Workshop Reviews

Aurora PhotoTours

Photo report: Gallery by Barcelona documentary photographer Rosangela Salinas who was on the March 2018 program.

Kassem Safa, Massachusetts: The workshop (March 2022) included didactic photography and astrophotography sessions by world renown Nat Geo photographer, hands on technique practice, and lightroom photo editing sessions. This course brought my knowledge of photography to the next level, especially night time photography. Babak has partnered with Icelandic nationally acclaimed scientists who accompanied us on the trip. They brought expertise on geology and most importantly they had input on aurora/weather forecasts based on real time satellite data setting the trip for success. The group included a diverse group of photographers from all levels of expertise, so not only one would learn from Babak but also from fellow photographers. This gave us the chance to make new friends and actually talk about tips and tricks in photography. The food, breakfast and dinners were overall great (it’s after all a photography tour not a culinary tasting tour). All hotels were clean. Hotels at Katla and Skogafoss were my favorites. The Itinerary was great. I would have loved daily golden hour photo trips but a large group and weather are prohibitive I suppose. One day was very hectic when things were happening back to back. We were able to see the northern lights 2 nights in the span of 8 nights, which included a lot of inclement weather. The expertise of Babak and his partners and their knowledge about the terrain, as well as their down to earth attitude and flexibility was very much appreciated. I will never forget this trip. Thank you Babak and team for the memories.

Benedikt Erdmann, Germany: March 2022 tour was a great experience, traveling with a nice group and with experienced guides. We learned a lot about the country and about photography. For those who don’t like to travel alone it is a great way to explore Iceland. You get to see a lot of the country and do a lot of photography (daytime and nighttime). And you don’t have to worry about anything, as Babak and his Team are doing a very good job on guiding these tours. The night imaging sessions were the best part, even though there weren’t so many due to the weather. The itinerary was packed, but also handled very flexibly by the guides, depending on the mood of the group or the weather. So, some parts were skipped, and others were added. All in all, I think we really got the most out of one week in southern Iceland, visiting all the most famous spots in this part of the country. I’m really glad and thankful to have been on this trip. It was truly a great experience and it really helped me to improve my photography skills.  

Douglas Alexander Cordeiro, Brazil: I had some of the most amazing moments of my life! Visiting Iceland was already a dream, but doing it while chasing the aurora with one of the best photographers in the world was something else! I think the hotels and food were good, but could be improved. I think there was some miscommunication as regards the itinerary and timing of some activities. Seeing the aurora was my favorite part of the tour (March 2022). 

Iair Arcav, California: Unforgettable, enjoyed every moment. Can’t wait to go again. Thanks to not having to worry at all about logistics or any other issues, I was even able to submit an astrophysics paper to Nature while on the trip (Babak & Gisli are acknowledged in the paper!). Photos ©Iair Arcavi

Theresa Park, Massachusetts: Seeing the northern lights has been a lifelong aspiration. That I was able to do it while honing my photography skill, in the company of an amazing group of individuals, and guided by a knowledgeable and patient team of people made this trip a once in a lifetime experience. Actually, twice in a lifetime since I plan to return next year. The food and hotels were better than I expected. I love the mix of sightseeing during the day (it was a good mix of traditional and non-traditional stops) and photography at night. I’m still treasuring my experience, trying to prolong it as much as possible.   

Michael Fung, Hong Kong: It was a very good experience. Babak is very knowledgeable to explain stuffs, and Kristen and Gisli were very helpful. It is good that the tour combines both photograph course and sightseeing stuffs. I like the places they brought us to, which are not only general tourist points, but some of them are places which only locals / people will some extent of understanding of Iceland will know. I particularly like the underground pond. It will make the tour even better if there are more formal knowledge / experience sharing session, about astronomical / aurora / photography, which are rare for amateur to know.

