Grandfather Mountain Night Photography
Weekend Photo Tour & Workshop

May 18-20, 2018
Limit: 12
Location: Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Online Registration for Grandfather Mountain Night Photography

Click here if you’d prefer registering by mail with a personal check

Grandfather Mountain has been attracting sightseers and photographers since the late 1800s. Visitors from around the world come to walk the Mile High Swinging Bridge, tour the animal habitat, and soak up the scenery. Forrest Gump even jogged up its curvy road.

But while a visit to Grandfather can be an immensely rewarding experience, it does have one drawback for photographers. It’s only open during the day. Everyone has to be out of the park before sunset.

That is, unless you are a participant in this special photo tour! The folks at Grandfather Mountain and I have teamed up to offer the first and only event of its kind. When the regular visitors are leaving, we’ll just be arriving to photograph sunset and spend as much of the night as we like photographing under the stars. Our small group will have the mountain to ourselves to photograph all kinds of scenes at night, with the opportunity to make images that are truly unique.

How many photo locations can you say that about?

Grandfather Mountain is far more than a tourist attraction and photo hotspot. It’s a biological and geological wonderland, home to a surprising number of rare plants and animals. The diverse flora and fauna and the wilderness character of the mountain have led to its recognition as an International Biosphere Reserve, the first such designation for a private tract. But Grandfather Mountain is no longer privately owned. One third of the mountain is operated as a scenic travel attraction by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, with all proceeds from ticket sales going toward preserving the mountain. The other two-thirds of the wild and undeveloped sections of the mountain is owned by the state of North Carolina as Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Our photo tour will take place in the section owned by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, so we will have access to the Mile High Swinging Bridge, the curvy road, the striking rock outcrops, and all of the other scenery that is closed to everyone else after dark.

In addition to having the opportunity to make one-of-a-kind images, your participation will also support the mountain. A significant portion of the registration fee will go to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation for aid in their work to protect and preserve the mountain.

What you will photograph

Sunset from Grandfather Mountain.
Dusk, with the crescent moon and Venus in the twilight sky.
Star trails and the Milky Way, using foreground objects like the swinging bridge.
Car light streaks on the curvy road.
Light painting a variety of subjects using flashlights, including the swinging bridge, rock formations, and even people.
Other types of light painting using various techniques.
What you will learn

How to photograph all kinds of night scenes.
Light painting techniques.
Basic image processing for night photos.
Introduction to the natural history of Grandfather Mountain.
What a special treat it is to be on Grandfather Mountain at night!

What is included:

Guiding and photo instruction.
Snacks, soft drinks, and water for the field.

What is not included


What you must bring

You will receive a detailed packing list when you register.

General itinerary

We will meet Friday afternoon in the meeting room of our hotel. After orientation, I will give a program on night photography, with an emphasis on what we will be photographing on Grandfather Mountain. We will have dinner together as a group, after which we will drive to the mountain and photograph sunset. After sunset, we will stay on the mountain photographing as late as the group, or any individual desires.

Saturday is on your own until late afternoon when we will meet again at our hotel. We will discuss processing techniques using images that we shot the night before. After dinner, we go back to the mountain for a second night of photography beginning with sunset.

We will meet again as a group on Sunday morning at 10:00am for a final hour-long discussion of shooting and processing techniques.

Special considerations

This is a night-photography event. As such, we will be staying out late at night and possibly well into the morning. You should come willing to adjust your normal sleep patterns for the weekend. We do not have any group-related activities planned during the day, so can use that time to catch up on sleep or as you wish.

This is more important than you might realize. You are paying to learn how to photograph at night, not during the day. If you get sleepy and decide to drive back to the hotel at 9:30pm, that’s certainly not a problem for me. But it sure will be a waste of your money!

Important note

With any night-photography event, we are at the mercy of the weather. All events will go on rain or shine, and we will just have to make do the best we can if the weather does not cooperate. If it is cloudy, you won’t be able to incorporate the stars or Milky Way in your composition, but you’ll still be able to shoot scenes at night. If we have a steady rain on both nights (unlikely at this time of year), we will have to improvise.

Refunds cannot be issued because of the weather.


Lodging is not included and you are free to stay where you like. Our host hotel is Best Western Mountain Lodge at 1615 Tynecastle Hwy in Banner Elk. 828-898-4571

Cancellation Policy

We will provide a 100% refund up to 90 days prior to the event, minus a $100 processing fee. Cancellations made between 90 days and 30 days prior to the event will be refunded 50%. No refunds will be given for cancellations made within 30 days of the event. However, if we are able to fill your space, we will provide a full refund, minus a $100 processing fee, regardless of when you cancel.

More information:

Please read the general information regarding all events. There’s some stuff in there that you need to know. When you register for an event, I will send you detailed information, including a packing list and specific info about the location and time at which the event starts. If you need more information before you register, please contact me through email or call 336-870-4283.