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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Local photographer teams with REI to share night photography tips

Anthony Ruggiero
Sean Parker explains how to plan a night photography shoot in the Intro to Night photography class at REI on April 14.

Award-winning professional photographer Sean Parker gave his second free presentation about landscape astrophotography at REI earlier this month. The photographer provided pro tips for getting the best photographs at night.  

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is a consumers’ co-operative that sells outdoor recreational equipment, and organizes classes and events that are geared towards living outdoors. Parker’s “Introduction to Night Photography” is one of many outreach classes that the REI company offers for the Tucson community.

Niall Murphy, the outdoor programs and outreach manager at REI, spoke with the Daily Wildcat about the origins of this class.

“Sean and I have been friends for a couple of years and I’ve followed his work for a long time,” Murphy said. “I threw the idea his way, letting him know that we have classes that reach about 5,000 people annually here in Tucson.”

Through the REI classes, Parker enjoys giving back to the community by offering some of his expertise for free. He saw this as an opportunity to provide insight and answer questions for people who are new to the world of photography, as well as to showcase his best work.

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One of the participants in Parker’s class, Hollie Mansfield, said Parker gave her a lot of useful information such as the best times to shoot at night, different websites that are helpful for figuring out the moon phases, constellations and when the Milky Way is visible.

“He talked about different techniques for shooting at night, whether you’re doing star trails, moon shots or night scenes,” Mansfield said. “I’ve wanted to do some of this, but it’s really hard to shoot at night if you don’t have the right equipment or know the right settings. This was very helpful.”

At REI, the free outreach classes and programs are a necessity in order to provide consumers with more than just a regular retail experience.

“We are able to give REI members, customers, and people in the community an opportunity to have an experience,” Murphy said. “We want people to come to REI to learn a skill and go and apply it.”

Before his successful business, Parker was a local computer technician who discovered a love for photography. Through consistently posting high-quality photographs on Instagram, he gained a huge following online.

“After I started publishing my work, I started getting tons and tons of questions,” Parker said. “So, I figured I could turn this into business and teach people.”

Since making a change in his career path, Parker’s passion for landscape astrophotography has taken him all over the world. He has traveled to numerous national parks in the United States as well as Iceland, Australia, Italy and many other countries.

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Parker always feels drawn to the desert landscape of the Southwest, but his favorite place to photograph is in Iceland, where he often visits to teach workshops.

“It’s a photographer’s paradise,” he said. “Everywhere you look, there’s beauty.”

In the future, Parker hopes to work on documentary films that showcase the beauty of Earth, as well as explore opportunities in Hollywood film. Although he is known for his photography, Parker said he has always had an interest in cinematography.

For more information about Sean Parker’s photography and workshops, visit

For more information about REI and their upcoming outreach classes, visit

Follow Kathleen Kunz on Twitter

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