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Timelapse: Moab

Timelapse: Moab is 4-day advanced workshop designed to teach you the skills needed to capture the night sky.  The workshop will be held from October 3-6th, 2013 in Arches National Park, and is centered around the dates of a new moon, giving you access to the most incredible night sky you have ever seen.  This workshop will be limited to 12 participants in order to give each student plenty of personal attention.

Four-Day Advanced Moab DSLR Time-lapse Workshop (October 3-6, 2013)

The ultimate night-sky time-lapse workshop!  In this advanced four day workshop you'll learn how to best capture day to night transitions, create flicker-free time-lapses, dark-sky star-lapses, and how to use motion-controlled heads and dollies to bring your time-lapses to the next level.    This workshop includes in-class training, but with a heavy focus on hands-on instruction out in the field.

This four-day workshop is open to photographers and cinematographers of all skill levels. 


Moab, Utah is home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park and is located just 90 minutes from Grand Junction, CO or a four hour drive from Salt Lake City.   The drive from Salt Lake City doesn't feel nearly as long as it sounds thanks to the open road.  Workshop instructor Ron Risman chose this location due to the incredible red-rock landscape, dry desert weather, and extremely dark skies.  The dates of this workshop also correspond to the new moon, allowing participants the ability to capture stunning Milky Way time-lapses using their digital SLR and an external intervalometer.

Those attending Timelapse Moab will learn:


How to set up your dSLR to shoot time-lapses; how to eliminate flicker in your time-lapses; how to location scout before arriving to a given destination; why and when to 'drag the shutter' when capturing time-lapse; how to choose aperture, interval, ISO, and exposure to get the results you want; how to use motion-control dollies & heads to take your time-lapses to the next level; how interval & exposure changes can affect the overall feel and pacing of your time-lapse; JPEG & RAW Workflow techniques using a variety of inexpensive and professional software; and more.

Do I Need a Special Camera?

This workshop is designed to teach you the skills needed to take breathtaking time-lapses with a digital SLR or compact systems camera (mirrorless / Micro Four-Thirds).  As long as a remote timer (intervalometer) can be attached to one of the camera types mentioned above you already have a camera that is capable of capturing the night sky.  If you are not sure what an intervalometer is or do not know if your camera can connect to one please send me an email with your camera model and I'll gladly research it for you.

Intervalometers can be purchased online at various retailers such as B&H Photo,, Hunt's Photo & Video, Adorama, and more.   I will also have a few extra intervalometers on hand for a variety of camera brands.

What Should I Bring?

Camera and lens  (Required)

The reason this workshop requires a digital SLR or Mirror-

less camera 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).

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.

Tripod (Required)

Night photography requires the use of long exposures and 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 an exposure.

Intervalometer (Recommended)    
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 that will later be combined into a time-lapse movie sequence.  To capture the best quality frames I recommend shooting in RAW (or at least Fine JPEG).  Because of this I highly recommend cards that are 16GB 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 6 or higher (Class 6 or Class 10) or that have a write speed of at least 133x.   


Hard Drive Space (Required)

Since we'll be shooting in RAW mode, 16GB cards will fill up quickly, often in just one evening.  These images then need to be transferred to your notebook for post processing.  Make sure you have at least 250GB free on your notebook or external hard drive in order to store 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.

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 - under the stars.   We'll start each day at 11:00 a.m., with a break for "Linner" around 3:30 p.m..  We'll then head out to the park to set up for that evening's shoot under the dark sky of Moab.    Once our camera's are set up to capture the night sky we can all relax and hangout under the stars - getting some much needed time to breathe.   We will likely grab some sandwiches and snacks to bring with us for our nights under the stars. 

​What Should I Wear?

Average temperature in Moab during early October is around 78-degrees (perfect!) with average low temperatures around 45-50 degrees.   Since much of our shooting with take place after sunset I definitely recommend a jacket and/or sweatshirt. Comfortable hiking boots are also recommended as we'll be doing a little walking to get to the areas where we will be setting up to shoot.   Most of the trails are fairly flat with gravel paths.  Dressing in layer's is highly recommended as this is a desert climate with warm days and cool nights. Temperatures usually hit their lowest point right before sunrise, so I do not expect temperatures in the 40's during shooting - but I would still come prepared for that.

Moab receives very little rain, but it does rain there.   Moab, on average, receives about an inch of rain in the entire month of October.   That happens here in New England often in just one rain storm.   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.

Intimate Night Sky

4-Day Timelapse Workshop: $1495

* Lodging discount available

Timelapse Moab


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