2023 Maine Photography Workshop

The Milky Way in Acadia National Park

Join us for a Maine photography workshop in Acadia National Park where we’ll capture our Milky Way over some of the most spectacular landscapes in the Atlantic Coast of the United States.

We are running this tour during the month of September, 2023, which is a beautiful time of year to explore Acadia’s scenic overlooks, photograph the coastline, and capture the Milky Way.


During this Maine photography workshop, we will focus specifically on landscapes and nightscapes shooting the Milky Way over the most photogenic landscapes Acadia National Park has to offer.

Also known as “The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”, in Acadia National Park you’ll see and photograph some of the most beautiful rocky shorelines, coves, and scenic overlooks in Maine.  Since we will be photographing towards the ocean, the light pollution is almost nonexistent in this particular area, making it ideal for astrophotography.

Joseph Cole and Chris Bundens will personally help you capture the best possible images during this Acadia National Park photography workshop. They will show you the best techniques to shoot the Milky Way, from the basics to the most advanced techniques like star-tracking, and they will also run post-processing sessions so you can bring your captured images to life.

While this workshop is primarily focused on Astro shooting at night, we will also have time to capture the sunrises, sunsets, and daytime images during the trip.


  • Photo tours in September 2023
  • Group size: 10 participants + 2 instructors.
  • Main topics: Landscape astrophotography.
  • Main areas: Acadia National Park.
  • Best time to capture the Milky Way from various scenic locations.
  • Dedicated post-processing sessions.
  • Accommodation included in Bar Harbor close to the best locations.

2023 Maine Astrophotography Workshop Itinerary

Our Maine astrophotography workshop itinerary is flexible, and it will be adjusted according to the weather conditions so you can make the most of this trip.

Our workshop will be during the best time of year to capture a south-facing Milky Way over Maine’s rocky coastline, when our galaxy is visible from around 8 PM to 11 PM.

Depending on the conditions, we might also have the opportunity to photograph the fall colors over some of the most iconic landscapes in Acadia NP. 

DAY 1: Acadia Photography Workshop

Our Maine milky way photography workshop begins at the “Acadia inn” at 2:00 PM. This hotel is situated in an ideal spot at one of the shortest drives from the main shooting locations, and it’ll be our base camp during the entire trip. It also puts us in close proximity to the beautiful and quaint town of Bar Harbor, where there are plenty of amenities and restaurants.

After a meet and greet with the rest of the group and a welcome speech, we will prepare for our first night session at South Bubble Overlook, which offers amazing views of Jordan Pond and Bubble Rock.  This location offers fantastic photo opportunities to capture an unobstructed view of the Milky Way over some of the most renowned Acadia National Park’s landscapes.  

DAY 2: Maine Photography workshop

We will start the day with an epic sunrise from Boulder Beach. Here we will capture the ball-sized boulder rocks and ocean views with the iconic cliffs and pines of Acadia National Park in the background. 

After that, we will get some grub, recharge some batteries, and rest up.  Since Saturday is the busiest day for the park, we will take you to more secluded locations starting with an optional afternoon hike at Great Head Trail which overlooks Sand Beach.

Before sunset, we will head over to another secluded location called Hunters Beach which is a short half-mile flat walk to the beach.  We will get there to capture the sunset and stay for our Milky Way photography session.

DAY 3: Maine Astrophotography Workshop

On day three, we will visit Thunder Hole for a beautiful sunrise and then walk along the impressive Ocean path. This is a flat and easy trail that follows one of the most dramatic stretches of coastline in Maine. We will stop at the numerous vantage points from which you can photograph this visual feast.

We will scout out compositions from Monument Cove, where you’ll enjoy the views of some rugged granite walls and spectacular pillars shaped by centuries of waves and storms, to Otter Point, another popular spot with amazing views of the coastline.


After this morning session, we can get food, rest up and recharge.  Later in the afternoon, we will have our first post-processing session where we will work on the images that you have captured during the trip with a special focus on your night images. We’ll show you the best techniques according to your skills, from the basics to some top-notch post-editing techniques.

In the evening and, after our editing session, we’ll visit Monument Cove again to photograph this location at sunset till’ the Milky Way emerges over the Acadia’s southern skies.

From there, it is a 1-minute drive to Otter Point, where we can capture additional milky way images.

