Nightscape Photography Workshop - Joseph Cali

Nightscapes and Star Trails, Astrophotography by Joe Cali
"Under the Milky Way Tonight"

2021 Workshops Contact
& Field Trips

COVID19: With the spread of COVID19, associated  travel and social distancing restrictions, all workshops are naturally subject to any government public health orders.

Even as restrictions are relaxed, COVID19 will continue to be present until a vaccine is available  and  administered.  As the situation evolves, we will  continue to give further consideration as to when and how workshops can be delivered safely and hygienically without risk to participants or staff.

You can enrol with confidence, refunds available for any workshops that need to be cancelled or postponed. You can choose to get a full refund or keep your place in the postponed/rescheduled workshop.

Stay safe look after yourselves and we'll all meet on the other side of this difficult period.

Joe Cali

Workshops with Photoaccess
Interested?  Contact me and you will be emailed when courses & excursions open for enrolment. Your email won't be used or passed on for any other purpose.


  • Nightscapes and Star Trails.  ( Field trip - overnight stay at Young )
    #1:  March 24, 25, 30, April 8 (zoom sessions),  April 10-11( overnight field trip )
    #2: August 16, 17, 23, 24(zoom sessions),  Sept 4-5( overnight field trip )
    Cost  $285

  • Long Weekend at  34 South Dark Sky tracked astrophotography Retreat ( Young )
    #1:  July 9, 10, 11, 12
    October 1, 2, 3, 4
    Cost  $775

  • Digital Toolbox Photoshop and Lightroom -  from the ground up. ( Manuka )
    1:  April 20, 21,  May 4,5
    2:  June 22, 23, July 6, 7
    3: October 20, 21, 27, 28.
    Cost  $325

  • Astronomical Image Processing ( Manuka )
    August 18, 19, 25, 26
    Cost  $325

Image Above:  Margaret Stapper was a participant in the first Nightscapes and Star Trails course [May 2019].
                          Margaret captured this dreamy nightscape during the course fieldtrip.

Image below: Picture taken during April 2021 field trip between Young and Cowra.
                         Pentax K1 Samyang 14mm f2.8 ISO6400 30 seconds.

Image Above: This wide angle  picture of the summer Milky Way is just one example of the amazing dark skies at 34 South. No tricks here just stunning dark skies.
Image Right: The image at right is a mosaic of 12 images shot @ 34 South with a 50mm lens and stitched into a 2 wide by 6 high mosaic. The silhouette was shot and added separate to the astrophotography. Below: The Large Magellanic Cloud is a galaxy that orbits the Milky Way. All three photographs shot at 34 South, January 2021.

Long Weekend @ 34 South
  • #1:  July 9, 10, 11, 12
  • #2:  October 1, 2, 3, 4
Cost $775
Fully catered : breakfasts, lunches, dinners,  tea and coffee provided.
BYO snacks.

Spend a weekend with Joe Cali shooting under spectacular dark skies at '34 South' a private property out under brilliant dark skies between Young, Grenfell and Cowra with astrophotographer Joe Cali and joined by some of the Photoaccess staff.  Joe has more than 40 years of experience as an amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. This three night residential course starts Friday afternoon and runs until  Monday lunch and includes food, accommodation and access to a variety of tracking equipment. The location is a 160km, and 1 3/4 hour drive each way from Canberra. 

Guidance will be given throughout the nights with night sky orientation (astronomy 101) including some Wiradjiri dreamtime astronomy. We'll assist with target identification, capture techniques and camera operation.  Early in the night we'll shoot the rising Milky Way around Scorpius. Later, the full milkyway loop will be able to be captured as a panorama or circumpolar star trails. If we are rerally lucky, we might get an airglow display or a faint aurora invisible to the eye but  that can be recorded photographically.  Bright aurorae visible from this latitude to the eye are extremely rare.

Some motorised tracking devices will be available for you to try out.  We will demonstrate set up of such devices including all important polar alignment technique and discuss pro's and con's of various devices as well as sources of error not related to the polar alignment. You are welcome to bring your own tracker & learn how to set it up or take turns trying your camera on Joe's trackers. Objects such as Eta Carina and Rho Ophiuchi shown below are within your grasp with the use of the trackers. Naturally, the program will  also include plenty of wide angle fixed tripod nightscape photography targets in addition to the tracking targets.

Eta Carina   Rho Ophiuchi

After midnight the central Milky Way will reach peak altitude.  If you have the energy, it remains dark enough to do photography until 5am. By 4am, the zodiacal light will be visible and able to be photographed. Some lenses/telescopes may be available to try.  Subject to availability of camera mounting adapters for your camera brand.

We recommend you turn in a bit earlier on the last night to ensure you get enough sleep for a safe fatigue free drive home on Monday.

Requirements: DSLR, Lenses, Tripod, remote release (intervalometer recommended), small pair of binoculars useful but not essential, towel, and sleeping bag for bedding, spare batteries recommended and chargers, very warm clothes.  Own transport to 34 South (160km/ 1 hr 45mins drive). We will try to facilitate carpooling arrangements between participants if requested.  Meals, accommodation in the property's bedrooms, and astronomical activities are all co-located, once there, you don't need to travel unless you want to explore. Road access is good, all sealed except the last 120 metres of the road which is unsealed but well maintained and accessible with a small low ground clearance sedan. 

Nightscapes and Star Trails
March 23-April 11
Cost $285
Enrol securely online soon

Do you stand outside at night, look up at the stars and dream of capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Milky Way? If you're in possession of a DSLR camera, a tripod, warm clothes and a sense of adventure, then your dream can come true!

