Nightscapes and Startrails Astrophotography Workshop

A photograph of a starry night sky with a house and tree below


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Do you stand outside at night, look up at the stars and dream of capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Milky Way? If you’re in possession of a DSLR camera, a tripod, warm clothes, and a sense of adventure, then your dream can come true!

Join expert astrophotographer and tutor, Joe Cali, with his more than 40 years’ experience in astronomy and astrophotography for this hands-on workshop focusing on creating nightscapes. Together with fellow astro-enthusiasts, you’ll learn how to compose and capture after-dark landscapes and skyscapes, explore practical aspects of night shoots, such as scouting locations, forecasting clear skies and staying comfortable during long shoots, and experiment with capturing striking stills, star trails and panoramas. During long exposures, you’ll no doubt also have lots of opportunity to discuss the wonder of the galaxy.

The workshop comprises three 1.5 hour zoom briefing sessions covering many preparatory aspects and skills prior to a Saturday night field trip (1 1/4 hour drive each way) in the region around Boorowa. The field trip is scheduled for Saturday 6 April, but please note that it’s always possible that the weather may spoil our plans and we may need to delay it to the following weekend (April 13). We’ll only be able to give you 24-48 hours’ notice if it’s re-scheduled due to weather so stay flexible. Shoots in partly cloudy skies are possible, clouds can add atmosphere to an image.

Course Description

Arrive in Boorowa before dark. We encourage you to book and check in to some accommodation in Boorowa (not included) so you are not driving home tired after the session. Meet at a local café and have some dinner with your tutor and other participants and then we head out for a shoot around the area. Be prepared for hours outside at low temperatures. The climate in Boorowa is milder than Canberra, over night minimum temperatures range from 4oC to 13oC in April. Be warned, spending substantial time outside at night requires much much warmer clothing than a quick dash from a house to the car. Bring much warmer clothing than you think you will need. For this workshop, you must have basic to intermediate photography skills, including a good working knowledge of your camera controls and any associated equipment. If you’re not sure about your skill level or whether your camera equipment is suitable, please contact us in advance of booking to discuss.

Weather Warning!

Astrophotography is dependant on clear skies and, unfortunately, controlling the weather is beyond our capability. The workshop field trip is scheduled for Saturday, 6 April, but in the event of cloud we may need to postpone this session. We’ll give you 24-48 hours notice if the field trip needs to be re-scheduled to the alternate date of April 13-14.

What to bring

You’ll need to bring:

    • a DSLR camera, with charged batteries and memory card/s;
    • a solid tripod;
    • a cable release, intervalometer* or app to remotely control your shutter;
    • a red torch** (not a head torch or mobile phone).
    • Really warm clothes

* We recommend that you purchase an intervalometer, which costs less than $30 on Ebay ( Please make sure to purchase the cable adaptor/connector appropriate to your brand and model of camera.

** Red cellophane held over a white torch by elastic bands works fine.

You’ll be shooting outside in early Autumn, so you’ll need to dress very warmly! You may also be working alongside country roads at night, so a Hi-Vis outer layer is recommended. There will be some Hi-Vis vests available for loan.

What will be provided

For the classroom session, you will need a computer and connection capable of running zoom. Comprehensive notes in PDF format can be downloaded from Joe’s website. You will be given the URL & password after registration prior to the first class.

Date & Time

Nightscapes and Startrails Astrophotography Workshop will run over five sessions:

Thursday, 21 March, 7:30 – 9 pm on Zoom

Tuesday, 26 March, 7:30 – 9 pm on Zoom

Wednesday, 4 April, 7 – 9 pm on Zoom

Saturday-Sunday, 6-7 April (Field Trip) (alternative date of 13-14 April, dependant on weather)

Wednesday, 23 April, 7 – 9 pm on Zoom

The Fine Print

Enrolments for this workshop close at 12pm on Friday, March 15th, 2024. As a not-for-profit, our financial margins are narrow and classes require a minimum number of participants to run. In the event that PhotoAccess cancels a workshop, refunds will be paid in full or a transfer allowed free of charge. If a class is postponed, we will endeavour to reschedule at a time convenient to enrolled participants.

PhotoAccess will happily refund or transfer workshop fees up to 7 days prior to the start date of the workshop. If less than 7 days’ notice is given, PhotoAccess can offer a partial refund. Alternatively, enrolment can transfer to another workshop plus a $50 transfer fee. If less than 48 hours are given, no refunds or transfers can be given. Please note that memberships purchased in conjunction with a workshop enrolment are non-refundable. See Terms and Conditions for further details.