DAY 4: Acadia Astrophotography Workshop

Depending on the clouds and night conditions, we’ll reserve the morning to do any of the morning shooting plans that we couldn’t do in the previous days.

Later that afternoon, we will head on over to Beech Mountain Trail, which is a 1.2-mile hike to the peak.  Here we will capture the stunning views that overlook Long Pond. We’ll also offer a second optional post-processing session in case you want to skip this hike, where we’ll continue with the editing instruction helping you with your images of the trip.

In the evening, we will head south to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse dates back to 1858 and it’s one of the most historical and photogenic spots in Acadia National Park. We’ll arrive in time to grab a good spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset and starry night sky if conditions allow.

From this location, we will teach you how to mitigate some of the harsh red light that is emitted from the lighthouse.  This will be a great location to practice and nightscape panorama as well!

DAY 5: Acadia Astrophotography Workshop

For the final day, we’ll do a final sunrise shooting along the Acadia coastline to photograph the cliffs and waves under the beautiful morning light.

After a breakfast in our hotel, we will conclude our Maine photography workshop.

PRICE: USD 2,900

Deposit: USD 1,000

A $1,000 deposit is required to reserve your spot for this workshop. You can also pay in full at any time. The remaining balance is due 90 days before the start of the tour. If the remaining balance is not paid in full by the due date, you will lose your spot.

What does the price include?


  • Accommodation in shared double rooms with queen beds at the Acadia Inn in Bar Harbor for 4 nights, including breakfast.
  • 5 days of photo guide services by professional photographers Michael Ver Sprill and Joseph Cole
  • Instruction in a small group of 10 participants with a 5:1 ratio (5 students per instructor).
  • Dedicated post-processing astrophotography sessions.
  • 100% refund if the workshop is cancelled because of COVID-19.



  • Transportation (including flights) to Acadia National Park. 
  • Transportation during the trip (we will arrange carpools when traveling to different locations).
  • Private room – Extra $490 (*Subject to availability)
  • Acadia National Parks entrance fee.
  • Meals except breakfast.
  • Health/travel insurance (We can help you purchase the best travel insurance according to your needs).
  • Personal expenses, tips, and any other service not mentioned in the “INCLUDED” section.

*Capture the Atlas operates under a CUA (Commercial Use Authorization) with the National Park Service to run photography workshops in the park premises.





Peter Byrnes
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The Acadia Photo Tour with Capture the Atlas was the type of photography trip that has been on my bucket list for years. I made my plans as soon as possible, and the experience exceeded all my expectations.
Jim Hall
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I had a great time with Capture the Atlas on their Acadia Photo Workshop. The group was lead by two great photographers, Mike and Joe. I would highly recommend joining Capture the Atlas on any of their workshops.
Rob Westfall
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I joined their Acadia Astrophotography trip in September. It was great. Joe and Mike were phenomenal leaders and teachers.

What will I learn during this Maine photo workshop?

This workshop is mainly focused on night and Milky Way photography. However, we will also photograph landscapes during the blue and golden hours, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn about landscape astrophotography.

What you learn during the workshop will vary according to your goals and skills. Your instructors are professional photographers with extensive experience who will help you take your photography to the next level.

Some of the photography basics you can learn during the workshop are:

  • Getting comfortable shooting different types of landscapes and photos in manual mode
  • Adjusting the best camera settings in each situation
  • Familiarizing yourself with the basics of night and Milky Way photography
  • Enhancing your compositions with the best techniques 
  • Designing your own shooting workflow to be more effective in the field 
  • Photographing daytime and night panoramas

Some of the advanced photography techniques you can learn during the workshop are:

  • Creating powerful compositions that tell a story and engage the viewer.
  • Building a connection between your photography and your vision.
  • Becoming a master of light: learn how to enhance it and keep it under control.
  • Advanced night & Milky Way photography techniques like stacking and panoramas.
  • Advanced bracketing and exposure blending to capture the best dynamic range.
  • Using wide-angle distortion and focal length blending to create powerful images.
  • Focus stacking to capture tack-sharp images with interesting foregrounds.
  • Advanced Milky Way shooting using a star-tracker

Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with are:

  • How to start using Lightroom and Photoshop (all the basics).
  • Preparing your images in Lightroom/Adobe Camera Raw to start on the right foot.
  • Stitching panoramas using different software like Lightroom, Photoshop, or PTGui Pro.
  • Stacking night images using Starry Landscape Stacker or Sequator.
  • Reducing the noise in your night images using Topaz Denoise AI.
  • All types of Blendings (exposure, focal length, focus, etc.).
  • Light shaping and Dodge & Burn in your landscape images.
  • Advanced Milky Way techniques like star reduction, structure, natural colors, etc.
*Note: As soon as you sign up for this workshop, you will have access to Dan’s full Capture the Milky Way course, which will give you the perfect editing knowledge base before you join this astrophotography workshop

Your instructors on this Oregon Coast photo tour

Joseph James will be the tour leader of this Acadia Astrophotography Workshop and will help you with your photography throughout the entire trip.

Joseph has a background in arts and painting, specializes in landscape and night images, and has a unique vision and style.

He’s travelled across the States, visiting stunning locations and perfecting his craft, to the point that he has become an expert in night photography, coastal scenes, and waterfall photography. He also knows the Acadia National Park very well, thanks to multiple visits and having led photo tours there in the past.

He will show you not only the best techniques but also how to be more creative with your camera gear so you can learn to see new compositions and perspectives that go unnoticed by most photographers. He will also help you with your tracker and Milky Way editing during this trip to elevate the quality of your night images. 

Chris Bundens will be the co-leader of this Maine workshop and he will make sure that you get the best photography results and experience out of this tour. He will help you with your photography, technique, composition, and post-processing for both day and night images.

Chris is a landscape astrophotographer who has explored and photographed the most photogenic spots in the States over the last few years, including the Oregon Coast, Death Valley, Utah, Monument Valley, etc. 

Chris has a very good eye for composition and he will help you capture the best possible images of the Maine Coastline. 

What to bring to an Acadia photo tour

Below, you can find a summary of things you might need:

Photography Gear
  • A mirrorless or DSLR camera.
  • A sturdy tripod and a remote shutter.
  • A wide-angle lens, such as 14-24 mm.
  • A medium zoom lens, such as 24-70 mm.
  • A telephoto lens, like a 70-200 mm lens.
  • A camera bag to transport all your equipment.
  • A headlamp for the night shoots.
  • A lens warmer to prevent humidity from fogging up your lens.
  • Glow-in-the-dark tape for your tripod.
  • A laptop for the post-processing sessions

Some optional items if you are focused on advanced MW photography are:

  • A star-tracker.
  • A laser for doing the polar alignment.

*While zoom lenses are acceptable for this workshop, prime lenses are recommended for Milky Way photography. Some of the best lenses in this range are:

-20 mm f/1.8, 24 mm f/1.4, 28 mm f/1.4, 35 mm f/1.8, 40 mm f/1.4, 50 mm f/1.8

You can get them either from your camera brand or from third-party manufacturers like Rokinon or Sigma.

*This Maine astrophotography workshop focuses on Milky Way nightscapes and not on deep-sky imaging. However, you can bring a telephoto/telescope and take your own deep-sky photos if you like.

You may be interested in this guide, where you can dive deeper into photography equipment for traveling.


Even though the sun makes temperatures warm during the day, nights can be chilly after sunset in late September, with temperatures around the 50s in the evening and night.

For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:

  • A system of layers to wear at night (base layer, windproof layer).
  • A good pair of breathable boots (to protect your feet and ankles while hiking over rocks and uneven terrain).
  • A light hat and gloves for the night photography sessions in case it gets cold.

If you are traveling from outside the US, you may need a specific travel visa or an electronic travel authorization (“ESTA”) depending on your country of origin. We can help you with this process.


During this Acadia astrophotography workshop, we will be staying in shared rooms with private bathrooms at the Acadia Inn, one of the top-rated accommodations close to the National Park.

Double queen room at the Acadia Inn


This is not a hiking photo tour, however, there are a few walks and hikes to get to and from the photography locations that you should consider. 

Also, there are longer and tougher hikes that we can offer as optional during the day if there are enough participants interested such as the Great Head Trail or the Beehive Trail. 


Elevation Gain

Distance (Roundtrip)

Estimated Duration (Roundtrip)


Bass Harbor Lighthouse

40 ft.

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

30-40 feet of stairs straight off the parking lot.

Otter Point

40 ft.

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

Flat walk from parking through a path with roots and small rocks onto massive rock flats.

