Oreos and More: 16 Ways to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.
— Neil Armstrong

It’s here. The Big 5-0. Fifty years since a person first touched a world beyond our home.

I don’t remember this happening. I was still a year and a half from—as my grandfather would say—being even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes. I wouldn’t be born until the latter half of 1971, and I’d grow up in a world where humankind had already made a giant leap toward the stars.

Yet here I am, in 2019, marveling that this ever happened and celebrating that it did.

How am I celebrating? Well, mostly by conversing with my 6-year-old daughter about it. Last night we talked about Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and we looked at pictures of the lander and the rover and the rigid U.S. flag.

And now I remember that “moon” was one of her first words, and how she would delight at seeing it in the night skies of Astoria, Queens, where she lived her first few years, and how when she was 3 she would love to say, “Look, the moon is a crescent, like a croissant!” And how she, even more than me, will grow up thinking that not walking on the moon is just a faint remnant of history.

Before going to bed, she asked if she would ever get to walk on the moon too, and I said maybe. Then I changed my answer. “Yes,” I said, “if you want to walk on the moon, then I’m sure you’ll find a way.”

She will—she’s that kind of kid—determined, unburdened by the nuisance of obstacles. Kind of like that trio of moonwalkers 50 years ago, and kind of like the thousands and thousands of scientists and technicians who helped lift them to the beyond.

Then she asked, “Daddy, can we do it together?”

Gosh, I hope so.

16 Ways to Celebrate

Not many things are celebrated by a majority of the world at once. The moon landing was one of the few, and its semicentennial also will be recognized globally. You won’t be able to escape it on the news today—heck, you can’t even escape it on our blog.

If you can’t beat a party, then you might as well join one. What can you do to be festive today? Below are 16 ideas.

1. Eat Some Oreos

Nabisco recently released limited edition Marshmallow Moon Oreo Cookies. Not only are they as yummy as the rest of the best Oreos, but the package glows in the dark! In stores now—if you can still find them.

(Might we also suggest Milky Way and Mars bars? Moon pies? Tang?)

2. Explain Dynamic Range

Moon-landing conspiracy theorists point to many pieces of evidence that a half-century ago NASA produced nothing more than a big show on a sound stage. One of their Exhibits A is that no stars appear in the sky in Buzz and Neil’s photographs from the surface. So for fun, go find a moon-landing denier and explain that the reason no stars appear is because film couldn’t handle the vastly different exposures of the bright surface of the moon and the darkness of space in one perfectly exposed frame. (Lunar module payload didn’t have space for split-ND filters. Duh.)

3. Watch the Movie

Whether on TV, or at a movie or IMAX theater, watch Apollo 11, the full-length documentary released earlier this year. It’s back in theaters this weekend, is streamable on multiple platforms (Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, et al.), and will be broadcast on CNN twice this evening.

4. Read About a Progmatic Woman

You may have seen this in 2015, but it’s worth a revisit. Check out Wired magazine’s profile of Margaret Hamilton, who, working in “a man’s field,” came to be instrumental in leading the development of the software that powered the Apollo missions. She was such a pioneer in coding that she even co-coined the term “software engineer.” See “Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself.”

5. Shoot with Neil & Buzz

The New York Times put together an outstanding interactive digital walk-through of the moon landing, along with photographs the astronauts made both on the surface and on the flights to and fro. It’s hard to describe this experience—you’ll need to check it out yourself. See “Apollo 11: As They Shot It.”

Neil, this is Houston. Did you get the Hasselblad magazine?

Roger, Houston. … We’re in the process of using up what film we have. We’ve probably got another half an hour’s worth of picture-taking.

6. Relive the Landing in 3D

Go to your local bookstore and buy Mission Moon 3D: A New Perspective on the Space Race by David Eicher, editor of Astronomy Magazine. The book features stereoscopic versions of famous and lesser-known photographs of the 1960s space race, lending unique visual access to one of the greatest stories of the 20th century. 3D viewing glasses included.

7. Listen to Brian May

On January 1 of this year, the legendary Queen guitarist released a composition called “New Horizons.” The song is really a celebration of the titular NASA space probe that buzzed a Kuiper belt object, but we’re including it here because May, also an astrophysicist, designed the 3D viewer that comes with the book mentioned in the previous paragraph. Yes, really. Plus, the song could have easily been about flying to the moon for the first time, right?

