Star Trail Photography Workshop

3 Days - Cottonwood, AZ
Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2020
Activity Level
Skill Level


Registration deadline: January 20, 2020

This workshop is for the intermediate to the advanced photographer who already has the essential skills required for night photography (operating camera in the dark, focusing at night, calculating exposures, etc.), this workshop will take you to the next level. We will review the techniques and methods for shooting star trails and discuss compositions before heading into the field each night to set up for shooting a two to three-hour series of short star trail exposures to be stacked, blended, and processed the next day. If desired, participants can bring a second setup (tripod/camera/lens) to shoot other night landscapes while the first camera is shooting the star trails.


We will spend the time in the classroom on Saturday and Sunday learning how to set the proper exposure, stack star trail images in Photoshop, Lightroom and other software,  add special effects to an image, and practicing post-processing to create the final images. You will come away from the workshop with great images and a deeper understanding of the components needed for successful night photography.


The objective of this class is to focus on shooting multiple short exposures of stars to stack in post-processing to create dramatic star trail images. The entire process from pre-shoot planning to finished image will be covered so that students will have a final product to take home as well as an understanding of how to do it themselves.  We will have two nights of shooting to be sure students get the images they need in the event that one night has poor weather, or if the student’s first attempt is not entirely successful.


Required equipment:

  • DSLR or mirrorless camera with Bulb mode
  • Fast, wide lens
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Intervalometer (not just a simple cable release)
  • Folding chair


Workshop includes:

  • Classroom and field instruction shooting star trails
  • Two nights lodging based on double occupancy
  • Water, snacks and two picnic dinners
  • Transportation to shooting locations (participants must meet in Cottonwood)
  • Entrance and permit fees
  • Post-workshop critique

Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change. Each day we will determine which locations are best based on lighting and weather conditions. We want to give you the best photo opportunities.


Day 1 – Friday, February 28, 2020

  • Group will meet in the conference room at 1:00 pm for introductions and initial instruction on planning a star trail shoot, exposure settings and how to determine them, and use of an intervalometer.
  • Depart for Jerome, choose the composition, and set up. Picnic dinner in the field. The shooting sequence will last until about 10:00 pm.

Day 2 – Saturday, February 29, 2020

  • The group will reconvene at 10:30 am in the conference room for in-depth study and application of image stacking and other special considerations for post-processing night images.
  • Break for lunch
  • The group will depart at 5 pm for our night shooting location. We will bring a picnic dinner in the field
  • Our shooting sequence will end at 10:00 pm

Day 3 – Sunday, March 1, 2020

  • Our last morning we will meet in the conference room at 9:00 am.  Students should bring their laptops with the downloaded RAW images from the previous night. Students will repeat the process for stacking and processing the images with guidance.
  • The workshop will conclude at noon.


Physical Activity Level:   Moderate

The field sessions will be easily accessible but participants must be comfortable and confident maneuvering in the dark.  Night time shooting in the high desert / low mountain areas can be very cold so participants should come prepared for temperatures that may range from the low’s in the high 30’s at night to the low 70’s during the day.

Workshop Lodging:


Best Western Cottonwood Inn
993 S Main St
Cottonwood, AZ 86326


The workshop includes two-nights lodging based on double occupancy at the Best Western Cottonwood Inn.  A courtesy block of rooms is available for preworkshop lodging for the night of February 27th.  These reservations must be made by contacting the hotel directly.

Beth Ruggiero-York
Tina Litteral
Photo Guide
Lisa Hanard
Photo Guide
There are a number of reputable companies who provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.comor contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20


CANCELLATION POLICY: – Effective April 1, 2019


Should you find it necessary to cancel your workshop, the following cancellation policy applies – NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • 91 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $100
  • 90 days full payment is due
  • 61-90 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less $100 administrative fee.  Voucher is good for 18 months.
  • * 60 days or less until departure – No refund.

* If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less $100 administrative fee.

NOTE:  Workshop bookings including, but not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging and more are requiring firm financial commitments at 90 days.  Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can some time be unavoidable that is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.

Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel any workshop if our minimum student enrollment is not met. In the event AHPS cancels a workshop, participants will be given the option to reschedule to a later date or receive a full refund for the workshop components booked directly with AHPS.  Please Note: we are not liable for the additional expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations or any other components booked outside of the workshop.

PAYMENT TERMS:  A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space.  Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit.  Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure.  Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.