The dates of this workshop were carefully planned to offer the
participants an amazing experience. Here are some of the
reasons why I chose these dates and this park
- Partial Solar Eclipse around 2pm during the 1st day (Oct 23)
- Starts around the Peak of the Orionid meteor showers
- New moon allows for a very dark desert sky
- Early sunset allows us to start shooting earlier
- Perfect average daytime temperature of 78 degrees
- Perfect average nighttime temperature of around 58 degrees
- Shooting locations that go beyond the word beautiful.
This 4-day advanced motion-control timelapse photography
workshop is the ultimate way to bring your timelapse photography
skills to the next level! In this 4-day workshop you'll learn how to
best capture day to night sequences using a variety of techniques
including the Holy Grail method, bulb ramping, and bracketing;
how to use motion control sliders and pan & tilt heads from
Dynamic Perception and eMotimo to add 1, 2, and 3-axis movements
to your timelapses; how to post-process your images using Adobe
After Effects, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, and LRTimelapse;
tips & tricks to save a tiemlapse gone bad; where to find music to
add to your productions; and a post-production editing workflow to
help you turn your individual timelapse sequences into a
professional quality promo film.
We'll have on hand at least 3 Dynamic Percpetion Stage One dollies
for the group to use and share, along with 3 or 4 eMotimo Pan & Tilt
motion control heads. Attendees are also welcome to bring their
own dollies and motion- control gear, but please keep in mind that
you'll need to carry your gear to each shoot location - and wheeled
carries are not allowed in most of the park.
All Timelapse Workshops include in-class training as well as lots of time learning and shooting out in the field. This four-day workshop is open to photographers and cinematographers with a basic understanding of how to capture timelapses using your dSLR. During the workshop you'll learn what settings to use to capture flicker-free sequences; how to best set up and compose your shots when using motion control gear; how to find shooting destinations from your computer or tablet; how to pre-scout your shoot; and how to determine the location of sunrises, sunsets, moonrises, moonsets, as well as night-sky features - months or years ahead of time.
The workshop also falls near the peak of the Orionid Meteor Showers that should be spectacular this year due to the new moon. During the first day of the workshop there will also be a partial solar eclipse.
Valley of Fire State Park
I first visited Valley of Fire State Park in 2012 and instantly fell in love with it. The only problem for a night-sky photographer like myself is that the park closes at sunset. As part of this workshop we'll have a permit to
stay in the park long after everyone leaves - giving us breathtaking views of the night sky with beautiful foregrounds to help frame our timelapases.
Valley of Fire State Park, located in the Mojave desert of Nevada, is one of the most beautiful parks you have ever seen. What makes this location so incredible for photographers is the varied landscapes within the park - ranging from multi-color rainbow rocks and vistas, rock arch formations, old rock cabins, petrified logs, as well as slot canyons. Located in Overton, NV - Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest state park in Nevada.
What is amazing to me is that Valley of Fire is not well known to most tourists, yet the park is a short one hour drive from Las Vegas, NV making it very accessible and affordable for workshop participants.
Ron personally chose this location and these dates due to the incredible red-rock landscape foregrounds
and perfect dry desert weather. The dates of this workshop also fall just after the new moon, allowing participants the ability to capture the beautiful landscape by moonlight for a an hour or two before the moon sets to give us dark enough skies to capture stunning Milky Way time-lapses. By visiting in October we escape the blazing heat and will enjoy average high temperatures around 80 degrees and average low temperatures around 55-60 degrees - just perfect!
What We'll Be Covering at this Advanced 4-Day Workshop
This workshop was designed for photographers and cinematographers looking to take their timelapse skills to the next level. This is an extensive 4-day workshop that combines daily class time with a ton of on-location shooting. You'll learn various methods of capturing flicker-free day-to-night sequences; how to move the camera during a timelapse using motion control rigs from eMotimo and Dynamic Perception; how to use ND Filters effectively to control the overall feel of your timelapses; capturing HDR timelapses to capture more detail and dynamic range; and how to create professional level sequences in post using Adobe Lightroom, LRTimelapse, Adobe Photoshop, and After Effects.
Where will the workshop be held?
Home base for this workshop will be The North Shore Inn, located in Overton, NV - just 20 minutes from the park. Classroom instruction will be held at the hotel each morning before heading out for instruction and shooting in the field. The North Shore Inn offers affordable room rates starting at just $84.95 / night.
Do I Need a Special Camera?
This workshop is designed to teach you the skills needed to take breathtaking timelapses with a digital SLR
or equivelent camera with manual controls and high ISO sensitivity. If your digital SLR is older (4 years+) you'll have a more difficult time capturing the night sky sequences since the sensor in these models are less light sensitive. For this advanced workshop you will need to bring is a remote timer (intervalometer) that attaches to your camera and a lightweight, but sturdy, tripod. If you own a motion control head or dolly, you are more than welcome to bring it to the workshop. Just remember to keep it light, as wheeled dollies do not roll on rugged and sandy terrain.
What Should I Bring?
Camera and lens (Required)
The reason this workshop requires a digital SLR or equivalent is because these camera types provide the ability to keep the shutter of the camera open long enough to capture the night sky (15-30 seconds or longer), and offer increased low-light sensitivity thanks to their larger sensors, compared to most compact camera models.
