Glacier National PArk

Passport Series Night Photography Workshop

This northwestern Montana park contains some of the most wild and diverse ecosystems in the country. Waterfalls, subalpine tundra, soaring rocky mountain peaks, high plains and crystal-clear rivers create breathtaking foregrounds for our night skies.

photos © Tim Cooper, © Gabriel Biderman

Workshop Details

August 26-31, 2018

This is a 5-night, 6-day workshop. Your adventure begins at 10 a.m. on August 26 and ends after a final slideshow on the afternoon of August 31.

$1,750 + applicable taxes. Apply below.

Workshop leaders: Tim Cooper & Lance Keimig (learn more about your teachers)

Skill level: Open to all who have an understanding of the basic principles of photography and of their cameras.

Class size: 14, with 2 instructors

Note: Deposit of $500 is required to reserve your spot at the workshop. Balance of $1,250 is due on March 29, 2018. Or, you may choose the "Pay in full" ticket if you desire to pay all at once. Last day for a cancellation request is March 28 (see details here). The workshop fee does not include transportation to and from the park, lodging, food or the park admission fee.

Official NPS website: Glacier National Park

As with all Passport Series workshops, we will teach at this location only once. If you have a dream of making epic long exposures at night at Glacier National Park, we hope you join us.


The Workshop Experience

Glacier National Park truly is the crown of the continent. Spanning the Continental Divide, this gem of the north borders Canada and extends over 1 million acres that contain two separate mountain ranges. To access the best locations of this huge park, we’ll have two different bases of operation.

The first part of the week will be spent in the forested and lush western side. The colorful rocks and crystal-clear waters of McDonald Creek and Lake McDonald are the highlights on this side of the park. We’ll also venture up in elevation to discover waterfalls and mountain scenes along the lower parts of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The second part of the week will find us on the other side of the Divide. Commonly called the Eastern Front, this is where the High Plains meet the Rocky Mountains. Dramatic, remote and ruggedly beautiful, this section of the park provides some of the most breathtaking views in the lower 48.

The full moon will hover over the workshop, providing a variety of different types of night photography, from moonlit landscapes to glimpses of the Milky way floating over rugged peaks. 
Tim and Lance will spend ample time with students in and out of the classroom working on techniques to capture and process both naturally lit landscapes as well as approaches to light painting.

What You Should KNow

Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera.

Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this class challenging, stimulating and inspiring. For advanced photographers, we can offer a portfolio review, specific challenges and goals, and will offer guidance in the field if you mainly want to concentrate on creating portfolio images or learning more advanced techniques.

If you would like to attend this workshop but are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to get you ready for your adventure with us. Alternatively or additionally, a few of us have written books that may be productive pre-workshop reads.

What You WILL Learn

We hope to push you to step outside your comfort zone—to test the limits of what you and your camera can do. You’ll go home after the workshop with a solid grasp of shooting the landscape under natural full moon and starlight. To avoid the static look of full-moon landscapes, Tim and Lance will demonstrate and lecture on techniques that create both depth and drama during this moon phase.

Other Topics covered will include:

  • scouting and planning
  • composing and focusing in low light
  • optimizing exposure for RAW capture and development with Lightroom
  • light painting
  • and more …

This workshop will have both field and classroom instruction. We will be in the classroom each day, and out in the field at different locations each night. Participants can stay out shooting as long as they, or their camera’s batteries, hold out. While in the field, the instructors will demonstrate their own techniques, and work with participants one-on-one to make sure everyone gets the most out of the workshop. During classroom sessions, there will be presentations by the instructors, but we will focus on developing your images and sharing everyone's work and ideas with each other. Each day will have a review of the previous night’s work.

Travel

You are responsible for your airfare and car rental. If you are interested in sharing a car rental, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone in the group. We wholeheartedly encourage carpooling!

Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) is located in Kalispell, Montana. The airport is approximately 30 minutes (24 miles) from our first hotel near the West Entrance of Glacier National Park.

Missoula International Airport (MSO) may have more options for flights, however it’s approximately 2 1/2 hours (137 miles) from our first hotel near the West Entrance of Glacier National Park. It will take 4 hours (181 miles) to reach the Missoula Airport from the town of St. Mary where our workshop ends.