Cheryl Hale, Nevada: The expertise of Babak and the guide team were the key to unlocking the value of a trip to Iceland. Without them, I don’t believe we would have been as successful in locating the best photo spots and appreciating the uniqueness of the places we visited. Babak has done an especially noteworthy job of assembling an especially skilled and likable team of guides and a driver. The food and hotels were extremely good considering the cost of the photo tour. One could hope for 4* hotels and caviar, but that wasn’t what this trip was about. The local arrangements exceeded my expectations considering that Iceland is one of the #1 or #2 most expensive countries in the world! We visited the most popular areas for Iceland tourism, and it did not disappoint. The number of hotels did result in a lot of time spent packing and moving. I wonder if it would be possible to reduce the number of hotels. Since we had long drives in the evenings looking for Aurora activity without clouds, I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to stay in fewer locations. I was very impressed that Babak continued to monitor the group and check in with us during our night shoots to make certain our questions were answered, and that we received any help we needed. He took his responsibility as the tour leader very seriously and it was obvious, he wanted to give us the tools we needed to be successful. The other guides also made themselves available generously throughout the shoots. I recommend that before substantial hikes there should be a briefing to cover what distance we are hiking, what conditions we might encounter (steep climb, uneven footing, mud, ice), how long it will take, and a description of what we will see and how to photograph it. We were disappointed to learn that the second hike at Skogafoss (“another waterfall”) turned out to have been the best opportunity to capture a waterfall from behind but that wasn’t mentioned by the guides.

Shahab Yassemi, California: Attended the September main tour. It was great overall. Loved the planning and the people.

Natasha K, California: I booked this trip on a whim, and it turned out to be one of the coolest adventures i’ve been on to date. So happy I got to learn aurora photography from one of the best and super stoked we lucked out with an amazing KP7 display on one of the nights. I would definitely recommend Babak’s aurora tours to anyone!

Klahr Thorsen, New York: Great information. Unforgettable! FULL ON! A perfect introduction to astrophotography and a peak life experience.

Ed Bechtel, California: Sep 2021 tour. One will be traveling with an international mix of positive and like minded photographers. Bus travel by day to likely regions for Aurora sightings, then hunt lights by night from 9 pm to 2 am hopefully coincidental with scenes of lava, lakes, or other landmarks.  The curriculum has been dialed in so that workshop contestants are not worn out from lack of sleep, and are not subjected to humus and banana sandwiches. I was able to capture a variety of gorgeous lively Aurora and produce fantastic images that none of my 27 social media followers could ever hope of attaining.  The workshop fee is of extreme value for the experience. Having done the tour before I was not seeking to improve my skills, but Babak quickly helps those in need.  You must have a basic understanding of your camera in Manual mode before the tour.  We did this tour once before so it was an easy decision to do it again.  Despite Auroras being a bit of a gamble to find, even a marginal week in Iceland is better than a good day at work.  Iceland has the most accommodating and polite people. The food is great.  Beautiful scenery.  No speeding maniacs on the highway. My goals to capture Aurora were fully met. Aurora workshop dates tend to be centered around the new moon. 

Vicky Bell, Ottawa: I was lucky enough to be part of the March 2019 photo tour to Iceland, and it was an amazing experience start to finish. Babak was an incredibly patient and enthusiastic teacher who was always willing to help me out (given I was pretty new to photography, and probably had no business being there! :-)). I also really appreciated the flexibility he and Gisli showed when things didn’t go according to plan: we had a lot of bad weather and didn’t get to see the northern lights until our VERY last night, but Babak and Gisli rolled with the punches and arranged alternative activities where needed, such as photo editing sessions when we couldn’t go out shooting at night. The group he assembled was also excellent, with a wide range of ages and experience levels, but who somehow all gelled — I made lifelong friends on that trip. I’m signing up for another tour as soon as I can. I learned SO MUCH, saw places I would never have travelled to otherwise, and have come away with memories for a lifetime. Photos © Vicky Bell

Jennifer Jackson, Texas: A well curated experience led my very knowledgeable guides and an amazing photographer / teacher.

