“May the stars whisper dreams into your heart and ignite your soul with the fire of possibility.”  – Unknown

Photography of the night sky and Milky Way Galaxy is an exciting use of your camera. I liken the capture of wonderful Starscapes to playing a four dimension board game. There needs to be an interesting foreground to place before the magnificent night sky. Multiple techniques are utilized to capture the elements which are then processed to make the final image.

Bob will help you improve your night photography whether you are just getting started or beginning to push the boundaries of the night sky landscape genre.

“The Milky Way swooped diagonally across the heavens, reminding me of my utter insignificance, and at the same time my complete interconnection with everything. I was just a tiny speck of consciousness, and yet I was consciousness itself.” ~ Roz Savage

Make sure you check the FAQ Page for more information and full details of the Milky way and Night Sky Workshop.

“Your “coach” is one of the best educators in imaging, Bob Coates. I won’t deny I’m a little prejudiced, having hung out with Bob for 20+ years. But the friendship we have came out of my respect for his style, knowledge, passion for the craft, and willingness to always help on any project. He’s an artist, educator, author, and a great friend to so many photographers in the industry.”

Skip Cohen – President Marketing Essentials International – skipcohenuniversity.com

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Milky Way & Night Sky Sedona Workshops

Bell rcok sedona arizona with star trails

Three days - Two nights learning about capturing the Milky Way & the Night Sky with the landscape as a feature.

$1,195.00 – Maximum of 4 students

Sedona is a dark-sky community. Add red rocks on the Coconino National Forest and the combination makes for some spectacular opportunities for making starscapes featuring the Galactic Core of the Milky Way or stunning star trail images.

The Milky Way and Night Sky Workshop starts with time in the classroom. Start time will vary between 11AM and 1PM depending on time of year.

You’ll meet your fellow adventurers and learn how to find where night sky features will appear allowing you to plan for a solid image. Tips and techniques for using your camera, including proper settings, will be covered. You’ll learn how to experiment for the best results.

After classroom lessons will be time working with the night sky. Class sizes are limited to four ensure your specific questions will be addressed.

The following day it’s back into the classroom to learn how to process your images using Adobe Photoshop and other specialty software. Please note that Blending images for a final look is a Photoshop intensive process. I suggest proficiency in Photoshop or at least be aware that you will be ‘learning what you need to learn’ in the future.

Ask questions and get answers to any issues that came up with your captures. Then back out under the carpet of stars for another chance to photograph the heavens.

Classes are scheduled for the best times to capture the Galactic Core of the Milky Way along with star trails.

* Be aware that we are always at the mercy of mother nature and the weather. Should clouds roll in there will be alternative photography situations such as sunrise and sunset landscapes with which to work.*


Before deciding to come on this adventure take stock of your health and fitness. Hiking with camera gear on the trails can be a challenge. Loose rocks, tree roots and potholes can trip you up. Hillsides can be steep with treacherous edges. Caution must be exercised at all times. Sedona is at 4000 feet so the air might be thinner than where you are from. Dry air in the high desert requires drinking more water to stay hydrated.

Hiking trails are moderate. If you are not in good health or have a medical condition that inhibits you please do not sign up for the class. If you have a question check in with me.

Below find the workshop schedule. Should you wish to have a custom class, shorter or longer, get in touch and I’m happy to explore other times and options.

Day One – Welcome to Sedona, Arizona.

Four hours of class time will be scheduled. Meet new friends, learn techniques and those all important camera settings. Lots of APPS to help in your Milky Way Night Sky quest will be shared. And, we’ll discuss best locations for making your photos.

Dinner on me while we get to know each other better! I’ve always found we all end up learning and sharing with each other in these workshops. Following dinner we’ll head out to the red rocks and put the days lessons to the test.

Pre sunset until – Time under the night sky is up to you. Note that making solid night sky imagery takes time. Planning your photograph. Hiking to your preferred foreground site. Making your captures and experimenting with differing techniques always takes longer than you think!

Day Two

Four to five hours – Lets take a look and review the previous night’s adventure! Learn Photoshop techniques and other software to get high quality night captures. Processing images in Photoshop and answering questions that came up from the previous night’s work.

Time on your own. You may wish to visit the red rocks in daylight to plan for that nights session. Sedona is also a nice shopping destination. Or you might want to take a nap.

Pre sunset until – Another night of photography.

Day Three

9AM to Noon – More image processing, review and answering final questions.

12:30PM to 1:30PM – Farewell lunch.

Safe travels home or enjoy some extra time in northern Arizona. There are lots of options to put your newly learned skills to the test. I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Workshop Dates

Book your workshop before making finalized travel plans! Dates may fill or be changed when retainers have not been received.


Closed Out

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2 seats available

Closed out

2 seats available


Seats for 2025 are available for the dates listed below. If you have a small group and are interested in booking other dates get in touch and we can discuss. [email protected].

4 seats available

4 seats available

4 seats available

4 seats available

4 seats available

4 seats available

milky way sedona workshopz

“Such an excellent workshop!  I’m so glad I attended the Milky Way Photography workshop with Bob.  He’s a veritable font of knowledge, full of “aha moments” and nuggets of wisdom that made me constantly slap my forehead and exclaim “How have I never thought of that before!?”  I’m so thrilled with the examples of work I got from the class and can’t wait to share them.  Plus, that Sedona landscape ain’t too shabby either! Highly recommend!”

