Blog post by Ian Cooper
Some comments on the recent Astrophotography weekend at Foxton Beach.
On the last weekend of November this year the Horowhenua Astronomical Society hosted a gathering of interested astrophotographers from all parts of the North Island, with the exception of the Far North and Ralf Bradley of Stoke near Nelson.
The idea was to cater for serious astrophotographers and a few who were showing signs of becoming just that, as well as some who had started the journey but had become stuck through a lack of good advice. Individuals were asked to bring some examples of their work in progress, and in many cases their equipment if possible.
With about thirty attendees it was possible to have people set up around the facility (the same venue as the highly successful StellarFest four months ago BTW) with their laptops running so that those who were up to it could gather around and see first-hand some particular aspect of the dark art of image acquisition/manipulation that goes towards making a great astrophoto these days.
With a group of very experienced operators who were more than willing to share their little secrets it was just a matter of how much one could absorb in a weekend. With a small series of relevant talks during the afternoons that gave great detail into the many aspects of imaging from the sun through to Deep-sky there was plenty for all to get them learning and inspired.
On the Friday night many people set up their mounts in the little courtyard between the main hall and the dining room. Having mostly polar aligned their mounts it promptly clouded out. On the Saturday things looked a lot better and many were able to get underway with imaging. All was going well until just before midnight when one rogue shower snuck up on us and everyone had to hall their kit back into the hall (luckily just a few metres away). Despite this brief bit of excitement enthusiasm wasn’t dampened, far from it.
The relaxed atmosphere and the fact that everyone was tuned to the same wavelength so to speak made for a memorable weekend that most attendees want to see repeated at some stage next year. By then we hope to see how people have been applying their new found knowledge with enthusiasm with samples on this forum.
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