cape cod national seashore

10 For 2017: Breaking Down Our Favorite Images of the Year

While we look forward to 2018, we can’t help but look back and take stock of what a great 2017 we’ve had. It was an incredible year filled with awesome people, magical destinations and inspiring photography. These experiences simply would not have been possible without the folks who attended our workshops, lectures and events. To all of the National Parks at Night alumni, supporters and followers, we say thank you. You’ve made our year a truly memorable one.

As we all move from this year into the next, it’s natural to look back at work we’ve done and art we’ve created, to remember great experiences, or to see how we’ve grown creatively. For our final blog post of the year, the National Parks at Night crew did just that. Below we share with you our favorites two images each from 2017, and our thoughts about how we created them.

Carpe noctem!

Chris Nicholson

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts. Nikon D5, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. 20 seconds, f/3.5 ISO 8000.

My two favorite photos of 2017 were both from the coast—probably not a surprise if you know me, as I love being on the shore, and I love shooting on the shore.

The first of my favorites is a photograph I made the night before our Cape Cod National Seashore workshop started in May. I was out with Lance, his fiancée Katherine, and a former workshop participant and friend, Wendi. We went out to a spot suggested by a couple of rangers that afternoon (always talk to rangers, they know the best spots!). The hike involved some wet shoes and a lost filter, but also brought us to an amazing boathouse that I spent most of our time there shooting.

I was the first one to finish up, and I had gotten (if I’m to be honest) kind of bored with the location. But the others were still working, so I started tooling around with this composition instead, framing the shore in the foreground with the water in the middle and two distant boathouses in back, all topped with a beautiful starry sky. I added subtle light painting to the foreground by bouncing the light from a Coast HP7R off my palm and laying the reflected soft illumination along the rocks and grass. A little artificial ambient light did the rest, filling in the shadows of the background.

Then I forgot about the photo for a few days, thinking my real treasure from the night was from my earlier attempts. I remember the moment when I was skimming through thumbnails in Lightroom and I saw this image. “Oh,” I said to myself. “Yeah, that’s the one.”


Olympic National Park, Washington. Nikon D3s, 15mm Zeiss Distagon f/2.8 lens. 30 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 8000.

In the shoulder season between late summer and early fall, Matt and I were leading two workshops in Olympic, one of my very favorite of the national parks. I got a text from Stacy, another of our former workshop participants, who happens to live in nearby Seattle, alerting us that a high Kp rating meant we should keep our eyes on the northern sky that night. We might see aurora!

Sure enough, as we combed Ruby Beach looking for night compositions, the northern light show started. It was my very first time seeing and photographing an aurora. Moreover, the moon was just about to set on the Pacific horizon, the Milky Way was arching over us, and blue bioluminescence glowed in the crashing waves. It was hard to know which direction to point the camera.

This is one of my favorite photos from 2017 not because I think it’s a spectacular artistic achievement, and not because it accomplishes any hefty technical goal—but because of the memory, because of the experience. With all of that going on in the same night sky, reflected in the shimmer of a recently submerged shore, above my favorite spot to shoot in one of my favorite national parks, how could I be anything but awed? And … did I mention it was my birthday?

Gabriel Biderman

Hovenweep National Monument, Utah. Set of two exposures using the Nikon D750 and 14-24mm f/2.8 lens set at 14mm. Sky exposure: 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200. Foreground: 3 minutes, f/2.8 ISO, 1600.

I love that night photography has many challenges. If it is too easy, I don’t want to click. The constant search for pushing my visions yielded some exciting results in 2017!

For the last few years I have been wanting to master the night panorama. It is one of the only solutions for the hero shot of the arching Milky Way. Hovenweep National Monument offered the perfect foreground and location for such a challenge.

The night sky was dark and full of stars but the 90 F temperatures would definitely test what I could get out of my gear, because extreme heat can generate noise in images during longer exposures. My initial tests were showing red flecks at exposures longer than 45 seconds.