Join experienced astrophotographer and tutor Joe Cali for this hands-on workshop focusing on creating nightscapes. Together with fellow astro-enthusiasts, you'll consider how to compose after-dark land and skyscapes, explore practical aspects of night shoots, such as forecasting clear skies and staying comfortable during long cold shoots, and experiment with processing your images to create striking stills, star trails and panoramas. During long exposures, you'll no doubt also have lots of opportunity to discuss and observe the wonder of the galaxy.

The workshop comprises four 1-hour zoom classroom sessions at PhotoAccess and an overnight Saturday field trip staying at 34 South, Joe's Dark Sky Retreat near Cowra (160km, and 1 3/4 hour drive each way, with many hours field time). Drive up on Saturday afternoon. After an induction, relax over dinner then shoot until you drop then crash and sleep in Sunday morning. Price includes course work , dinner, bed and brunch.  Transport from Canberra to 34 South is not included.
Fully catered :  dinner, supper, tea and coffee, late brunch provided.
BYO snacks.

The next course overnight field trip is scheduled for Saturday 4 Sept, but due to cloudy weather we may need to delay it. We'll only be able to give you 24-48 hours' notice if it's re-scheduled.

For this workshop, you'll need basic to intermediate photography skills, a good working knowledge of your camera controls and any associated equipment. If you're not sure about your skill level, give us a ring in advance to discuss.

You'll need:
  • DSLR camera;
  • wide-angle lens;
  • charged batteries;
  • memory card/s;
  • a solid tripod;
  • a cable release or intervalometer*
  • a red torch** (not a head torch or mobile phone).
  • a small pair of binoculars useful but not essential
  • sleeping bag
  • towel
  • very warm clothing+

* We recommend that you purchase an intervalometer, which costs less than $30 on Ebay (https://tinyurl.com/y6qy9w25). Please make sure to purchase the cable adaptor/connector appropriate to your brand and model of camera.
** Red cellophane held over a white torch by elastic bands works fine.

 + You'll be shooting outside in late autumn, so you'll need to dress warmly – as in really, really warmly! You may also be working alongside country roads at night, so a Hi-Vis outer layer is recommended. There will be some Hi-Vis vests available for loan. 

"Sari Sari Night"
 Sari Sutton shoots the stars at a "Nightscapes and Star Trails" workshop field trip 2019. 

Nightscapes and Star Trails fieldnight

Central Milky Way - photo Joe Cali  2017

Photoshop and Lightroom for Photographers

Do you look at elegantly processed images astronomical or otherwise and wish you could do that.  Tutor Joe Cali has been using Adobe Photoshop since version 2 in 1992. He began teaching photography workshops at photo access in 1995 and has taught photoshop workshops since 2004. He has taken numerous masterclass workshops in Photoshop, Lightroom and raw capture with Les Walkling formerly of the Art School at RMIT.

In this two-part series, Joe will give you a ground up introduction to Lightroom and Photoshop then move into more advanced techniques.

Digital Toolbox : Photoshop-Lightroom-From the ground up
Cost: $325
Term 1: 20 & 21 April, 4 & 5 May;  6:00pm-9:00pm
Term 2: 22 & 23 June, 6 & 7 July;  6:00pm-9:00pm

We will look at various file types and the differences between raw and jpg capture.  We'll run through the whole of the develop module in Lightroom and look at how the library module can help you stay organised.  We'll also look in less depth at the map module, the slide show and web gallery generator. 

Then we'll unravel the mysteries of Photoshop. Photoshop is a complex behemoth of a program. This is because it tries to be all things to all people. It's the industry standard in layout, graphic design and publishing as well as digitial painting and rendering, 3D AND photography.  Joe will help to cut through the complexity and introduce you to "Photoshop for Photographers." A reduced but very powerful function and tool set that will give you more control than you thought possible for all photography not just astrophotography.

The course assumes you can use a computer, mouse, keyboards, understand how to use your operating system and file organisation but you do not need any prior experience with Photoshop or Lightroom, we start at the beginning and work up quite quickly skipping all the slow techniques typically taught to beginners. Course includes access to Joe's video tutorials on his website. We do ask you to have your licenced installed versions of Lightroom Classic and Photoshop already running on your own computer that you can bring to class to gain full benefit  from this hands on workshop. Please ensure the programs are installed and licenses registered and everything working before coming to class. Class time is valuable and it's unfair to your classmates to expect them to sit aroundwhile the tutor helps with basic IT issues that are better handled out of class. 


Photoshop and Lightroom for Photographers

Part 2 : Astronomical Image Processing
Cost $325
Term 2 only: 20 & 21 July, 3 & 4 August;  6:00pm-9:00pm

In this workshop, Joe Cali will build on skills developed in back to basics and concentrate on techniques he uses for processing astronomical images.  Back to Basics is suited to anyone who wants to become proficient using Photoshop and Lightroom whether they are an astrophotographer or not. However, if  you are not an astrophotographer, this astronomical image processing workshop probably isn't the workshop for you.

We'll look at various sharpening techniques, stacking and blending techniqes that are used for noise reduction, stacking and blending sequences of images into star trails, advanced masking to separate landscapes from sky in a nightscape so that stars can be de-rotated and stacked and then recombined with the foreground landscape. We'll then apply this technique to separating and stacking stars before recombining to a landscape, adding stars from one picture to another landscape. Course includes access to Joe's  video tutorials on his website


Michael was a participant in  the Nightscapes and Star Trails course [May 2019] He has since done a lot of individual work in Namadgi such as this beautiful Milky Way panorama taken at Brayshaws Hut.


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