When we added an astro workshop to our schedule we expected it to be popular. Astro photography has seen a lot of interest since astro-capable cameras have become more affordable in recent years. What we did not expect was to be overrun by demand, and then some. We had to add a second workshop which booked out as well. We would have loved to add a third one, but ran out of suitable weekends.
Astro photography is a diva. Getting spectacular results depends on a lot of things to come together: It starts with the Milky Way, which is only visible in the winter months. A brightly shining moon will wash out the view of the Milky Way, so the ideal time for astro is around new moons or on days when the moon sets in the afternoon. And while a cloudy sky adds to a landscape photograph, it will ruin shooting the stars. Organising an astro workshops is quite anxiety-inducing :)
So how did it go? In one word: stellar! The weather played along nicely, and on the second workshop a huge geomagnetic storm caused an aurora that paid us a short visit. Mild, clear and windless nights in winter are rare, and as orange lights were dancing along the horizon, we knew we had won the lottery!
We have gotten pretty good at making our own weather through sheer willpower. We decided to bring a few props anyway, just in case it clouded over. Since our students were quite perceptive, we had spare time to get the toys out. No worries, one of us was standing by with a fire extinguisher, just in case :)
Conditions for astro really do not get much better than this. Thanks again to everyone who gambled with us. We hope you took a memory card full of awesome images home.