Joshua Tree at Night Twentynine Palms, California

4/15/2018 - 4/20/2018

This six-day, five-night photography workshop in Joshua Tree National Park will take place between the New moon and First Quarter phase of the moon, which means dark skies with an increasing amount of moonlight during the workshop. This is ideal for photographing the Milky Way, which rises above the horizon late each night. The temperature will be moderated by the season, with daytime temperatures in the upper 80s, and nighttime lows in the low 50s.

Topics covered will include exposure, composition, light painting and controlling the ratio between ambient and added light. Techniques and inspiration will be constantly discussed, demonstrated and put into practice. We hope to push you to step outside your comfort zone—to test the limits of what you and your camera can do. Special emphasis will be placed on developing your own personal night vision

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

Locations may include Keys Ranch ruins, Arch Rock, the Cholla Cactus Garden, Ryan Ranch ruins, Hidden Valley, and of course Joshua trees! We may also venture outside the park one night to photograph some of the many interesting sites in the area. Discoveries await.

This class is for those looking to expand their photographic horizons, recharge their creative batteries and share ideas with friends and colleagues. We will create individual goals for each participant, and encourage you to blur the lines between night and day, consider why you photograph at night, and challenge you to make unique images that have deep personal meaning. Collaboration is a great way to make new discoveries and new friends, and will be a part of the experience. Working through image ideas and lighting together is a fun and rewarding process, and can give you that kick in the pants you’ve been looking for.

The workshop is intended for people who are comfortable with their equipment and with capturing RAW files in Manual exposure mode. Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this class challenging, stimulating and inspiring.

Prerequisites and topics:

  • 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.
  • You will go home from the workshop with a solid grasp of night photography in a dark-sky environment, and a good foundation in light painting techniques. Topics covered will include scouting and planning, composing and focusing in low light, light painting, and optimizing exposure for RAW capture and development with Lightroom.
  • Those with more experience are welcome, and we will offer guidance in the field if you mainly want to concentrate on creating portfolio images or more advanced techniques.


  • Demonstrations and image review will be conducted in Lightroom.
  • There will not be any long hikes, but you should be comfortable carrying your own equipment over uneven ground in the dark for distances up to a mile.

This workshop is limited to 12 students.


This workshop begins Sunday at noon and ends Friday at 4 p.m.

Tentative schedule for this workshop:

Sunday, 4/15

Workshop begins at 10 a.m.


Lecture: Night Sky



Light Painting 101



Scout / Night Shoot at Natural Bridges / Hovenweep

Monday, 4/16
Morning:Lecture: Processing the Night





Night Shoot at Natural Bridges / Hovenweep

Tuesday, 4/17
Morning:Lecture: Advanced Night Capture and Process





Night Shoot at Natural Bridges / Hovenweep

Wednesday, 4/18

Lecture: Taking your Night Visions to the Next Level





Night Shoot at Natutral Bridges / Hovenweep

Thursday, 4/19
Afternoon:Prep for Final Slideshow

Final Slideshow 

Group Dinner

Friday, 4/20
Afternoon:Prep for Final Slideshow

Final Slideshow 

Group Dinner


Meeting Space

This workshop will be held at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twentynine Palms. This workshop begins Sunday at noon and ends Friday at 4 p.m.


There is a room block set up at the 13-21 (8 nights). Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly. Be sure to indicate that you are with Rocky Mountain School of Photography.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Twentynine Palms
72535 Twentynine Palms Hwy
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
(760) 361-1000

Rates: Rooms have been blocked at the rate of $140 per night + tax (king bed). Room choices are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Cutoff Date: Be sure to make your reservations by March 21, 2018. After this date, reservations will be based on availability.

Cancellation Policy: Please check with the hotel for details.

RMSP is not responsible for cancellations due to medical or other emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets/hotel rooms in the event of a course cancellation. Please consider the purchase of trip/travel insurance.

There nearest airport to this workshop is the Palm Springs International Airport. To find out about carriers and flight schedules please visit the airport website.

Palm Springs International Airport
3400 E Tahquitz Canyon Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Transportation during the Workshop

You are responsible for your own transportation during the workshop. For transportation to and from field shoots, we suggest that you carpool to get to know fellow students.

Major car rental companies are available at the airports listed above. Please click on the links to the airport website for more information.


Any additional fees and/or supplies will be the responsibility of the participant. 