I assessed that my pano would need to be made up of six shots, however the sky and foreground were at least three stops apart. My sky exposure was 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 3200 and my foreground was 3 minutes, f/2.8, ISO 1600. I did the series of sky shots first, as the Milky Way was quickly moving out of my composition. The foreground was taking over 6 minutes per shot, because I needed to turn on Long Exposure Noise Reduction.

After I worked on general adjustments to the images, I was pleasantly surprised that Lightroom and Photoshop were able to align the whole batch fairly easily. I attempted a few more panoramas more recently that needed a dedicated panorama program, as Adobe was having a hard time aligning the dark subject matter.

However, I absolutely love the final image as well as the slow, methodical thought and post-processing that needed to happen to make this work.


Total solar eclipse, Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho. Fuji X-T2, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens 1/15 second, f/22, ISO 400.

The biggest celestial event of the year was definitely the Great American Eclipse.

I was thrilled to be leading a workshop around it in a place that was surrounded by an incredible landscape, Montana’s Centennial Valley. The challenge for most of us attempting to photograph this was that it would be something we would be experiencing for the first time. The window for success was small, because the total eclipse is so fleeting—we wanted to choose the best spot for clear skies and totality. It was easy to find the path of totality, but difficult to predict the weather. Add to that new gear—solar filters which made it difficult to operate our cameras and lenses in normal ways—and it required plenty of practice.

We opted to experience the eclipse in a remote location sandwiched between the Sawtooth Mountains and Beaverhead Mountains. We arrived early and assessed the path of the sun with the PhotoPills app, which was invaluable to scouting and pre-visualizing. Most of us were running two rigs on tripod—a wide shot and a telephoto. The telephoto needed the most attention as it required constantly tracking the sun across the sky.

When the eclipse began, the clicking and adjusting of exposures started to build to a bit of a frenzy. Capturing the corona, diamond ring effect and Bailey’s beads were all high on our list. But the real challenge was controlling our excitement during the moment. It was hard to make the quick adjustments while simultaneously experiencing such a thrilling moment! As we entered full totality, a strange silvery twilight light encompassed us all and a quiet hush fell across the land. The best thing I did during the 2-plus minutes of darkness was take 15 seconds to just stare at the eclipse and take it all in. I’m still searching for the words to explain the experience. The one thing I do know is that I want to be part of it again, so … see you in 2024!

Lance Keimig

Westfjords, Iceland. Nikon D750, Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens, 5 1/2 minutes, f/5, ISO 800.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking at this scene––it’s right in front of the Hotel Djupavik in the Westfjords of Iceland. It’s a special place, one that has a calming energy that’s hard to describe. It’s hard to be stressed or unhappy or angry there. It’s hard not to be taken in by the charm of the place, the people, the peace. So you see, to me this photograph is about much more than a landscape—it’s about a state of mind.

The making of the image was rather unremarkable. The one streetlight in the village illuminates the remains of the pier, 50 yards offshore. It was late in astronomical twilight, with just a hint of glow across the fjord in the western sky. The clouds were dragging slowly across the frame, reluctant to let go of the mountaintops. It was almost as if they were afraid of being carried out to sea. I remember being torn between using a short, high ISO exposure to keep the stars sharp, and a longer one to capture the movement in the clouds.

After making the first trial exposure, I noticed that the streetlight was reflecting off a few of the patches of seaweed, so I had the idea to sweep a light across the foreground to illuminate the rest of the seaweed to try to connect the foreground and middle ground. I had to put a couple of layers of CTO warming gel over my flashlight to match the orange of the sodium glow, but it seemed to work.

To me, a photograph that can transport me back to a time and place is doing its job. I’ve been using this one as my screen saver since I made it during our Westfjords photo tour back in early September, and I’ve been dreaming of making a big print to hang in my home. I think I’ll make that print.


