Atlas Obscura is joining forces with National Parks at Night to offer you a one-of-a-kind night photography workshop under the full moon in the early spring desert. Accompanied by two expert photography instructors, we’ll journey deep into the desert of Southern California to explore and photograph the Dark Sky Sculptural Oasis of Borrego Springs, one of 16 International Dark Sky Communities—a town with zero stoplights and where stargazing is practically a nightly ritual. Cameras in hand, we’ll explore the more than 130 towering desert sculptures surrounding the town, a number of which pay tribute to prehistoric creatures that once roamed this same desert. The waxing moon will illuminate the landscape each night, providing the perfect backdrop to light paint the desert beasts. During the day we'll learn about night photo techniques, light painting, and post-processing. At night we’ll allow ourselves to be transported back in time—outfitted with 21st-century lenses—by the mesmerizing glow of moonlight on the rapidly awakening desert landscape.
You'll need your own means of transport for this workshop. We recommend that you arrive in the afternoon or evening the day before the trip begins to give yourself time to join Lance and Chris for dinner and settle in before the workshop begins on Day 1 at 10 a.m. As for the workshop's conclusion, you should plan to depart after dinner on Day 4. If you'd prefer to drive out the next day, you can extend your reservation another night.
Keep in mind that this workshop is fairly active. You should feel comfortable remaining outside and on your feet for long periods of time, especially after dark. We will often be walking on desert sand, dirt paths, and other uneven ground.
Our group will be staying at the Palm Canyon Hotel and Resort in Borrego Springs. Members of our group will receive a 10 percent discount. In addition to hotel rooms, the property offers Airstream and vintage trailer rentals, as well as RV hookups and campsites, a pool, and a fitness room. Our daily meeting room is at the hotel. Information on how to book your accommodations will be sent after you sign up.
Workshop 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. Night photography experience is not necessary, but even folks with extensive experience shooting at night will find this class challenging, stimulating, and inspiring.
You will need to bring a DSLR/mirrorless camera, a wide and fast lens, and a tripod. A full list of recommended gear will be provided once you sign up!
Borrego Springs is toasty during the day, with a high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so daytime hours will be spent largely in class, editing, resting, and swimming. At night, the temperature drops to 50 degrees, so be sure to bring a jacket and hat for our desert outings.