The Totem Pole at Night

Monument Valley - June 1-4 2022

Day & Night Sky • 4 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.

COVID-19: Mike and Sonia are both fully vaccinated.

Please visit our COVID-19 Protocols page for information regarding COVID and its impact on our workshops.

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.

Taylor Photography is excited to be teaming up with Navajo Spirit Tours again for a fantastic adventure in iconic Monument Valley. 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 four days of daytime exploring, night sky shooting & image processing in the quintessential symbol of the American West - Monument Valley.

Straddling the border of southeastern Utah and northern Arizona, Monument Valley's isolated rock formations are eroded remains of their Rocky Mountain ancestors, formed by sandstone deposits and geologic uplift and then shaped by wind & water. The surreal sandstone towers of Monument Valley provide what are arguably the most enduring and definitive images of the southwest US. We will also be visiting the beautiful Valley of the Gods area and/or Recapture Pocket as time allows, both of which are close to the town of Bluff.

The temperatures in Monument Valley in mid May are typically a comfortable mid to upper 70's in the daytime and 50's at night, making it a perfect time to photograph before the summer heat arrives. 

In mid May the sun sets around 8:20PM. The Milky Way begins to rise around 10PM and appears as an arc in the sky. We'll be meeting up with our Navajo guide before the Milky Way rises and he will transport us to our night sky photography locations via company van/truck. We will be photographing for 4 hours each night. We will also be visiting Monument Valley and some of the surrounding areas during the day and for sunset shooting.

This workshop has an emphasis on in the field shooting and chasing the best light during the day, having our guides take us to great locations for night photography, and 4+ hours of classroom tutorials & processing time. Check out our Processing page for some examples of what we will be covering in class.

Proposed Itinerary:*

June 1: Afternoon meet and greet, discuss camera settings, etc - travel & in the field photography 8PM - 2AM

June 2: Afternoon tour of Monument Valley - travel & in the field photography 3PM - 2AM

June 3: Travel & in the field photography 8PM - 2AM

June 4: 1PM - 6PM classroom instruction & image processing - group dinner

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

We always suggest that participants try to arrive the day before a workshop begins and stay a day after the workshop ends to remain flexible with changing weather conditions - as we check local forecasts, sometimes it becomes inevitable that we will have better weather conditions just before or just after the scheduled workshop dates, in which case we will take advantage of the forecast and go shoot on those dates.

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 use LED panels strategically 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 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, transforming and blend modes in Photoshop. 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. 

Home Base: We have reserved a block of rooms at a reduced rate in a local hotel. After you sign up for this workshop you will be provided with the lodging information. You are of course free to stay anywhere in the area.

Lodging, transportation and meals are not included in the investment amount. We will be carpooling to meet our Navajo guide, who will be transporting us to photography locations via their company van/truck.

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. Our Navajo guide will be transporting us to photography locations and we will have short hikes to specific spots. 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 8 participants

Investment: $2,450 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.

*This amount includes a per person, per night fee for our Navajo guide - without which we could not legally photograph these sacred lands.

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.


  • Forest Gump group shot
  • _DSC0318 Totem Pole BTS
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