Food & Lodging

To cover the many great locations that Glacier has to offer we’ll be basing the workshop at two different hotels during the week. We’ll begin our adventure at the historic Belton Chalet in West Glacier and end at the St. Mary Lodge in St. Mary. You are not required to stay at the official workshop hotel, though doing so does make it easier to meet with the group each morning. Booking info and a group code will be sent after registering.

We encourage eating two meals per day—a good breakfast and a great late lunch. When on the night shoots, you may wish to bring snack food or a sandwich and PLENTY OF WATER.

You are responsible for arranging and paying for your own meals and accommodations. If you are interested in sharing a room with another participant, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone like-minded in the group.

Weather

Due to the mountainous terrain and high elevation, the weather in Glacier is notoriously unpredictable. While August has the least chance of snow, we have experienced it during this month. Warm days (80s F) and cool nights (40s F) are the norm.

Recommended attire: The theme for the week is casual and comfortable. Sturdy hiking boots, warm hat and coat, gloves and rain gear are essential. Dressing in layers is key to a comfortable nighttime experience, so be prepared to add layers as the night progresses. Remember, standing still for long periods can make 40 degrees feel much, much colder.

Considerations

Demonstrations and image review will be conducted in Lightroom and Photoshop.

While many shoots will not be very far from the car, there will be some that require some uphill hiking at 7,000 feet of elevation. The trails on these hikes will be well maintained, but please consider your physical abilities prior to registering. You should be comfortable carrying your own equipment over uneven ground in the dark.

Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.

If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.

 

Moonlight Ride

Seeing the park for the first time under the light of a full moon was a unique and moving moment for me.
— Tim

Being the the first major national park I ever visited, Glacier holds a special place in my heart. Being only 2 1/2 hours from Missoula, it's also the closest park to my home. I love Glacier. It would be impossible to forget my first experience there.

Fresh from New Jersey in my early 20s, I had yet to experience the really big mountains of Montana, so I was itching to get up to the park. My first chance came as an invite to do the “Full Moon Ride” of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Just to set the stage, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is probably Glacier’s most famous feature. Winding 50 miles through the park and over the Continental Divide, it’s the only major through road in the park. It tops out at 6,646 feet above sea level when you crest Logans Pass and is one of the most difficult roads in North America to plow. The snow drifts at the top of the pass and along certain stretches of road can reach up to 80 feet deep!

The Full Moon Ride consists of riding your bicycle up Going-to-the-Sun Road under the bright light of a full moon, so our trip was planned for late summer when the road is completely cleared of snow. (In high snow years, the road may not open until July!)

We parked at the Avalanche Creek parking lot and waited until about 2 a.m. to begin our ride. I was told that it would take nearly 4 hours to make the 28-mile uphill ride (with 3,000 feet of elevation gain). They said that would put us that the top of the pass at sunrise. This gave the Going-to-the-Sun Road a whole new meaning. We actually were going to the sun.

Seeing the park for the first time under the light of a full moon was a unique and moving moment for me. Passing gentle waterfalls along the road, staring up at glowing mountain peaks, and looking down into mysteriously dark valleys was truly far more than I had ever imagined. Witnessing the alpenglow on Mt. Clements and the actual sunrise over Going-to-the-Sun Mountain was simply the icing on the cake.

After sweating up the road, the cool mountain air on top of the pass was bracing. A quick snack and down the road we went. The return trip provided a whole new look at the valley and peaks. The early morning sunshine transformed the park into a completely different landscape. My first introduction to Glacier National Park was an incredible experience. I am really looking forward to making your introduction (or re-visit) just as memorable!

 

MAP

 

Sun and Moon

Sunset Astronomical Twilight Moonrise Moonset Ilumination Milky way
August 26 8:26pm 10:19pm 8:53pm 7:50am Full Moon Core obscured by moonlight
August 27 8:24pm 10:17pm 9:19pm 8:53am Waning gibbous Core obscured by moonlight
August 28 8:22pm 10:14pm 9:43pm 9:58am Waning gibbous Core obscured by moonlight
August 29 8:20pm 10:12pm 10:08pm 11:03am Waning gibbous Core mostly obscured by moonlight
August 30 8:19pm 10:09pm 10:33pm 12:10pm Waning gibbous Core mostly obscured by moonlight
August 31 8:17pm 10:07pm 11:02pm 1:18pm Waning gibbous Core mostly obscured by moonlight