8. Also Listen to Pink Floyd

Because now that I’m mentioning it, Dark Side of the Moon will be in your head. Also, it’s where Michael Collins spent half his time 50 years ago today, while he circled over his moonbound friends. (“There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.”)

9. Immerse Yourself in The Atlantic

If you’re not tired of reading (thank goodness, that means you’re still reading this post), then click over to the website for The Atlantic and peruse their 14-article series reflecting on the lunar landing, titled “They Went to the Moon.” Pieces include:

  • “What Is the Apollo 11 Landing Site Like Now?”

  • “Your Smart Toaster Can’t Hold a Candle to the Apollo Computer”

  • “The Most Compelling Photo of the Moon Landing”

10. See What Neil Armstrong Saw

Using NAC images, moon topography, trajectory data and all sorts of other neat technology, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera folks created a video simulation of what Armstrong saw when the lunar lander was lunar-landing. Check it out on the Arizona State University website.

11. Mail a Letter

Head to the post office (before noon—today’s Saturday!) to buy some First Moon Landing commemorative stamps, and use one to send a letter to somebody who’d like to receive a letter from you. Better yet, make it a postcard and tell them you’re vacationing on the shores of the Sea of Tranquility.

12. Watch a Monument Prepare for Liftoff

If you’re in Washington, D.C., head to the National Mall for the National Air and Space Museum’s “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” show, which will culminate with an image of the mission’s full-scale, 363-foot Saturn V rocket projected on the Washington Monument.

13. Build Your Own Lunar Lander

Seriously! Lego lets you do it, and the job entails just 1,087 pieces. (If you count only 1,086, watch where you step with bare feet.) The NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander kit will set you back only $100. Think that’s a lot? NASA spent $240 million on each of theirs. Kit includes Lego Neil and Lego Buzz.

14. Build Your Own Moon!

Four Point Puzzles produced a beautiful 1,000-piece, two-foot circular puzzle of the full moon based on the highest-resolution photo NASA has made to date. (We encourage Four Point to make an easier version based on a waning crescent.)

15. Attend an Event

The U.S. is celebrating the moon landing anniversary everywhere (except the moon, ironically). If you’re interested in learning more about this historic moment, or seeing if you can score some green cheese, look for an event near you. (Know that today is not your last chance—many of these programs run longer into the year.) NASA and Space.com are here to help, with a list of ongoing events and exhibits, from Houston to Cape Canaveral, from the mountains to the prairies, from sea to shining sea.

16. Finally, Photograph the Moon

Last, but absolutely not least, get outside with your camera tonight and photograph that big gray ball in the sky. Want some help? See our blog posts:

Your Turn!

How will you be observing or celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing? Share in the Comments section below or on our Facebook page. We’re all in this together. Party on.

Chris Nicholson is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night, and author of Photographing National Parks (Sidelight Books, 2015). Learn more about national parks as photography destinations, subscribe to Chris' free e-newsletter, and more at www.PhotographingNationalParks.com.


A Star Trek: Reporting Back from our Time at the Grand Canyon Night Sky Festival

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to experience so much of what our national parks offer. From soul-easing sunrises to serene night skies, from windswept desert landscapes to alpine lakes and streams—I get to see it all and reconnect with the natural beauty we were all born from eons ago.

In addition to all the wilderness it preserves, the institution of the National Park Service offers countless opportunities to engage with these places and to interact with others who enjoy them so passionately. One such opportunity is the Grand Canyon Star Party, the annual festival of night at one of the world’s most famous natural spaces. And last week, National Parks at Night was fortunate and proud to be a part of this stellar event.

A Grand Party

Many national parks organize night sky festivals, but the Grand Canyon puts on one of the biggest. The party lasts eight days—long enough for us to participate last weekend, come home, write a blog post, and share the news with you today while the event is still going on.

Photographing the Milky Way at Mather Point. © 2019 Gabriel Biderman.

Photographing the Milky Way at Mather Point. © 2019 Gabriel Biderman.