Janice, British Columbia: Right from the first moment when I started to meet other participants and tour leaders (March 2022) in the lobby of our hotel, I knew it was going to be a great experience. The mix of people from various parts of the world and varying photography skills made for a very cohesive group that bonded early in the tour. We were all there to learn but we were also there to share our own skills and experiences. The professionalism of the tour leaders was evident right from the beginning; they were very attentive to everyone’s needs and were always there to make the experience the best they could. There was so much I enjoyed I can’t say there was one thing. The interaction with other photographers, the knowledgeable tour leaders, the local knowledge of tour leaders and of course the scenery and photography opportunities were first class. I was very pleased with the quality of both food and hotels on the tour. Honestly I can’t think of anything I would change. The group message we had on What’s App helped keep us organized when plans changed a few times. I think it was a nice balance between quality and cleanliness. The itinerary was both flexible and varied. When we shot late at night there was flexibility the next morning. We saw so much in the nine days and only once or twice did I feel a little rushed. I wouldn’t have given up any of the places we visited. This was a trip of a lifetime for me and an experience that I will not soon forget. 

Frederick Melikian, California: Very informative and organized. It was an awesome trip with great group of people and adventures. Made amazing images from Iceland and Aurora. Babak is quite helpful. Learned a lot from his astronomy knowledge. He knows the nightsky quite well, which adds to the whole experience of photographing under the stars.

Jayesh Hargovan, South Africa: The Aurora PhotoTour in Iceland with Babak and company, has been one of the best experiences of my life. My night sky photography skills improved tremendously over the tour period of 10 days. The days and nights were excellently planned, with a variety of interesting activities during the daytime, and Aurora hunting at night, with some Milky Way practice thrown in. Having a common interest with other tour members, meant that friendships were easily formed, making the tour even better. Babak’s passion and curiosity shines through effortlessly, and is likely to inspire you on your own photography journey. I definitely plan to do it again! Photos © Jayesh Hargovan

Sarah Saksouk, New York: Attended several programs. Babak is always great at teaching/helping.

Reema Razzaq, Kuwait: Most enjoyable workshops. Well-organized and fun atmosphere. I attended Babak programs several times and my first astrophotography workshop with him was in Oman on Jabal Shams.

Steve Bishkin, Texas: Wonderful! A can’t miss vacation of adventure.

Adriana Leon de la Barra, Mexico: Excellent!!!! It was a great learning and fun experience. Very well organized, the best locations with the best guidance team (Babak and local guides). Babak is extremely professional and friendly and has a great ability to teach. Photos ©Adriana Leon

Todd Gunther, California: An experience of a life time! Where to begin? Yes we went on this trip to learn Aurora photography from a master Nat Geo photographer, but we came away with so much more! Babak is a wonderful teacher and as you’d expect is extremely knowledgeable in all things astral photography (and photography in general). He was able to share is knowledge and love of astro photography, and even as our group grew on the second week I never felt neglected and was able to learn new skills right up to the final night. His “1st Mate” Gisli (a great photographer himself) was our guide around Iceland and because of his local knowledge we were able to find the northern lights most every evening! It took some driving at times, but it was well worth it! He was also a wealth of local knowledge as we drove around Iceland, which made our days that much richer. And then there’s the landscape! Iceland does NOT disappoint! And, as I learned is one of the best places on earth to catch the Aurora (and just the night sky! The stars were mind blowing). Throw in an endless number of waterfalls (Foss’s), the highlands, geothermal hot springs, Icelandic horses, whales, and views that go on forever, and you have a bucket list trip like no other! Oh yeah! And great food and lodging too! If you have the opportunity to go on this trip…DO IT! You won’t be sorry! And if you have the ability to do the full trip, starting with the smaller group do that too! Photos ©Todd Gunther

