White Pocket Astrophotography Masterclass
Capture stunning night skies and breathtaking desert foregrounds in a world-class Dark Sky destination with this White Pocket Astrophotography masterclass.
White Pocket is part of an extensive series of unusual geologic formations, swirling layers of sandstone, and white polygonal brain rock in the Vermillion Cliffs on the Pariah Plateau. The location has recently become somewhat of a prime world-class destination for photographers and hikers, offering a perfect alternative to the Wave in North Coyote Buttes (which is actually just 6 miles away). The colorful stripes and otherworldly rock shapes of White Pocket provide infinite opportunities for photography, and the hiking is also much easier than at the Wave.
White Pocket takes time to explore, and since we’ll have a fully outfitted remote camp for two full nights, we’ll have plenty of time to search out the best locations. Together, we’ll capture sunsets, sunrises, blue hour, and some of the best night skies in the continental U.S. White Pocket is only accessible via a bumpy drive through deep sand in high clearance 4WD vehicles, but “Wow!” is the effort ever worth it!
A special focus of this photography workshop will be the emphasis given to Astrophotography and shooting the Milky Way. Astrophotography is intimidating for many photographers, and we’ll learn how to plan an Astro shoot, find suitable locations, and get your camera gear organized. We’ll also spend time reviewing both the benefits and limitations of working with single exposures, how to create a composite from two exposures, and how to blend blue hour exposures with star stacked shots.
Moonset will occur around 7 PM and the visibility of the Galactic Center will start around 8:30 PM that week. The Galactic Center will be mostly vertical making for spectacular skies. It will also be the latter part of the Monsoon season so there’s a strong possibility that we’ll have water in the “pockets” for our photographs as well. Be prepared for two spectacular evenings of shooting the Milky Way!
In addition to an online class session prior to the workshop, we’ll meet for a final orientation session and group dinner in Kanab the night before we leave for White Pocket. We’ll also spend the afternoon of the third day and the final morning in the classroom using advanced post-production techniques with our images.
Itinerary & General Information
- August 26 – Arrival at hotel in Kanab UT / 5 PM meet-and-greet / final prep & orientation session followed by a group dinner.
- August 27 – Our trip to White Pocket will start at Noon with an exciting three-hour drive in 4WD vehicles through scenic backcountry, deep sands, and the occasional cattle gate! After setting up camp, we’ll spend the afternoon scouting locations for sunset, astrophotography that evening, and sunrise the following morning. The White Pocket terrain is quite rugged in places and the skies will be very dark between sunset and sunrise. In order to maximize our time in the field and ensure the safety of everyone, our scouting and planning time during that first afternoon will be essential. Dinner will be scheduled to ensure maximum time for sunset and golden hour. After dinner, we’ll start getting ourselves organized for a night of shooting the stars. All camping equipment and services will be provided including portable toilets, tents for sleeping, sleeping bags, and delicious home-cooked meals. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes to hike in, your clothes, and of course your camera gear.
- August 28 – Our second day will start with pre-dawn, blue hour, and sunrise – since we’ll all be more comfortable with navigating the White Pocket terrain, everyone will have more latitude in selecting the locations they’d like to photograph in the morning. We’ll continue to explore the White Pocket landscape and plan our strategies for sunset that evening, a second night of shooting the stars, and sunrise the following morning.
- August 29 – Our third day will start once again with pre-dawn, blue hour, and sunrise. After breakfast, it’ll be time to start our trek back to Kanab where we’ll check into our hotel, relax, and take a shower. We’ll spend the remainder of the day working on our images from White Pocket. We will practice techniques such as luminosity masks, exposure blending, and how to solve contrast, color, and blending issues. Most importantly, we will evaluate what worked and what didn’t work so that we can make adjustments for the next time we’re out in the field. The day will conclude with a group dinner.
- August 30 – We’ll spend our final morning working on our images in the classroom before concluding our adventure.
John Bosma Fine Arts Photography is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
What to Expect
This backcountry adventure is unique on a number of levels:
- White Pocket is an epic destination comprised of an extensive series of unusual geologic formations, swirling layers of sandstone, and white polygonal brain rock – it is a spectacular destination for both daytime and Astrophotography.
- Our conditions for Astrophotography will be almost ideal this week. Moonset will occur around 7 PM, and the visibility of the Galactic Center will start around 8:30 PM and remain visible until about midnight that week. The Galactic Center will be mostly vertical making for spectacular skies. It will also be the latter part of the Monsoon season so there’s a strong possibility that we’ll have water in the “pockets” for our photographs. Be prepared for two spectacular evenings of shooting the Milky Way!
- As group members become more comfortable with navigating the terrain and shooting by themselves, you’ll have a lot of latitude as to what, where, and when you shoot. Our itinerary will be quite flexible.
- Because this workshop is heavily focused on Astrophotography, the workshop will include an enhanced level of instruction and mentoring with both your camera work and post-production activities than my normal workshops. We’ll meet for an online class session prior to the workshop, meet for a final orientation session in Kanab the night before we leave for White Pocket, and then spend the afternoon of the third day upon our return from White Pocket and the final morning in the classroom using advanced post-production techniques with our images.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- 4 nights lodging (2 in hotels / 2 camping)
- All meals, snacks, and soft drinks during the workshop
- All ground transportation during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- All camping equipment and meals at White Pocket
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Workshop course materials
- Photographic guidance, instruction, and review from your photo instructors
- Online prep & orientation classes prior to the workshop
- Post-production classes and techniques during the workshop
- Online post-production classes after the workshop
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Transportation to/from your home to the hotel in Kanab, UT
- Lodging beyond the 4 nights included in the workshop
- Alcoholic beverages
- Items of a personal nature
- Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended)
- Anything not listed as included
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How to Prepare For Your Workshop page for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.