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Borrego Palm Canyon Campground - LOCATION CHANGED

Night Sky Photography/Astrophotography 2 Night Workshop


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Friday, May 6 , 2016 @ 11:00 AM

to Sunday, May 8, 2016

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground - Borrego Springs

Address: 200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004



Ticket Cost: $99/ 1 Person

Ticket Cost: $139/ 2 People

Ticket Cost: $29/ Each Additional



Camping location for 2 nights, guided photography hiking, DSLR Camera Training, Landscape Photography, Nightscape Photography, Milky Way Photography, Astro-Photography training.


Milky Way Over Palomar - 2 Night Workshop:


For truly breathtaking views of the night sky not so far away from San Diego, look no farther than the amazing Palomar Mountain. Home to the world famous and still scientifically used Palomar Observatory, Palomar Mountain is the perfect location to learn how to truly capture the wonders of our night sky!


Together we will set up camp at the Observatory Campground located just 2 miles south of the Palomar Observatory itself. Night skies here are brimming with countless stars and many observable deep sky objects!











Time to take your DSLR camera off the automatic setting! You will receive personalized instruction on the functionality of your camera and its setting, the exposure triangle, photography techniques and more with the goal of teaching you how to best capture the arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, Star Circles, Nightscapes and more.











You will then learn about the intricacies of Astrophotography and then try it first hand by mounting your DSLR directly to the group telescope specially designed for photography, a 4" Stellarvue Apochromatic Refractor. You will captures unique images of Deep Sky Objects (DSO's) such as the Great Orion Nebula, The Andromeda Galaxy, The Pleiades, Globular Clusters and even planetary objects like Jupiter and Saturn!


Spaces are limited for this workshop. Register as soon as possible.


Thank you and Clear Skies!

Contact Information:


Maxwell Palau


Cell & Text: (619) 770-5255




Important Notes:


Space is limited! Secure your spot ASAP!


Parking is available for extra cars, although the fewer the better. Those with bigger vehicles that can accommodate more people are kindly asked to help. Thank you!


The campground is at roughly 5000 ft. Days will be nice but cool and night will be cold! Please have appropriate clothing to keep you warm.



Campground Map:


















Recommended Items to Take:


Food & Plenty of Water

Hydration pack 
Hiking boots 
Warm clothes for the night

Comfortable hiking clothes
Sleeping bag 
Sleeping pad 

DSLR camera & batteries! 

Notepad & pen/voice recorder 
GPS Unit 
Hiking Poles


Lighter fluid

Flashlights or Headlamps

Logs for burning

Cooking supplies

Plates & Utinsels



We will be spending 2 nights learning the fundamentals of low light photography, nightscape photography, Milky Way photography and even try out some Astrophotography by mounting your Canon or Nikon DSLR directly to the group telescope.


Day 1 - May 6th:


We will be meeting in the public parking of the Wateridge Housing Community in Sorrento Valley at 10:30 AM. 10368 Wateridge Cir., San Diego, CA 92121. We will get on the road at around 11:00 AM. Estimated travel time is 1 hour and 25 minutes, placing our arrival at around 12:30 PM.


When you drive in, follow the road to the right. The sites are marked by posts as well as being written in the parking spots themselves. We are in site #041/042.


Upon our arrival, we will begin to set up camp, pitch our tents, organize all materials, meet and greet, etc. After setting up, we can take a quick drive to the nearby store to pick up any necessary items and wood. Following that, we will drive up to the observatory to take some pictures in the area.


Upon our return to camp, we will set up the campfire and make some dinner. I will be bringing some food but probably not enough for everyone for 2 nights. It will be more fun to treat this as a potluck and have all bring something to the table. 


Through and after dinner, I will go over the fundamentals of low light photography, DSLR functions, explain the exposure triangle, talk about wide angle lenses, composing your images, light painting, milky way imaging & the importance of the Lagoon Nebula, star circles, time lapse imaging and give everyone starting settings for their cameras to begin imaging.


We will image the sky at different angles, facing different directions and with different foregrounds. Next we will do some Star Circles and finally get to Milky Way imaging. We will finish off our imaging session by doing time lapse imaging of the milky way.


See examples of Nightscapes & Milky Way.











Day 2 - May 7th:


We will begin the with breakfast around 8:30 AM. There are coin showers in the campground available. At 9:50 we will head up the Palomar Gift show to pick up our Observatory Tour Tickets. Tickets are $5 per person. Take some cash with you. After spending some time there taking photos we will head back to camp and prepare for the return trip, hiking! At approximately 11:30 we will begin our hike up the Observatory Trail, which ends at the Palomar Observatory just in time for the tour to begin. It is a moderate hike with some amazing vistas!! The total length of the trail is about 2.5 miles. Features include plants, wildlife, awesome geological structures and great landscapes!! Take a snack and have plenty of water!!