-Stephanie Millner, M.Artist.M.Photog.CR., CPP – Workshop attendee October 2023  https://stephaniemillner.com https://emeraldcreativegroup.com

Having been a student in several of Bob’s classes, I have found him to be an incredibly engaging speaker who eagerly shares his knowledge. 

He has a sincere desire to help elevate others in their craft and patiently explains the “why” to each concept. Bob helps each student discover their own talents and guides them to apply practical solutions for improvements for their photography skills.

And, may I add…this world needs more people like Bob Coates!  ;)

Della Watters
, M.Photog.M.Wed.Photog.M.Artist.Cr.,CPP

President, Professional Photographers’ Association of PA

Individual Night Sky or Photoshop Processing Coaching by the hour or day

Personal Photography or Photoshop Processing Coaching can be scheduled in person or online. Topics are driven by you. Coaching will be targeted to your needs. If you have fellow photographers you can save some money by learning together. Make sure you are wanting the same general information.

Learn Milky Way, Star Trail and Nightscape photography techniques. Processing for time lapse, noise reduction and blends.

Individual 2 hours  $250 add a friend for $50 add two friends  for $100 additional

Individual 4 hours  $450 add a friend $50 add two friends $100

Individual 8 hours  $800 add a friend $100 add two friends $200

I would highly recommend Bob Coates as an instructor. He is extremely knowledgeable, patient, and well-organized. His class was incredible. I’m already planning when I can take another one!

After reading his excellent series of articles in the American Society of Photographers magazine, I was fortunate to be able to take Bob’s Astrophotography class in Sedona.

We had instruction in the afternoon to prepare us to capture the Milky Way. Equipment needs and what to bring were thoroughly covered before the class. Bob spent extra time scouting several good sites for students to capture great images with interesting foreground details. After a fun group dinner, we drove to designated sites and headed up the trail to get our cameras focused before dark. Bob made his way to each student to offer assistance during setup. Throughout the evening, we were able to capture many images as we sat under the majestic red-rock formations along the trail.

During class the next day we took our raw files and brought out the incredible color and details of the Milky Way using the processing techniques Bob taught us.

Anne-Marie Shumate, M. Photog. CPP – Past President Arizona Professional Photographers Association Photographer/Owner –  Lasting Images Photography

tent under milky way skies

I have known Bob Coates for many years and it seems almost every time we speak, I learn something new about photography. He is a born teacher, a true educator, who delights in helping others learn. Whether it’s the broad aspects of photography, cameras, and equipment, or the art of capturing and producing beautiful images, he has a great depth and breadth of knowledge willingly shared. Plus, he has a positive encouraging attitude and a wonderful sense of humor!

Sara Goodnick – Photo Guide Arizona Highways Photoscapes – Sara Goodnick Photography

“I’ve done plenty of low light and night photography: Light painting, fire performers, concerts, weddings, city-scapes, moon shots and twilight HDR work. But, I’ve never attempted to shoot the Milky Way, with its estimated 200–400 billion stars, its glorious halo of interest. Learning astro-photography techniques has long been on my bucket list.

As a Dark Sky Community, Sedona is one of the best places on Earth to witness the galactic core of the Milky Way. But who would guide me on a magical quest to capture the galaxy? How would I find a good astro-photography guide in Sedona? But, of course, the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) member directory! I was ecstatic when I found out Bob Coates lived there! I was already a Big Bob Fan (BBF) from his superlative Virginia Professional Photographers Association (VPPA) classes and International  judging. I was greatly impressed by his generous, passionate teaching style and deep technical knowledge. As a Master Photographer, coach, mentor, and judge, he’s helped thousands of photographers refine their craft.

We set up on a ridge top amid spiny yucca and sharp cacti. I fiddle with settings and ask lots of questions. Coates is encyclopedic but down to earth. His gear is much newer and better than mine, and he’s happy to talk about it. His enthusiasm is contagious. He’s a Micro 4/3rds Olympus shooter, and I’m lugging my well-worn Canon 6D with a 24–105mm. He’s funny and quirky too, with a wry, dry sense of humor while patiently explaining how to capture the cosmos. I realize how lucky I am to receive this gift of time and knowledge from a fellow photographer and friend of VPPA.”

Craig Shaffer – CPP, SP, FP, MFA Creative Writing, MA Creative Writing

milky way sedona workshopz

“Bob, Thank you for your patience with my questions and carefully walking through all the steps with me, both in the field and during the lectures.  Your replies to questions before, during, and after the workshop, were amazingly fast!  You remembered every detail as you shared additional information or showed us other photography related gear or software which came up in our class discussions. 

I truly appreciated the small class size. There was ample one-on-one time with you in the field at night, as we reviewed and put everything you taught us into practice.

Your sense of humor, and down to earth teaching style, made for a fun and relaxed learning experience, as well!”

Jennifer Jeung – Workshop attendee October 2023

“The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.”

 Ralph Waldo Emmerson

“I highly recommend Bob’s Milky Way Astrophotography workshop! I recently had the pleasure of attending his workshop. The classroom instruction was comprehensive, and the hands-on time in the field was invaluable. Thanks to Bob’s guidance and expertise, I left feeling confident in my ability to capture stunning Milky Way photos.”

Matt Chesin – Multimedia Producer – Vidoegrapher – Photographer – MattChesin.com