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Siding Springs Observatory




All skill levels



4 Students

October 1st - 7th, 2021

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS  |  $3,495


Are you ready to experience the trip of a lifetime under some of the darkest, clearest, night skies on Earth for astrophotography? On this expedition we will be staying at an observatory in Chile located at ObsTech (Observatory El Sauce) in the Hurtado Valley about 2.5 hours from La Serena. We will have hands on access to telescopes for astrophotography and will also shoot wide field nightscape images. Prepare for an unforgettable experience!


What is included?

  • On-site lodging. Shared rooms and private rooms are available.

  • Myself as your professional photography guide.

  • Post-processing training in Photoshop and PixInsight for creating publication and print quality photographs.

  • Detailed lesson on navigating the night sky performed by myself, a former Astronomy Ranger at Mt. Rainier National Park.

  • Light refreshments during the field instruction and classroom sessions.

  • Small group size of 4 students.

What is not included?

  • Airfare

  • Meals

  • Travel insurance

Physical Fitness Requirement:

  • On this workshop we will be staying at ObsTech, which means onsite access to photography locations with minimal hiking required for the evenings we shoot nightscapes around the facility. Short walks of 5  to 10 minutes will be required to explore around ObsTech for shooting.

What should I bring?

  • DSLR/mirrorless SLR digital camera.

  • Wide angle lens such as 14-24mm. Also worth bringing are a 24-70mm and 70-200mm.

  • Sturdy tripod and ball head.

  • Multiple charged batteries, battery charger, and empty memory cards.

  • Shutter release cable (intervalometer).

  • Headlamp with a red light setting.

  • Laptop computer with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom installed.

  • Warm clothing, thermals, and rain gear.

  • * I recommend ordering a L-bracket for your camera body if you do not already have this accessory. L-brackets allow quickly swapping between landscape and portrait orientation while keeping portrait shots to remain centered over the tripod


  • This 6 day and 5 night workshop cost $3,495 with a $500 deposit required to reserve a spot. The remaining balance is due 3 months prior the workshop. Student's may also pay the full balance up front. Payment can be made either over the phone, or online with the website checkout. If paying over the phone please call me at +1 (412)-680-6408

Permits and Certifications:

  • In the event of an emergency, I am certified in CPR and First Aid.

  • I am trained in the practice of Leave-no-Trace hiking and camping to protect the natural resources.

  • Lastly, I served as an Astronomy Ranger at Mount Rainier National Park where we received Interpretive Ranger Training on how to best facilitate visitor experience and learning!


Day 1: Checking into the observatory and Milky Way shooting.

Students should have their flights arrive into La Serena airport today (airport code LSC). We will then make the 3 hour drive to ObsTech. Along the way we will stop and pickup some meals and snacks for the next few days. Once arriving to the ObsTech we will settle in and have a cooked dinner at 6pm. After dinner we will photograph the night sky around the lodge.

ObsTech Drone Pic (9).jpg

Day 2 : Observatory Tour and Astrophotography Discussion.

Today we will meet for a team breakfast at 1100 and talk about astrophotography techniques. We will take a tour of the observatory facility in the afternoon to look at the telescopes onsite. In the evening we will have dinner together and wait for dark to begin astrophotography. 

ObsTech Drone Pic (6).jpg
ObsTech Drone Pic (7).jpg

Day 3: Deep Sky Astrophotography Processing.

In the afternoon we will work on post-processing our images from the previous nights. We will focus on deep sky astrophotography processing today and have dinner before another night of imaging.

Centaurs A Galaxy

Day 4: Nightscape Astrophotography Processing.

In the afternoon we will work on post-processing our images from the previous nights. We will focus on deep sky astrophotography processing today and have dinner before another night of imaging.

Milky Way and Zodiacal Light in

Day 5: Photo editing.

In the afternoon we will work on post-processing our images from the previous nights. Tonight we will conduct our last evening of astrophotography.


Day 6: Departure day.

Students will be dropped back off at the airport in La Serena for their return flights. 


I am a professional photographer with 15 years of experience and a passion for education. Along with a Master's degree in Geology and Planetary Science, I hold a teaching degree and was a National Park Service Astronomy Ranger. Currently, I continue my passion for adventure by installing telescopes for astronomical observatories around the world. My work has been published internationally, and in 2016 my Star Trails over Mount Rainier photo was selected as a Forever Stamp celebrating the National Park Service Centennial. The goal of my teaching is for my student's to reach their potential and create emotional imagery that inspires the next generation to get outside and adventure.



A non-refundable deposit to hold your spot for the workshop is $500. Full refunds (excluding the deposit) will be given if a student has to withdraw, but must be requested no later than 6 months prior to the start of the workshop. 50% of the workshop payment (not including the deposit) will be refunded if requested within 4 months to the start of the tour. In the event of a weather related emergency, or any other circumstance causing the workshop to be canceled, a voucher for an upcoming workshop will be issued. We recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover your trip.


By joining this workshop you are acknowledging there at inherent risks during hiking and being in the outdoors. You accept full responsibility for taking care of yourself during this workshop. By joining the workshop you agree to not hold Matt Dieterich Photography, LLC liable for any injures or damaged equipment. I recommend having insurance on your equipment to protect your investment.

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