Alabama Hills, California. Nikon D850, Irix 11mm f/4 Blackstone lens. 15 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 3200.

One of the things that I love about this image is that it’s virtually unrecognizable for what it is. Lady Boot Arch is one of the better-known and certainly among the most distinctive rock formations in California’s Alabama Hills. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see the shape of a woman’s high-heeled, over-the-calf boot––when viewing from the spot where most people first lay their eyes on it. That also happens to be the perspective where most people choose to photograph it from, as I have done on multiple occasions. Being fortunate in that I get to revisit places like this on a fairly regular basis, I often find myself looking for unique vantage points to photograph a familiar subject.

Toward the end of this particular night, after most of the participants had left for bed, I had the chance to pull out one of the new D850 cameras that Nikon had sent to our workshop. I was excited to see what this camera could do. I wanted to try it with the crazy-wide Irix 11mm lens.

Conditions were great. It was cool, but not cold, the air was clear, and the three-quarter moon was over my left shoulder, high in the southwestern sky. I chose a 15-second exposure to keep the stars nice and sharp, as that 45-megapixel sensor likes to show every bit of detail. The challenge was lighting both the foreground and the back of the arch in that short time frame while squeezing between and scrambling over rocks. That was fun.

Matt Hill

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. Nikon D750, 15mm Zeiss Distagon f/2.8 lens. 234 images at 22 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 6400, plus a single exposure at 382 seconds, ISO 2000 for the landscape after moonrise.

My fourth visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park and my second during a Perseids Meteor Shower finally yielded the photograph I’d been dreaming of making. This image is a perfect example of the value of persistence. Climbing the dunes at over 8,000 feet elevation is no easy task, nor is waiting patiently for hours to capture 15 meteors and the gentle kiss of moonlight rising on the dunes.

I’m really proud of the group we had on the workshop—everyone made the trek up the dunes. And everyone set up to capture the glory of this active meteor shower. I’m especially delighted that careful planning put us in the right place at the right time to make a singularly gentle and powerful photograph combining the tallest sand dunes in the U.S., the Milky Way and meteors arcing across the night sky.


Olympic National Park, Washington. Nikon D750, 35mm f/1.4 Sigma Art lens. 61 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 6400.

I’ve always been drawn to water. It calls to me. Its power to overwhelm anything while holding no strict form has always mystified me. It refracts and reflects light. And it changes everything it touches, such as the sea stacks at Olympic National Park.

Low tide at Rialto Beach gave us an opportunity to use the wet sand as a massive mirror. The setting moon wrapped the left side, and a decisive placement of light painting warmed up the right and brought out the texture of the stalwart stone and tenacious trees. A harmony of color, time and movement keeps this at the top of my list of favorites.

Tim Cooper

Alabama Hills, California. Fuji X-T2, 16mm f/1.4 lens. 23 exposures at 4 minutes, f/5.6, ISO 100.

Serendipity is one part luck, one part preparation and one part faith. This image—“Boulder, North Star Ring, Alabama Hills”—is a perfect case in point.

I’ve been enamored with the boulders of the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierra of California since the first time I saw them. The texture and unusual formations of these boulders is simply otherworldly. I had the opportunity to return to this area for our November Eastern Sierra workshop with Lance. On the first day of scouting, something sparked in my mind and I began to imagine a round boulder lit from either side, composed underneath the concentric star rings of the north sky. This type of pre-visualization doesn’t happen with every image and it rarely turns out exactly the way I want.

Over the course of the week, I kept searching for the perfect round boulder—one that had a good background to the north, and was positioned such that I could paint it from either side. Finally, on day 4 of the workshop, I stumbled onto the perfect specimen.

The trick here was to stack enough exposures to give the impression of star rings. The moon was nearly full so I was limited to a 4-minute exposure at f/5.6, ISO 100. I set my ShutterBoss intervalometer to shoot 40 frames, knowing my battery would probably run out before draining completely. By the time that happened, the camera was able to capture 23 images, resulting in roughly 1 1/2 hours of cumulative exposure. After replacing the battery, I took several more exposures while experimenting with the light painting. The final image is a Photoshop composite of the 23 frames of star trails and one image with light painting.