Bruce Berger, Massachusetts: The tour was well arranged. Babak and his experienced Icelandic team of Gisli, Saevar and Christian provided for everything. Accommodations were acceptable 3-4 stars to keep the tour affordable. Iceland itself is like no other place I’ve been to. As an American who has never been to Europe, the cities are as I imagine I’d find there. Prepare to be blown away outside the cities, where you’ll find boiling hot water geysers exploding from the ground, beautiful iconic waterfalls, fields of steaming volcanic rock that makes it seem more like a moonscape. We were rewarded with a Northern Lights display that was second to none – naked eye KP8 auroral crowns dancing overhead, so bright that you could see the color with your own eyes. So bright that modern mobile phone cameras were recording it live. The value in this workshop was the knowledge shared freely by Babak Tafreshi. I learn so much anytime I’m in the field with him. But I guess the real thing that blew me away was finally seeing and photographing an aurora.One thing I learned is to not get discouraged when conditions aren’t perfect. We had a cloudy night but instead of being disappointed, I captured sky images with clouds glowing orange from an active volcano and green from aurora, at the same time the familiar Big Dipper stars prominently shining bright. It’s one of my favorites. This is not my first workshop with Babak, and I’ve never been disappointed. Experiencing a bright aurora has been on my bucket list for some time. My expectations were exceeded 10-fold!

Shamsi Mahjour, Canada: It was a great experience taking in the natural beauty of Iceland and the beautiful Northern light with knowledgeable and friendly Tour Guides. Amazing views, impeccable accommodations and local cuisine were outstanding. A pleasure to meet Babak on this Tour. I learned a great deal about photography and observing the sky at night . I attended the September 2019 Tour and I will be going back on March 2020 Tour.

Penny Ashford, New York: Outstanding! Before I get on my plane and I just wanted to send you a huge thank you for such an AMAZING trip capped off by the Kp 7 aurora storm! Your patience is amazing! The group was so fun. All the adventures added unexpected surprises along the way AND I actually leaned how to manually focus! It was a treat to be with you! Photos © Penny Ashford

Chirag Upreti, New York: Babak has been an inspiration to me not just for his brilliant photographs but as a leading advocate for preserving the beauty of the night skies. I have had the opportunity to shoot with him in 4 different countries and I have personally witnessed his non stop dedication to his craft and communicating the urgency for all of us to preserve the night sky. He is a wonderful human being, very down to Earth, with contagious energy and enthusiasm. Part of the reason I have taken multiple workshops with Babak is not only to learn the technical and artistic details of night sky photography, but also and equally importantly, to better understand his underlying philosophy of the critical importance of night-sky in our human heritage and the growing concerns of light pollution with it’s detrimental effect on life on Earth.  These workshops can serve as lessons for life an aspect which is much more enriching in experience than the pretty pictures you are sure to come back home with. The Aurora tour is by far my favorite international trip with Babak. There was many, many highlights in this trip, but none of them would have been possible without his passion for aurora chasing and sharing his knowledge. His and Gisli’s energy, patience to teach, constantly seek new horizons and work to nurture everyones skills in our group was truly inspiring. I would highly recommend this tour to my friends for sure. From Auroras to whale watching and hiking in national parks with on the go sandwiches, this trip was packed with good memories. Iceland is gorgeous and demands multiple visits with Babak and Gisli for sure! Photo ©Chirag Upreti

Fitri Arijati, Indonesia: That’s a wonderful experience. Me and my colleges really enjoy the journey of aurora hunting, visiting many beautiful places, good restaurants. Babak & his team are very helpful to guide how to take an aurora. The last day class is located in the hotel’s restaurant, which is too small and we can hear & see Babak’s presentation clearly. Better next time use a proper place with better tools. A small additional fee will be ok if someone interested in to join the workshop

Alessandro Lavatelli, Italy: Babak programs are always well organized, all activities planned at the right time. Even if the weather conditions in Iceland can be tough, we made always the best choice to take advantage of every condition.

Thomas Mumey, Texas: Overall, I very much enjoyed the trip. The price was reasonable, the hotels were good, the stops were worthwhile, and the nighttime locations where we shot from yielded some great shots. Babak was a great travel companion and master sandwich maker! This was my first tour with Babak and only my second travel tour so I don’t have much experience to compare but I will do another tour with Babak when finances allow.