We want your experience at an RMSP workshop to be full of learning and fun. We recognize that preparation is one important key to success. The following is meant to be a packing aid, not a shopping list. If you have questions about what’s needed, please call Bob McGowan, our Student Services Associate, at 800-394-7677.

  • Digital SLR camera or interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera
  • For best results on this workshop Gabe recommends a CMOS sensor DSLR manufactured within the last 3 years.
  • You will want a camera that has the ability to shoot in RAW files, manual exposure mode, Bulb (B) setting for long exposures and the capability to use a remote shutter release.
  • If you are going to shoot film, Gabe recommends using Fuji Acros 100 B&W or Fuji Provia 100 Chrome; both films do not experience reciprocity failture for 2-3 minutes.
  • You’ll need at least one lens:
  • Fast and Wide angle lenses are best for Milky Way shots (14-24mm 2.8, 16-35mm 2.8, etc.)
  • Fast Fixed Focal lens or manual focus only lens by Zeiss or Sigma (14 2.8, 24 1.4, 21 2.8, etc.)
  • Normal Lens (35-70mm). The lenses that will best work at night will be those that have a distance scale / infinity marking on them
  • Sturdy and reliable tripod
  • Memory Card Reader
  • Flash drive
  • Cable release / wireless remote. Gabe recommends bringing two, in case one breaks. He recommends Wired Vello Shutterboss (make sure the shutterboss matches your model of camera) as a back-up.
  • Spare batteries for equipment (especially for your camera)
  • Extra memory card
  • Camera manual
  • Camera bag or backpack 
  • Lens shades for all lenses
  • Flashlights
  • 2 high power incandescent flashlights (40-200 lumens) and a simple maglite for finding things in your bag.
  •  Gabe and Matt both use Coast flashlights and love the HP5r and HP7r. Use the code parksatnight and save 25% off any purchase from
  • If you bring a headlamp please use it judiciously as you are bound to blind someone you are talking to. If you only find LED Flashlights, consider getting a 1/2 or 3/4 cut CTO Gel to warm up the color of your flashlight.
  • Dedicated Flash and flash cord
  • Filters (polarizer, split neutral density, neutral density)
  • Gray card
  • Professional air blower for sensor cleaning (eg. rocket blower)
  • Camera & lens cleaning supplies
  • Note taking materials
Optional Accessories (bring these if you have them)
  • Ground cloth, cushion or knee pads
  • Camera rain cover if your camera and lens are not water resistant
  • Personal Items:
    • Weatherproof clothing that can be layered underneath for warmth 
    • Sturdy footwear for walking on uneven ground or trails 
    • Light to medium jacket
    • Umbrella
    • Water bottle 
    • Snacks for between meals in the field
    • Travel alarm clock and wristwatch – or smartphone with an alarm
    • Knee pads
  • Tuition: $1,695
    Deposit: $300
    Possible Discounts:
    Friend of RMSP:$50
    Early Registration:$50
    if registered before 1/15/2018
    This course is past its starting date.


    Lance Keimig

    Lance Keimig is a Vermont-based photographer who is best known for night photography of the built environment. The second edition of his book, Night Photography- Finding Your Way In The Dark was published by Focal Press in July 2015, and has been translated into seven languages. Keimig is a partner in National Parks at Night, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving our national parks through photographic education. He has taught at the New England School of Photography in Boston since 2000, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and The Houston Center for Photography and leads independent workshops across the country, and international photo tours around the world.

    Gabe Biderman

    Gabriel Biderman has been exploring the night topography for over 20 years. Using film and digital, he blends the surreal look of the night to enhance historic and urban landscapes. Biderman’s work has been exhibited in NY, London, San Francisco, and Hawaii and he is the author of the recently released book Night Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots. To learn more about Gabriel visit



    What our students say...

    Russell Pfeiffer

    Drone Photography
    RMSP does a very thorough and professional job at providing the best education for your photography interests whether they be for hobbyist or professional reasons. If you are interested in photography...

    Audrey Schlote

    Natural Bridges at Night
    Matt and Gabe exude enthusiasm and genuinely try to help students get the best and most unique shots at each location. Then they make suggestions and teach techniques for bringing out the best through...

    Sue Bakkila

    Drone Photography
    Taking any course at RMSP is a way to grow, gain a fresh perspective, hone skills, and interact with people who are also willing to get up early or stay up late to chase that amazing light.

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