Few places on earth are as mysterious or compelling as Easter Island. The giant stone figures known as Moai oversee this remote island 2,200 miles off of the coast of Chile. Most of Rapa Nui, as it’s known to the locals, is a national park. Not only is it hard to get to here, but it is notoriously difficult to access the park at night. In February of 2019, National Parks at Night will be taking 11 lucky people to do just that.
February 19-March 1, 2019 — COMPLETED
This is a 9-night, 9-day photography tour. Including travel days to and from the island, it is a 12-night trip, and you’ll be arriving home on the 13th day. Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to Santiago on February 18; you will land on February 19, and should check into the hotel and plan to meet the group in the hotel lobby at 6 p.m. for dinner. You’ll spend the night of the 19th at a hotel at the Santiago airport and will leave for Easter Island at 6:30 a.m. on February 20. We will spend the nights of February 20 through February 28 on Easter Island, and will depart for Santiago on March 1 at 3 p.m. You can connect to an overnight flight on March 1, or spend another night in Santiago.
$8,995 in single accommodations; $15,895 for two people sharing accommodations. Register below.
While not required, we recommend that attendees have at least intermediate photography skills in order to make the most of this rare artistic opportunity. Non-photographer significant others are welcome, but will need to pay full price for the trip.
10, with 2 instructors — 5:1 ratio
National Park website
INCLUDED IN PRICE
nine nights in single accommodations with private bath on Easter Island
one night accommodation in Santiago on February 19
transfer to and from the international airport in Santiago to our hotel
return flight from Santiago to Easter Island
all transportation on Easter Island in the tour van
the services of a local guide and driver
breakfasts each day from February 21 to March 1, as well as three lunches and a farewell dinner
Not INCLUDED IN PRICE
international flights to and from Santiago
meals other than what is mentioned above
tips to local guides
accommodation in Santiago on March 1 if you’re not flying on that night
HIS EVENT HAS PASSED. THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST!
Deposit of $1,995 for singles and $2,895 for couples is required to reserve your spot at the tour.
Balance of $7,000 for singles or $13,000 for couples due on November 21, 2018.
You may choose the “Pay in Full” ticket if you desire to pay all at once.
Last day for a cancellation request is November 20 (see cancellation and refund policy).
The Tour Experience
This photo tour will feature long days and nights with intense periods of photography. It’s not a workshop—there will be no formal classroom instruction, or lectures. We will be photographing day and night. This is not to say that it won’t be a learning experience, but the first and foremost goal of this trip is to provide you with a safe, comfortable and organized opportunity to create images of this exotic location. You’ll be working closely with people of varying levels of photographic experience, and we’ll all learn from one another while making friends along the way.
We will be traveling with a local guide who is both a photographer and also knowledgeable about the archeology and the fascinating history of Rapa Nui. We will be doing a couple of extended (5- to 6-hour) hikes to some of the more remote archeological sites on the island. We’ll also hike up to the highest point on the island for panoramic views in all directions. You should be in good physical condition to take advantage of everything that this trip has to offer.
We will do some daytime long exposures of the Moai, clouds and water with neutral density filters. Lance and Tim will help in the field for those who are unfamiliar with this technique, and will advise on what to bring well in advance so that you have time both to acquire and practice using them.
Night photography will be a big part of the trip. It is unusual for tour groups to have nighttime access to the Moai; we are among the fortunate few who will. As of August 2018, we are still working out final details with the local tour operator and the national park administration. We may not have access to all of the sites after hours, but we are assured access to most of them. There are strict rules about approaching these fragile archeological gems, and we are expected to adhere. We will always be accompanied by a local guide while in the park after dark.
The trip is suited for people of all photographic levels except absolute beginners. You should have a solid understanding of your camera controls and menus, and of the exposure triad (the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO).
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.
If you would like to attend this tour but are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-trip 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-tour reads.
What You WILL Learn
As this is a photo tour rather than a workshop, the emphasis is getting participants to great locations with great light, and making sure that everyone has the trip of a lifetime. We figure that you don’t travel to Easter Island very often, and you wouldn’t want to spend your time in a classroom! This trip is primarily about making great images of a truly unique location.