AVA, California: The tour was beyond my expectations. Babak is such a great photographer. It was an honor to be able to join him as a novice in photography. I have nothing but good things to say about Babak; he was so very kind and patient throughout the tour. I very much enjoyed the various places he took us for the photo shoots and sights seeing. We had Icelandic Tour guides and Bus driver who were all so helpful to us and also very knowledgeable about the history of their homeland. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime- experience, I will always treasure this trip.

Bara Ayche, UK: A truly great experience. I went to improve my photography and can honestly say it has helped me. Not just in Aurora, the learning experience was invaluable. Babak always has time for any questions whatever level you may be at. Photos © Bara Ayche

Diane McInerney, Massachusetts: It was truly an amazing experience. I have wanted to learn night photography since 1996 and never got the opportunity. When I saw this tour advertised I knew I was stepping far outside my comfort zone but really wanted to learn. The Northern Lights were such a bonus. I had dreamed of seeing these amazing displays of light for as long as I could remember. Once I had the opportunity to see some activity in Framingham, MA. Despite the fact there was no color but white…I was still mesmerized. To actually see the Aurora in Iceland was better than I ever could have imagined. To learn to take photos of this hypnotizing event was a dream come true. This tour changed my life and made me excited about photography in a whole new way. The tour company, the fascinating people, and the camaraderie among the group was very special and unique. To get to work with and learn from Babak was awe-inspiring. I would recommend this tour and any of the others to everyone I meet. I am most definitely going to attend this tour again as well as others.

Bernard Lenssens, Belgium: Attended several programs. Iceland was more a “touristic photo tour week” for me. I enjoyed myself, saw for the first time some norther lights. But didn’t learn a lot (of astrophotography), as it was not the primary focus of the workshop. Photo © Bernad Lenssens

California Nightscapes

Laura Perez, Mexico: Great organization , a great team to work with. We had the best spots , always working as a team, Babak is always very helpful.

Sydney Roberts, California: I really wanted to improve my night photography skills, learn how to capture beautiful celestial objects, and have a better understanding of which camera gear is appropriate to use for night time. I also wanted to learn more about astronomy in general. This workshop (June 2022) definitely exceeded my expectations. I had a few goals for this workshop, like capturing the Milky Way and getting to know more about the appropriate camera gear to use at night. Not only was I able to accomplish this within the 4 nights I had, but I ended up learning so much more. By the end of 4 nights, I had captured the Milky Way via panoramas and time-lapses. I also got to learn about post processing, how to plan a shoot beforehand, star trails, and how to locate celestial objects. I had a phenomenal experience at the CA Nightscapes workshop because I was surrounded by a very supportive and inspiring group of people, along with two very knowledgeable and patient instructors. Due to the overall nature of the community, I was able to achieve all of my goals. I really valued the classroom lectures because they helped me understand more about why we do photography. Specifically focusing on night photography, I learned about the importance of reserving dark skies and how, sadly, light pollution has started to become normalized in most areas. Photography is a way to show the beauty of nature in its raw form and inform others of how critical it is to protect these areas. I also enjoyed the nightly itineraries and how everyone was super flexible with where to go and how late to stay out. Something I learned was how to successfully create time lapses. The instructors taught us about golden numbers during the classroom lectures and what the appropriate settings are for capturing the night sky in its best form. I also learned how important it is to have patience when capturing the night sky and how timing is everything. This class was very beneficial and inspiring. I walked into the workshop thinking we were just going to focus on photography. Instead, I came out learning not only how to capture the night skies via technical photography skills, but also understand the importance of preserving the night sky and I created lifelong friendships, connections, and memories.  

Dana Joachim-Motoc, Minnesota: I had a great experience and loved both the hands-on photography sessions and the lectures. Babak and Mike are excellent and inspiring teachers. I appreciated all the valuable advice on night photography techniques, celestial events and how to plan for various projects. The photography locations were beautiful and different each night. I hope to join other programs in future. Photos ©Dana Joachim-Motoc

Sarah Brittain, Colorado: The one I’ve been to was well organized, informative and enjoyable.