Monument Cove

20 ft.

1 mile

1 hour

Flat walk up a path to the overlook where there will be roots and other possible trip hazards.

Bubble Beach

20 ft.

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

Easy hike from parking lot until you descend onto the rocks which are round in shape and must be very cautious traversing.

Eagle Lake

20 ft.

0.5 mile

0.5 hours

Easy wide pebble trail flat walk around the lake.

Thunder Hole

20 ft.

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

Easy flat walk from parking.

Little Hunters Beach

20 ft.

0.5 miles

0.5 hours

Short easy walk down to the rocky beach from the parking lot.

Hunters Beach

20 ft.

0.2 miles

0.5 hours

Short walk down a path through the woods from the parking area.
Walking over roots and rocks down to the rocky beach.

Bubble Rock

686 ft.

1.5 miles

2 hours

Great hike and views, progressive incline, big rocks, roots, puddles.

Great Head Trail (Optional)

70 ft.

2 miles

2 hours

2mi trail with scramble, roots, rocks, puddles & great views.

Beehive Trail (Optional)

502 ft.

1.5 miles

3 hours

Toughest hike, open wall climbing and scrambling.
Steep climb with roots, rocks, scrambles, metal loop foot and handholds.
Must get guides permission for physical requirements, must be fit.

We recommend being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience

What expenses should you consider for this Acadia Photography Workshop?


There are different airports within a relatively short drive from Acadia. The nearest airport to Acadia National Park is Bar Harbor Airport (BHB), which is 8.8 miles away. Other nearby airports include Bangor (BGR) (42.6 miles), Rockland (RKD) (46.8 miles), and Portland (PWM) (114.3 miles).

Airline ticket prices will depend on the airport you are flying from. We recommend reading this article if you want to find the best flights from your current location.


Transportation will not be included, and all the driving will be on paved, easy roads, so any type of vehicle is fine for this Maine photo workshop.

When traveling to different locations on the tour, we will try to carpool as often as possible. Some parking areas are small, and we would like to minimize our impact on the land and ecosystem as much as possible.


Meals are not included, except for breakfast in our hotel.

Bass Harbor has grocery stores where you can buy food, drinks, and snacks. We recommend buying some groceries and snacks before the start of the tour, since our schedule will completely depend on the shooting conditions, and some days, we might not make it to any of the local restaurants for lunch/dinner.

Entrance Fee

The Acadia Narional Park pass cost $30 per vehicle and is valid for a week. You can get your pass online or in person at the kiosk before entering the park.

If you plan to visit more national parks within the following year after the workshop, we recommend getting the “America the Beautiful” annual pass, which gives you unlimited access to all national parks and some state parks in the country for only $80. You can get it online here.  

What makes this Maine astrophoto tour unique?


Our astrophotography workshops are completely centered on photography: finding the best moments to shoot, running dedicated post-processing sessions, and creating an intensive experience that is conducive to learning and taking the best Milky Way images.


Our workshops are limited to small groups with a ratio of no more than five students per instructor. This is also an important factor for providing the attentive instruction you need during the tour.


You’ll learn how to make the most of your camera gear to capture Milky Way images as well as the most effective post-processing techniques to bring your images to life. The instruction and the setting in an exclusive group of astrophotographers make this workshop unique and distinct from standard night photography tours.


We will discuss your goals before the tour so we can create a dedicated instruction plan for you. It doesn’t matter your age or skills; we will design your plan and provide you with materials before, during, and after the workshop so the learning process is not limited to just the tour.


We have spent years designing national and international photo tours with successful results, helping photographers with their Milky Way & Northern Lights photography. Dan’s online courses have also helped more than 400 photographers over the last few years.


Beyond the photography, our photography workshops help build strong bonds that last forever. After our trip, you’ll feel like you have been with a group of friends rather than on a standard tour. We are thankful to have plenty of repeat clients who keep traveling and learning with us.

Frequent questions about our astro workshops

Whether you are experienced or just starting out in Milky Way photography, you are welcome, and I am convinced that you will progress quickly. Together, we will send you home with a thorough knowledge of many photography areas, from the basics to multiple advanced techniques.

Once you sign up for the workshop, we will discuss your skills and goals for this tour, and I’ll organize a teaching plan so you can make the most of this experience.