Ten thousand night sky fans were expected to visit the park this week specifically for the festival, and scores more serendipitously joined the activities when they happened to find themselves in the right place at definitely the right time. Those folks enjoyed (and today are still enjoying):

  • lectures about dark skies, astronomy and nocturnal activities

  • more than 50 telescopes available for viewing planets and galaxies, arranged by the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association

  • ranger-led constellation walks

  • a general camaraderie among like-minded knights of the night

This year marked the 29th Star Party, and the biggest news of the event (no, it wasn’t that we were there) was this:

On the very first morning the International Dark Sky Association visited to certify the Grand Canyon as an International Dark Sky Park—the 70th and now the largest park of its kind in the world. It’s an honor that took three years for the park to earn, partly by converting over 5,000 lights to be dark-sky compliant—creating what Forbes Magazine recently dubbed “the $1 million Milky Way.” The retrofitting funds were raised by the Grand Canyon Conservancy, the park’s nonprofit partner.

Introducing: Night Photography!

What was our place in all of this? For two days Gabriel Biderman and I led education about—you guessed it!—night photography. According to the rangers we worked with, this is the first time the festival has offered a night photography component, and we were thrilled to lead the way.

The Grand Canyon Star Party is broken into two halves—one on the South Rim, one on the North. We were stationed at the former, working around the primary visitor center.

On our first night, we delivered a presentation titled “Night Photography in the National Parks.” The visitor center theater accommodates 233 people, and every chair was occupied. Moreover, we learned afterward that about 325 people were outside the theater watching the large-screen livestream of the talk—for a total of about 550 attendees! That fully reinforced how big an event we were part of. I can’t speak for Gabe, but I know it’s the largest audience I’ve ever spoken to. I’m not sure I could adequately describe how fulfilling it is to be able to share a passion with so many.

Gabe and I posing with our in-house audience.

The talk centered around—well, the title says it all. We relayed some of the experiences of the Grand Canyon South Rim workshop that we had just wrapped up a few days before, showing images that we’d created of the canyon under moonlight, in addition to some behind-the-scenes pictures of our workshop attendees enjoying the night. And then we spent half an hour showing our photographs from 29 national parks—from Acadia and Arches to Yellowstone and Zion—sharing stories about the experience of being in these wonderful places at night.

When the talk was over, we signed some books in the back. We usually sell books on our own at events like this, but the Grand Canyon Conservancy asked if they could make the sales. We were more than happy to have them take over. They do great work, and we’re on board with any way we can support them. (If you have a love of, or an interest in, the Grand Canyon, check out what they do at the link above.)

© 2019 Cindy Radich.

© 2019 Cindy Radich.

Then we met with 60 photographers who were on hand for the free night-photo walk we were leading. Everyone gathered in the theater, where Gabe and I walked them through setting up their cameras for night photography. Then we all walked under the night sky to Mather Point, one of the most stunning vistas in the park and the best spot on the South Rim to view the Milky Way. Everyone was able to create some great images of our galactic core rising over the rim—many of them for the first time! The smiles were so big that we could see them even in the dark.

Day Work

The next day we were up early (well, early for us) so we could set up our table at the festival. The park was kind enough to station us right outside the main visitor center, in the heart of the goings-on. We spent the afternoon (a beautiful, sunny, cloudless, blue-sky day) meeting and greeting fellow photographers and night enthusiasts, talking about the Grand Canyon and other parks, sharing info about our workshop program, and giving out a lot of NPAN stickers to kids and kids-at-heart.

Photo © 2019 Jen Bookman.

Photo © 2019 Jen Bookman.

Gabe and I with our hard-earned Junior Ranger Night Explorer patches.

Gabe and I with our hard-earned Junior Ranger Night Explorer patches.

(Funny story: We were stationed so much in the middle of the activity that people kept asking us for general information about the Star Party—what it was, where to be for events, and so on. We were happy to oblige. Late in the day a ranger noted how helpful we’d been, and he thereby awarded us Junior Ranger patches.)

On that second night we led another photo walk, exactly the same as the previous night’s, except this time about 70 photographers partook. Many of them were people we’d met and chatted with during the day—lots of new friends and smiling faces.

