Q&A with Night Skies Photographer Ken Hubbard

Have you ever wanted to photograph the night sky in one of the nation’s beautiful national parks? National Park Trips Media and Tamron have teamed up to make this possible by offering the National Park Night Skies Photography Workshops.

Tamron’s photography experts guide you every step of the way from a pre-shoot seminar to the outdoors where you will learn about sunset, stars and sunrise photography. And even better than the full line of Tamron lenses available to test during the workshop are the photographers who will teach you how to use them.

Ken Hubbard is the field service manager for Tamron and has worked with them for 16 years. He is in charge of the technical team organizing educational content, seminars, workshops, trade shows and all things field-related. Ken lives in Brightwater, N.Y.

Tamron photographer, Ken Hubbard
Tamron photographer, Ken Hubbard

Q: Why night photography?

A: I always had an interest in night photography–shooting at night whether city scenes or landscapes, anything at night just because of the mood and the feel of the images. You can create images with a lot of impact. As far as night-sky photography goes, three or four years back it started becoming more popular because of the ease of digital photography. Digital photography made it much easier to photograph these night skies and get the Milky Way. So my interest in stars and the night sky itself [started] about three or four years ago, as the technology advanced to make it more accessible.

Q: Who attends the Night Skies Photography Workshops and what can they expect to get out of them?

A: We have a wide range of attendees from the really beginner to the more advanced photographer. From the beginners, what I would like them to get out of it is learning their cameras better and taking more control of their cameras, learning about aperture and how to control it, shutter speeds and how to control it, and using the functions of their camera to capture those images and create the images they’re envisioning. Too many people just pick up their DSLRs and shoot it like it’s a point-and-shoot. What we try to do is get people to understand their cameras in a simpler way and help them create their vision. For the more advanced people, they may just be shooting starts for the first time and it’s just helping them with the correct settings and familiarity of shooting night time, and helping them create those images. It takes some of the mystery out of shooting the night sky.

Q: What is your favorite part about the Night Skies Photography Workshops?

A: I think some of the fondest things I witness out there in the field is that first time we do a long exposure with the whole group, and we actually get these big, either laughs or celebratory noises of, “Oh my god. I can’t believe I did it,” when the image shows up on their screen. So the feedback has been fantastic. People walk away really enjoying this workshop and with really great images as well.

And the thing with night-sky photography, I know people look at these images in a magazine or online somewhere and they think it’s the most difficult thing to photograph. But what happens when we get people out in that field and we show them a certain setting, the mystery is gone and they’re so happy to be able to capture these images on their own now. To me that’s a great feeling being able to teach people stuff like that, be it night sky or nighttime photography, or even just landscape photography. You know that you’re helping somebody advance their vision and create images that they’re happy with.

Check out Ken’s website for photographs he’s taken:

The 2016 photography workshops so far have been held in Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, Acadia National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. See the upcoming schedule of Nights Skies Photography Workshops.