Meteors, Mountains and Milky Way

Milky_Way_Bear_Lake_RMNP_2020_2bMilky_Way_Bear_Lake_RMNP_2020_2bThe Milky Way above Longs Peak and Bear Lake on a spring evening in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Dawn Wilson, author of the upcoming book 100 Things to Do in Estes Park Before You Die, is excited to announce an opportunity to photograph the night skies during the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower in Rocky Mountain National Park. This small photo workshop for two nights only combines a classroom lecture at the Estes Park Memorial Observatory to talk about the night skies of the area and how to photograph them, and then a trip into Rocky Mountain National Park to photograph the stars and meteors at two locations — an alpine lake and a mountain meadow. 

The Perseids is one of the most popular meteor showers because of its timing with the warm month of August. Sky watchers can head out in the comfort of the summer air (albeit still cool at Colorado's higher elevations) to watch about a meteor a minute dash across the sky. Named for the constellation Perseus, this year's shower coincides with a waning crescent moon, providing the dark skies needed for night photography.

A second bonus for this workshop is that the observatory staff has generously offered to bring a portable telescope and astrobinoculars into the field for the group. Dawn will work with participants to set up cameras for photographing the night sky, show how to focus in the darkness of night and how to compose a photograph. 

Estes_Park_Memorial_Observatory_EP_2022_1Estes_Park_Memorial_Observatory_EP_2022_1Stars fill the sky on a cold fall night above the Estes Park Memorial Observatory in northern Colorado. The group will be able to photograph the Milky Way above Longs Peak and an alpine lake at the first location. The second location has been selected to photograph the meteors. 

Photography gear is not provided. To capture photos during this workshop, please bring:
- a DSLR or mirrorless camera that can handle high noise levels (cell phones will not work for this type of photography)
- a remote shutter release or make sure the camera has a self timer
- a fast, wide-angle lens (in the range of 14 to 35 mm with a 1.4 or 2.8 aperture is ideal)
- a headlamp
- a tripod
- warm clothes (jacket, hat, gloves, sturdy shoes — not sandals)
If you do not own this type of equipment, rental gear is available from online vendors ( or or from local retailers (Mikes Camera — locations throughout the Front Range; their Boulder location is the closest to Estes Park).

Star_trails_Endovalley_RMNP_2021_1Star_trails_Endovalley_RMNP_2021_1A sky full of star trails above Mount Chapin, Chiquita and Ypsilon in Endovalley of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Schedule
- Date 1: Saturday, August 12, 2023 SOLD OUT
- Date 2: Sunday, August 13, 2023 5 SPOTS AVAILABLE
- Itinerary: A classroom lecture will start at 7:30 p.m. at the observatory. The first shoot will start at 9:30 p.m. at Bear Lake and then about 11 p.m. the second shoot will start near Endovalley.

Price: $50 per person per date; due at time of registration
Number of Participants: 12 per evening


Why go with Dawn?

Dawn Wilson is an award-winning, professional nature photographer and writer who has lived in northern Colorado for more than 20 years, including six in Estes Park, and was recognized as a top-ten female nature photographer by Wild Planet Photo Magazine. With more than 600 bylines credited to her in magazines, newspapers and calendars as well as writing about nature for the Estes Park Trail Gazette, she has focused her work on a wide variety of aspects about Rocky Mountain National Park, including guiding in the park for the last six years.
Dawn Wilson Photography LLC is permitted and insured to run photo tours in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Email Dawn with any questions.