Stars and Satellites Astrophotography, Salisbury Mills, NY - 4 hour Workshop

Skill Level(s): Level III and IV Students 
Location: Schunemunk Mountain Preserve, Salisbury Mills, NY 12577  map
Instructor: Scott Dengrove
Date and Time: Online Class: Friday, Sept 16th, 7PM - 9 PM, Onsite Practice: Saturday, Sept 17th, 7 PM - 11 PM (Rain/Cloud Date: Sept 18th)


The night sky is both beautiful to look at and very rewarding when photographed well, but can be frustrating without the right equipment and knowledge.  The highly technical nature of astrophotography combined with long exposure times and the fleeting nature of night time can prove a daunting task for even the most experienced photographer. 

Come explore the stars with us and learn techniques and skills which will have you capturing beautiful images of the heavens like a pro! We'll show you how to set up the perfect composition, the best ways to nail your exposure without wasting valuable night minutes and how to get tack sharp star points despite a night sky that's constantly in motion. 

This workshop takes place at the foothills of the gorgeous Schunemunk Mountain Preserve in Orange County. While it may be a bit of a distance for you to travel, It's one of the closest locations to the immediate NYC Metro area that has the lowest levels of light pollution (a huge problem for astrophotographers).  Topics include essential equipment and camera controls for astrophotography, composing great sky shots, using apps to choose the best locations, times and seasons for capturing the heavens, adding star trails, and photographing the milky way galaxy core.


This workshop is open to Level III - IV photographers with DSLR or Mirrorless cameras with manual settings and interchangeable lenses who want to explore low light and astrophotography (no smart phones, tablets, or point and shoot cameras please). Not sure what level you are? Click here to find out. Students should be comfortable shooting in full manual mode, have a camera capable of manual exposure settings, non-kit lenses with wide apertures (f/2.8 or larger) and own a good solid, sturdy tripod.


The workshop will begin with an online virtual class, hosted on the Zoom platform earlier in the day.  We'll start with an introduction and then we'll dive right in to the material. During the online lecture, photography skills and techniques will be taught with a mix of lecture and demonstration. 

The workshop will continue with the hands-on portion on-site at the Schunemunk Mountain Preserve, later in the evening. We will answer questions, review techniques from the online class as well as practice new skills. Next, we'll scout the best locations and setup for the evening. For the remaining time you will be given free time to create your own photographs using the techniques you have learned with support from your instructor. During this time, your instructor will be roaming around providing individual attention to each participant to help make your photographs the best they can be.


The safety of our participants and instructors is of the utmost priority. As such, all of our workshops are run in accordance with guidelines and standards set forth by governmental agencies on the Federal, State, and County level including the CDC, NYS Dept. of Health, NYS Office of the Governor, and Westchester County Dept. of Health. 

In order to limit group gatherings and promote social distancing we have split up the workshop into a class portion and hands-on practice portion. The class portion of our workshops is now given virtually, online, through the Zoom platform. The hands-on portion will be given at the workshop venue. Participants will be required to attend both portions, and no refunds will be given for missing either the virtual class, or hands-on meeting.

Participants will be required to sign a COVID-19 Waiver. Participants also agree to refrain from attending the workshop if they are not feeling well, they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have knowingly been around others that have tested positive for COVID-19 or are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.


This special field trip takes place entirely at the Schunemunk Mountain Preserve in Salisbury Mills, NY (exact directions will be provided after registration), participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from. It is only accessible by car, and there is ample parking available You will meet your instructor there, full details will be given prior to the workshop.


Please bring your fully charged camera, and any accessories you'd like to have, see "Equipment Recommendations" below for details. A pen is helpful in case you'd like to take notes. 

All participants must bring, a face mask that fully covers the nose and mouth, must be secured underneath the chin and fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.

The Schunemunk Mountain Preserve is basically a forest, and we will be standing for practically all of the workshop, especially when taking night shots. A comfortable pair of shoes is a must! Though we may encounter some rough terrain, rest assured we will not be doing any hiking. A lawn chair may be helpful for extended exposure times. You may also wish to dress in layers as it can tend to get cool once the sun sets. Bug spray can also be helpful (but spray it away from your equipment). 

We have timed this workshop to coincide with the new moon in order to observe the darkest sky possible. This means there will absolutely no light once the sun goes down. A small flashlight with a red filter or bulb is recommended to help view your camera controls once it gets dark. The red color will help to preserve your night vision and make it easier to see details with the lower light levels.

Due to the length of this workshop you may find it helpful to bring a water bottle and a light snack . Be aware that there are absolutely no restroom facilities so plan accordingly. We suggest bringing hand sanitizer as well.


Unfortunately, due to low light levels and star movement, entry level cameras and kit lenses will not get you very far when trying to capture the night sky. Below are some equipment recommendations that will help to ensure you get the most value out of the workshop.

We recommend bringing lenses that tend to be on the wide to normal end of the spectrum. This will allow you to capture foreground elements in your shots as well as maximizing exposure time before star movement creeps into your shot. Lenses should have very wide apertures, think f/2.8 or larger to allow the maximum amount of light in.

A good sturdy tripod that can support your camera rig is a must. Tripods with larger diameter legs are recommended for long exposure shots, as well as if the wind picks up, as there is some elevation at the Mountain. 

A cable release will help eliminate vibration from your fingers when activating the shutter, as well as allowing for long exposures beyond 30 seconds. We recommend a wired one instead of a wireless as it does not require batteries and eliminates line of sight difficulties.

A small flashlight with a red filter or bulb is recommended to help view your camera controls once it gets dark. The red color will help to preserve your night vision and make it easier to see details with the lower light levels.

Further equipment recommendations will be provided in a detailed email prior to the field trip.


As this workshop is 4 hours in length, you should be prepared to do quite a bit of standing when taking night shots and some walking, comfortable shoes are a must! You may find it helpful to bring a lawn chair for longer exposure times.

Although we will be sticking to designated paths and grassy areas, and not doing any hiking, as expected in any nature setting, you may encounter rough terrain, insects, dangerous plants such as poison ivy, animals, and might even get a little dirty, so please plan accordingly. 

There are no restroom or port-a-potty facilities, and the nearest Dunkin Donuts or gas station is a 10 minute drive, so please plan accordingly. 


Registration cancellations and refund requests must be submitted in writing no less than 7 days prior to the start of the workshop. In most cases, refunds will not be given for no shows, latecomers, or missing either the online class portion or hands-on portion of the workshop. However, should there be a COVID-19 related reason for not attending, a possible refund will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  In the case of inclement weather, or excessive cloud cover, there is an alternative workshop date available. If you cannot attend the alternative workshop date a credit will be given for use towards a future Dengrove Studios workshop. In the event that official guidelines regarding COVID-19 change in a way that prevents us from holding the workshop or the venue cannot open due to COVID-19 guidelines, a full refund will be provided. 

Questions? Feel free to contact us before you register.

Leading up to the workshop you will receive several email communications from us. In order to ensure they get delivered properly and do not get filtered or blocked we suggest adding the following emails to your safe sender list or address book, info@dengrovestudios.com and courses@dengrovestudios.com

Online Class: Fri, Sept 16th, 7PM - 9 PM, Onsite: Sat, Sept 17th, 7 PM - 11 PM (Rain/Cloud Date: Sept 18th)

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