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Join me this fall for my FIRST ever Shelbydiamondstar Photo Workshop! Ever wanted to take your astrophotography to the next level? Do you want to learn about unlocking the mysteries of the aurora borealis? Then this is the workshop for you!  I have been actively chasing the aurora for a number of years.  In addition, I am currently working towards a certification in Space Weather and Environment: Science, Policy and Communication (SWEN).  This is a graduate level program offered by Millersville University in Pennsylvania.  Rest assured, you will walk away with insights into the art and science of the Aurora – and chasing it! 


On nights of quiet activity, we will pursue astrophotography. Prior to Aurora chasing, I spent years learning the techniques to capture stunning landscapes under the stars. From single images, to stacking and tracking, you will learn these techniques.  I will have star trackers available for those who may want to try one out. 


In the event mother nature wants to “rain on our parade”, then we will capture the amazing fall colors that the Keweenaw is famous for. Regardless of what nature does, the goal is for you to walk away with the knowledge to be able to create stunning images of your own! 


Why the Keweenaw


Nestled on the northernmost tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, this picturesque region is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its pristine forests, sparkling blue lakes, and rugged shoreline, the peninsula boasts an awe-inspiring backdrop that leaves visitors in awe. During the fall season, the Keweenaw Peninsula transforms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues as the trees don their autumnal colors, creating a photographer's dream. In addition, this is a certified dark sky area! 

A few areas of interest include: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, Esry Park, Brockway Mountain Drive, Hunter's Point Park, the town of Copper Harbor, Haven Falls, Eagle River Falls, and more!  Depending on what Mother Nature throws at us, we may also venture out to Bond Falls, O-Kun-De-Kun falls, or the Porcupine Mountains. 


Dates – October 4th – Oct, 9th, 2024. 

These dates were chosen with the new moon in mind, as well as observations of the past few autumn season. The colors tend to turn a little later along the shorelines of Lake Superior. Also, the solar wind‘s charged plasma tends to be more geoeffective during the equinoxes due to the Russell-McPherron effect. This refers to the Earth’s tilt in relation to the sun. I wanted to set us up for the best possible chances to capture this phenomenon! 


Since this is a workshop that is weather dependent, the itenery will be fluid. If aurora is active, we may be out all night; sacrificing a sunrise for sleep. Or if we need to drive to avoid clouds, we may have to watch a sunset from the road!



Included in the price! We will share an Airbnb with ample room.  We will set up base camp in the Lake Gogebic Area. The reason for this is it allows us leeway to head multiple directions in the event we weed to get out of clouds. I have allotted quite a significant portion of the price to go towards lodging, so that we will all have space. From my experience, these shared Airbnbs have worked out great for post processing sessions, and friendship! For those that may want to find lodging on their own, you are more than welcome to, but I cannot offer a discount. 



We will meet at the Airbnb, so you will have to provide transportation to the location. However, once on site, we can work together and carpool to shooting locations, as I will rent a van or large SUV for us to use.  This will help you save miles and fuel costs.  HOWEVER, if you choose to fly into Chicago O-Hare (ORD), then you can ride up with me to the location, as this is where I will be traveling up from.  Note:  PLEASE fly into ORD the night before (oct 3rd).  I'll be leaving early on the 4th to get up to the Keweenaw in the afternoon, so we can get out chasing that night!  Any sort of flight delay will mess that up,  Make your return flight on the Oct 10th, as we will be driving back after sunrise on the 9th. 


Unfortunately, there is no large airport nearby. Houghton, Michigan is a Regional Airport and the closest. If anyone does fly into Houghton, I can come pick you up!


Larger Airport distances to Lake Gogebic: 

Duluth, MN (4.5hr) 

Minneapolis, MN (7hr) 

Chicago ORD, IL (7hr) 

Milwaukee, WI (6.5hr) 

Based on these times, if it is easier to tag along with me, then by all means, use ORD as your base.  We can chat about the best way to handle this once we have the group confirmed.  

Meals and Snacks:

I will provide snacks and bottled water.  We can use the rental vehicle to go pick up groceries or go out to eat depending on what the day's plan allows! 


What will you learn?


Aurora focused: 

- Basics behind the Sun-Earth connection and why this matters!

- Using Space Weather Live and real-time data to determine when to go out.

- Primer into using the many data products from the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) to make informed decisions about Solar Storms (CMES / Fast Solar Wind)


Astrophotography focus:

- Camera settings and best practices.

- Stacking and Tracking images for best results.

- Introduction to blue hour blends.

- Composition tips and tricks.


General Photography:

- Using color as a composition tool

- Making the most of any situation


We will also go over the many weather tools and apps available to help plan where to go!  We will also have time to go over post-processing techniques.  Fear not, you will learn something! :) 


What to bring: 


- A DSLR or mirrorless camera. All I ask is that you know how to operate the camera’s main functions prior to the workshop. It is extremely difficult to learn a new camera in the dark! Trust me on this one! If you have a new camera, we will go over its functions during the day at home base.


- Sturdy tripod. I use Slik tripods, and they have served me well.


- A fast, wide angle lens for the night photography sessions. Something in a 14-24mm range will serve you well. F/2.8 or faster. Primes are awesome. I personally use a 20mm F/1.8 lens for a majortiy of my astro work around the great lakes.


- In the event we switch over to fall colors – bring your favorite! I’ve used anything from 24-70mm lenses to super telephotos for fall colors.

- A headlamp with a white light.  For photography, white lamps are preferred because they can be cleaned up in post.  A red light is extremely hard to remove in post. 

Weather in the upper midwest can fluctuate wildly. I’ve experienced temperature swings from below freezing to 80 degrees! Last year, it hit 80 that first weekend of October! Typically, it is on the cooler side. So bring layers, a warm hat and gloves. Hiking boots, too! 

Price - $2100 per person. Max of 5 participants. 3 Remaining Spots!  

Refund Policy: 

In the event you cannot make the trip, I will refund you the full amount (minus 10% due to processing fees) if done 1-month prior.  This will allow me to find a person to take your place.  Anytime after 1-month, I cannot offer a refund due to the costs involved to run the workshop.  

Dark Skies and Rugged Beauty!

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