For me, this was one of those rare instances where a preconceived idea closely matched the final product.


Sedona, Arizona. Nikon D4s, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens set at 14mm. Eight exposures at 4 minutes, f/4, ISO 200.

Setting up an image for capturing star trails is always an exercise in anticipation. Which direction will the stars trail? How long will they be? Will they be sparse or thick? For this image taken outside Sedona, Arizona, I had a good idea of the outcome before plunging the shutter. The reason? I had shot from this location before. This is not unusual for me. I’ll often try to improve upon locations I’ve shot in the past. My first attempt at this scene was made with a medium wide-angle lens (24mm on a full-frame camera). That image portrayed the stars moving diagonally, but in only one direction.

For this last visit, I was carrying my venerable Nikon 14mm-24mm f/2.8. The wider (14mm) focal length included much more of the sky. My earlier image contained only the mountain to the right, but with this wider 14mm I was able to include both peaks. Facing southwest allowed me to capture longer trails as stars raced across the sky in the south, as opposed to the shorter trails in the north. The wide view to the east also produced another cool feature: the divergence of star trails. Longer lenses capture the trails all moving in one direction. By facing east and using a super-wide lens I was able to capture the area where the stars begin to move in opposite directions.

Your Turn!

We’ve shown you our favorite photos from 2017. Now we’d love to see yours! Post your No. 1 favorite night photography image from the past year in the Comments section or on our Facebook page, and tell us a little bit about it.

And then of course the next step—for all of us—is to get back out into the night in 2018 and make something even better!

Tim Cooper is a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night. Learn more techniques from his book The Magic of Light Painting, available from Peachpit.


Recapping Our 1st Workshops of 2017: Joshua Tree, Cuyahoga Valley and Cape Cod

National Parks at Night’s 2017 started slowly, relative to what it would become. The first few months of the year involved a lot of sitting at our home bases planning, planning and planning. But then spring came, and our itinerary revved up to a furious pace of four workshops in five weeks.

That flurry of activity was not only … well, flurrious … but also widespread, covering national parks across the United States, from the California desert to rural Ohio to coastal Massachusetts. We’re happy to now be able to report how those workshops went, which we’ll do below.

After this we’ll be moving our program into summer and fall, including four workshops that still have a few seats open: Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park, Washington’s beautiful Olympic National Park (twice!) and California’s Eastern Sierra. To come seize the night with us and bunch of new friends, sign up today!

In the meantime, here’s a taste of our first four workshops of 2017. …

Joshua Tree National Park

April 21-26, 2017
April 30-May 5, 2017
By Lance Keimig

Our first two outings of the 2017 season were back-to-back Passport Series workshops at Joshua Tree National Park—our originally scheduled workshop plus an overflow week we offered due to high demand. I was an instructor on both workshops; Gabe and Chris each worked with me on one of them.

The Joshua Tree Week 1 group

The Joshua Tree Week 2 group

For both workshops, National Parks at Night collaborated with the Desert Institute, the educational program partner for the park. Through the Desert Institute we were able to arrange special after-hours visits to Desert Queen Ranch, also known as Keys Ranch. Normally off-limits to the public except for ranger-guided tours, Keys Ranch is a historic homestead within the park that was a spectacular location for night photography and light painting.

To reciprocate for that great access, in the few days off between the two workshops, Chris and I delivered a presentation on night photography in national parks at Copper Mountain Community College in the town of Joshua Tree. It was a lot of fun, as we got to talk about what we love to do, plus meet a lot of local photographers who also love the park.