One notable difference between the first- and second-night groups was that more than several of the latter hadn’t come to the festival with the intent of photographing at night, and thus didn’t have tripods. Fortunately for us, Manfrotto has treated us well over the past couple of years, so we had a few extra tripods we could loan out—all from the Traveler series.

Even more than the previous night, people were walking away from Mather Point with the first Milky Way images they’d ever created. And some went even further. One attendee tried his very first Milky Way pano, a couple of more decided to venture into star trails for the first time, and the last photographer standing that night, by the time Gabe and I left, was well into his inaugural run at making a Milky Way time-lapse.

Winding Down

At the end of the two days, Gabe and I were simultaneously wiped out and reinvigorated. Neither of us had ever been involved with an event quite like this, and now we can hardly wait to be involved in one again. We could feel two communities coming together—introducing our night photography community to astronomers and avid stargazers, and likewise enjoying being embraced by them in return.

There are so, so many people who love to soothe their souls with sunrises, desert landscapes, and alpine lakes and streams—and who love to seize the night. And now we’re lucky to be friends with more of them.


We owed, and conveyed, gratitude to several people for helping us make this happen. But three we’d like to mention here:

  1. Thank you to Rader Lane, the ranger who brought us into the fold and served as our point person on-site. He also spent his morning off from work saving my laptop. Upon leaving the park I left my bag behind in the house. Rader retrieved it and ensured that it found its way to FedEx. If not for him, I wouldn’t have been able to write this post—in more ways than one.

  2. Thank you to Jen Bookman and Cindy Radich, two of our Grand Canyon workshop attendees who stayed for the Star Party and shared their photos with us for this post. It was nice to have personal photographers on hand, and we always enjoy their company.

Chris Nicholson is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night, and author of Photographing National Parks (Sidelight Books, 2015). Learn more about national parks as photography destinations, subscribe to Chris' free e-newsletter, and more at www.PhotographingNationalParks.com.


Long Nights on Long Island: Wrapping our First Summit

On November 2 to 4, 2018, National Parks at Night hosted our very first Night Photography Summit. It was a remarkable success, and we are delighted.

Thank you to all the eager photographers who attended. Most were from Long Island and New York City. But not all! We had attendees com all the way from California and even Belgium!

We partnered with Rafael Pons, The Bard of PhotoPills. Rafael was on-hand during the entire event to coach people on how to use PhotoPills to plan for their shoots, and also how to use some of the incredibly versatile tools contained within that awesome little yellow app.

We also partnered with the Photographic Federation of Long Island, a federation of camera clubs spanning the region, to promote and host the event. PFLI generously helped us choose a proper venue, work with local authorities to obtain permissions for the night photography mini-workshops, and even shuttle students back and forth from the parking lots in the evenings. Best of all, they were shooting alongside us every night. :-)

Our lovely and generous sponsors were also on hand to support our passion for night photography education.

  • B&H Photo brought all kinds of tempting gear (and some very special promotions during the event). And, of course, they also brought Zaza candies and supercool buttons and stickers. ;-)

  • BenQ brought their line of photographic displays, as well as knowledgeable imaging experts to talk about how seeing your images at their best on a BenQ display is a final step for serious photographers around the world.

  • Bay Photo Lab sent an envelope full of gift certificates for free prints to give away at the end of each day.

And then the education. ... Wow, what a full offering. We did our very best to fill up the attendees’ heads with useful tips and inspiration, and we answered every single question. Here was the conference schedule:

Day 1

One of my favorite moments each day was Gabe’s early- morning group stretching sessions, with “seize the night” chants (below). It really put us in a mindset for success, right down to the last person. (Thanks, Gabe.)


The first day, we talked through some favorite images with Chris, Gabe, Lance and Matt:

One of our cherished (and proven) mantras is that it’s possible to make a good night photograph under any conditions. To that end, Gabe and Lance inspired the crowd with a presentation titled “How to Nail a Night Photo—Anytime, Anywhere.”

Rafael then stepped onto stage, connected his phone to the projector and proved that PhotoPills is not only the right choice for the night photographer, but that there is “a pill for every pain you have.” His presentation, “PhotoPills: A World of Possibilities on your Hand” had something for everyone.

Then Chris and Matt took the stage to present, “10 Steps to Mastering Light Painting,” during which they walked the audience through, step by step, the successful ways you can apply light painting to tell your stories with photography at night.

