Full Moon and PhotoPills

Photography and Planning Workshop

The full moon is one of the most breathtaking sights in the sky, and yet capturing interesting photos of it is a surprisingly difficult challenge. In this fun and exciting landscape photography class you will learn how to overcome the major challenges of shooting the moon so that you can create truly stunning and one-of-a-kind photographs.

Join professional landscape photographer Joshua Cripps in the breathtaking Eastern Sierra to photograph the moon alongside the beautiful landscapes of this unique area. Lone Pine will be our stomping grounds for this class, and we will explore the Alabama Hills as well as the surrounding landscapes in search of our moon photos.


This class is comprised of field excursions, classroom sessions, and processing sessions. In the classroom we will learn everything that goes into making beautiful moon photographs, including the required gear, using the PhotoPills App, artistic and technical approaches to shooting the moon, understanding the moon’s motion, planning the shot, problem solving, and best practices. We will work together as a group to plan our shots, then go into the field to bring them to life!

During the class we will have four opportunities to photograph the moon in alignment with the wonderful natural features of the area, such as Mt Whitney, Mt Leconte, Mt Williamson, and/or the rock towers of the Alabama Hills. All our shoots will take place around sunrise and sunset, allowing us fantastic opportunities for landscape photography in addition to shooting the moon. 

The classroom and post processing sessions for this class take place at The Mount Whitney Gallery in downtown Lone Pine, California.


This class is aimed at any photographer who wants to become confident creating beautiful photographs of the moon.

Learning Goals:

  • Insight into the 4 main challenges in photographing the full moon, as well as how to overcome them.
  • Understand the PeakFinder App and how to use it to plan moon shots.
  • PhotoPills, PhotoPills, PhotoPills! We will spend plenty of time getting deep into this amazing app and how to use it to plan moon photographs.
  • Best practices for getting high quality moon photos with sharp details and low noise.
  • Post-processing techniques to bring out the best in your moon photos.
  • Instruction on photographing landscapes with a telephoto lens.
  • Field instruction and guidance on how to execute your planned moon photos.
  • Know how to quickly adjust your ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance IN THE DARK . Even if you aren’t fully comfortable with understanding these settings, know how to change them, especially at night.
  • Be able to turn on your 2/5/10 sec timer, and change your shooting mode from single shot to timer and back.
  • Be able to turn exposure bracketing on and off.
  • Be able to quickly zoom to 100% in Live View and Playback.
  • Enable Back Button Focus.
  • Know how to change from autofocus to manual focus and back, be able to move your focus point, and turn on focus peaking.
  • View the Histogram in Live View and Playback.
  • Activate the Level in your Live View.
  • LENR – Know where to find Long Exposure Noise Reduction in your settings and how to turn it on and off.
  • Know how to change the brightness of your screen.
  • Know how to access your Menus, quickly scroll through, change and confirm settings.

Processing Prerequisites:

  • Know the basics of the Develop Module and Masking Panel in Lightroom / Adobe Camera Raw.
  • Understand the basics of layers and masking in Photoshop.
  • Have PhotoPills and PeakFinder apps installed on your phone.

This is a low to medium physicality workshop, with 5-25 minute walks to reach our shooting locations, mostly over level ground

That being said, there may be some short descents and climbs, the ground is soft and uneven in places, and there may be some rocks to walk over or step up onto. 


  • Carry your own equipment to and from the shooting locations.
  • Have good balance and be comfortable on uneven ground.
  • Be able to squat down and get back up unassisted.
  • Be able to walk over uneven terrain at night (with a headlamp).

