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Old 14-10-2010, 11:17 PM
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AstroJunk (Jonathan)
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Astrophotography at NACAA 2012

As many of you may know, the National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers is ( http://www.nacaa.org.au/ ) to Brisbane in 2012, and I am chair of the Programme committee responsible for putting together an action packed itinerary over the traditional two day Easter event.
For many years, amateur astronomy has been dominated by various armchair and scientific endeavours and I myself very much enjoy making scientific contributions to the professional pool. However, there has been an explosion of astrophotographers in recent years, all producing outstanding work.
So in 2012 I am hoping to introduce to NACAA for the first time, a dedicated Astrophotography stream consisting of morning lectures (3x 30min and 1x 60min?) followed by afternoon break-out lab sessions running over the two days. I recon that would give a good mix of theory and practical.
The thing is, I’m not an astrophotographer!
Before I lock in the format and appoint a section director to make it all happen, I would like to solicit your opinions.
What do you think about such an event, who/what would you like to see, would you like to present, would you come out to play, will it ever stop raining…
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Old 15-10-2010, 06:55 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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What do you think about such an event, who/what would you like to see, would you like to present, would you come out to play, will it ever stop raining…
If you are talking astrophotography, ask jase for some ideas, he has been to several of the USA based workshops and I'm sure would have some good ideas for you

I think the biggest challenge would be finding the level that would appeal, unless you are already an astrophotographer it would probably bore you to tears, so that will limit the audience.

For a short lecture series I imagine an astrophotographer would present a single image with a how it was produced, starting with stacking methodology, initial processing, deconvolution,layering, etc and pitfalls of varios techniques.



I'm not sure if the imaging itself would be of interest, as just about every imager knows how to align his mount, and about shooting as many subs as possible, the real detail is in the processing.

Would I come out to play.... Perhaps if it was in Melbourne

Rain stopping ..... Apperently not until next autumn as you are now locked in to the el nina event and they usually maintain for that period at least.
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Old 15-10-2010, 07:05 AM
Alchemy (Clive)
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I have showed my bias to deep sky...... There would no doubt be those interested in planetary imaging, bird immediately comes to mind, I suspect that processing is not quite so difficult with this , but thermal management, understanding weather patterns jet streams topographical terrain influences, might have a more practical application....... It's not really my field so I'm guessing to some degree.
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Old 15-10-2010, 12:28 PM
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AstroJunk (Jonathan)
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Thanks for the input Clive, I have to agree with a lot you say!

Bird talked at NACAA 2010 and it was really good. There are lots of great stories to be told, which is why the national conference is so interesting.
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Old 16-10-2010, 02:00 PM
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Sounds very interesting Jonathan. I've been playing astrophotography for a couple of years, and get the feeling that most people want to collect a picture of a faint fuzzy DSO at some stage. The sorts of things that would (and would have) tempted me out to this event in the past would have been:

Beginners - basically 2 things
1. How to track and get your camera on the scope
2. Basic processing

Intermediate - same 2 things but in much more detail (tends to turn into a software discussion, but hardware and focusing obviously essential too)

Advanced - so many possibilities and may not be appropriate for an initial conference offering - Jase could definitely comment.


I think a workshop on using Photoshop for Astrophotography would be hard to stay away from....
I'll certainly be watching out for further developments.
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Old 17-10-2010, 09:24 AM
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I think the sessions should be aimed at getting quality pictures, regardless of the subject mater, ie correct hardware setup, calibration images and image calibration. Post processing is an art and I dare say that most 'beginners' think that this is where they lack experience when in fact no amount of post processing will fix their images because chances are, their raw images are not up to scratch. (just reliving my experiences)

Cheers
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Old 17-10-2010, 07:12 PM
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AstroJunk (Jonathan)
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Luckily, SE Queensland has no end of great astrophotographers and the venue we are planning to use will have plenty of break-out rooms so that we can have a beginners and masterclasses running in parallel.

I have to agree that data acquisition by has to be the most important skill in astronomy - both scientific and photographic.

I had some great suggestions for talks over the weekend at our AAQ meet. One of the presenters we have arranged for a club talk is a top class (non astronomical) photographer who will be talking about image composition, and will be using astronomical photos from the members to demonstrate how they can be made more dramatic by better framing etc. If it proves a success, then I may include it at NACAA.

Thanks for your thoughts guys, much appreciated.

The way things are panning out, I'm going to have a painful time turning great talks away...
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