At first glance, Joshua Tree doesn’t offer the kind of varied scenery that many other parks do. With the exception of Keys Ranch and the remains of a few abandoned mines, the park has relatively little diversity of subject matter. It’s all about the eponymous trees, and the rocks. Fortunately though, the variations in both the Joshua trees and the rock formations are enough to keep any photographer busy for a long, long time.

Moreover, we had a bonus. The rains of last winter had finally broken the California drought, and the wildflowers and cacti were in full bloom when we arrived at the park. It was spectacular.

During the first workshop, we had mostly clear, dark skies with the new moon occurring on the last day. The Milky Way was rising late, around midnight each night, and the weather was unseasonably chilly. The cool temperatures kept our sensors from overheating and the noise manageable with the high ISOs required in the very dark environment. We were bundled up with multiple layers, hats and gloves!

What a difference a week can make. By the second workshop, the weather had changed, and daytime temperatures climbed into the 90s, with comfortable T-shirt-weather nights. The first quarter moon occurred in the middle of the second workshop, which worked out well. By the time the moon was setting around midnight, the core of the Milky Way was rising above the horizon, giving our students the best of both worlds: We had a combination of moonlight to illuminate the landscape and complement our light painting, and dark skies to photograph the arch of the Milky Way core later in the night.

In each group we had a mix of veterans and night-photography newbies, but regardless of experience level the productivity and growth we observed was exceptional. We were proud of the progress made by each and every participant in both weeks.

We always encourage collaboration during our workshops, as we find that the experience is amplified when people share knowledge and ideas out in the field. These two groups exemplified this collaborative spirit, which is one of the most rewarding things for us as instructors to observe. This was on full display all week during both workshops, and also at the end of each when the groups worked together on large light-painting projects (as blogged about by Chris and Gabe, respectively).

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

May 7-12, 2017
By Tim Cooper

There’s a National Park in Ohio? There is, and it’s a good one!

Our National Park system is filled with lesser-known gems that often get overshadowed by the grand western icons such as Yosemite and Grand Canyon. Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio is exactly that—a gem. While most national parks are quite a distance from the glow of city lights, Cuyahoga Valley is somewhat unusual in its close proximity to two major metro areas: Cleveland and Akron. Urban areas like these can often produce a lot of light pollution that makes it a challenge to capture star-filled skies. Thankfully, stars are not the only thing to photograph at night!

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park group

Cuyahoga Valley is filled with vestiges from the industrial revolution. Old quarries, mills, farms, bridges, train stations and tracks all dot the valley that bears the name of the hard-working Cuyahoga River. These structures provided the perfect opportunity for our workshop participants to learn and/or practice the art of light painting.

The week started with light clouds and clear skies, allowing us to get our feet wet with capturing the night sky over Indigo Lake. The train station there also lured many in the class to jump right into light painting. From this point the group just took off. It was a light painting extravaganza! Using flashlights to illuminate a subject at night usually takes a fair amount of practice, but the participants took to it like ducks to water. Chris and I marveled how quickly everyone picked up on the techniques.

The remainder of the week found us in varied locations in and around the park opening our shutters for long exposures and flashlight art. From a light-wand sword fight on the steps of a quarry wall to painting the rusted bodies of retired Volvos in a salvage yard, our participants tackled some of the most difficult scenarios in night photography.

Kudos, folks! Chris and I had a great time and we thank you all for your enthusiasm and hard work!

Cape Cod National Seashore

May 21-24, 2017
By Chris Nicholson

Our few days in Cape Cod marked a bit of an internal celebration for NPAN: It was our very first workshop to have lobster! ... (Just kidding. Acadia had lobster too.) ... In fact, Cape Cod was our very first Adventure Series workshop!

While our Passport Series events submerse attendees in the nighttime experience of a national park, our Adventure Series might bring us anywhere, and can also afford us the opportunity to work on specific night photography techniques that are pertinent to local subject matter. Cape Cod National Seashore certainly presented a prime opportunity for the latter.