Camera Equipment to Bring:

  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera
  • Lenses. It’s critical that you have a long telephoto in order to photograph the moon. But bring all the following lenses (or equivalent) to take advantage of the wide variety of scenes you will experience:
    • Required: Short telephoto, 70-200mm
    • Required: Long telephoto, 100-400mm or 200-500mm
    • Optional: Ultra-wide, such as a 14-24mm or 16-35mm
    • Optional: Midrange, 24-70mm
  • A sturdy tripod and solid ball head, gimbal head, or geared head
  • A headlamp
  • Comfortable camera backpack you can hike up to 1 mile with
  • Remote shutter release
  • Rocket blower and shammy cloth, lens/sensor cleaning fluid, lens wipes, sensor swabs
  • Extra batteries, charger, and memory cards

Computer Equipment to Bring:

  • Laptop with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop installed
  • PhotoPills App on your phone
  • PeakFinder App on your phone

Weather in the Eastern Sierra is unpredictable. Expect cool/warm days and cold mornings and evenings.

Due to variable conditions, I recommend bringing multiple layers of non-cotton clothing, like Merino wool, fleece, or synthetic fibers. Specifically you should bring: 

  • A jacket and pants
  • A windproof rain jacket
  • Lighter layers, like a sun hoodie or long-sleeved sun shirt
  • Shorts for warm days
  • A wide-brim hat and sunglasses
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  • Gloves and a warm hat depending on the temperature
  • Sturdy footwear that you don’t mind getting dirty. Lightweight hiking boots or hiking shoes are recommended for most outings. 
  • A large water bottle and sunscreen
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Trekking poles

Shooting Conditions

Although we hope for clear skies, clouds can appear at any moment. There is a reason the PhotoPills motto is “Plan and Pray.” Or, as I always say: keep your expectations low and your hopes high.

Day 1

Arrive at the Whitney Gallery a little after lunch (the exact time will be sent to you in advance of the class).

  • Early Afternoon: Classroom sessions on moon photography, PeakFinder and PhotoPills planning, and telephoto landscapes.
  • Mid afternoon: break.
  • Evening: sunset / moonrise photography excursion (if applicable).


Day 2

  • Early morning: sunrise / moonset photography excursion.
  • Mid morning: break for breakfast.
  • Late morning: moon post processing techniques.
  • Midday: break.
  • Early Afternoon: Classroom sessions on moon photography, PhotoPills planning, and telephoto landscapes.
  • Mid afternoon: break.
  • Evening: sunset / moonrise photography excursion (if applicable).


Day 3

  • Early morning: sunrise / moonset photography excursion.
  • Mid morning: break for breakfast.
  • Late morning: moon post processing techniques.
  • Midday: class ends.


* times are approximate and will be specified in advance of the class

Getting to the class

This photography workshop meets in Lone Pine, California, 3-4 hours north of Los Angeles, 4 hours west of Las Vegas, or 1 hour south of Bishop. The class location is:

The Mount Whitney Gallery
126 N Main Street
Lone Pine, CA 93545

Transportation during the class

You are responsible for your own transportation during this class, but we will organize carpools for the excursions.

Lodging and Meals

Lodging and meals are up to you. Lone Pine has a wide array of dining and lodging options, from inexpensive to high end. There is lots of camping in the area. Please let us know if you need lodging suggestions.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Payments are refundable up to two weeks before the workshop, less a $100 administrative fee.

If we cancel this workshop due to unforeseen circumstances, we will refund your tuition or transfer it to another class.

Weather Policy

We make no guarantees regarding clouds, clear skies, rain, sun, or moon visibility. No refunds will be given in the event weather prevents us from photographing the moon. 

COVID-19 Policy

We do not currently have any COVID-19 requirements. That being said, if you feel sick before the class, please stay home and let us know. We will transfer your registration to another class of your choosing.

This policy will be updated as CDC, WHO, Federal, and state guidelines change.

Acknowledgement of Risks

Please download and sign this form, and bring it with you to the initial meeting. You can also email us a digital signed copy.

Image Use

During this workshop we may take behind the scenes photos and videos of the participants. These photos are used to share among the group, as well as for promotional purposes on our website or other marketing materials. If you would prefer to not have your image appear in these materials, please let us know.

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