"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." - Psalm 19:1

Alumni ~ Outer Banks of North Carolina Astrophotography Workshop - May 2024

Outer Banks After Dark - May 2024

The Outer Banks is known for its rich history – the "Graveyard of the Atlantic", the Wright brothers, majestic lighthouses and beautiful beaches. Its barrier islands are filled with opportunities for all photographers alike.

Join us on this 5 day / night photography adventure in some of the darkest skies in the country east of the Mississippi.

Some of the locations we will be shooting are:

  • Cape Hatteras
  • Bodie Island
  • Roanoke Marshes
  • Pea Island NWR
  • Jockey's Ridge SP
  • Duck Boardwalk
  • Frisco Pier
  • Hatteras Pier
  • Jennette's Pier
  • Nag's Head Pier
  • Black Bears of the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula 

 Outer Banks Pier Outer Banks Pier Outer Banks Pier Outer Banks Lighthouse

The Bears of the Albermarle - Pamlico Peninsula 

Just across the water from these islands is the densest concentration of black bears in the entire world. They are also the biggest!

 Bear Facts:

  • Coastal NC has the world’s largest black bears
  • The Albemarle/Pamlico Peninsula has the highest black bear densities in the world
  • There is an average of 4 bears per square mile on the peninsula
  • The current world record black bear is from Eastern NC and weighed 880 lbs
  • There are bears over 880 lbs still walking around Eastern NC today
  • Black bears have a prey mentality instead of a predator mentality
  • Bears don’t stand up to intimidate you. It is for a better view and to get a better scent
  • Bear-Ology Black Bear Museum is in Plymouth, NC

 Photographing the Bears:

We will spend a minimum of two mornings photographing the black bears of Eastern North Carolina in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

We will head to the bears after shooting the Milky Way before sunrise and shoot until mid-morning.  

*Plan on being out from 7 PM to 10 AM the next morning.

OBX Bears OBX Bear Cubs OBX Bear OBX Bear 

May is the time of the year that "Mama Bears" are beginning to bring their COY (cubs of the year) out into the world.

Required Equipment and Accessories:

Astrophotography requires a professional level camera and lens in order to be successful and get the image results you are looking for.

If you do not have a professional level camera or lens, we would highly recommend purchasing or renting them. Mike's Camera offers rentals in Denver and California.

  • DSLR or mirrorless camera with non-extended, "native" ISO to at least 12,800 and shutter speeds to at least 30 secs
  • Wide angle lens with a aperture of f/2.8 or larger and a full frame equivalent of 14 - 24 mm
  • A sturdy tripod (long exposures require it to be very stable)
  • Shutter release cord or intervalometer (best option for exposure blending) 
  • Extra batteries
  • Headlamp with a red filter
  • Small flashlight

NOTE: Due to the variety of subjects on this workshop my recommendation is that you have a variety of lenses with you to ensure a successful workshop.

  • For Milky Way shooting a 14 - 24mm is your best option.
  • As for landscapes, you will want to bring something in the neighborhood of a 24-70mm lens and a 70 - 200mm.
  • For photographing the bears I would recommend bringing a 500 - 600mm lens or a 150-600 would be a great option.
  • For photographing seashore birds a 300mm is ample.
  • If you have a macro lens, bring that as well. 

 If you need to purchase or rent ANY of the required equipment - please, feel free to contact Craig at 520.732.1440 to help you get set up.

    Recommended Items:

    • Warm clothes / layers (as the night gets later it does get cooler)
    • Gloves and hat
    • Hiking Boots
    • Sunscreen
    • Snacks  
    • Bug Spray (May is the beginning of mosquito season)
    • Folding portable chair

    NOTE: My recommendation for bug spray is Sawyer Products Permethrin. You can use it to treat everything from shirts to pants to socks to shoes. It can be found on amazon, at REI and Dick's.

