Capture the Stars at Alta – June 29th, 2024

PicturelineSKU: PE06292024

  • Dates: June 29th, 2024 
  • Time: 7:00pm-12:00am
  • Where: Alta-Brighton Trailhead
  • Address:  10351 UT-210, Alta, UT 84092
  • Instructor: Derek Sturman

Our evening began by meeting at the Alta-Brighton Trailhead where astrophotographer Derek Sturman welcomed everyone with an introduction and outlined the evening's activities, providing a foundational overview for both beginners and seasoned photographers. 

We began our adventure with a short but steep 800' hike in elevation to our designated shooting location. The group split into smaller clusters at different elevations—lower, mid, and higher levels—to capture varied foreground shots. The location offered stunning views, and as the sun set, the pink hues illuminated Devil’s Castle, providing a beautiful backdrop for our compositions.

As we settled in and fine-tuned our compositions, we shot some breathtaking landscape shots through the blue hour. Representatives from Macgroup, Mike and Galvin, gave a demonstration of the Benro Polaris star tracker, showcasing its benefits and helping attendees understand the nuances of star tracking.

By around 11 PM, we were capturing our stacked images and getting our first shots of the Milky Way. Derek, along with our staff, made rounds to check on everyone's settings and compositions, ensuring that each participant was able to achieve their desired shot. 

A big thank you to Sony and Macgroup for supporting this event! Some of the gear favorites during this event include: Sony a7 IV, Sony a7R V, Sony 16-35mm 2.8 GM, Sony 14mm 1.8 GM, Benro Polaris, Benro Mammoth 3-section carbon fiber tripod, and the Benro GX35 ball head.

Be sure to join us online as we continue our eduction in post processing with Derek in Milky Way Masterclass. Derek and Pictureline have collaborated on creating a full masterclass online course on astrophotography designed to take you from beginner to advanced. We look forward to more nights under the stars and capturing the beauty of the night sky together!


Join us for a photography workshop under the stars in the mountains of the Wasatch front. Alta in spring bloom will make for a beautiful foreground against the starry night sky. So sharpen your astrophotography skills, or come as a beginner. All levels are welcome during this five-hour session.

We will meet at the Alta-Brighton Trailhead across from the Snowpine Lodge. You can spot us with our Pictureline flag. During the workshop, we will make sure that everybody is clear on their camera settings, talk shop in the field, take questions, and explore helpful apps. The Milky Way core aligns very nicely with Devil’s Castle around 10:00p.m. We will have an hour to record a solid shot of the Milky Way before we depart. Every student's images will be reviewed. 

There will be a 20-40 minute hike up steep and possibly lose terrain. We suggest bringing good hiking shoes, hiking poles, etc. Headlamps are mandatory.  

After the session, please be cautious and safe returning to the parking lot. Since it is downhill on rocky and uneven terrain, headlamps are a must. Also, we will be staging at an altitude of 9,600’, so we recommend that you pack a lighter load – Astro gear only. 

Astrophotographer, Derek Sturman, will there to help instruct and make sure attendees are getting the best composite image. Click on the link to see examples of his work. 

Suggested gear to bring: 

  • Camera (capable of ISO 3200)
  • Wide Angle Lens (preferably with F2.8 aperture or faster)
  • Tripod 
  • Wireless Remote (Newer cameras can be controlled via apps)
  • Extra Batteries 
  • Warm Clothes 
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Flashlight/Headlamp for Navigation (We will not be using artificial light in our images)

Proposed Timeline 7:00 p.m. Leave Albion Basin Parking Lot on time.

  • 7:30 p.m. Arrive at shoot location.
  • 7:30-8:15 p.m. Scout for MW compositions with interesting foreground elements, (i.e., streams, wildflowers, etc.) Review composition, focus stacking, histogram, best practices for solid results.
  • 8:15-8:35 p.m. Shoot Blue hour. Rotate through any popular compositions. Ensure achieved critical focus (focus stacking), and review histograms for optimal exposure.
  • 8:35-9:00 p.m. Everyone sets up in a safe area with an unobstructed view of the sky. Students acquire a critical focus on the brightest star and deactivate AF. 
  • 9:00-9:45 p.m. Talk shop. Review PhotoPills, answer questions.
  • 9:45-12:00 a.m. Shoot MW galactic core (sky only shots) Concentrating on good exposure via a histogram, and pinpoint stars (explore star stacking for noise reduction and greater clarity).
  • Adjourn and return to vehicles. 

*class officially ends at 12:00am but attendees are welcome to stay later 

Get to Know Derek:

Derek Sturman photo

Derek began photographing landscapes in July of 2015 and started experimenting with long exposure while camping after picking up a DSLR camera that he originally purchased for video.

Derek is a landscape and astrolandscape photographer from Utah specializing in photographing the milky way over unique landscapes. Derek offers education through online tutorials from the basics to advanced post processing techniques and private photographic workshops.


Be sure to join us here at Pictureline with Sony Rep, Brandon Friday June 28th and Macgroup reps, Mike and Galvin on and Saturday June 29th where they will be in store with gear for you to demo!