Starry Skies Adventure

June 19-22, 2023 (three-and-a-half days)

Where does the workshop take place?

This workshop is based in Lee Vining, California, near Mono Lake. Field locations will be in the Yosemite high country, eastern Sierra, and Mono Lake.

When does the workshop begin and end?

We’ll start with an introduction and instruction session in Lee Vining beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, June 19th. The workshop will end around 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 22nd.

The workshop includes a classroom session on Monday afternoon to introduce you to the techniques we’ll be using in the field, and further classroom sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons to review images made during the workshop, demonstrate the often-complex techniques required for processing nighttime images, and give participants one-on-one help with processing all their photos from the workshop. Field sessions Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights will begin in the late afternoon and extend to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. On Thursday we’ll wrap up at about 3:00 p.m.


Participants must provide their own transportation to and from Lee Vining. The nearest major airport is in Reno, Nevada; driving time is about three hours. During the workshop we’ll carpool to our field locations—we’ll discuss these arrangements at the introductory session.


Most cameras with APS-size or full-frame sensors can handle photographing star trails. For capturing pinpoint stars and the Milky Way you’ll need a relatively fast wide-angle lens (24mm or wider for full-frame sensors, 16mm or wider for APS-size sensors, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or better), and a camera that can be pushed to 6400 ISO or higher. You can always rent a camera or lens for this workshop. A sturdy tripod is a must. We’ll send you a complete list of things to bring prior to the workshop.


Nighttime photography is not for beginners. For this workshop you should have a solid understanding of exposure, histograms, depth of field, and the operation of your camera. Previous nightime photography experience is helpful, but not essential. Some Photoshop experience is also helpful for assembling star-trail and light-painting sequences.


Hiking is required for this workshop. The longest hike we anticipate is about 3 miles roundtrip, with a steep, 300-foot climb. All the field locations are at high altitude (up to 8,800 feet), which makes hiking much more difficult, especially while carrying heavy camera equipment up steep hills. So you need to be in good physical condition for this workshop, and capable of negotiating rocky, uneven terrain at night. You should not take this workshop if you’re in poor physical condition, or have mobility issues. Due to the high altitude, you should not take this workshop if you have a heart condition, or any other health issue that could be affected by altitude. If you have any questions about the hiking, please email Michael.


We’ve reserved a block of rooms at Murphey’s Motel in Lee Vining. You can also choose one of the other motels in Lee Vining, and camping is available nearby. When you register for the workshop we’ll send you information about all the lodging options. Lodging is not included in the workshop tuition.


Restaurant choices are limited, but there are a couple of good ones in Lee Vining, and we’ll send you some suggestions when you register for the workshop. We’ll break for an early dinner each afternoon, but you’ll want to bring snacks or a sandwich to the nighttime field sessions. Meals are not included in the workshop tuition.

COVID Considerations

We want to make this workshop as safe as possible for all participants. Since the COVID-19 pandemic situation is constantly evolving, our procedures and requirements may change as well. We will, of course, follow CDC guidelines, as well as state and local requirements. We may also institute additional measures to ensure everyone’s safety, including proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test, masks while indoors, avoiding carpools (meaning everyone will have to drive their own vehicle to field locations), and conducting classroom sessions via Zoom.


A $600 deposit reserves your space in the workshop. The balance is due 60 days before the workshop (don’t worry, we’ll remind you!).


We know you’ll enjoy this workshop and learn a great deal, but should you need to cancel for any reason we will refund your tuition (or deposit) in full up to 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. Should you need to cancel within 45 to 59 days we will refund your tuition less a $150.00 cancellation fee. Refunds are not available less than 45 days prior to the workshop unless we can fill the vacancy, in which case you’ll be charged a $150 cancellation fee. If you do need to cancel we ask that you let us know as soon as possible so we can alert people on the waiting list.

In the rare event that we need to cancel this workshop because of lack of enrollment or an unforeseen event you will receive a complete refund or credit toward a future workshop. We recommend that you avoid purchasing non-refundable airline tickets, and consider getting trip cancellation insurance.

This workshop is full!
Please email us to sign up for the waiting list.


Legal Stuff:

This workshop is conducted by Michael Frye Photography and is operated under special use permit with the Inyo National Forest. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible State or local Agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information is also available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint alleging discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at, or at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provided in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (a) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (b) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (c) email:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.