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El Sauce Observatory




Oct. 27th - Nov. 1st, 2022

6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS  |  $3,495

All skill levels



3 students

Trip Overview

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

  • 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 should I bring?

  • Camera

    • DSLR, or mirrorless digital camera

    • Cooled astro-CMOS cameras for advanced students are welcome

  • Tracker

    • Such as SkyWatcher Star Adventurer, or iOptron SkyGuider

  • Lenses/Telescopes

    • For deep sky astrophotography such as 50mm, or 135mm

    • For advanced students a portable telescope such as William Optics RedCat are great

  • Sturdy tripod and ball head.

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

  • Shutter release cable (intervalometer).

  • Headlamp with a red light setting and warm clothing.

  • Laptop computer with Adobe Photoshop and PixInsight installed.

  • * 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

What is not included?

  • Airfare

  • Meals

  • Travel insurance


  • This 6 day and 5 night workshop cost $3,495 with a $1,500 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.

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.

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. 

Your Teacher

Hi! My name is Matt and 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. The goal of my workshops is to help teach my students so they reach their full photographic potential. Having students push their creative boundaries and enjoying themselves in the field behind the camera means everything to me. I know how exciting it is catching that inspiring moment with a camera and I love sharing that excitement with my students! When you sign up for my workshops you are not only enrolling in an educational trip, but you are joining a family of other workshop photographers who share your passion for travel and self-improvement.


Cancellations + Refunds

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.

Acknowledgement of Risk

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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