Rounding out Day 1 was an enthusiastic Q&A session with all four NPAN instructors and Rafael. We had to save some questions for the next day!

That evening our first group of intrepid night photographers braved drizzle, clouds and fog to photograph the iconic Fire Island Lighthouse. Proving our point that bad weather makes for great night photography, Gabe made this image during a demonstration:

Day 2

On Day 2, after our inspiring stretches and chants, Gabe and Matt opened up Lightroom and showed a live demo, “After the Shutter Closes: Processing the Night.” Each spent a good amount of time working through RAW images to bring out the very best in them.

Rafael once again showed us the magic on his phone with “Planning Star Trails and the Milky Way with PhotoPills” (below), which was full of fantastic questions (and answers)—not to mention a whole lot of people using their phones and tablets during the presentation to see that magic happen under their own fingertips.

After lunch, Lance and Chris returned to present “Photographing Lighthouses, the Sentinels of the Seas” (below). Truly germane to the work later that evening, they presented how to go about photographing lighthouses, including many techniques for planning and success.

We had one more group Q&A to cover anything at all. And we did. Love that part. Excellent attendees.

Our second and final night out started with a huddle at the base of the lighthouse.


After a confab about the plan for the evening, we headed to the northern end of the beach to look south for a half-hour glimpse of the galactic core of the Milky Way creeping to the right of the lighthouse.

After this, we broke up into three groups and worked on Low-level Landscape Lighting (LLL), star stacking and long exposures. The night was clear, brisk and a little windy. But everyone walked away with images to be proud of!

Day 3

Our final day began with a deep exploration of some of our favorites places with Chris and Lance, in “A Daydreamer’s Guide to Night in the National Parks.” Covering 32 NPS locations, and rich with photographic examples, we saw many people wildly taking notes about their next dream destinations for night photography. (Hint, we have some spots open for 2019 workshops!)

Lastly, we spent a few hours on image review. We dipped into Lightroom and gave feedback and instruction to attending students on images shot during the conference and at other times. Always a good way to wrap up, with clear ideas on how to grow and improve.

With gladness in our hearts, and stars in our eyes, we called the Summit to a close. It was three days (and two nights) of sharing, learning and growing.

We’re so delighted that you like what we do. Thank you for supporting us as we share what we love with you. Our success is your success.

We can’t wait to do this all over again with the crew of photographers on Long Island and PFLI. #gratitude

Note: Want to see us come to your area? We’re considering taking this show on the road. Do you run a regional camera club federation, or even a really strong, passionate group that wants to collaborate and host an experience like this near you? Drop us a line and let us know.

Matt Hill is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night. See more about his photography, art, workshops and writing at MattHillArt.com. Follow Matt on Twitter Instagram Facebook.


Our Students' Work, From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters

Happy Anniversary Biscayne and Redwood national parks! We were so very thrilled and honored to be part of your 50th-year celebrations.

We obviously love going to all the parks, but when we can work closely with the rangers and officials that help run these amazing places, it makes the experience even more worthwhile.  In 2018 we formed a very strong relationship with both the aforementioned parks. We were so excited to take our students there for workshops earlier in the year as well as keep the communications building to create a cross-country “From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters” celebration. It was absolutely wonderful to see the friends we made this year, in addition to meeting more creative lovers of the parks during the festivities.

A very big thank you goes out to Bay Photo Lab, which believed in our students’ work and printed a combined show of 42 night photographs, twice, so we that we could have the focal point of the celebrations be a gallery show at both parks.


Our opening weekend at Biscayne had a ton of activities. We kicked things off Friday night, when 30 people joined us for a scenic boat ride to Boca Chita. We disembarked and had time to scout and explore the many vantage points on the island. At the end of civil twilight we gathered our group, plus two law enforcement park rangers joined us and were excited to see what we were creating.

I had prepared a special “Birthday Wish” (below) on the Fotorgear Magilite, which is an LED light stick that you can program with an endless amount of colors, shapes and art and then “walk the image” into the scene.

That is always a perfect example of how we can write anything with light. From there we broke into smaller groups and did night portraits and light painting—all in all, seizing the night!