That said, we do encourage you to think about and set goals for the trip.
What would you like to gain from this experience?
a break from work-a-day stresses?
learn some new photography skills?
The instructors will be available for one-on-one guidance in the field as much as time permits, and you can pull us aside during quieter moments to check out your images if you’d like. What you make of this is up to you, and we encourage you to think about it ahead of time.
Night Conditions & Opportunities
On this workshop you can expect the following night-sky conditions and nocturnal photography opportunities:
full to quarter moon
dark sky / stars
You are responsible for your airfare and travel arrangements to and from Santiago (SCL). The flights between Santiago and Easter island are included, as is all transportation on Easter Island.
You should arrive in Santiago on February 19 or sooner, and be prepared for our flight to Easter Island at 6:30 a.m. on the 20th. We will stay at a hotel near the airport on the night of the 19th.
We will arrive back in Santiago at 9:30 p.m. on March 1. LatAm and American codeshare a flight from SCL to JFK that departs at 11:30 p.m. that would allow you to depart on the 1st.
You can find non-stop flights to Santiago from New York City, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, as well as one-stop flights from many major North American airports including Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Las Vegas.
Food & Lodging
The tour will be based at a 4-star hotel near the Santiago airport, and at a 3-star hotel on Easter Island. The hotel is clean, comfortable and fairly basic, and your room may or may not have air conditioning.
Breakfasts are included while we are on Easter Island, as are three lunches and a farewell dinner.
You are responsible for all other meals. We will generally have one sit-down restaurant meal per day aside from breakfast, and one prepared meal in the field.
The climate of Easter Island is warm and humid. It will be high summer when we are there, which means temperatures ranging from 68 to 81 F on average, although it may be as high as 90 F. It rains frequently, with an average of 3 inches of rain in February, the second driest month of the year. The ocean water temperature is comparable to the air temperature, and therefore perfect for swimming.
Recommended attire: Lightweight clothing that can be layered is advised. If you wear T-shirts, a 3-to-1 ratio of short to long sleeve is about right. You should bring a lightweight raincoat, convertible hiking pants, good quality hiking shoes, and a pair of sturdy sandals such as Tevas. A bathing suit or two. A fleece jacket or pullover is all you will need for outerwear aside from the rain shell. Dress is generally laid-back, but a couple of casual options for nicer restaurants is advised.
You should be physically fit to participate in this adventure. There are several long hikes to experience some of the more remote archeological sites. None of the hikes would be considered strenuous, but the longest is almost 10 miles round trip. You are welcome to skip any of these hikes if they are beyond your abilities, and we reserve the right to limit the hikes to people we and our guide believe to be adequately fit. If you change your mind midway through a hike, we will not be able to escort you back to the hotel.
Bring electrical adapters for the standard European outlets—two round pins, 220V.
Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our tours and workshops.
If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.
Years in the Making ...
I haven’t been to Easter Island––yet. But I’ve been dreaming of it for years.
The photographer Michael Kenna traveled to Easter Island in 2000 and 2001, and it was his images that really set my curiosity afire to go to see this remote corner of the earth. When Michael published a book of those images, there was a scarcity of night photos, which seemed odd considering that he’s widely known for his Night Work. I asked him about the lack of night images back in 2016 when I first started looking into organizing a trip to Easter Island, and he replied that access to the park after dark was difficult at best.
I was discouraged, and got sidetracked, so never pursued a trip until last year when Joshua Tree alumnus Neil Bennett expressed a strong desire to go. Together we looked into possibilities for a 2018 trip, but came up short.
Still, the idea of photographing those imposing stone heads wouldn’t fade, and I continued to search for ways to get nighttime access to the national park and to the Moai. I made a connection in June, and although that particular lead didn’t work out, I was finally able to connect with a local operator who could get us access, and this trip was born.
I’m truly excited to be able to share this special journey with you to Rapa Nui to photograph the Neolithic stone carvings on this most remote island in the South Pacific.