Bodie Night Photography Workshop

DATES: August 12-16 2020

GROUP SIZE: 12 maximum; SOLD OUT

FULL AMOUNT DUE: May 1, 2020


The Site: Founded in 1859 as a small camp after the discovery of gold in the hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Bodie never really found prominence until 1876. A larger deposit of gold ore drew more settlers and by 1879 the town had grown to 5,000-7,000. Other strikes drew miners away and by 1910 the number of inhabitants had dropped below 700 and it was called a 'ghost town' as early as 1915. A few residents remained into the 1940s, and the property was made into a state park in 1962. Visitors can tour the site most days now and see a rare and precious example of what life was like there over 150 years ago. It is a rural area. There is no public transportation anywhere near it. You will need to drive there. You can see the Abandoned America gallery here.


The Workshop: This five day workshop takes place at one of the best preserved ghost towns in the United States. We will have exclusive access to the park for six hours after it normally closes on two nights during which we will be able to get amazing night photographs of the structures plus the Milky Way overhead. The public is not allowed in the park during these hours. Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America will be on hand to help and work with you, and park representatives will accompany us also. You are also free to visit the park during normal hours of operation, during which time Matthew will be there in a less formal capacity, and the group can also get meals and socialize together during non-workshop hours based on attendee interest. 


We'll also get sunset/night photos at Mono Lake, visit the upper valley in Yosemite, check out a really cool abandoned spot I found in the area, and go over night photography tricks before we hit Bodie!

There are many other area attractions and I'm happy to provide recommendations. There are dozens of options for day trips in the vicinity should you choose to extend your stay - June Lake, horseback riding, kayaking, hot springs, waterfalls and hikes at national parks are just a few. 


- Workshop maximum attendance: 10-12

- Formal workshop assistance during night photo sessions plus additional informal group photo opportunities based on attendee interest (see schedule)

- Full cooperation and support from state park personnel familiar with Bodie's history and secrets

- Participants will arrange their own lodging nearby in Bridgeport, CA. Having your own transportation is necessary although we may carpool from Bridgeport to Bodie.

- Upon sign up, Matthew will work with attendees to help plan additional details.

- Bodie is an enormous site with dozens of buildings to photograph, more than enough to spend an entire weekend on.

- Light pollution is minimal and we should be able to get some stunning shots of the Milky Way overhead!
- Please note that the relatively high event cost is due to hefty fees for holding off-hours events at the park.

- A minimum of 5 attendees is required to hold this event; if number is not met fees will be refunded.

- Night photography can be demanding, both technically and in terms of the knowldge required. A dSLR or mirrorless camera is strongly encouraged, and attendees will get best results if they have a basic familiarity with their camera. Reading material will be sent/recommended beforehand, and this will make a big difference in your results also. I am here to help you during the workshop, but some preparation and the right equipment go a long way. Email me if you have questions about it at

- We may be able to access interiors during the day. This will be an additional fee and will be based on park fees/attendee interest. 

  • Stay at: Bridgeport, CA

    Wednesday: Arrival day, group dinner and introduction

    Thursday, August 13: Optional visit to abandoned location in area, class on night photography, one on one photo instruction

    Friday, August 14: Optional visit to Yosemite National Park during the day and Mono Lake in evening/night. 

    Saturday, August 15: Informal visit to Bodie during the day, 6 hours of night photos after park closes

    Sunday, August 16: Optional visit to a local abandoned above ground mining operation, 6 hours of night photos after park closes


© 2016 by Matthew Christopher.

All rights reserved.