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Q&A with Night Skies Photographer David Akoubian


Have you ever wanted to learn how to photograph the night sky? Here are tips from a pro on why to venture out with your camera in America’s national parks.

David Akoubian is from North Georgia and has been a professional nature photographer for over 22 years. He fell in love with Tamron lenses when he was just starting out, and since then has become a Tamron image master teaching classes and workshops. He’s always had a passion for night skies and was a natural choice to lead the Night Skies Photography Workshops in Rocky Mountain National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park with National Park Trips in 2016.

Photographer David Akoubian
Photographer David Akoubian Photo: David Akoubian

Q: How has night photography changed over time?

A: In the days of film you couldn’t [photograph night skies]. Film didn’t have the ability to capture all the beauty of the skies and stuff. Over the last couple of years digital photography has opened up a completely different opportunity to shoot the night skies, particularly the Milky Way, and capture it with detail. Really, during the past two or three years I’ve gotten to go to some really great places to photograph, and it gave me something else to shoot as well. Digital sensors capture so much more light whereas film could never do that. It’s just a different avenue for me to photograph nature.

Q: What can photographers expect from their Night Skies Photography Workshop Experience?

A: We try to get people ready to go into the field before we ever step out. The biggest thing we saw this year was the majority of the people who went out with us had never experienced seeing the Milky Way so vividly with the naked eye. Getting out into the national parks allowed them to get away from light pollution and everything else. The national parks are so much more than elk and bears. There’s a whole different world out there at night and I think this exposed a lot of people to that and encouraged them to get out and do it again.

Q: What’s your advice to people interested in photographing in nature, especially in the national parks?

A: The national parks offer so much to the people. Too many times we go in and we photograph sunrise, we photograph sunset and that’s it. There’s so much more to it than that if you’re willing to spend the time and the effort. It opens up, not only a different aspect of what our country has to offer in our national parks, but what photography has to offer as well. Anything I can do to encourage people to get outdoors is my goal in life because I live in the middle of the mountains. I see this every night. I encourage people to get out there and explore. Don’t always do it during the day. Do it at night. And definitely take advantage of the workshops when they’re offered because you’ve got someone who’s literally going to hold your hand when you go out there and set your camera up for you and make sure that when you walk away you have an understanding of what you did and how to do it again.

See David’s work at his website:

Want to learn more about photographing starry night skies, the Milky Way, sunsets and sunrises? Get full access to our Night Sky Photography online course plus other in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses when you sign up for Outside+.