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 Easter Island, it is notoriously difficult to access the park after the sun goes down. But we will be taking a dozen fellow night photographers on this rare opportunity of an unforgettable week with the Moai.
January 25-February 1, 2021
This is a 7-night, 8-day photography tour. Including travel days to and from the island, it is a 9-night trip, and you’ll be arriving home on the tenth day.
$7,995 in single standard hotel room. $14,995 for two people sharing a standard hotel room.
$8,495 in single bungalow. $15,895 for two people sharing a bungalow.
Open to all who have at least a basic understanding of the principles of photography.
up to 14, with 2 instructors — 7:1 ratio
This year we have two different types of accommodation; standard rooms and bungalows. We have reserved six of each, and they are available on a first come, first served basis. See further below for what is and is not included with your ticket.
Your deposit of $1,995 for a standard room or $2,495 for a bungalow is required to reserve your spot on the tour. If you are sharing your room with a friend or partner, an additional deposit of $1,000 for your standard room or $1,400 for your bungalow is required.
A second payment of $3,000 per person will be due on July 29, 2020, and the balance of $3,000 per person is due on October 26, 2020.
There are no refunds after the pay-in-full due date, but you may send someone in your place if you are unable to attend. (That would be very sad.) In that case, you will be responsible for full payment and being reimbursed by your surrogate. All other terms of our cancellation and refund policy remain the same. You must have trip cancellation insurance for this adventure.
Deposit of $1,995 is required to reserve your spot in a standard room.
Deposit of $1,000 for a second person in your standard room.
Deposit of $2,495 is required to reserve your spot in a bungalow.
Deposit of $1,400 for a second person in your bungalow.
Second payment of $3,000 per person is due on July 29, 2020. Make 2nd payment here.
The Rapa Nui 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 each other 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 an extended hike to some of the more remote archeological sites on the island. We may 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, but you may opt out of the hikes and spend the day at the beach instead.
We will do some daytime long exposures of the Moai, clouds and water with neutral density filters. Lance and Gabe will help in the field for those who are unfamiliar with this technique, and we will advise what to bring well in advance so that you have time to both 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 on Easter Island, and we are among the fortunate few who will. There are strict rules about approaching these fragile archeological sites, and we are expected to adhere to them. 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).
seven nights in single accommodations with private bath on Easter Island
all transportation on Easter Island in the tour van
entrance fee to Rapa Nui National Park, day and night
the services of a local guide to teach us about the history of Easter Island
all breakfasts and dinners, three lunches
international flights to and from Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
meals other than what is mentioned above
tips to local guides
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 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
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 the work-a-day stresses?
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, but we encourage you to think about it ahead of time.
Night & Light Conditions
Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to Santiago on January 24 or 25; you will land on January 25 or 26. Depending on your arrival time in Santiago, you’ll either spend the night at the Holiday Inn at the Santiago airport or connect the same day to Easter Island—whichever travel schedule suits you better.
We will spend the nights of January 25 to 31 on Easter Island, and will depart for Santiago on February 1 in the afternoon. You can connect to an overnight flight the same day or spend another night in Santiago.
There are non-stop flights to Santiago from New York, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles, and one-stop flights from many major North American airports including Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago and Las Vegas.
You are responsible for booking your flights from your home airport to and from Easter Island. There are only two flights a day from Santiago to Easter Island, and they do sell out in advance. With almost a year and a half lead time before the trip, there is plenty of time to secure a flight. Once flight schedules have been announced, National Parks at Night will email you with recommended connecting flights from Santiago to Easter Island. You should book your flights as soon as possible to ensure the best connections.
Food & Lodging
The workshop will be based at the Taha Tai hotel on Easter Island. The Taha Tai is close to the ocean, has a pool, and is a 5-minute drive from the airport and a 5-minute walk from the center of town. The hotel offers standard rooms and slightly larger and nicer bungalows. Breakfasts at the hotel are included.
All dinners are included during our time on Easter Island. We will have a Rapa Nui-style picnic at one of the Moai sites on our first night, and dinner at a different restaurant every other night. Three lunches are also included: two packed lunches and one sit-down meal at a restaurant. All other lunches are not included.
The climate of Easter Island is warm and humid. It will be high summer when we are there, which means temperatures ranging from 66 to 78 F on average, although it may be as high as 90. It rains frequently, with 3 inches of rain in January, the driest month of the year. The ocean water temperature is comparable to the air temperature, and therefore perfect for swimming.
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 casual, but a couple of 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 a 10-mile 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 workshops.
If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.
Looking forward to a return ...
If you considered our first Easter Island trip last year, and read the story about how that trip came to be, you may recall that it took a long time for all of the pieces to fall into place. Let me rephrase that––it took a long time to force all of the square pegs we had into the round holes that presented themselves. It was a monumental task, but boy, was it worth it.
As it turned out, we had a great experience with minimal hiccups, and found a great local tour company to partner with. Marc Shields of Green Island Tours already had some nighttime access to Rapa Nui National Park, and had been leading some stargazing and astronomy programs for his own clients, but was interested in doing an astrophotography events as well. When came across his website last year, I’d been close to giving up on the possibility of running the trip. We seemed to have a good rapport, and he was confident he could get us the access we needed.
Here we are a year later on the heels of a successful first trip, with plans in place to make it even better this time.
One of the unexpected bonuses of this ongoing adventure was making new friends along the way. I made a great connection with Marc, and know that we will be friends as well as colleagues going forward. It was one of Marc’s employees, a charming young Rapa Nui named Toke Rau (pronounced toe-kay), who was pretty much everyone’s favorite person that we met there. Toke is one of those people whose spirit just continuously emits positive energy, and no one was impervious to it. Toke had even planned to give me some surfing lessons, but the waves didn’t cooperate. I’m going to make sure that it happens on this next visit.