Starry Starry Night

1 evening ‘Astro Photography Workshop’

  • Fri eve 23 Mar 2018 – to check…Moonset 6.39pm rise 6.15am Sunset 7.16pm rise 6.59am (incl camp)
  • Fri eve 13 Apr 2018 – Moonset 4.11pm rise 4.01am Sunset 5.38pm rise 6.20am (incl camp)
  • Fri eve 18 May 2018 – Moonset 7.42pm rise 10.16am Sunset 5.04pm rise 6.46am
  • Fri eve 15 Jun 2018 – Moonset 6.28pm rise 9.02am Sunset 4.56pm rise 7.01am


Lost City MilkyThe Blue Mountains are one of the first places out of Sydney where the ambient light ceases to be a major problem in astro photography. This workshop begins at 6pm with early evening instruction in night sky photography capture and processing techniques. This is followed by 3-4 exciting locations before and after included dinner to test wide field & milky way technical and creative ideas – we return to the training lab to process and see the results.

Around midnight we head off to base camp (if in season and one of four depending on conditions) and explore more nearby locations followed by some advanced techniques in deep sky, time-lapse, light painting and more. This will include general technical skills but also the artistic side which includes basics such as milky way as subject and backdrop, through to star trails and time-lapse as well as more advanced long exposure tracking using Gary’s portable unit/s. We will also look at balancing star exposures with artificially lit foregrounds. The camp (if in season – ie: warm enough) location will also be chosen for a great pre dawn night sky and we will also wake up for a hopefully spectacular sunrise followed by a camp breakfast (in season).

Princes Rock CosmosIncluded:

  • Personal instruction from Gary in the field and in his Training Gallery.
  • Group dinner and late evening snacks/drinks.
  • Tents and sleeping bags provided through to dawn (if in season)
  • Transportation from your hotel/vehicle to location and Gary’s Pulpit Rock Gallery Training room in one of two 4WD cars
  • Use of laptops for post processing instruction if required.
  • Workshop certificate (sent via mail) and exposure of your best image (optional) on Gary’s social site/s


Cost: $495 per person. In the event of only one booking on a workshop 1 week out, a full refund will be given or the participant moved to an agreed future workshop.

Pulpit Milky Way1280px

FRI NIGHT 23 Mar 2018 ‘Starry Night Photo Workshop’

  • Full amount $495

FRI NIGHT 13 Apr 2018 ‘Starry Night Photo Workshop’

  • Full amount $495

FRI NIGHT 18 May 2018 ‘Starry Night Photo Workshop’

  • Full amount $495

FRI NIGHT 15 Jun 2018 ‘Starry Night Photo Workshop’

  • Full amount $495

Note: workshops will only take place with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 3 participants so as much personal attention can be given to each photographer and we are more flexible in moving between locations. Full payment for workshops are due 2 weeks before the workshop date. Gary has full public liability insurance covering the group in Blue Mountains NP and his training gallery, an EcoPass for commercial workshops in the Blue Mountains so all appropriate permissions prior to the workshop will have been setup with NSW NPWS office. 

Pre-requisites for all workshops

Astro Workshop 1280pxNote:  photographers without all of the camera equipment below will be instructed in how to get the best out of what they have and see the advantage of extra equipment.

  • PASSION: It is inspiring to Gary and the other photographers if you have a great attitude and can make the best of whatever the weather throws at us or your expectations of the workshop. We will come away with great pictures regardless.
  • BRING: A good quality hiking tripod and familiarity with using it.
  • BRING: A decent quality DSLR or Mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and have a working knowledge of it.
  • BRING: Two or three lenses. Suggest an ultra wide (14 to 20 ish), wide (24-35 ish) and medium telephoto (60-100 ish). Or combinations in zoom lenses.
  • BRING: Filters. Any combination of – neutral density, 5 or 10 stops. Graduated neutral density 2 and/or 3 stops. Polarizer circular. It is not critical to have filters as we will explore blending and/or HDR techniques without using them.
  • DO YOU: Have a moderate level of fitness and able to walk confidently on rocky terrain with camera equipment (this will vary on each workshop but call for information if in doubt).
  • BRING: Comfortable hiking shoes, good camera back pack and waterproofs/warm clothes in case the weather goes south.
  • READ: It is recommended that you orientate yourself with the mountains by reading my introduction post A Landscape Photographers Guide to Visiting the Blue Mountains Australia which helps break down the geography and refers to many of the locations we will be exploring.

