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2023 Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

The Milky Way on the Oregon Coast

Join us for an Oregon astrophotography workshop where we’ll capture the Milky Way over some of the most spectacular nightscapes along the Southern Oregon Coast. This coastline will impress you with pristine white sand beaches, forested sea stacks, and beautiful state parks in one of the most photogenic states in the USA.

We are running this Oregon photography tour in June 2023, during the best time of year to photograph the Milky Way in both Bandon and Brookings, Oregon.

Milky Way over sea stacks in the Pacific Ocean in the Oregon Coast

OVERVIEW

During this Oregon Coast astrophotography workshop, we will focus on shooting nightscapes and the Milky Way over one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world: Oregon’s Southern Coastline. You’ll see spectacular sea stacks, wild beaches, historic lighthouses, and the best Oregon Coast hidden gems.

Southern Oregon’s Coastline is positioned in a privileged location for stargazing with minimal to no light pollution, where we’ll enjoy ideal conditions for astrophotography.

We will help you capture the best possible images during this Milky Way astrophotography expedition to the Southern Oregon Coast. You’ll learn the best techniques to shoot our galaxy, from the basics to the most advanced techniques, and we will also do some post-processing sessions so you can bring your captured images to life.

While this workshop is primarily focused on night photography, we will also have time to capture the sunrise, sunset and daytime images when the timeframe and conditions allow.

Oregon PHOTO TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

    • Photo tour from June 13th – June 18th  & June 19th – June 24th (SOLD OUT), 2023 
    • Group size: 10 participants + 2 instructors
    • Main topics: Landscape and Milky Way photography
    • Main areas: Southern Oregon Coast
    • Best time of year to photograph the Milky Way in Oregon
    • Dedicated post-processing sessions
    • Accommodation is included in Bandon and Brookings, close to the best locations

Download the official Oregon Photo Tour brochure

Oregon Astrophotography Tour with Capture the Atlas

2023 Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop Itinerary

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

Our workshop will take place at the best time of year to capture the Milky Way over the Oregon Coast landscapes when our galaxy is visible just before midnight and rainfall is minimal. Nights are chilly, but the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much along the coast, so we will photograph as much as possible based on the conditions.

We will also have the time to shoot in the morning, scout, and focus on post-processing sessions during the middle of the day when the light is harsh.

DAY 1: Oregon Coast Astrophotography tour

Our Oregon Coast astrophotography workshop starts at the Table Rock Motel in Bandon, Oregon at 2:00 PM. This hotel is located in an ideal spot just a short drive from the main shooting locations and offers a nearby view of the Pacific Ocean.

After a meet and greet with the rest of the group and a welcome speech, we will prepare for our first night session. We’ll review all your camera gear by helping you fine-tune your camera settings, providing some night photography guidelines, and getting everything ready for the first shoot!

We will photograph the Milky Way at Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint, which has one of the most impressive groupings of sea stacks along the Oregon Coast. This location offers fantastic photo opportunities to capture the Milky Way over Wizard Hat and other photogenic sea stacks.

Colorful sunset with a rock and sea stacks in the image

Sunset on the coast of Oregon with sea stacks and golden light

Blue hour in the Oregon Coast with the moon behind clouds and above sea stacks

DAY 2: Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

On the second day of our Oregon Coast astrophotography workshop, we will visit Coquille River Lighthouse for either sunrise or sunset.  This historic lighthouse was built in 1895, and while it’s no longer operational, it’s beautiful to photograph at first and last light.

During the day, we will scout Sisters Rock State Park to prepare for our night shoot. This location has three beautiful rock formations; two on land and one a short distance into the Pacific Ocean. It is a 0.9-mile out-and-back trail that has 180 feet of elevation gain.

Coquille River Lighthouse in Oregon with dramatic clouds

Coquille River Lighthouse in Oregon during the daytime

Sun shining over mountain at sisters rock state park

DAY 3: Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

On the third day of our Oregon astrophotography workshop, we will drive 1.5 hours south to Brookings, Oregon, and stay at the Westward Inn on Chetco Ave. Brookings is a small city located along the southern Oregon coast and boasts some of the most spectacular vistas, secluded cove beaches, rugged cliffs, and forested sea stacks in the entire country.

While heading south, we will stop to shoot and scout Secret Beach, where you’ll find a secluded and breathtaking rocky beach with a stream that leads to the ocean. It’s a short hike down to Secret Beach, less than 0.5 miles over rocky terrain.

After checking in to our accommodation, we’ll head out to photograph the sunset and Milky Way at this beautiful spot.

Milky Way over sea stacks at Secret Beach in Oregon

Soft light shining over forested sea stacks in the Oregon Coast

Soft sunset light over forested sea stacks on the Oregon Coast

DAY 4: Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

The next day, we will have our first post-processing session mid-morning. During this editing session, we will use Lightroom and Photoshop to show you how to get the most out of the images you took during the trip. The editing class will cover both daytime images and Milky Way photos.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an advanced photographer; we will design a post-processing plan for you so you can improve your editing skills.

In the late afternoon, we will visit the Arch Rock area to photograph the sunset and plan compositions for the Milky Way that night. The Arch Rock is a massive natural rock arch standing tall in the Pacific Ocean. This location is elevated high above the shore and offers a unique perspective of the Oregon Coast.

Golden sunset light shines over sea stacks on the Oregon Coast

Milky Way over sea stacks on the Oregon Coast

Soft light over forested sea stacks in the Souther Oregon Coast

DAY 5: Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

On the fifth day of the tour, we will visit the Meyer’s Creek and Pistol River areas. This ocean beach is a hidden gem as it lies well away from large metropolitan cities. There are numerous and intriguingly shaped rock formations here, including the “Shark Fin.” The shoreline is nice and flat, so we can comfortably stroll along the beach. During low tide, large pools form at the bases of the rocks, which create nearly perfect reflections of the surroundings.

During the day, when the light is harsh, we’ll do our second editing class. During this session, we’ll tackle the most recurring topics and give you a refresher on editing techniques to make the most out of your images from the trip.

While here, we will find unique compositions for shooting astrophotography later that night at this stunning location.

Milky Way cover the sky in the this scene over the sea stacks on the sea

Aerial view of the coast of Oregon highlighting a road and the sea stacks during sunset

Milky Way covers the sky over a sea stack

Night scene of the Oregon Coast with sea stacks and the Milky Way

Sea stacks frame the light from the sun during blue hour

Silhouette of sea stacks during sunset

DAY 6: Oregon Coast Astrophotography Workshop

On the last day of our Oregon Coast astrophotography workshop, we will have a final morning session where we will photograph the sunrise from Arch Rock Viewpoint.

After breakfast near our hotel, we will conclude our Oregon Coast workshop.

PRICE: $3,490 USD

Deposit: $1,000 USD

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

WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?

INCLUDED

    • Accommodation in shared double rooms with queen beds for 5 nights
    • 6 days of photo guide services by professional astrophotographers
    • Instruction in a small group of 10 participants with a 5:1 ratio (5 students per instructor)
    • Night photography sessions throughout the entire workshop including star-tracking instruction
    • Dedicated post-processing astrophotography sessions

*BONUS

NOT INCLUDED

    • Transportation (including flights) to Bandon and Brookings
    • Transportation during the trip (we will arrange carpools when traveling to different locations)
    • Private room – Extra $400 USD (*Subject to availability)
    • Meals
    • 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

Tall sea stacks on the coast of Oregon during dramatic conditions

What Will I Learn During This Oregon Coast 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.

  • 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
  • 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, tracking 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

Some of the post-processing techniques that you can learn with our included tutorials 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.

Your instructors on this Oregon Coast photo tour

Daniel Gomez will be the tour leader of this Oregon 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.

Daniel is an Oregon-based landscape astrophotographer who has explored and led astrophotography workshops on the Oregon coast over the last few years. He is very knowledgeable, not only about the most well-known locations but also about the best hidden gems where you most likely won’t see other people or photographers.

Daniel has been taking photos for the last 9 years. He’s an expert in the main subjects that you’ll be photographing on this trip, and he can also help you with other topics like star trails and timelapse.

John Byrn will be the co-leader of this Oregon workshop. He has a background in photographing many different subjects and specializes in astrophotography, focusing on strong compositions captured during the best moments of light and atmosphere.

John is based in the Pacific Northwest and has been taking photos over the last decade.  He has explored and led photo tours in Washington and Oregon, and he’s an expert on the Oregon Coast and the main subjects that you’ll be photographing on this trip.

He will guide you in finding great compositions and help you with your night photography, from the basics to advanced techniques like star-tracking.

What to bring to our Oregon Coast Photo Tour?

Below is 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
  • Glow-in-the-dark tape for your tripod
  • A laptop for the post-processing sessions
  • A lens warmer to avoid fogged lenses on humid nights

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 Oregon 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.

Person standing on a rock in the beach taking a photo

CLOTHING

The Oregon Coast has a very mild climate that doesn’t fluctuate much in temperature.  Days usually have a high of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the low 50s. Nights (and most days) always require a jacket, as the cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean is always present.

For this reason, we recommend bringing the following clothing:

    • A system of layers to wear during the day and night (base layer, insulation layer, windproof layer, and a waterproof layer on top)
    • A good pair of breathable boots (to protect your feet and ankles while hiking on sandy/rocky terrain)
    • Thermal pants, rain/waterproof pants, gloves, beanie, and a neck gaiter/scarf for the night photography sessions
Hiking

Most shooting locations on the Oregon Coast will be short walks where we can stroll on flat sandy beaches. A few hikes will be up to one mile and up to 300 feet in elevation gain.

Some locations constantly change depending on the weather and often require some scouting and longer walks, so we recommend being in good physical shape to fully enjoy this experience.

DOCUMENTATION

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.

ACCOMMODATIONS

During the trip, we’ll stay in two hotels:

  • Table Rock Motel: This accommodation is located atop Beach Loop Bluff in beautiful Bandon, just a few steps away from endless miles of sandy beaches and stunning rock formations.
  • Westward Inn: This hotel is located at the heart of Brookings and close to plenty of restaurants and services. This location is at the doorstep of some of the best photography spots on the Oregon Coast.

The standard included accommodation is based on shared rooms with double queen beds.

There is a possibility to request a single room during the workshop for an extra supplement of $400 USD. This is subject to availability.

Table Rock Motel double room

WHAT EXPENSES SHOULD YOU CONSIDER FOR THIS Oregon Coast Photo Workshop?

FLIGHTS

There are two options for flights to Oregon.  PDX is an international airport where most air traffic comes through, and it’s 4.5 hrs away from Bandon, Oregon.  If you can find a flight to the Eugene Airport in Eugene, OR, it’s only 2.5 hrs away from Bandon, Oregon.

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

Transportation

Transportation will not be included.  We will only be driving on paved roads with occasional gravel pullouts to park along the coast.  A small sedan or SUV with all-wheel drive will be perfect for the Oregon Coast roads.

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.

Welcome to Oregon sign by the side of the road in a forest

MEALS

Meals are not included. Most days, we will have a big lunch or dinner once a day in a local restaurant. We will try to eat snacks/picnic during lunch to maximize the photoshoot time.

There are plenty of grocery and meal options in both Bandon and Brookings, Oregon.  The coast is known for great seafood options and delicious local diners.

Entrance Fees

All the locations and state parks we’ll visit during this Oregon Coast photography tour are free to visit, so no entrance fees are required.

