I just returned from the Midwest Astro-Imaging Conference and Mac Astronomy Workshop (MWAIC) held in Hoffman Estates, IL (near Chicago). What a great conference! I'll tell you all about it, but first I'd like to draw your attention to two up-coming astro-imaging events.
The first event is a PixInsight Workshop by Vicent Peris at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago from September 10-12, 2010. PixInsight is an advanced image processing program designed specifically for astrophotography and "other technical imaging fields". Vicent Peris is an astrophotographer at the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Valencia in Spain and he's also a principal member of the PixInsight Development Team. If you are unfamiliar with this product I would highly recommend that you visit the PixInsight web site and learn more. I will have additional blog posts about PixInsight in the future.
The second up-coming astro-imaging event is the Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC) in Santa Clara, CA from October 22-24. The AIC 2010 is expected to draw together 250 imagers along with approximately 20 speakers and over 30 exhibitors from around the world. Friday, October 22 will be devoted to a series of workshops and Saturday and Sunday will feature general sessions on a wide variety of imaging topics. I have many friends who have attended the AIC in the past and every one of them has had nothing but positive comments.
Now, back to the Midwest Astro-Imaging Conference (MWAIC). This was my first conference devoted to astro photography and I was very impressed. Al Degutis, Editor-in-Chief of AstroPhoto Insight Magazine, and a very dedicated group of volunteers did an outstanding job organizing this event. I never did hear an "official" count on the number of attendees but I would estimate that approximately 75 people were there. I thought the small size was good. I made a lot of friends and had some really interesting conversations with imagers from all over the U.S. The networking opportunities were one of my favorite things about this conference.
Adam Block from the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter conducted a Pre-Conference Workshop titled "Making Every Pixel Count" on Thursday, July 22, 2010. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Pre-Conference Workshop due to other commitments but I talked to several participants and they were all very enthusiastic about Adam's workshop. The next two days were filled with hour-long presentations by a wide-range of very knowledgeable presenters. Sessions included:
- PixInsight – Sander Pool (www.tungstentech.com)
- CCDStack V2 – Neil Fleming (www.flemingastrophotography.com)
- Equinox – Darryl Robertson (www.microprojects.ca)
- Nebulosity – Craig Stark (www.stark-labs.com)
- AstroPlanner – Paul Rodman (www.ilangainc.com/astroplanner/)
- Digital Color Management – Paul Gruener (www.paulg.zenfolio.com)
- ImagesPlus – Mike Unsold (www.mlunsold.com)
- Top 10 Ways to Guide – Bob Piatek (www.fishcamp.com)
- Mount Wilson Observatory (Keynote) – Dave Jurasevich (www.starimager.com)
- Planetary Imaging – Alan Friedman (www.avertedimagination.com)
- Measuring Noise – Kevin Nelson (www.QSImaging.com)
- TheSkyX Professional – Richard Wright (www.bisque.com)
- 6 Filter Imaging & Going Deep for Science – Ken Crawford (www.imagingdeepsky.com)
- Advanced Photoshop – Adam Block (www.caelumobservatory.com)
I know it sounds a little unbelievable, but every one of the sessions was well done. How often can you say that at a conference?
MWAIC 2010 also had a small but interesting group of vendors that included: Adobe Systems, ATIK USA, Canon USA, DC-3 Dreams, Fishcamp Engineering, ImagesPlus, Mt Lemmon SkyCenter, Optec Inc., Quantum Scientific Imaging (QSI), Starlight Xpress and Telescope Support Systems.
If you're interested in astro-imaging and you'd like to attend a conference where you can learn a lot and make many new friends you should definitely consider MWAIC in 2011.