Joshua Tree Landscape & Star Trails 2-Day Photography Workshop
Come join us for a new adventure, "Landscape by day, stars by night!"...
Joshua Tree National Park is special. Once to leave the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles it really is the first stop where you no longer see the glow of the city when the sun drops at night. The sky gets so dark here that on clear nights you can see every star, and you realize how small you really are in the grand scale of the universe. Truly an amazing sight.
For that reason photographers make Joshua Tree a destination to come work on night photography images. The park also boasts iconic and oddly egg shaped boulders, along with the Dr. Seuss shaped Joshua Trees that make for extremely interesting subject matter to use in these night images.
This class is a perfect course for those looking to add night photographs to their portfolio, or for those just getting started with night photography and wanting to head out with likeminded individuals for fun and education in one of California's best spots for night photography.
We won't just photograph the stars either. What is a trip to Joshua Tree National Park without some time spent photographing those unique trees that gave the park its name! We'll spend sunrise and sunsets in the park photographing some of these iconic trees and the cacti gardens that make this desert landscape unlike anywhere else in California.
This workshop is a perfect spot for those photographers looking to work on composition and working on creating unique and original imagery. Joshua Tree National Park lacks many of the giant icons that locations like Yosemite or Grand Tetons National Park have. Working with professional instructors will help you make sense of the landscape and begin to understand how to make unique and effective images in this truly bizarre and wonderful terrain. If you're just a beginner, no problem, this workshop will provide you with beginning instruction in landscape photography, filter use, and of course night photography. What a great way to get acclimated with a wide variety of techniques and situations than to spend two intensive days in the desert with The Aperture Academy.
Intermediate or Beginner there's something for everyone in Joshua Tree National Park.
Grab those camera bags, and a healthy sense of adventure and prepare for day AND night photography in Joshua Tree National Park.
We will meet for a brief orientation the evening before the workshop start date to get to know each other a little bit and discuss the itinerary for the weekend. We will photograph Joshua Tree National Park for two full days, with a break in the middle of the day for lunch, a nap, or time on your own to explore, reconvening in the late afternoon for our spectacular sunset shoot. We will finish up after sunset on Day 2.
We have set-up a discounted block of rooms for the convenience of our students at our recommended hotel. More information will be emailed to you at sign-up.
Meet Our Workshop Pro Instructors...
Meet our master instructors and learn what qualifies them to give you a great experience during your workshops! While you're joining us, you will receive comprehensive digital photography instruction and tutoring by our team of award-winning photographers.
→ Brian Rueb
Brian Rueb has been photographing for the better part of 21 years. Combining a degree in photography and a degree in art, he has worked the two together to create powerful and dynamic landscape images. His love and passion for photography is evident in each and every image he shoots. In addition to his passion for art,Brian has a passion for education and has spent almost 21 years teaching art and photography in the public high school system. During that time he has developed an art and photography program that has seen numerous students win awards and go on to major in the profession. His goal is not only to be great himself, but to instill that knowledge and passion into his students.
In addition to being an internationally recognized photographer, Brian also writes for several websites sharing his interesting often comical adventures into the wilderness in search of new images, and has released a book depicting his two month adventure around the country of Iceland titled Me, Myself, and Iceland. Brian is a volunteer in Lassen Volcanic National Park and working on a five year project compiling images for a book on the park and its changes throughout the seasons.
Rueb's work has appeared in numerous magazines including Shutterbug and Photographers Forum. His work has won numerous awards and merit at the Local, State, National, and International levels.
Brian currently resides in Northern California with his wife, two boys, and two dogs.
Note: In the event a scheduled instructor for a particular workshop is unavailable, a replacement instructor will be scheduled.
While we make every effort, there is no guarantee that the assigned instructors for a scheduled workshop will be present.
What's Included/Not Included
What's Included in your workshop:
- Hands-on Instruction by 2 or more professional photographers
- Transportation during the workshop
- Water (snacks for extended workshops)
What's not included
- Transportation to/from Workshop starting location
- Instructor Gratuities
Safety, Confidence, Being Prepared
Aperture Academy is a professional organization dedicated to safe, quality, positive experiences for our students, and a responsible stewardship for the breathtaking locations and beautiful wildlife we enjoy at every workshop.
We work with the United States Department of Interior, the National Park Service and the US Forestry Service to obtain all the proper permits to operate safely, conscientiously and legally. We carry much more than the required minimum of insurance, and our skilled instructors are certified as Wilderness First Responders, in CPR, as well as in the Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics program. They are qualified and rated to drive Class B vehicles. And, have we mentioned that each is an accomplished, successful professional photographer?
Every "ApCad" member is dedicated to ensuring our students receive the best care and guidance possible, so each of them have the opportunity to get the most remarkable, enjoyable and enriching photography experience available anywhere in the world.
What to Bring
- Extra Batteries. Bring at least 1 or 2 extra batteries. Cold temperatures and long exposures can drain batteries very quickly. There is no worse feeling than arriving at the last spot of the night for sunset and having a dead battery.
