will give you better control when editing. However, this is not essential.
It’s always a good idea to carry spare, fully charged batteries and memory cards, so make sure you bring these. Make sure you bring something to clean/dry your lens with. I personally use Rosco Lens Wipes and Eclipse Cleaning Fluid for this.
Finally, a head torch can be useful when photographing at night as it can be difficult to work out where specific buttons are on the back of your camera in the dark. This is also important when walking around at night to prevent tripping over obstacles and uneven ground. The best head torches for night photography are those with the ability to emit a red light.
For more details on whether your current photography and editing gear is suitable for this workshop or for advice on buying a suitable equipment, please just get in touch with me.
On this nightscape photography workshop we will be on our feet for around five hours when photographing. There will be a short leisurely walk of around 15 minutes from our meeting site to the area that we’ll be photographing. This may include walking over and standing on some uneven ground. We will be standing in roughly the same spot for up to four and a half hours.
For the editing session we will be sitting down for up to four hours. There will be opportunities to stand up and walk around during short breaks.
For this nightscape workshop you will need to bring warm clothing. Even in summer it can feel very cold at night, especially when standing relatively still for long periods of time. Bring lots of layers, gloves that allow you to use your fingers, a hat and a waterproof jacket. Although we will not be able to photograph in the rain, even condensation forming on non-waterproof clothing can be very uncomfortable.
I also recommend sturdy footwear such as walking boots or a pair of trainers with good treads to prevent slipping.
If you want to take notes throughout this workshop, a notepad and pencil is a good idea.
You might also like to take a fold-up camping stool so that you can rest your legs when the opportunity arises. This is often possible during long exposures.
Easy to carry snacks can be good to keep energy levels up. There wont be any shops within walking distance of where we’re photographing so be sure to bring them with you.
The ideal weather conditions for photographing the stars are a cloud free night with low humidity and a gentle breeze.
So long as the weather is not rainy, the workshop will go ahead. I will pick the best night for photographing. If the weather is forecast to be poor on the Friday night but good on the Saturday night, we will photograph on the Saturday night instead of the Friday. In this situation you will edit some of my own nightscape photographs on the Saturday morning. This will allow you to learn the editing process and to edit your photos from the Saturday night when you return home.
In the event that both nights are cloudy and we are not able to capture the stars, the workshop will still go ahead and you will learn all of the techniques and the process that I use for nightscapes. We will still take nightscape photographs, although they may not have the stars in them. In this situation I will offer you a complementary half an hour, 1 to 1 Skype/Zoom call after your first night photographing alone to discuss any issues and successes that you’ve had while capturing the stars for the first time.
From my experience it is impossible to take successful nightscape shots in heavy rain. Therefore, if your workshop is cancelled due to rain, you will be offered a place on a future nightscape workshop. If you decide not to join this workshop you will provided with a full refund.