Photo Workshops and Tours

Chris Nicholson is a leader and instructor of workshops and photo tours. He is also a partner and workshop leader with National Parks at Night, a group of five photographers who lead night-photography workshops throughout the park system and other inspiring places throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world.

“Chris is a great teacher. Patient, supportive and right there if we had questions.” — Karen G., New Jersey

Upcoming Workshops

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park w/ PhoTour Adventures, March 3-8, 2019

This 5-day workshop will combine a mixture of in-the-field photography, technical discussions, and post-production. Death Valley is a very mystifying place with unique areas like the Racetrack Playa, Rhyolite Ghost Town and Bad Water Basin that will lead to very captivating photos. We will be chasing the best light from sunrise to sunset and into the night.

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Valley of Fire and Nelson Ghost Town

Valley of Fire and Nelson Ghost Town w/ National Parks at Night, April 11-16, 2019

Join us for the broad, red mountains, valleys and arches within Valley of Fire State Park and the abandoned wonderland of the Nelson ghost town. We’ll explore having fun with light and stars in these desert jewels of the American southwest.

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Borrego Springs, California

Week 1: Dark Skies, Desert Beasts: Borrego Springs, California w/ Atlas Obscura, May 2-5, 2019
Week 2: Dark Skies, Desert Beasts: Borrego Springs, California w/ Atlas Obscura, May 7-10, 2019

Journey deep into the desert of southern California and explore the Dark Sky Sculptural Oasis of Borrego Springs. We will explore the night sky and sculptures that surround the town—over 130 life size metal sculptures, mostly of creatures that might have roamed this same desert since many moons ago.

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Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras National Seashore w/ National Parks at Night, May 19-24, 2019

The Outer Banks—what a name, and what a place! Home to tasty crab cakes, the honored ground of first flight, pristine national seashore and perhaps the most iconic lighthouse in the United States. And at night, when you look up, oh my! You take in the stars and the Milky Way in that incredible Atlantic darkness while the ocean breezes tousle your hair and bring salt to your lips. And beneath it all, a camera and a tripod, capturing the majesty of what this special place offers.

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Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

Grand Canyon National Park South Rim w/ National Parks at Night, June 16-22, 2019

It’s one of the greatest natural spectacles in the world. Join us in our first year of exploring the many layers of the Grand Canyon. Our focus during the 100-year anniversary of the park will be the popular South Rim. Known for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, this workshop will emphasize many ways we can interpret the rim—from long exposures to panoramic and time-lapse techniques. We will also prove that the Grand Canyon is much more than a “rim shot.” We will seek the many traces of humankind that can be found along the canyon: Native American ruins, historical buildings and woman-made structures.

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Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument w/ National Parks at Night, July 8-12, 2019

Explore the strange stone mountain of America’s first national monument. Revered by Native Americans in folklore, shrouded in mystery, we’ll explore the mercurial skies of Devils Tower, as well as Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

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Shi Shi Beach Backcountry

Shi Shi Beach Backcountry, Olympic National Park w/ National Parks at Night, August 5-10, 2019

Shi Shi Beach is a remote photographer’s paradise, reachable by six miles of round-trip hiking, plus a little more to reach nearby Point of the Arches. We will hike first to Second Beach for a warm-up night of camping and photography, then to Shi Shi for a two-night, three-day, adventure among the stars and the starfish, the sand and the sea stacks. We will photograph ebbing and flowing ocean waters, tidal pools, Pacific sunsets, and of course the Milky Way and the beautiful Olympic night skies.

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Cape Cod and the Province Lands

Cape Cod and the Province Lands w/ National Parks at Night, August 2-6, 2019

Cape Cod’s Province Lands comprise a captivating collection of simple scenic wonders. Ponds. Beaches. Sandy dunes. Pine forests. Lighthouses. Old dune shacks. Cranberry bogs. Atlantic waves cascading onto the coast. These old shores hold countless treasures for the night photographer. We’ll explore them all, and more of what Cape Cod offers, during one of the region’s best seasons: a New England autumn.

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park w/ National Parks at Night, October 11-18, 2019

Big Bend National Park is pretty raw country. It’s also pretty. Especially in the right light, and double especially at night. All the rock formations, all the canyons, all the mountains and valleys and dirt roads and ruins—all sit under some of the quietest and darkest night skies of North America. The landscape is at once harsh and beautiful, at once hard and delicate, at once tough and mesmerizing. And we’ll be there to capture it all under the October stars of Texas.

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For future workshops, subscribe to the Photographing National Parks newsletter to be among the first to see the announcement.

Private Workshops & Tours

Chris is also available for private photography tours, workshops or tutoring in any of the 60 national parks or other beautiful spaces. Topics covered are limited only by Chris’ knowledge-base and whatever the participant(s) would like to learn. For more information, please contact Chris directly.

Past Workshops

Post-Processing Intensive in the Catskills

Post-Processing Intensive in the Catskills w/ National Parks at Night, January 20-25, 2019

It’s time to take it to the next level. Post-processing has become an integral part of nearly every discipline of photography. Just as the black and white photographers of the 20th century were able to creatively interpret their work in the darkroom, we can now use modern technology to enhance our photos, and even to create images that were impossible only a few short years ago.