- Extra Memory Cards. Our instructors will show you the benefits of shooting in RAW format, which is a better method for photography, but takes up more space on a card. Having multiple memory cards will be to your benefit.
- Clothing And Shoes. Bring layers of clothing you can add if/when temperature and wind conditions change, and they can! And wear good, comfortable walking shoes!
- Meals/Snacks. On two and three day workshops, we provide snacks and water. On one day workshops, we stop for lunch at a local food establishment where you can purchase food or eat what you have brought for yourself.
- Your Sense Of Adventure. We want to teach you what it is YOU want to learn, and have you come away with some good images. And, since the nature of outdoor photography means we're subject to weather conditions, which we can't control, sometimes we must be flexible with the itinerary. So, come ready for anything. Because we are dedicated to do everything possible to ensure you're in the best places at the best times to get amazing images.
- Your Thinking Cap. Show up ready, because you're going to learn! Some tips: make sure to read the workshop details before you arrive, so you know what to expect, and what to bring; bring a list of questions you want to ask the instructors; check the weather forecast so you're aware of possible weather changes; and most importantly, show up with a brain that is ready for learning, and we promise we'll fill it up with as much information as you desire!
What should I expect?
All workshops are designed to help you learn how to take better photographs and offer a complete immersion into digital landscape and/or wildlife photography. You will learn important photography techniques such as how to properly expose a composition, when to use a filter for best effect, and how to understand and adjust camera settings for optimum results.
Class sizes are kept small (approx. 12 students) to afford each participant one-on-one instruction and to maximize individual attention. The Instructor ratio is usually 6 to 1.
All trips require walking, and usually a little hiking, on uneven terrain. You will want to wear the right clothing, footwear, and keep in mind you could get a bit of a workout!
Why only Digital?
Digital photography offers unique opportunities for in-field photography workshops. By reviewing captured images as soon as they happen, we can examine exposure, composition and histograms, and instantly learn what works and what doesn't.
What should I bring? What is required?
All workshops require a Digital SLR camera and a tripod. (Note: A shutter release cord is required, and an intervalometer is highly recommended.)
Bring a laptop on workshops 2 days and longer if possible, as we will spend time, when not in the field, reviewing and critiquing images.
It is advised for you to dress in layers, as all workshops are held on location and often temperatures and conditions can change rapidly.
Food and beverages will not be provided, so please bring plenty of water and nourishment.
All students are expected to arrive on-time and to work together as a group to learn, not only from instructors, but also from each other.
What kind, and how much, equipment should I bring?
Bring it all if you can! You never know what you might see. On many workshops we focus on landscape photos, but you never know when wildlife might enter the scene and provide the perfect opportunity to photograph them in their natural habitat. It's always better to go into the field with too much gear, rather than miss an opportunity because of not enough equipment.
Is transportation provided?
Each student is responsible for their own transportation to and from the workshop meeting location. Once on location, we will provide transportation for all enrolled students over the course of the scheduled workshop.
Can a non-photographer friend or spouse attend the workshop?
Non-photographer friends and/or spouses are welcome to attend, but will be subject to the full tuition fee based due to transportation availability.
Does weather ever alter or cancel events?
Only if conditions pose a safety risk. Often, poor weather can make for dramatic photographic opportunities, so if rain is fore casted, pack a light jacket or rain poncho and bring something to keep your camera dry (a hotel shower cap is ideal). We reserve the right to re-schedule any workshop due to weather at any time prior to any scheduled workshop, though we will try to give as much advance notice as possible. Our goal is to make sure you have the best experience possible.
What happens if I have to cancel?
Because of the limited number of workshops and availability of one-on-one instruction sessions, once we schedule a spot, it won't be available for anyone else, therefore we can not offer a refund unless the cancellation is 90 days before the workshop date for one-day workshops and 120 days before the workshop date for 2-3 day workshops. This policy is necessary to assure us that those who sign up are serious about the adventure and will not back out, ruining the opportunity for someone else.
However, there is an exception to every rule. If, for some reason a workshop or one-on-one is re-scheduled by us, you will be entitled to a refund, or may choose a credit for a different date. [Read our refund policy and other terms here]
Be prepared to take better photographs!
These workshops will help you develop skills, learn techniques and get to know your camera and equipment like never before. As a bonus, you will have a fun time and build friendships while learning to improve your photography technically. The result? You'll be capable of producing photographs as beautiful as any professional!
Workshop Price and Deposit
The workshop fee is $895. Due to the exclusivity of this trip, and the limited number of seats available, refunds are as follows:
- 100% refundable: 120-days (5-months) or greater
- No refund within 120-days or less of the start date
- Seats are transferrable
What is/isn't included?
The workshop/tour price includes:
- Transportation during the course of the workshop.
- Professional photography instruction.
The workshop/tour price DOES NOT include:
- Transportation to/from our meeting location
- Alcoholic beverages
- Instructor gratuities
- Travel insurance