Most digital SLR's today come packaged with a kit lens that offers a wide-angle f-stop rating of f/3.5. This should work fine if that's what you own. If you have a faster lens (f/2.8 or f/1.8) definitely bring it along as lower f-stops allow more light to pass through to the camera's sensor. I will have a few faster lenses with me (f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2.8) that will be available in rotation to those that want to give them a try. Wide-angle lenses are preferred for timelapse and night-sky timelapse capture, but you should also bring along other mid
Timelapse photography requires that the camera doesn't move between shots, and since timelapses often take 20 minutes (day light) to 4 hours (night sky) to capture, a tripod is required to keep the camera stable during each exposure. While any tripod is better than none, a heavier tripod will reduce or eliminate the effects that wind and vibrations will have on the camera during the capture period.
An intervalometer is a small external remote control that connects to your camera to take control of firing the camera at an interval we program into it. Most camera manufacturers have these available to purchase (usually around $130), but you can also find very affordable 3rd party intervalometers ranging in price from
$14-$35 on sites such as Amazon and B&H Photo. The motion-control dollies have built-in intervalometers and I will have some extra intervalomters on hand. If you pick one up for your camera make sure to get one that has a connector compatible with your camera model. If you are unsure please feel free to email me information about your camera so that I can assist.
Memory Cards (Required)
With time-lapse photography we will be taking hundreds of still frames for each timelapse you capture, which will later be combined into a time-lapse movie. To capture the best quality frames I recommend shooting in RAW. Because of this I highly recommend cards that are 32GB or larger. Memory cards are more
affordable than ever and larger cards will reduce or eliminate the need to swap memory cards during time-lapse capture. I also recommend cards that are rated as Class 10 (SDHC or SDXC cards) or that have a write speed of at least 133x (CompactFlash cards). Most new camera models except SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory cards, while many professional models use either SDXC or CompactFlash memory cards.
Hard Drive Space (Required)
Since we'll be shooting in RAW mode, 32GB cards will fill up quickly, often in just one or two evenings.
These images then need to be transferred to your notebook for post processing, so you should make
sure you have at least 250GB free on your notebook or external hard drive in order to copy over the still frames and assemble your timelapse sequences. This will then allow you to free up your memory cards
for next day's shoot.
Extra Camera Batteries & Battery Charger (Required)
At least two batteries for your camera should do the trick. Since time-lapses are captured without the use
of auto focus your camera should not have a problem capturing over 500 frames per charge. My Canon
EOS 60D, 5D Mark II and Mark II will capture over 700 frames per charge under the temperatures that we will be shooting in. When assessing battery life it's important to keep in mind that off-brand batteries usually do not offer the same battery life as the manufacturer batteries - despite the claims / ratings.
Notebook Computer (Highly Recommended)
In this workshop you'll learn how to streamline your post
production workflow by using various software applications
to produce your final time-lapses. Having a notebook
computer will allow you to assemble your time-lapse
sequences while we help guide you through the process.
About a month prior to the workshop students will receive a
list of recommended software titles to install on their
notebooks. Most, if not all of these titles, are available as
30-day trial versions, some are free.
Flashlight with Red filter or Red LED option (Highly Recommended)
In order to truly appreciate the night sky our eyes need about 20 minutes to adjust (dilate) to the darkness.
We will use traditional flashlights when walking in the dark, but will request everyone to switch their white
lights off once night fall is upon us. Only Red, low power flashlights, will be used by us once we start
shooting, and I will bring some red gels that you'll be able to place over your standard flashlight.
A well rested YOU! (Recommended)
This may be the hardest thing of all to bring. Is it me or does it seem like we never get a chance to breathe? This 4-day workshop features long days, but with plenty of time to relax and catch a breath - while your
camera is shooting. Most days will start with a few hours of class time before heading out to our shoot location. Most of our shoot locations will be short hikes of less than 1 mile (many .25 to .50 mile) in each direction, but there may be a hike or two that are slightly longer. Please know your ability before signing up
for the workshop. The hikes in Valley of Fire State Park are not as steep as hiking in more mountainous
areas, but there will be sand and rock, which makes for trickier walks. We'll also be doing part of our hiking
at night using flashlights or headlamps.
What Should I Wear?
Average daytime temperatures in the Valley of Fire in mid October is around 78 degrees (perfect!) with average low temperatures around 50 degrees. Since much of our shooting will take place in the late afternoon and evening I definitely recommend bringing layers with jackets and/or sweatshirts a likely must
at night. Comfortable mid hiking boots are also recommended as we'll be doing short hikes to get to the
areas where we will be setting up to shoot. Most of the trails are fairly flat with rocky and sandy terrain.
The Valley of Fire, on average, receives very little rain in October (.5" the entire month), but it does rain
there. When shooting time-lapses it is always recommended to have an inexpensive camera rain cover
in your bag. Op/Tech sells rain sleeves for around $6 (two-pack) which cover both the camera and the
lens. These can also come in handy for protecting against dust and sand.
Transportation To the Park
We will car pool to and from the park each afternoon in order
to keep our vehicles to a minimum. The park restricts the
amount of vehicles we can have after hours. Four wheel
drive vehicles are not required at all for this workshop.
Purchasing travel insurance is highly recommendeded to
protect yourself against unforeseen cirumstances that might
prevent your attendance. It is recommended to get a plan that
offers coverage for medical / dental expenses, emergency
evacuations, lost baggage and belongings, missed
connections, and trip cancellation.
Timelapse Workshops is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies or reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.
First and foremost our goal at the workshops is your safety, however Timelapse Workshops, its instructors or assistants have no control over and cannot be liable for an individuals health issues, personal injuries, or damage to photographic gear as a result of an accident during the workshop. Each workshop participant will be required to sign a workshop waiver that releases the workshop and its assistants and instructors from liability.
Valley of Fire State Park