Saturday was a full day at the park. We were very excited to see our dear friend, National Park Patch Lady (below), who led a sunrise photo shoot, scavenger hunt and Biscayne quiz. Lots of fun Biscayne and national park stickers were finding their way to knowledgeable park goers. There was also a variety of ranger talks spearheaded by Ranger Gary Bremen.

That kept most people busy until we kicked off the gallery opening and official party. We had live music (below) and over 100 people came to enjoy our images and share stories about Biscayne as we sipped wine and (of course) gobbled up birthday cake. We were also honored to have in attendance Lloyd Miller, who was instrumental in saving and creating Biscayne National Park half a century ago.

That night we led another walk around Convoy Point (below) and the visitor center, and we were thrilled to be joined by a student from each of the Biscayne and Redwood workshops, in a truly wonderful weekend of celebration!


by Lance Keimig

That very same weekend we made a return visit to Redwood National and State Parks to help celebrate their 50th anniversary with an exhibit of student and instructor photographs from our June workshop, which will be on display at the Hiouchi Visitor Center in the park until January 2019.

The “From the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream Waters” exhibit opened on Friday, October 19, and was attended by the park staff, as well as members of the Save the Redwoods League, Redwood Parks Conservancy and the local community. About 50 people attended the opening during the course of the too-short evening. A highlight of the reception was ranger Michael Glore leading a singalong of Woodie Guthrie’s, “This Land is Your Land” (below), which alone was worth the trip to California.

In addition to the exhibit reception, and a gallery talk led by Chris and I the following day, we also taught a one-night mini-workshop for the local community on Saturday, October 20. We had a small group of eager students and a great night in the redwoods at Jedediah State Park, photographing along the banks of the Smith River.

We’d like to offer our thanks and congratulations to Michael, Chief Interpretive Ranger Candace Tinkler and Biscayne’s Ranger Gary for all of their hard work in putting together the events around the anniversary. It was a dream come true for National Parks at Night to collaborate with the parks in this way, and we hope to do more of these types of projects in the future.

Prints for Parks

Bay Photo was more than just a sponsor—they made the events possible. The prints for both the Redwood exhibit and the concurrent one at Biscayne were made with Bay’s patented Xpozer system, our new favorite way to display our work.

All of the images from the exhibits are available for purchase at our online gallery, with all profits going to benefit both Redwood and Biscayne.

Bay is a great partner to work with and they have stepped up in a big way to support both the parks and National Parks at Night.

One final note is that under Candace’s leadership, Redwood National and State Parks is pursuing dark sky certification from the International Dark Sky Association, and plans to hold more dark sky events in the future. We look forward to seizing the night with them more in the years to come.

Reminder: The exhibits are up in both parks until January 13; check visitors hours to see when you can view the prints. Or, you can support the parks by purchasing one of the prints at our online gallery.

Gabriel Biderman is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night. He is a Brooklyn-based fine art and travel photographer, and author of Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Peachpit, 2014). During the daytime hours you'll often find Gabe at one of many photo events around the world working for B&H Photo’s road marketing team. See his portfolio and workshop lineup at www.ruinism.com.


Conferences, Clubs and Excursions, Oh My! Come Join Us for an Event This Fall

One of our favorite parts of doing what we do is getting out into the photography community to meet and talk with like-minded photographers. It gives us a chance to share what we know, to learn from the experiences of others, and to swap stories about working in the dark and working in the parks.

We do this all year round, but autumn seems to be the time when some of the biggest opportunities fall into a line of quick succession. It’s kind of like the “Conference District” of our collective schedule.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the events we’ll be participating in this fall. We hope you can join us at some of these amazing gatherings!

Out of Acadia Photography Conference

Bar Harbor, Maine

This one actually just ended, and was the first landscape photography conference organized by the Out of Chicago group. They’ve been running tours, workshops and walks in their home city since 2011, and conferences since 2016. Gabe and I were honored to speak and lead walks at their Out of New York Photography Conference last year, and last week I did the same at their conference in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

I taught a class on photographing the night sky, and delivered the conference’s closing session, “From Acadia to Zion: 59 Parks to Inspire Your Photography.” In addition to the myriad classes and presentations by the instructors and leaders, the conference had a very shooting-friendly format. Each morning, afternoon and night featured scores of photo walks and excursions, to places like Monument Cove, Boulder Beach, Cadillac Mountain, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Schoodic Peninsula and many, many more.