Ed Bechtel, California: The Sierras have an abundance of scenes, venues, and dark skies that are rich for astrophotography and DSO imaging. Mike and Babak are experts at sussing out good locations especially during testy weather. And it’s fun hanging out with those guys and the other workshop contestants. Everyone meets at dinner time, jumps in cars, and heads off to the site of the evening, usually within a half hour drive. There’s time to scout around and then do imaging until midnight or 2:30 in the morning. One is free to head back on their own timeline. Usually it is difficult to stop photo-imaging as there is so much to take in. During daytime there are roughly six hours of indoor presentations that are very informative. You will not be asked to take a test, answer trick questions, or sing. The workshop exactly met my expectations, and I finally got a grasp on Planit App use. The balance of photography, information, and sleep were fairly well balanced. Babak and Mike have an enormous wealth of knowledge to pass on… More than there is time to share in the classroom. I would recommend slightly more emphasis on in-class photo editing by the contestants while Babak and Mike help with technique and critique.  

Patrick Taylor, California: I’m blessed to work as a ranger in Death Valley and had spent a few months trying to learn astrophotography through books and videos. I learned more with Babak and Mike in a few hours than I had in months by myself. The workshop was well organized, respectful of different skill levels, and took participants to all the best night time spots!

Chirag Upreti, New York: The workshop in June 2017 was the first program I attended with Babak. I was new to night sky photography but was blown away by the personal time and teachings he shared with the group. For a three-night exercise, this is an intensive workshop!! Overall, I had a memorable experience mainly because Babak, Mike and TWAN photographer Oshin as a guest were all very approachable and generous with their time and expertise. If you think of it, that is a lot of experience to tap into.. and we all did.  Also, the choice of locations was fantastic! (even with the traffic at the ancient Bristlecone trees), just to experience the night sky under the bare silhouettes of these ageless giants will always be a memorable experience. My favorite place was Mono Lake. The night sky was stellar but the cherry on top was the fiery sunrise. Awesome planning and locations. Highly recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to do a bootcamp to learn night sky photography. I was also privileged to get my first magazine print, a double-page spread in Astronomy magazine of a picture I took in the Bristlecone Pine forest on this trip. A special trip with wonderful instructors for sure, you can take it to the bank. 

Linda Cook, Massachusetts: I am going back again. This is a wonderful workshop because Death Valley has amazing dark, night skies. I recommend the boot camp to prepare you for the workshop. The night shoots and pre-sunrise photography trips are some of the most unusual locations I have been to. Each night is different and you will learn new skills each day and night. This is the place to learn timelapse and all techniques. Babak & Mike Shaw are great teachers and together they make a great team! Highly recommend! Photos © Linda Cook.

Astromaster LaPalma

Brian Fanning, Oregon: I really appreciated Babak’s work and wanted to learn from someone who was an expert in the type of photography I enjoy. The workshop (May 2022) exceeded my expectations. I got all of the astrophotography education and opportunities for photography that I expected, but I also really appreciated Babak’s lectures..One of my favorite aspects of the Astromasters 2022 workshop was the scientific education that accompanied the photographic instruction. I don’t think I’d ever heard about, let alone seen, zodiacal light before this course. But Babak Tafreshi’s excellent classroom instruction prepared me for this amazing sight. This workshop provided me with a better understanding of time lapse techniques and how to incorporate time lapse photography into my artistic vision. This workshop significantly improved my photography skills by providing me with the information and feedback to refine techniques I’d already started to develop as well as multiple opportunities to practice those techniques.