Generally, we won’t do any long or strenuous hikes, since most locations are a relatively short walk from the parking lot. The maximum distance/elevation hike during the trip will be no longer than 1.5 miles and with no more than 500 ft elevation gain. Some hikes will be optional and you’ll have the opportunity to choose between the hike or a post-processing lesson.

Also, many of the shoots will be done at night between 8PM and 11PM, with sunrise sessions scheduled in the mornings. For this reason, we recommend having good energy levels and being in good physical shape to enjoy this experience.

There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph Acadia with us.

You don’t need a star-tracker, but you can bring one to the workshop if you have a good foundation in Milky Way photography and you’d like to focus on some advanced shooting.

Our Happy Students!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last few years. Sharing and teaching photography is my passion, and I love doing this both online and in the field.

The Acadia Photo Tour with Capture the Atlas was the type of photography trip that has been on my bucket list for years. I made my plans as soon as possible, and the experience exceeded all my expectations. The instructors, Joseph Cole and Michael Ver Sprill, were very crucial to the groups' success, and at the same time, exhibited great attitudes. Their ability to pivot plans around the weather helped us all to maximize our success.
Peter Byrnes
2022 Acadia Photo Tour
I had a great time with Capture the Atlas on their Acadia Photo Workshop. The group was lead by two great photographers, Mike and Joe. They were both very willing to help and teach everyone about different types of photography, as well as understanding your camera and post processing of the images. The trip was well organized and planned out - the locations were great! I would highly recommend joining Capture the Atlas on any of their workshops. Thanks again Mike & Joe for a great trip and many memories!
Jim Hall
2022 Acadia Photo Tour
Capture the Atlas Photo workshop at Acadia National Park was one of the best learning opportunities that I have ever had. This activity was primarily designed to teach Milky Way photography and Photoshop editing. Our instructors Joseph Cole and Michael Ver Sprill were very helpful. They also helped find great places to photograph and kept us safe on the various hikes. I would recommend this trip to anyone who is interested in making serious improvement in their present photography skill set. Thanks Joseph and Michael!
Foy Connell
2022 Acadia Photo Tour
I joined their Acadia Astrophotography trip in September. It was great. Joe and Mike were phenomenal leaders and teachers. They we always checking up on us during the shoots and advising us on things to look for or avoid.
Rob Westfall
2022 Acadia Photo Tour
Dan Zafra's Capture the Atlas workshops are simply the best ones if you want to learn Milky Way photography from beginners to advanced. I have been to several workshops with various instructors and Dan is by far the most thorough and well organized. His online course is also an absolute must if you want to learn how the professionals really take the pictures as well as what equipment they use and how to post process with professional results. I wholeheartedly recommend him.
Charles G.
2022 Death Valley & Alabama Hills Photo Tour
What an experience! I took the Death Valley & Alabama Hills Workshop with Dan and Capture the Atlas and WOW! Between the breath-taking landscapes and incredible Milky Way views offered by the area and the sincere and approachable teachings and guidance of Dan and his team, I was blown away. I think my favorite part was that I left feeling excited and inspired to get out and shoot more. I HIGHLY recommend Dan and Capture the Atlas if you're looking to get into landscape or astrophotography or if you're already into it and want to learn/explore more!
Lauren Laspisa
2022 Death Valley & Alabama Hills Photo Tour
I already had relatively high expectations after going through Dan's excellent milky way post processing course online. The trip to Death Valley & Alabama Hills exceeded my expectations. Not only were Dan and Daniel extremely knowledgeable about techniques and locations, they were also great to hang out with. By the end of the workshop I was able to track a full milky way arch panorama at 35 mm. The locations that we visited would have taken me months to find on my own and were spectacular.
Hiram Shaish
2022 Death Valley & Alabama Hills Photo Tour

Join the expedition


This tour is governed by these Terms and Conditions.

The Maine coastline is the most impressive place where I have photographed the Milky Way on the US East Coast. Rugged coastline, steep cliffs, wild beaches, and endless pines create a dreamy scenery to photograph our home galaxy. The seascapes also offer majestic views during the golden moments of light like the sunrise or sunset.

Acadia is known as “The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast” for good reason, and on this trip, you’ll have the opportunity to capture it with your eyes and camera forever.

Let’s capture the Milky Way!  


Maine Photo Tour Gallery