Me, during an Out of Acadia photo excursion up to North Bubble. Great photo courtesy of conference attendee and new friend Ron Johnson.

Me, during an Out of Acadia photo excursion up to North Bubble. Great photo courtesy of conference attendee and new friend Ron Johnson.

Out of Acadia was a dynamic event that left the attendees, instructors and organization exhausted (in a good way) and creatively fulfilled. If you were there, you’re probably still sorting through images. If you weren’t there, you can look into attending their next landscape event: the Out of Moab Photography Conference, to be held in October 2018. I’ll be there too!

PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo

New York City, New York

It’s one of the kings of the photo-conference world, held in New York City at the famous Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. And we’ll be speaking there on the final morning, for the third successive year. This time, we’re sponsored by one of the biggest supporters of the National Parks at Night workshop program: NIKON.

On Saturday, October 28, from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Matt, Gabe and I will deliver a two-hour presentation titled “Seize the Night—Taking your Night Photography to the Next Level.” From the session description:

“The National Parks at Night Team is excited to share their expertise and nocturnal visions with you. Go behind the scenes of some of their most challenging shots and see how they prevailed or failed. Take a look at the many aspects of night photography: astro-landscape, light painting, urban and Milky Way. Have your work reviewed and get valuable feedback on how you can elevate your night photography. You'll learn about essential gear, post-production tips, light painting, star trails, star points and urban night photography.”

If you’re not yet registered for PhotoPlus and would like to do so at 15 percent off, feel free to use our speakers’ link.

Lance Keimig will also be at PhotoPlus, delivering two presentations at the Irix booth during the day (at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), and leading a night photo walk on the famed High Line (from 6 to 8 p.m.). For more information, see the event page on Facebook.

The Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit

Townsend, Tennessee

From November 1-5, I’ll be on the road again, this time to Tennessee and North Carolina, where I’ll be speaking at this singular event held at one of the jewels of the park system, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Clouds in the valleys of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © 2013 Chris Nicholson.

Clouds in the valleys of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. © 2013 Chris Nicholson.

I’ll be one of 12 instructors delivering presentations, offering image critiques and leading field sessions in the park. I’ll be talking about light painting and national park photography, and others will be discussing topics as diverse as metering, creativity, master field techniques and more. There’s also a print competition, with a grand prize of a Fuji X-E3 kit.

If you’ve never been to or photographed the Smoky Mountains, this is an excellent opportunity. See the Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit website for more information about how to register.

Camera Clubs, etc.

After mid-fall, things slow down for us a bit in terms of speaking at conferences. But that doesn’t mean we won’t be out and talking about photography whenever we get the chance. We’re currently booked to speak at camera clubs in four states between now and mid-winter, including the Churchville Photography Club in Pennsylvania, the New Haven Camera Club in Connecticut, the Englewood Camera Club in Florida and the Greater Lynn Photographic Association in Massachusetts.

Last year we partnered with the New York Adventure Club, sponsored by by  B&H photo  and  Hudson Mercantile , to host a light painting class on a secret rooftop in Manhattan.

Last year we partnered with the New York Adventure Club, sponsored by by B&H photo and Hudson Mercantile, to host a light painting class on a secret rooftop in Manhattan.

And we’ll happily add more to the schedule! If you belong to a club that might like to hear about night photography and/or national parks, etc., feel free to contact us. There are numerous topics we’re prepared to talk about. We’re also eager to speak and/or lead photo walks for podcasts, trade shows, outdoors groups, night sky festivals, arts councils, museums, educational institutions and … well, probably for anyone interested in participating in engaging discussion about the topics we are crazy-passionate about! :-)

To keep updated about where and when we’ll be presenting at any given time, reference our Speaking Engagements webpage, or sign up for our event notification emails.

We look forward to meeting you all out in the photography community at some point soon. Until then, seize the night!

Chris Nicholson is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night, and author of Photographing National Parks (Sidelight Books, 2015). Learn more about national parks as photography destinations, subscribe to Chris' free e-newsletter, and more at www.PhotographingNationalParks.com.