    What You Will Learn: 

    Techniques we will be focusing on: 

    • Single Shot Milky Way
    • Stacking Techniques
    • Star Trails and Processing

    We will also take a look at:

    •  The best times to photograph the Milky Way
    •  How to find the best dark sky location
    •  Best equipment to use
    •  How to focus in the dark
    •  How to set exposure and ISO
    •  Rule of 400 / 500 / 600
    •  Identifying other lights in the night sky 

    What You’ll Need For Processing Class: 

    Digital processing is a crucial step in astrophotography for creating striking images.

    We will also spend an afternoon on post-processing techniques that can help you create striking images using Lightroom Classic CC. 

    Make sure you have the latest version of Lightroom Classic CC pre-loaded.

    More Details: 

    Participants: Limit 8

    Experience Level:  Intermediate - Advanced  This workshop is only designated for those who are "Alumni Members" of Craig Wennersten.

    Endurance Level:  Moderate -  Light hiking is involved. We will be climbing some sand dunes. We’ll drive to each location then move to the best position. 

    • Participants should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. 
    • Participants must have mobility and the ability to carry their photo gear.
    • Participants should be prepared for some very long days to maximize our time on this workshop.

    Transportation Included:  We will travel together in a 15 passenger van during the workshop from the hotel to our shooting locations.


    #1 ~ Workshop Dates: May 6 - 10, 2024  *SOLD OUT

    Arrival Date in Rodanthe, NC: May 6, 2024

    Departure Date: May 11, 2024


    #2 ~ Workshop Dates: April 30 - May 4, 2024   *SOLD OUT

    Arrival Date in Rodanthe, NC: April 30, 2024

    Departure Date: May 5, 2024

    #3 ~ Workshop Dates: May 12 - May 16, 2024   *ONLY 2 SPACES AVAILABLE

    Arrival Date in Rodanthe, NC: May 12, 2024

    Departure Date: May 17, 2024

    Arriving In The Outer Banks By Air:

    Closest Airports
    • Norfolk (ORF) — 3 hours from the mid-Outer Banks
    • Raleigh-Durham (RDU) — 4 hours
    • Richmond (RIC) — 5 hours
    • Closer Local/Regional Airports : DUF, FFA, MED, NC4 (limited flight options)

      Lodging Included: Single Occupancy in Rodanthe, NC

      Our home base hotel is located in beautiful Rodanthe, NC - which is centrally located on the Outer Banks steps away from the Atlantic shoreline.

      Outer Banks KOA Resort, 25099 North Carolina Hwy 12, Rodanthe, NC 27968.

      All rooms provided are single occupancy.

      All rooms are a spacious 2-person Vacation Suite including a full bathroom, large kitchen with refrigerator, cooktop, microwave, Keurig coffee maker, and dining area.

      Relax on your private balcony, featuring a table and chairs, with a view of either the Pamlico Sound or Atlantic Ocean. 

      KOA Resort KOA Resort KOA Resort 

      Price For Workshop:

      $3,695.00  Per Photographer Participant  

      Already Signed Up ?  Need to pay your balance?   Click here.

      The cost of this workshop DOES include:

      • 5 Nights of single occupancy lodging at Outer Banks KOA Resort
      • All transportation from hotel to shooting locations in our 15 passenger van
      • 5 nights of astro instruction by Craig Wennersten
      • Welcome reception dinner on our first day in the Outer Banks
      • Final night group dinner 
      • Post processing instruction using Lightroom Classic CC
      • Permits and park entrance fees 
      • Plus...all the Milky Way Bars you can eat! :-)

       The cost of this workshop DOES NOT include:

      • Lodging outside of workshop dates
      • Transportation to and from the workshop
      • Flights and rental cars
      • Meals not listed as included in the itinerary
      • Alcoholic beverages
      • Gratuities for instructor(s)
      • Strongly Recommended: Trip Insurance and Medical Evacuation Insurance - Purchase policy here


      See You In The Outer Banks !  

      Please feel free to contact Craig if you have any questions or need any help with your gear or equipment requirements. I am happy to help!

      Related Items