The Six Month Sabbatical

It is amazing how a planned six month sabbatical turned into 14 months. We decided to retreat from our teaching and photography schedule for the first six months of 2015. Family and work issues lengthened that to 11 months… and well, it has taken another several months to get back on our feet.

And we are re-starting with a Free “Exploring Night Photography” class that extends from April 6th, to May 25th, 2016.  However before I even started writing this column the class was full. The class would not help many of you since it is being taught in Los Gatos, California, with thanks to Venture Christian Church for providing the venue.

But there is good news: in the coming weeks we will be publishing the material we use in the class HERE on the website.  The class is aimed at DSLR photographers who have gotten out of “Automatic” mode at least once, but that is the only real requirement.

Here is the course description:


You’ve got a Digital, Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera, and you are getting fairly good at it. Now it is time to try something new and creative: photos taken at night. Night photos can reveal the amazing majesty of the night sky (Isaiah 40:26). You will learn how to photograph in low-light using your DSLR. Along the way you will learn a little about the night sky and several photography techniques that will aid all of your photography efforts. Most of all you’ll be amazed at how much there is in the dark that remains unseen without the aid of a camera. You just might unleash a creative direction you may have never considered. This is a hands-on course. You will be taking photos on the very first session of the course, so bring all the equipment listed in the prerequisites.


  • Must have a DSLR camera (smart phones are not acceptable)
  • Must understand the basics of exposures – i.e. the relationship between f-stop (aperture), sensitivity and exposure length, and have shot photographs in some mode other than “Automatic”.
  • Your camera’s operators manual

Also recommended are:

  • A tripod- strongly recommended!
  • A remote release (cable)
  • An Intervalometer (Steven will have some to loan)
  • Extra batteries
  • Memory card(s)


Teacher Bio

Steven Christenson is the founder and teacher of, and winner of the 2010 Greenwich Observatory “Astronomy Photographer of the Year”, and a runner up in 2012. His work has been published as album covers, in the Economist and Backpacker Magazine and even featured on local TV stations. Steven specializes in “Landscape Astrophotography” a field that is easily approachable by anyone with a DSLR camera and a tripod.  You can read his instructive columns on his website (

What you will miss is the hands-on portion, of course, and the relentlessly punny style of Steven’s teaching, but the good news is that the discussion, resource list and class exercises will be right here for you to follow along.

And, it is not too late to influence what we cover… So feel free to ask any beginnerish questions here and we will either respond directly or include that material in what we publish here on the web.

Hope your skies are dark and clear, and the stars smile for you!

7 thoughts on “The Six Month Sabbatical

  1. Peter Jones

    Sounds good, but I am on the wrong side of the country for the workshop (Maine). Nonetheless, I took some night photos while on a “winter retreat” just outside of Baxter State Park, Maine’s biggest state park. Had hoped for some Milky Way shots, but the moon was too bright to pick up any of the MW. Perfectly clear night for shooting, although very cold and windy. Nonetheless, got a nice show of Mt Katahdin with plenty of stars and a lone long, wispy cloud. I was quite pleased.

    Keep up the good work.

    Peter Jones
    Shot in the Dark Cave Photography

  2. Craig Stevenson

    Great to hear. I’ve been acquiring a few tools and practicing awaiting your return. I appreciate how time-consuming you work on SCA must be. If you get around Cody, WY, in the summer, let me know. Lots of dark skies.


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