Big Bend Under Dark Skies
Big Bend is known for its ancient limestone in the Chisos Mountains and volcanic Rio Grande River Canyons, but did you know it holds title to one of the darkest skies in the world? Join Wayne Suggs and Sivani Babu in Big Bend, Texas as we explore one of the most fascinating landscapes in the Southwest. We will photograph the lower reaches of Big Bend State Park, where the Rio Grande River flows through deep canyons and meanders through the desert terrain. We will also make our way high into Big Bend National Park and the Chisos Mountains, where black bear, bighorn sheep, and deer are often spotted in this diverse and 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 amazing 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 not only take night photographs in diverse landscapes, but you will also learn about astrophotography and how to set up lights to illuminate your scene—your night sky will look amazing, but 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 amazing 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.
April 19–25, 2020
Itinerary and General Information
We recommend spending the night of the April 18, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Express, 6666 Gateway Blvd E, El Paso, TX 79915. This night is not covered in the tuition.
April 19, 2020: Wayne and Sivani will meet everyone in the hotel lobby in El Paso by 9:00 AM. After introductions and packing bags into the vehicles, we will drive to our first hotel near Big Bend State Park. The ride is just under five hours with a lunch stop. If you wish to drive yourself to Big Bend, and not meet the group here, please notify us for information regarding where and when to meet. For those driving to Big Bend, we will notify you of where to meet up with the group. After an early dinner, we’ll head out for our first sunset shoot along the river.
April 20, 2020: We’ll start very early in the dark to get out and begin our first night shoot of the landscape and Milky Way. After sunrise and breakfast there will be time for a quick break, followed by our first image review and editing session. We’ll be eating an early dinner, then out again for the sunset shoot near the hotel.
April 21, 2020: Very early start to photograph the Milky Way over another amazing landscape. These early morning shoots of the stars offer a great 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 22, 2020: 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 checkin to the Chisos Mountain Lodge where we’ll be spending two nights. We’ll have an early dinner before heading out to one of many great vistas for the sunset shoot.
April 23, 2020: Very early start again to spend more time photographing the galactic center of the Milky Way and an amazing 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 24, 2020: 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 ways to process the night photographs captured. We’ll break for an early dinner and sunset shoot.
April 25, 2020: Depending on weather, we’ll take our last chance to photograph the Milky Way together. Another hearty breakfast then checkout of hotel. We’ll begin our drive back to El Paso no later than 10:00 AM. This will allow us to arrive into El Paso by 4:00 PM for flights home.
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How To Prepare For Your Workshop page now for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
Double occupancy lodging (Single available, just ask)
All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
All transportation during workshop
Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
Image reviews, post-processing instruction
Fun, inspiration, and a great time!