Night Skies & Landscapes of BIG BEND Photo Tour~ 2018

April 6 ~ 9, 2018
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

Join award-winning nature photographer Jeff Parker for his Night Skies & Landscapes of BIG BEND Photo Tour~ 2018 and take home amazing images.

By day during my “Night Skies & Landscapes of BIG BEND Photo Tour~ 2018” we’ll create photographs of those famous Chihuahuan desert landscapes. And by night we’ll blaze digital star trails through this International Dark Sky Park.

~ Four (4) spots left~

This national park provides plenty of photographic fodder and we’ll take advantage of it during my “Night Skies & Landscapes of BIG BEND Photo Tour~ 2018” as we find creative ways to highlight some of its famous sites as well as some of those not-so-well-known. Rising more than 7,500 feet from the desert valley below, the Chisos Mountains form the heart of Big Bend National Park, providing additional image-worthy scenery.

With its unique geology, Big Bend provides lots of turns, twists, grooves, and ridges to make our lenses happy. Diversity abounds here, from 500 million-year-old formations, to evidence of the shallow sea covering this land some 135 million years before, to the dunes at Boquillas Canyon, which remain under perpetual construction.

Early-April should provide some cacti and yucca blooms to add color and interest to our images. If we get lucky and rain conditions are right, we’ll find ocotillo flowers, too.

Once it grows dark, we’ll photograph the Milky Way and learn light painting techniques. The International Dark-Skies Association (IDA), a Tucson-based non-profit dedicated to more thoughtful use of light at night, awarded Big Bend National Park Gold Tier status, which requires a Bortle Class rating of 1, 2, or 3. The scale ranges from 1 (pristine night skies) to 9 (strong light pollution). With a Bortle rating of 2, Big Bend’s night skies rank nearly pristine, which will allow us to generate some amazing nighttime imagery.

Photograph the milky way at Big Bend National Park during Jeff Parker's Big Bend Photo Tour

Seventy-five mammal species make their homes in Big Bend National Park, including Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Mule Deer, Javelina, Pronghorn, Bobcat, Weasel, Jackrabbit, and many more. While we’ll focus on photographing landscapes, we’ll also keep our eyes open for the park’s plethora of wildlife. Photographing them would be —- admittedly -— tough since, except for the Javelinas in one of the campgrounds, these animals aren’t acclimated to humans; however, just knowing they’re there with us adds something special to this journey.

Cost is $745.00 ~ lodging and food not included (EXCEPT your “Welcome Dinner” — it IS included).
Limited to six (6) participants.

Friday evening, April 6, 2018 ~ Monday morning, April 9, 2018

ITINERARY:

  • Friday evening, April 6th:
    Meet at 6:30 for our first meal together – dinner at the Starlight in Terlingua ghost town. THIS dinner is INCLUDED in the price of your tour (remaining meals are self-pay). Following dinner, plan on a light painting lesson and an evening of light painting & night photography under the stars.
  • Saturday, April 7th:
    Early-morning landscape shoot. Expect to hike to our shoot location before the sun rises. Optional expedition across the border to Boquillas, Mexico for lunch. Evening photo shoot.
  • Sunday, April 8th:
    Early-morning landscape shoot. Expect to hike to our shoot location before the sun rises. Optional mid-day hike or other activity. Evening landscape shoot. Night photography.
  • Monday, April 9th:
    Landscape shoots at locations TBA (but may necessitate a short hike before the sun rises). Desert Mountain overlook and Santa Elena Canyon overlook. Tour ends following shoots. Thanks for joining me!

Big Bend Photo Tour with Jeff Parker

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • Three nights and two full days of photography fun, including instruction & guidance by award-winning nature photographer, Jeff Parker
  • Instruction in light painting & night photography techniques
  • Two (2) night time photo shoots
  • Three (3) evening (dusk) photo shoots with Jeff’s guidance & instruction
  • Three (3) morning (dawn) photo shoots with Jeff’s guidance & instruction
  • Water & snacks
  • Park entrance fees
  • “Welcome Dinner” at the Starlight Theatre (meal & beverages included)

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED:

  • Lodging
  • Meals* (except “Welcome Dinner; it’s included)
  • Transportation (we will rely on carpooling to get us to our photo shoot spots in the park)

LOGISTICS, EQUIPMENT & SUCH:

Getting There:
The two closest major airports are Midland-Odessa (about 3 1/4 hours drive away) and El Paso (about a 5-hour drive).

The code for the Midland-Odessa airport is MAF (officially: Midland International Air and Space Port). It is located approximately midway between the cities of Midland and Odessa.

The code for the El Paso Airport is ELP (officially: El Paso International Airport).

Amtrak stops in Alpine (80 miles away). Visit this site (VisitBigBend.com) for some great, detailed info about how to best get to the Big Bend Region.

Suggested Equipment:
Wondering what sort of photography equipment you might need on a trip like this?  Here’s the EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST (PDF) I send out to participants as we prepare for the tour.

NOTE: You do not have to own everything on the checklist to get good shots in this photogenic national park! It’s a list of recommended equipment. If you have any questions about the minimum lenses, etc. that will get you though, don’t hesitate to ask!  That said, night photography is a major part of this tour — and what makes Big Bend NP so special — so you WILL definitely want a good tripod.

Lodging Assistance:
When you join me for my “Night Skies & Landscapes of BIG BEND Photo Tour” I recommend you stay in the park if possible (this requires procuring reservations FAR ahead of time). You can CAMP or stay at the Chisos Mountains Lodge (listed below).

The next best choice would be Terlingua/Study Butte & we’ve listed some lodging options there as well. The closest place with “chain” hotels is Alpine –80 miles away– so we haven’t included that info (too far to drive for the purposes of this tour).

We DO NOT endorse any of these in particular; we’re merely providing this list as a convenience to you:

GENERAL INFO / SIGN UP:

      • DATE: Friday evening, April 6 ~ Monday morning, April 9, 2018
      • PRICE: $745.00
      • SPACE FOR: Six (6) photographers ~ Four (4) spots left~

      Please read our CANCELLATION POLICY before purchasing

      (Follow the provided link or go to link under “MORE” on sidebar to the right.) Thanks!




  • Big Bend Photo Tour with Jeff Parker