The Cape Cod National Seashore group

Unlike most of the locations we visit, Cape Cod is fertile ground for lighthouse photography, with over a dozen beacons in the area. So one of our focuses was shooting lighthouses, exploring techniques such as how to photograph them at night without blowing out the lantern illumination, capturing images with multiple beams extending from the lights, and creating a beam where none might be.

Also, because we were shooting in late spring, the Milky Way was arching over the Atlantic horizon, giving us a great opportunity to work on stitched panorama images of our galaxy over ocean, over sand dunes and (of course!) over lighthouses!

What we couldn’t plan for was the bonus of having different weather conditions to work with, allowing the group chances to create different kinds of images each night.

Our first evening out—to Nobska Light, Chatham Light and Lighthouse Beach—was mostly clear. The attendees took full advantage, creating stunning Milky Way photos at the water’s edge and out amongst the dunes.

Our second night out was in the rain, so we ventured to Provincetown to photograph this unique town with puddle reflections and wet pavement. Afterward we shot the cottages of North Truro and then Highland Light, all in gloriously unpleasant weather. Unpleasant only for comfort, glorious for photography—which was proven not only in the group’s photographic results, but also in their willingness to stay out shooting until past midnight despite the cold spring rains.

Our third night featured thin clouds, which allowed some of the strongest stars to shine through, but also picked up the colors of the sodium vapor lights of Provincetown, which many of the photographers used to awesome creative effect. For this final evening we worked at Nauset Light and Nauset Light Beach, then at the Old Harbor Life-Saving Station and Race Point Beach.

In between shoots? There may have been a little lobster.

Thank you for the perks, partners!

As always, we owe a special thank-you to our brand partners for helping our attendees have an even better experience:

  • Nikon sent some of the best photography gear ever made for students to use for free. The kit they shipped to each workshop included a D5, D810A, D810, D750 and D500, plus a huge selection of lenses, including the awesome 14-24mm f/2.8, 20mm f/1.8, 28mm f/1.4 and more!
  • Coast sent HP1 flashlights for each person who attended our Passport Series workshops in Joshua Tree and Cuyahoga Valley to keep, and a whole kit of lights for anyone to borrow for light painting at all workshops.
  • B&H Photo sent along loaner gear such as intervalometers, remote shutter releases and bubble levels.
  • Our newest partner, BenQ, provided a projector for presentations and the crystal-clear SW2700PT 27-inch display for students to use while post-processing at Cuyahoga Valley and Cape Cod.
  • Light Painting Brushes provided a Deluxe Starter Kit for attendees to practice light writing.
  • X-Rite supplied an i1Display Pro to profile and calibrate anyone’s laptops and the instructors’ projectors.
  • Bay Photo provided free prints to award to attendees in random drawings.
  • Peak Design supplied a random giveaway as well, in the form of their Clutch strap.

Wrapping up ...

Last, but always first in our hearts, is a big thank you to the most important people in our program—our participants. The energy and enthusiasm they brought to the workshops cannot possibly be paralleled.

We have enjoyed working with everyone who attended our first four workshops of 2017, and look forward to those coming along on our remaining adventures in Natural Bridges and Hovenweep (sold out), Dry Tortugas, Great Sand Dunes (sold out), Centennial Valley (sold out), Westfjords (sold out), Olympic (twice!) and Eastern Sierra.

If you would like to join our participants photographing one or more of these great locations, grab one of our few remaining spots by visiting our the pages linked to above and signing up today. We will see you out there ... to 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


More Parks in the Dark: Rounding Out Our 2017 Workshop Schedule

Back in September we announced the first part of our 2017 workshop calendar. We also promised that before long we'd be ready to announce even more opportunities to learn about night photography while enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded photographers under the beautiful skies of our national lands.

Well, now we're here, getting the new year started by following through on that promise. Today we're publicly releasing the details of six new 2017 night photography adventure workshops.