Puya Hosseini, California: Wonderful experience. Great lessons. Even better one on one feedback while shooting. Learned so much and it improved my nightscape photography so much, I’m so grateful. Photos ©Puya Hosseini

Chirag Upreti, New York: This is an intensive and advanced workshop by Babak and his colleague Ana García Suárez. Our group had people with all different skill levels, beginner to advanced and we all learned a lot by the end of the trip. Babak always does a great job of making everyone comfortable with their own skill level. What attracted me most to this workshop was the oppurtunity to spend a night at the Roque de Los Muchachos Observatory (ORM), on the rim of the Taburiente National Park, at 2396 meters above sea level. This is such a terrific location because you float above the clouds and the night sky is the best I have seen in transparency. We got to tour the largest optical telescope in the world, Gran Telescopio CANARIAS (GTC) with a staggering 10.4 meter primary mirror. To see the sheer size of the machinery up close is awe-inspiring. From Tajinaste fields, lighthouses, salt pans to these marvels of optical engineering this is an absolutely fantastic workshop to be a part of. There are also special lectures during the day from invited guests that add to the learning element of Astromaster. For our group, Martin Heck came in to teach us details in timelapse photography. If time would permit, I would go to Astromaster every year, it is a GREAT workshop. I was privileged to get two images published in Astronomy magazine that I took on this trip. That itself is the biggest proof of the high quality offered at Astromaster. Photos © Chirag Upreti

Klahr Thorsen, New York: A great way to keep increasing my skills – Astromaster brought me up to the next level.

Bernard Lenssens, Belgium: May 2022: I wanted to attend the workshop again to meet interesting people from different regions of the globe, all sharing the same passion. This was a real opportunity to enhance my level of understanding of the night sky and how to shoot high quality images.  My expectations were absolutely met. I enjoyed the overall ambiance of the team, but above all: the quality of the explanations, and the simplicity and humility of Babak and his team. The important technical skills I learned include mastering a star tracker, learning about deep sky photography, constellations and deep sky objects. And I also used longer focal length lenses (instead of using only wide angle lenses). Photos ©Bernard Lenssens

Vanessa del Campo, Belgium/Spain: It was a great experience (May 2022), it made me feel closer to the night sky. I enjoyed spending time photographing the stars and getting to know the other participants and being in La Palma, which is beautiful.  I took the workshop because I wanted to learn how to create time lapses of the starry night for a film project. I think I now have the tools to create what I wanted to learn, but I feel I will still need some advice.
My thoughts on the daily classroom lectures and nightly itinerary: I feel that the moments when Babak was explaining how to edit the pictures, the timelapses, etc, were not very useful for me because I had never done it, and therefore, could hardly follow. It would have been easier for me if I was doing the same thing on my computer at the same time he was doing it. Or, alternatively, if I was trying alone with my computer and he would come to solve problems or check how I can improve. During the nights, I felt a bit lost too, especially the first days. It was the first time I was taking photographs at night and I did not know where to start. And the fact that all is dark doesn’t help :D. The most important technical skill I learned during this workshop was how to use my camera to photograph the stars. I would have liked to have the opportunity to practice with a star tracker and some other focal lengths, to see what it is about. I would have liked to practice with a telescope and a phone attached to the telescope (I’ve seen some people use it like this to photograph the moon).

Alessandro Lavatelli, Italy: Physically demanding but definitely worth it. Great to have one of the best skies in the world at night and nice sunny days at the same time. Here is a timelapse video of our night activity there.

Emanuele Balboni, Italy: Great. I loved the lectures and the shooting sessions. A full time workshop: very challenging but definitely worth it. Photo ©Linda Cook

Other Programs

Char Joslin, New York: Excellent! I attended the Antigua nightscapes in Jan 2020.

Charlotte Said, New York: Attended Antigua nightscapes in Jan 2020. Amazing informational sessions and great hands on help in the field. I didn’t know a TON about my camera in the beginning and they helped get me comfortable with using it especially at night.

Bettina Stelle, New York: Attended the Antigua nightscapes in Jan 2020. Interesting but challenging new experience for s beginner. I would suggest to maybe separate total beginners first day and give them individual technical session ( settings & focusing ).

Michael Banbury, Delaware: The Antigua nightscapes workshop (Jan 2020) was great fun and I learned a lot of valuable information. As a relative newcomer to night sky photography, I felt welcomed and included in the class.