The 2013 Southwest Astrophotography Seminar

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, November 22, 2013

The Lagoon and Trifid nebulae. // Credit: Tony Hallas
Almost lost in the shuffle of the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo (ASAE), held in Tucson last weekend, was the first annual Southwest Astrophotography Seminar, which preceded ASAE and lasted for two days. I wasn’t able to attend the astrophoto seminar because my trip was already booked when this “prequel” to ASAE was announced. But Warren Keller, a good friend, astroimagers, autor, and the astrophoto seminar’s organizer, contributes a guest blog on the activities:

The 2013 Southwest Astrophotography Seminar
By Warren Keller

The inaugural SWAP 2013 Southwest Astrophotography Seminar was a hot ticket, with just under 90 attendees learning all aspects of astroimaging from some of its very best practitioners. I, in association with Alan Traino, organized and hosted the event, which was held at the Hotel Tucson City Center near the Tucson Convention Center, site of the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo.

Photography of the solar system was well covered by Robert Reeves, Stephen Ramsden, and Celestron’s Bryan Cogdell, who detailed lunar, solar, and planetary imaging, respectively.

Acquisition and image processing of the deep sky was expertly discussed by the University of Arizona SkyCenter’s Adam Block, covering CCDStack and Adobe Photoshop. I then represented and provided a look “Inside PixInsight,” and Don Goldman of AstroDon explained narrowband filters and how to process data acquired with them. Craig Stark of Stark Labs (Nebulosity/PHD Guiding) and QSI’s Kevin Nelson delved deeply into technical aspects of image acquisition and calibration, while DC-3 Dreams’ Bob Denny discussed the elements of remote imaging success.

More presentations delighted attendees. Adobe’s Alan Erickson shared his experience with commercial DSLRs for astrophotography, and seminar sponsor OPT Telescopes provided their imaging expert Chris Hendren, who offered invaluable advice on putting effective and affordable imaging systems together.  

In addition to these featured presenters, commercial presenters from Canon USA, FLI, StarlightXpress, Jack’s Astro/Mallincam USA, Astrofactors/QHY CCD, Apogee, Atik Cameras, Software Bisque, and Starizona gave substantive talks, well beyond mere commercials for their products.

In short, SWAP 2013 was an imaging conference of the first order, with 2014’s event already shaping up to be every bit as dynamic!

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