11 Responses to Starry Starry Night

  1. Ben says:

    Hi Gary just a quick question, I live up here in close to you and I’ve been to what I believe are all of the local wheelchair accessible places, just wondering if you know of, or can recommend any, besides Lincolns rock, the 3 sisters, and Wentworth Falls Lookouts. Cheers

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Hi Ben, great question. There are quite a few where a gentle slope or purpose built concrete lookout exist. The ones off the top of my head (that are not the three you mention) would be:

      Two obvious official ones
      1 Cliff View – Park in small car park above Katoomba Cascades and a nice path out to Mt Solitary view (no view of 3 sisters but good ones of the valley)
      2 The big new one at Hassan’s Walls – drive up the dirt track and the walkway takes you out to the biggest views around

      others that are concreted to railings or with assistance and fit pusher might be worth a look but similar to Lincolns Rock! – all referenced at
      3 Narrow Neck LO just off Cliff Drive around the corner from Eaglehawk. Park and view
      4 Upper Leura Cascades – a short path off the carpark
      5 Now the trees have been cut back, some views from the upper section of Sublime Point, down a concrete ramp from the car park
      6 Lovely areas around Wentworth Falls lake all wheelchair friendly
      7 If firetrail (very smooth) and a 3m of small rocky area is doable then it is possible to get out to – obviously one to check out first, but recommended as the last bit is just under a tree and takes you onto open smooth rock area.
      8 Panorama Drive viewpoint, just next to the road near Lilianfels
      9 The best ones around Blackheath in my opinion for wheel chair access are Govetts Leap and Evans Lookout of course. Govetts especially is very friendly and offers quite a few view points up the ramp/pathway up to the right…
      10 Hargraves LO is very possible, big car park and short slopes to lookouts (worth looking at again first) but if you have done Lincolns, very similar…
      11 Point Pilcher is worth a look out. Car park right next to viewpoint, might be a few small rocks, but check first
      12 A real fave but minor bumps is Mitchells Ridge – again need some help, but the main area is navigable by more adventurous wheel chair and all railed too.
      13 Around Lithgow Blast Furnace are good spots for chairs
      14 A long 30km drive on firetrail but I do believe the last 5 min section to the main lookout is quite flat and takes you to the great lookout…my memory of the last section might need some other opinion, but again worth a look if a few small steps are not a major issue.?

      Hope some of those help Ben? Cheers

  2. Ben says:

    Thanks Gary, I should have looked here, first before I did the drive, but I did get to two of the places you mentioned, and really appreciate the information! Cheers

  3. Jen says:

    Hi gary, i bought a star watcher for my camera, can i bring that along, and learn how to use it! Jen

    • Gary Hayes says:

      Absolutely. I presume you mean a Star Tracker, which fits between the tripod and camera and once aligned properly, counters the rotation of the earth. Which model?

  4. Jason says:

    Hi do you still have availability ?

    How does it work with the two dates is it either/or or will you run a workshop both nights? What happens if the weather is not suitable?



    • Gary Hayes says:

      Hi Jason – thanks for contacting.

      Yes these are two separate workshops, so either and if the weather is overcast or not suitable then we discuss a mutually convenient future date as a group. Availability on both workshops, but March 2 places left. Best Gary

  5. Niki Cole says:

    Hi Gary
    My husband is very interested in doing this night workshop however we are in qld this weekend coming. Are you planning on running this again soon?
    Many thanks, Niki

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