For our Passport Series, one is a brand new workshop in a remote and unique national park, while two are second offerings of our two most popular '17 locations. And for our Adventure Series, one new workshop is on the beautiful New England coast, one is in the mountains of California, and one represents our first international event, a night photography tour of Westfjords, Iceland.

Passport Series

Our new Passport Series workshops include a deep dive into the night skies of a national park, plus location scouting tutorials, lectures and image reviews. Plus a whole lot of camaraderie.

Dry Tortugas National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Olympic National Park

Joshua Tree National Park, California (2nd Week)

April 21-26, 2017Joshua Tree National Park encompasses sections of two different deserts—the Mojave and the Colorado—both full of opportunities for remarkable images. We had a high demand for the first week of this workshop, so we added this second week to provide more people the opportunity to attend!

More info & registration: Joshua Tree II

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

July 27-30, 2017 — Live life on a boat as we explore one of the most remote national parks in the NPS. The sights on Fort Jefferson—the most ambitious and extensive coastal fortification in the United States, located in Dry Tortugas National Park—are absolute wonders to photograph. And all this in the darkest skies on the east coast, 70 miles from Key West into the Gulf of Mexico.

More info & registration: Dry Tortugas

Olympic National Park, Washington (2nd Week)

September 24-29, 2017 — Photograph on the rugged mountains, in the vibrant rainforests and along the pristine coastline of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, in one of the most beautiful and diverse national parks in the U.S. Our first week of Olympic sold out in just two days, so we're offering this second workshop here in this park's best season.

More info & registration: Olympic II

Adventure Series

Adventure Series workshops are forays into national monuments, private lands near national parks, and more. These workshops will generally be shorter in duration than our Passport Series, and depending on the event, may involve less time in the classroom and more time in the field having adventures.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Eastern Sierra

Westfjords, Iceland

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts (3 Spots Left!)

May 21-24, 2017 — Photograph the open sand dunes, regal lighthouses, quaint cottages and quiet seaside villages of Cape Cod National Seashore, one of the natural gems of the New England coast.

Please note that as of the morning of this blog post, only three spots remain for the Cape Cod National Seashore workshop, so if you want to go, register now!

More info & registration: Cape Cod

Westfjords of Iceland (sold out)

August 27-September 5, 2017 — This photo tour will be special in that it occurs at the end of the brief Icelandic summer. We will visit the Westfjords before the area becomes inaccessible for the winter, but late enough in the year that we might see the Aurora Borealis.

Please note that this event sold out when pre-announced to our alumni and our workshop-announcement email list. To receive early notifications of new workshops (including, hint hint, to this same country in 2018), sign up for our workshop announcements today! Alternatively, to be added to the waitlist for this photo tour in 2017, please visit the following link: Westfjords

Eastern Sierra, California

October 30-November 4, 2017 — This workshop occurs just before the full moon, and is intended primarily for photographers who are interested in light painting by moonlight. The workshop will feature three nights at the Alabama Hills in California’s Eastern Sierra, one night at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains, and one night photographing a mystery location.

More info & registration: Eastern Sierra

And don't miss out on ...

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

We have only three places remaining for our light-painting-intensive Passport Series workshop at Cuyahoga Valley National Park this coming May. Be sure to register today!

May 7-12, 2017: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley is one of the most visited national parks in the country, and also one of the most unique. It combines stunning natural scenes with rural features, such as railroad depots, farms, historic structures, covered bridges and old cemeteries, granting the photographer a nearly endless buffet of subjects to photograph at night. This will be a light-painting-intensive workshop, so ready your flashlights!

More info & registration: Cuyahoga Valley

Seize the Night

Never miss out on one of our adventures. Be one of the first to learn about our new workshops by signing up for our mailing list/workshop announcements. Plus you'll get our free ebook, Seize the Night: 20 Tips for Photographing in the Dark.

We're eager to see you out in the parks with us this year, photographing the night!

(Click here to see our entire 2017 Workshops Calendar.)

Chris Nicholson is the 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