What makes this Oregon Coast Photo Tour unique?

Immersive

Our workshops are completely centered on photography: finding the best moments of light during the day and at night and creating an intensive experience that is conducive to learning and taking the best images.

Intimate

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.

Exclusive

During this workshop, we will photograph the famous locations on the Oregon Coast as well as some hidden gems that we have discovered while hiking and exploring in the past that are rarely visited or photographed.

Dedicated

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.

Proven

We have spent years designing national and international photo tours with successful results, helping photographers with everything from the simple task of getting off Auto to the ambitious goal of capturing complex images. Dan’s online courses have also helped more than 400 photographers over the last few years.

Unforgettable

Beyond the photography, our photo 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 Oregon Coast Photo tour

Whether you are experienced or just starting out in 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.

Most shooting locations on the Oregon Coast will only require short walks where we can stroll on flat sandy beaches.  There are a few that will be up to one mile and up to 300 feet in elevation gain.

Some locations constantly change depending on the weather, and often require some scouting and longer walks, so we recommend being in good physical shape to fully enjoy this experience.

There is no age limit. This trip is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to photograph the Southern Oregon Coast.

Capture the Atlas is drone friendly. However, drones are not allowed in some Oregon State Parks we’ll visit.  Each state park determines whether drones are allowed, and will clearly indicate this with signage.

Daniel Gomez is a licensed drone pilot and can help you with your drone photography.

Our Happy Students!

I’ve had the opportunity to work with and help countless photographers over the last years:

Glenn
Dan made certain everyone had the best experience and opportunity to capture photos that will long be enjoyed. His knowledge of choosing locations to make the best use of the time available and his recommendations for camera settings was greatly appreciated. Great job! I plan on going with Dan on future trips.
Glenn Mohs
Capture The Atlas offers excellent photography workshops for those who want to learn Milky Way photography in detail. Dan and Daniel were knowledgeable and considerate instructors who competently worked with participants of different skill levels, making all feel included. It is wise to do the assigned homework before the workshop to gain full value of their expertise.
Sharon Lindsay
Federico
Dan is an amazing instructor! I learned a lot. Dan spent time with everyone in the group and gave us a lot of recommendations and tips. The locations were perfect and the entire trip was perfectly planned. Dan is an expert in night photography. He shared with us his techniques, recommendations and process to capture the night sky. I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in diving much deeper into night photography and landscapes.
Federico Ponte
Dan was a great workshop leader. His knowledge was well above the level of most night photography workshops. With Dan's patient guidance, I managed to use a star tracker for the first time and to capture great images. I highly recommend Dan, especially if you are a seasoned night photographer and looking for personalized attention in a small group.
Graham Marriott
Lauren
What an experience with Dan and Capture the Atlas! I struggle to find other words to describe the almost week-long adventure. 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
Capture the Atlas delivered. Our group had a wide range of experience, from professional photographers to amateurs like me. They were very well prepared, had backup plans for weather and provided good communication before, during and after the workshop. Not only did I learn to take Milky Way photographs, but I learned to improve my general photography skills and learned more about my camera’s functions. The group of people was great, too. Everybody worked well together, sharing tips and great moments. This was a great experience and it exceeded my expectation. I’m looking forward to doing more workshops in the future.
Bob Hurley
Hiram
I already had relatively high expectations after going through Dan's excellent milky way post processing course online. The trip 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

Join the expedition

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

This tour is governed by these Terms and Conditions.

The Oregon Coast is one of the most renowned stretches of coastline in the world for good reason.

Here you will explore and photograph endless wild beaches with rugged cliffs, photogenic sea stacks, and historical landmarks.

At night, the best natural show starts when dark starry skies offer a superb opportunity to photograph our Milky Way with minimal to zero light pollution.

Be ready to take your astrophotography to a whole new level on one of the most photogenic coastlines in the world!

Dan Zafra photography - Capture the Atlas

DAN ZAFRA