I use 3L Camelbak and recommend that or a water pack of some kind as to keep your hands free for imaging. The weather should be pretty nice on the hike. Have a good hat, comfortable/breathable clothing (NOT COTTON), and sunglasses. I will be bringing along sunblock and a first aid kit on the hike. One thing to note, the inside of the Observatory is kept at night time temperature, around 50 degrees. So have some warm clothes with you.


At 1:30 the Palomar Observatory tour will begin. The docents there are very knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions should you have any.


After the tour ends, we will make our way back down the trail back to the campsite. We should get back to camp by no later than 5:00pm to prepare for the night. Next I will talk about telescopes! The three primary styles, how to pick one, benefits, about optics, telescope eyepieces and accessories, how to set up at telescope with hands on experience for all, locations of night sky objects, basic navigation using the night sky, how to image planets, how to image deep sky objects and a basic rundown on the time it takes to process deep sky images. I have a list of interesting objects prepared for us to view and image, including Jupiter, Saturn, M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy, M13 - The Great Hercules Cluster and more!!


I have telescope adapters for only Canon and Nikon cameras.


See examples of Astrophotography.











Day 3 - May 8th:


Wake up around 8:30 AM and enjoy breakfast and each other's company.


After breakfast we will be doing the Group Nightsky Photo Contest!! Everyone will pick 1 photo from all their own images and enter it in the contest without it being named (no one will know it is your photo). Then we will all judge based on certain criteria I have laid out. Owner of the winning image will get everyone's admiration and a prize!!


Next we begin to take down our campsite, capture some group shots and exchange information before saying our goodbyes.


Camp check out time 12:00 PM - Thank you and Clear Skies to you all!!




HIGHLY recommend that everyone have a remote intervalometer, plenty of storage space and batteries for their cameras. Please visit my Amazon Store if you need any of these item.s



Image Processing Class:


Learn how to process your milky way and nightscape images by joining us on Sunday, April 24th for the classroom portion of this workshop.

Full Details Here. Enter the Discout Code: SpaceCadet for $10 off the listed price!


Palomar Observatory Campground:


Science buffs and families are drawn to Observatory Campground for its proximity to the Palomar Observatory, a world-class center of astronomy research operated by the California Institute of Technology. Just two miles from the observatory, the campground provides visitors with a unique learning experience in the great outdoors. The facility offers a variety of amenities for both tent and RV camping. Hiking, biking and picnicking can be found nearby.



Natural Features:


The campground sits at an elevation of 4,800 feet in the Palomar Mountains of Southern California. The site is forested with pine and oak trees, though several sites have been cleared to allow campers a wide view of the night sky.





The campground is organized around one large loop with parking spurs for each campsite. Several sites are equipped with level cement pads to allow campers to set up their telescopes. The sites can accommodate vehicles up to 32 feet in length. 


Drinking water, coin-operated showers (peak season only), grills, trash cans, campfire rings, picnic tables, a flush toilet (peak season only) and two vault toilets are provided.





The day time weather will be nice!! The night time weather can get very cold! Especially without much movement. Be sure to have warm layers of clothing. Take more than less. Believe me...I know!


According to historical weather data...April 8-10, 2015, the low was 36°, the high was 74°, the average was about 55°.


Have light clothing for the days, a good hat, sunglasses and sunblock.



Quiet hours:


From 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. Generator use is limited to six hours a day: 7:00-9:00 am, 12:00-2:00 pm, and 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Our Campsite - #41/42


Site Details:



Checkin Time: 12:00 pm

Checkout Time: 12:00 pm

Type of Use: Overnight


Campfire Allowed: Y

Fire Pit: Y

Picnic Table: Y












Observatory Trail







The Observatory Trail is one of four National Recreation Trails in San Diego County. The trail runs one-way along South Grade Road between the Observatory Campground and the entrance to the Observatory campus. The route climbs moderately through varying oak woodlands, conifer woodlands, and chaparral, and it occasionally opens up to offer some nice views of the Palomar Mountain range. There are a number of California black oaks present from start to finish.


Read all about the hike here











Palomar Observatory Tour


Palomar Observatory is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology, and as such it is private property. The Observatory is a popular destination in Southern California and receives tens of thousands of visitors a year from all over the world. Most come to see the famous 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope—for decades the largest effective telescope in operation.


Whether you are an astronomy, history, or engineering enthusiast, or simply curious about the Observatory, you will enjoy visiting our museum and taking one of our guided tours of the facility. All are welcome at the Palomar, but we ask that all visitors respect our rules and procedures.


Read all about the tour here

The trail is well-traveled, well-maintained, and easy to follow. There are no junctions. As long as you stay on the trail, you will not get lost.

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