Q. What is Included in The Workshop?
A. The full workshop fee includes everything you need besides getting to and from the workshop location. 4-night accommodations, daily transfers to/from shooting locations, any entry tickets or fees for access, breakfast each morning, and dinner each night, as well as snacks, water, and soft drinks, and the most important part, all the training and instruction before, during and after the workshop.
Q. What is The Activity Level?
A. We chose our retreat location because of shooting opportunities nearby, but we’ll also take local transport for some of our shoots. We’re out shooting every night (starting at sunset and wrapping up around midnight), so workshop participants should be in decent health, wear comfortable shoes and clothing, be ready for some short 100-yard walks, and, of course, lots of standing while we’re shooting. (or, like me, bring a collapsible stool!). With all that said, we've had an 86-year-old participant in good health have a blast at one of these Milky Way workshops. You know your limits best, but we plan these events so anyone in decent health should be OK with participating in every activity.
Q. How Should I Dress?
A. We want you to be comfortable, so our dress code is very casual (Your instructors will be in t-shirts, jeans, and a light jacket occasionally). We schedule our workshops when the weather is generally warm, but often, it can get a little chilly at night, so bring at least a light jacket or coat for layers. As with any outdoor event, the weather is somewhat unpredictable, but we'll always find something to shoot. Again, Comfort is a must.
Q. What Do I Need To Bring?
A. A DSLR, Mirrorless, or Phone Camera with an Astrophotography Mode; a sturdy tripod with ballhead; wireless remote, cable release or timer delay; a wide-angle lens (24mm or wider); with a wide f-stop. f/2.8 or wider is preferred. For the post-processing segments, you’ll need a laptop with either Lightroom or Photoshop (or, like me, both). If you need to rent gear, we recommend http://www.lensprotogo.com or http://lensrentals.com - also, this gear topic will be covered in more detail in our first Zoom session 30 days out.
If you want to bring light painting lights, an astrophotography tracker, an Astro-modified camera or filters, light pollution filters, or basically anything beyond the basics, feel free, but it is not required. We will have tons of gear for you to try out when we get to certain sections of the week.
Q. What Is The Private Room Thing?
A. Your fee includes a double occupancy room (so you have a roommate) unless you take the option of taking the private room upgrade. However, you will be lodging with our group in a private retreat, not a hotel, so it's a very relaxed environment. You can even shoot the Milky Way right off the porch!
Q. What Level of Experience is Required?
A. All experience levels are welcome, but participants should be familiar with their camera gear and have some experience in either Lightroom or Photoshop or an equivalent product. (but I'll probably sell you on Lightroom and Photoshop by the end of the week) Avoid the urge to rush out and buy a new camera for the workshop because you’ll spend a lot of time learning to do what you already know how to do with your current camera. We'll discuss gear on our first Zoom meeting, and I'm always a proponent of renting gear for a workshop if we discover you might not have the ideal gear for a night photography workshop. Bottom line, don't worry, we're here to help!
Q. Are there other expenses I will need to cover?
A. Everyday lunch is on your own, but I doubt you'll need it. Seriously, the breakfast and dinners are so good that you'll be too full for lunch, and we'll have snacks to tie you over. Outside of getting back and forth from the airport, we don’t anticipate any additional major costs. We pick up all costs if there are fees or tickets for entrances, permits, or other location fees. Also, we cover local transportation to our shoots (A luxury motorcoach), but if you do want to rent a car, just let us know beforehand so we can coordinate with you.
Q. Can I Bring My Spouse?
A. Your spouse can join you if you upgrade to a private room. However, you must upgrade with the Spouse fee if they want to join us for breakfast and dinner and our nightly outings. The Spouse fee does not include the training session, zoom session, post-training, one-on-one instruction, and teaching at the Ranch. We have to limit that to the photography participants for logistical reasons.
We can't have spouses in the classroom because it messes with the group's chemistry. We've tried it, and it changes the group dynamic if they're not participating in the full workshop.
Q. Where should I fly in for the Milky Way Masterclass Retreat?
A. The best airport is Rapid City Regional Airport. There are major airlines that connect into Rapid City, and it's a stone's throw away from the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands. With that said, we have had attendees make a trip of it and fly into Denver or drive up, using it as an excuse to adventure a bit. Either way, you will likely have to fly a connecting flight, but we don't officially kick off until 3 pm on the first day, so there's usually plenty of time to get to the Badlands. We've even had a few attendees over the years have to arrive at dinner time, and we were able to catch them up quickly.
Q. What Are My Transportation Options For Getting To And From The Retreat?
A. In most cases, there are airport shuttles and car services to/from for an additional fee. You can book them ahead of time to save on costs, or you can rent a car as well if you're going to explore. If you are going to rent a car or would prefer to drive your own car to and from shoots, let us know beforehand so we can coordinate with you. Also, if you are arriving the day before and would like to coordinate travel from Rapid City to the Badlands, just contact our team with the form below and we can coodinate with you.
Q. What Is The Refund Policy?
A. If you have to cancel the workshop, and we can fill your spot 30 days before the workshop, the entire workshop fee is refundable, minus the fees we are charged by our Merchant Services company, usually around 3%. If we cannot fill your spot, your workshop fee is non-refundable. No refunds will be available if you cancel within 30 days of the workshop.
Q. What If I Have Questions That Aren’t Answered Here?
Just contact us on the form below...