The Viewfinder

Alison Carlino’s Night Skies Workshop - Review

22 Sep 2023 3:47 PM | Duane Blocker, CPP (Administrator)

Alison Carlino’s Night Skies Workshop: 10/10 highly recommend!

By: Megan Murray

Visiting Big Bend had been on my bucket list for years, and when Alison Carlino announced her Photographing the Night Skies workshop, I jumped at the opportunity.  An escape from the city, beautiful scenery, photography, wonderful company, and a scholarship from PPGH – what’s not to love?

Before the workshop, Alison hosted a Zoom meeting to cover our itinerary, packing list, equipment & software requirements, and answer any questions.  Once in Terlingua, the workshop was a mix of afternoon classroom time and late night photography under the stars.   We covered three main topics: Milky Way, light painting, and star trails.  Alison is an organized, thorough, and passionate instructor!

Although Alison had done all the preplanning legwork for this workshop, she taught us how to plan future astrophotography shoots by researching dark sky areas and moon phases and location of the milky way.  Here’s a back-of-camera photo from the first night where we photographed the Milky Way over an old church in the Terlingua Ghost town:

The second night, we ventured into Big Bend Ranch State Park and photographed star trails at an old movie set along the banks of the Rio Grande.  This was my very first attempt at star trails, and while far from technically perfect, I was happy with the end result:

But just to show you what’s possible, here’s an image Alison created right outside her AirBnB:

WOW, right?!

The next afternoon, we covered editing of night skies and learned how to combine hundreds of time-lapse images into one finished star trails image.  The clouds rolled in, so instead of staying up late photographing on the third night, the group went on a sunset hike together.  The conversation, climb, views, and candy-colored skies were the perfect ending to a fantastic workshop.

I loved the small group format of Alison’s workshop – plenty of personal attention and great company on those late nights.

And while at Big Bend, I did a little hiking too.  With such wide open spaces and sparse population, it almost felt like I was on another planet.

In conclusion, I would recommend ANY class Alison teaches!  Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she gives her students 110%.   And if you’re longing for an excuse to get out in nature and try something different, the Night Skies workshop is just the ticket.  Thank you PPGH for making this workshop experience possible with a photography education scholarship!

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