Recapture Pocket & VOTGs - May 26-28 - miketaylorphoto
Recapture Pocket

Recapture Pocket & Valley of the Gods - May 26-28 2019

Night Sky • 3 Day Workshop


Please read our Mission Statement for info regarding Mike's teaching style.

Visit the General Overview & Itinerary Info page for more information about gear specifics, clothing, weather, etc.


While no knowledge of night photography techniques is required for this workshop, please understand this is not a Photo 101 class - you should have a decent working knowledge of your camera gear and how the Exposure Triangle (aperture, shutter speed & ISO) works. Please contact us with any questions or concerns BEFORE signing up for this workshop. Thanks.

This workshop has been planned around the New Moon cycle to maximize the visibility of the Milky Way and other features of the night sky. Join us for three days of night sky shooting & image processing in the Bluff, Utah area where we will visit 2 fantastic local spots for night sky photography: Recapture Pocket and Valley of the Gods. Recapture Pocket is a rarely photographed area of desert badlands that consists of crazy rock formations and hoodoos of all shapes and sizes. Valley of the Gods is a gorgeous sandstone valley of red-rock formations that is typically referred to as a smaller version of the well known Monument Valley. Valley of the Gods features a 17-mile dirt road that winds through stunning Cedar Mesa sandstone formations nicknamed by the locals as Rooster Butte, Setting Hen Butte, and Balanced Rock/Lady in a Tub.

Both Recapture Pocket and Valley of the Gods have little light pollution and are a couple of our favorite places to view and capture the night sky. Nearby attractions and photographic opportunities are plentiful in this area and include Mexican Hat Rock and Alhambra Rock, Goosenecks State Park, the Moki Dugway, Muley Point, the Seventeen Room Ruin, Twin Rocks and Monument Valley.

In late May the sun sets around 8:45PM. The Milky Way begins to rise around 10:30PM and appears as an arc in the sky. We will be set up & shooting before then and for 4 hours each night. Classroom time will begin at 2PM each day and end around 6:30PM for a long dinner break before we head out to shoot the night sky. You will have a few hours to relax, explore, shoot sunset if you choose, etc.

This is a comprehensive workshop that will consist of 2 nights and 3 days - approximately 8 hours of in the field photography and 10+ hours of classroom tutorials & processing time. Check out our Processing page for some examples of what we will be covering in class.

Proposed Itinerary*:

May 26: Late afternoon meet and greet, discuss camera settings and features of the night sky - in the field photography 10PM - 2AM

May 27: 2PM - 6:30PM classroom instruction & image processing - in the field photography 10PM - 2AM

May 28: 2PM - 6:30PM classroom instruction & image processing

*We will talk with all participants regarding itinerary changes depending on weather conditions & forecast


In The Field Photography: We will be covering the entire skill set of shooting at night including the techniques involved in taking very long exposures for foregrounds to blend with sky shots and how to actively & statically use lighting to illuminate landscape features. We will also be covering the process of shooting horizontal & vertical panoramas as time permits. Mike and Sonia will help each participant with composition, lighting, troubleshooting, etc.

Classroom Instruction: Our classroom time will mainly consist of processing tutorials and techniques via Lightroom & Photoshop and some of our favorite plug-ins to create remarkable images. Bring your laptop with Lightroom and Photoshop installed to learn techniques for processing in the digital darkroom. We will cover Mike's entire digital darkroom workflow from RAW file to finished image - from the basics of adjusting highlights & shadows, white & black levels, contrast, clarity, noise reduction, color balance, sharpening, lens corrections, graduated & radial filters, etc. to the more advanced techniques involved in layering, masking, and transforming. We will also go through detailed instructions regarding the capturing & processing of images featuring exposure blending, horizontal & vertical panoramas and star trails images as time allows. Mike will work with each participant on their images as we progress. Check out our Processing page for examples. The planning and scouting of night sky shoots, including the apps that are instrumental for reconnaissance, will be covered as well.

Home Base: Our home base for this workshop is the fantastic Desert Rose Inn & Cabins resort in Bluff, Utah where we have reserved a block of rooms at a reduced rate. To reserve your room, call 888-475-7673 and tell them you are with the Mike Taylor Recapture Pocket & Valley of the Gods Photography Workshop in May 2019. You are of course free to stay anywhere in the area.

We have reserved the conference room at the Desert Rose for all our classroom and meeting needs. Lodging, transportation and meals are not included in the investment amount. We will be carpooling to the photography locations.

More specific information regarding meet up time & location and a PDF covering the essentials of night photography will be sent out to participants via email well before the workshop date. All participants will receive a hard copy of the PDF handout to go over during our meet-and-greet session.

Physical Requirements: Boots or shoes with decent tread are necessary. Be prepared for some uneven terrain that includes rocks, sand, cacti and some small elevation changes. This should not bother anyone who is in decent shape. Anyone who has balance issues should contact us before signing up.

Availability: This workshop is limited to 6 participants

Investment: $1,600 per participant - Alumni discount of 20% if you've taken a previous workshop with Taylor Photography. A non-refundable 50% deposit is required to reserve a spot or you may pay in full. The full balance is due 60 days before the workshop or your reservation will be subject to cancellation. Please contact us ASAP if issues arise.

If you have a friend or significant other who would like to attend the workshop but not participate as a photographer, they will still need to register as a participant by paying 50% of the investment amount and sign the required waiver & consent form before we head out into the field. It is important that we have an accurate headcount for each workshop.

If you have any hesitation about signing up, check out the Testimonials page where clients have shared their experiences.

Payment: Use the Paypal buttons below to pay the full amount, a 50% deposit or the remaining balance.


SOLD OUT - Please contact us to be placed on the wait list in case of a cancellation


Recapture Pocket & VOTG - May 26-28 2019
ALUMNI Recapture Pocket & VOTG - May 26-28 2019
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