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Death Valley National Park

Death Valley After Dark: Astronomy and Photography in the Backcountry w/ Atlas Obscura, December 5-9, 2018

Designated one of the world’s best Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association, Death Valley National Park boasts some of the most striking scenery and brightest constellations in America. Our intrepid crew of night photographers and novice stargazers will be joined by accomplished astronomer Tyler Nordgren and National Parks at Night photographer Chris Nicholson for backcountry exploration and learning.

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Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

Sloss Furnaces w/ National Parks at Night, November 15-18, 2018

The focus of this night photography workshop will be a deep dive into light painting, composition, and black and white photography. Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark is an incredible hulk of 20th century metal machinery located on the eastern edge of downtown Birmingham, Alabama. Don’t expect to see many stars in the city, however we will use moonlight and light painting to breathe fire back into the furnaces.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park Night Photography Adventure Workshop, September 15-20, 2018

Within the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park lie alpine lakes, boulder-strewn tundra, aspen groves that turn gold in fall, and a Milky Way so radiant that you’ll feel you could reach to the sky and brush it with your fingertips. We will venture together into the mountains to photograph all this and more, in one of the most wondrous landscapes in all the national parks.

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Night Photography Adventure Workshop, July 29-August  4

The night is falling, and the road is calling. And we will be there, driving and photographing America’s greatest scenic byway. When the sun fades, we’ll bring our cameras along the 469-mile ribbon of national parkland that stretches atop mountain ridges, through farming communities, past historic cabins and mills, alongside meadows and more, while the stars and moon gently shine on the great blacktop river called Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park Night Photography Adventure Workshop, June 25-30, 2018

Redwood National and State Parks is composed of three distinct environments—a rocky coastline with steep cliffs and the ubiquitous coastal fog, upland prairies, and of course the magnificent redwood forests that give the park its name. During this workshop, you’ll have the opportunity to develop your night photography skills in all three.

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Scotland—The Hebrides

Scotland—The Hebrides Photography Tour, May 13-23, 2018

Come explore and photograph some of Scotland’s most interesting places and dramatic landscapes on this first of National Parks at Night’s photo tours of the islands of Scotland. The Hebrides are a widespread and diverse archipelago off the west coast of the mainland. The culture of the residents has been affected by the successive influences of Celtic-, Norse- and English-speaking peoples. We will spend our time on the largest of the inner Hebrides, the Isle of Skye, and the largest of the outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris. The history of these islands is ever-present in the landscape in the form of Neolithic, Mesolithic and Iron Age archaeological sites. We will explore cultures past and present along with the stunningly diverse landscapes we’ll encounter along the way.

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Iceland South Coast

Iceland South Coast Photography Tour, March 12-20, 2018

This photo tour will take us along the famous south coast of Iceland, where we will experience the capital city of Reykjavik, bizarre geothermal landscapes, magnificent waterfalls, glacial lagoons, an ice cave, and, with luck, the northern lights. Iceland has seen a huge surge in tourism in recent years, and we will strive to find a balance between getting you to the most important locations, but also some off-the-beaten-path places that are much less visited but equally as interesting.

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Olympic National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Olympic National Park, September 17-22, 2017
Photograph on the rugged mountains, in the vibrant rainforests and along the pristine coastline of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, in one of the most beautiful and diverse national parks in the U.S.

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Olympic National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Olympic National Park, September 24-29, 2017
A second week in one of Chris’ favorite national parks! Photograph on the rugged mountains, in the vibrant rainforests and along the pristine coastline of Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, in one of the most beautiful and diverse national parks in the U.S. Details will be announced soon.

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Cape Cod National Seashore

Night Photography Adventure Workshop at Cape Cod National Seashore, May 21-24, 2017
Photograph the open sand dunes, regal lighthouses, quaint cottages and quiet seaside villages of Cape Cod National Seashore, one of the natural gems of New England. Lance Keimig and I will be leading this mid-spring workshop during the prime of Milky Way season, and during the dark skies of the nights leading up to the new moon. Though we will cover night photography in general, there will be an emphasis on lighthouses and Milky Way panoramas.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, May 7-12, 2017
Cuyahoga Valley is one of the most visited national parks in the country, and also one of the most unique. It combines stunning natural scenes with rural features, such as railroad depots, farms, historic structures, covered bridges and old cemeteries, granting the photographer a nearly endless buffet of subjects to photograph at night.

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Joshua Tree National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Joshua Tree National Park, April 21-26, 2017
Joshua Tree National Park encompasses sections of two different deserts—the Mojave and the Colorado—both full of opportunities for remarkable images. Chris will join Lance Keimig in this park with diverse land features and legendary dark skies—ideal for a memorable night photography workshop. Workshop archive page:

Death Valley National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Death Valley National Park, November 15-19, 2016
One of the darkest skies to be found in America, full of extreme conditions and opportunity for remarkable images. This class is for those looking to expand their photographic horizons, recharge their creative batteries, share ideas with friends and colleagues, and to go home with some exciting images from this unique landscape. Workshop archive page:

Acadia National Park

Night Photography Adventure Workshop in Acadia National Park, May 2-6, 2016
This late-spring workshop in Acadia National Park will entail five nights of photographing some of the most beautiful scenery on the New England coast. The experience will begin under a waning crescent moon, and will culminate under the dark skies of a new moon and the peak of the Eta Aquarids meteor shower. Celestial conditions will be perfect for photographing the Milky Way over iconic Acadia scenes such as Eagle Lake and Monument Cove. Workshop archive page: