Big Bend Under Night Skies
April 14–20, 2023
Big Bend is known for its ancient limestone and volcanic rock formations, but did you know it holds title to one of the darkest skies in the world? Explore one of the most fascinating Southwest landscapes, where the Rio Grande River flows through deep canyons and meanders through the desert terrain. We will also head high into the Chisos Mountains, where black bear, bighorn sheep, and deer are often spotted in this photogenic setting. We will photograph old, abandoned buildings and make our way through ghost towns and graveyards. If winter brings good rains, we could have fantastic flower and cactus blooms at this time of year.
With some of the darkest skies in the country, the Milky Way will be first and foremost on the Big Bend agenda. You will learn about astrophotography and how to set up lights to illuminate your scene—your night sky will look amazing, and your subject and landscape will, as well! You will also learn the tricks of the trade for processing your images during the classroom sessions.
With resort accommodations and tasty cuisine in a wild west setting, it will be a week full of adventure and photography.
Muench Workshops is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.
April 13, 2023: We recommend spending this night at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Midland. This night is not covered in the tuition.
April 14, 2023: Your instructors will meet everyone in the hotel lobby in Lajitas, Texas, at 3:00 PM. After an orientation and early dinner, we’ll head out for our first sunset shoot along the river.
April 15, 2023: We’ll start very early (around 3:00 AM) in the dark to get out for our first night-shoot of the landscape and Milky Way. After sunrise and breakfast, there will be time for a break, followed by our first image review and editing session. You’ll have some downtime before eating an early dinner, then out again for the sunset shoot near the hotel.
April 16, 2023: Very early start to photograph the Milky Way over another stunning landscape. These early morning shoots of the stars offer an excellent opportunity to capture the Milky Way and dawn. After our shoot, we’ll have a big breakfast and short rest before we meet again for the afternoon image review and editing session. Another early dinner before heading out for sunset. Following the sunset shoot near the hotel, it will be time to get to bed early for another long day ahead.
April 17, 2023: Early morning to photograph the night skies and Milky Way. We’ll enjoy another great breakfast following the morning shoot, then check out of the hotel. Today, we’ll head up into Big Bend National Park. We’ll take the scenic drive into the Chisos Mountains and check in to our mountain lodge, where we’ll be spending two nights. We’ll have an early dinner before heading out to one of many magnificent vistas for the sunset shoot.
April 18, 2023: Very early start again to spend more time photographing the galactic center of the Milky Way and a wonderful landscape. We’ll have time for a hearty breakfast and quick rest. Then we’ll be off to spend some time exploring the landscape in the park for the afternoon and sunset.
April 19, 2023: After our sunrise shoot, we’ll have breakfast and checkout. Then we’ll make our way back to our first hotel, where we’ll spend time learning techniques to process the night photographs captured. We’ll break for an early dinner and sunset shoot.
April 20, 2023: Depending on the weather, we’ll take our last chance to photograph the Milky Way together. Another hearty breakfast, then goodbye.
Moderate: You are able to handle short walks to shoot locations with some uneven and rocky surfaces, sometimes in the dark.
Arrive Midland International Air and Space Port (MAF), Midland, Texas anytime on April 13, 2023. Flights out can be made after 6:00 PM on April 20, 2023.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $900 supplement.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!
- Travel to and from Lajitas Golf Resort.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $900 supplement.
“Wayne is a superb photographer and a superb teacher. One does not necessarily lead to the other, but he is most definitely both. He was generous with his praise and his critical feedback, both much appreciated. ”