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Subscribe AIC Volume 5, number 5
Quick links:
  • AIC Video
  • Agenda
  • Speakers
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  • Image Gallery Submissions

  • 2012 Archive:
    Late Summer 2012
    Early Summer 2012
    Spring 2012
    Winter 2012

    In this issue:
  • Free Tutorial Offer more...
  • Canton returns with brilliant exhibits more...
  • AIC board member picked by TIME magazine more...
  • Last chance to upload your best pictures for the AIC Gallery more...
  • Unlock your potential more...
  • Saturday tour explores Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carmel more...
  • Discover What's Remotely Possible more...

  • 2012 Agenda shimmers with astrophotographic celebrities more...
  • 23 Exhibitors Line Up for AIC 2012 more...
  • Pre-register and save $30 off the Door price more...
  • Special meal package offered for local attendees more...
  • 2011 AIC Image Gallery now on-line more...
  • 2011 Presentation downloads now available to all more...
  • The AIC Board of Directors
    Ken Crawford
    R. Jay GaBany
    Frank Barnes III
    Keith Allred
    Bob Fera
    AIC 2012 Sponsors

    Pre-Register Now and Save $30 off the Price at the Door

    AIC 2012 Registration Now Includes Exclusive Video Tutorials

    Astrophotography has come a long way over the past decade. Just 10 years ago, adopting this hobby was a test of determination, patience and stamina because it was, essentially, a self-taught endeavor. As recently as the turn of the millennium, enthusiasts had few options for learning the challenging techniques that must be mastered to create deep space images. Of course, some help could be gleaned through on-line forums, but most folks remained silent about their hard-won methods- a few may have seemed secretive but most were simply too unsure about what they were doing and, therefore, reluctant to share.

    Today, some of the world's most accomplished producers of deep space images now offer DVD tutorials containing their valuable expertise and advice. Like having them sit at your computer, their video recordings can save hundreds of hours otherwise wasted on processing by trial and error.

    This year, AIC is proud to announce your registration for the 2012 conference will include a free set of on-line tutorials by Ken Crawford, one of the world's foremost astrophotographers. This complete 8 Chapter set features an in-depth exploration of Photoshop masks and HDR processing plus background and star enhancement techniques that will bring out the best in your pictures.

    You could pay over a hundred dollars for this valuable advice- but, it's not for sale anywhere, at any price! This incredible offer will only be available, absolutely free, when you attend AIC 2012. Click here for a short sample.

    Caton's Exhibits Will Brighten This Year's Technology Showcase

    Bob Caton relishes astronomy and, like many of us, he eagerly shares his enthusiasm with anyone who will listen. So, perhaps that's why he's regarded the Advanced Imaging Conference as one of the best venues to find a receptive audience. AIC attendees should consider themselves very fortunate. For example, last year Bob again brought an amazing 3D presentation booth and a humongous lightbox that was an immediate conference sensation.
    Bob Caton's 2011 Lightbox display
    (Photo courtesy Ray Gralack)

    This year, his 3D booth will be expanded to 10 X 20 feet, so people can stand inside without the glare from overhead lights. A row of 2 X 3 foot back-lit deep space images will also be on display. Joel Hagen, a member of the Mars Imaging Team who spoke at AIC 2011, will premier several new 3D photographs you won't see anywhere else but AIC!

    Bob Caton with the 2012 AIC lightbox truss
    (Photo courtesy Bob Caton)
    For our 2012 gathering, Bob has constructed a gigantic 12 X 16-foot wide truss to hold a new 10 X 10 seamless backlit mosaic commissioned especially for this year's AIC!

    Finally, Bob's boundless generosity will be evident when attendees first enter the conference venue in the form of a 8 X 5 foot welcoming lightbox.

    The AIC Board of Directors is extremely appreciative of Bob's efforts and encourages other attendees to present a unique, non-commercial exhibit at this year's meeting. For more information, please contact the AIC web site administrator at:

    TIME Editors Cite AIC Board Member

    TIME magazine has been covering space and astronomy since their March 10, 1923 issue when they reported on a just-relased movie about time and relativity that was being exhibited at theaters across the country. That film explained how stellar light rays are bent by our Sun's gravity. Since then TIME has remained on top of the most significant developments in humankind's understanding of the Universe and our exploration of space nearby our home planet.

    Each year, TIME releases a series of special editions and among them is an issue covering space and astronomy. This year's issue is titled New Space Discoveries. It's now available most places magazines are sold until the middle of December 2012.

    Between its pages are articles about the hunt for exo-planets, the future of NASA, the largest telescopes in the world and an overview of cosmic mysteries. Also included is a compilation of the 25 most influential people in space as selected by TIME's editors. The list includes science and exploration space luminaries such as Dr. Geoff Marcy (who will be speaking at AIC 2012), Brian Greene, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Steve Sqyyres, Andrea Ghez, Alan Guth and an amateur astrophotographer who is also a member of the AIC Board of Directors- R. Jay GaBany.

    According to the article, "Gigantic observatories and orbiting space telescopes don't own astronomy. Not entirely. Smaller can be sometimes better, as astrophotographer R. Jay GaBany has proven. With a half-meter telescope...GaBany patiently produces unmatched images of stellar streams."

    Please join the AIC Board of Directors in congratulating Jay on his inclusion in the TIME list! This is not only an achievement for Jay, but a great win for the astrophotography community as a whole!

    Last Chance to Light up AIC with your Best Images!
    Deadline extended to October 12

    This is your last opportunity to let your light shine throughout the conference by sending us your best images for the AIC Image Gallery. Displayed throughout the conference during breaks, lunches and the Saturday night dinner, by the end of the meeting your work will have been seen over a dozen times by other meeting attendees- and they will become part of the AIC permanent collection on the AIC web site following the conference.

    This is not a contest, there will be no judges and no one will receive a blue ribbon. Instead, this is a celebration of our hobby and, as a result, everyone is guaranteed to be a winner! So, here's an opportunity for you to shine a spot light on your astrophotography talent! In fact, your most difficult challenge may be deciding which images to feature!

    We can accept up to three images from each attendee. All images must be submitted by Friday, October 12.

    To enter, follow our simple guidelines then upload your pictures to our server. It's fast and easy!

    Click here! to get started.

    Tony Hallas Will Help You Explore Your Potential

    Galaxy Rising
    by Tony Hallas
    If you set aside pride of authorship, the creation of astrophotographs is less about capturing the far reaches of space and more about the exploration of untapped capacities existing within yourself. Because of its steep learning curve, the production of astro-images quickly separates those with simple enthusiasm from those with a deep fascination of their own capabilities.

    When pressed for candor, many of the hobby's leaders admit they are still improving their skills. This reluctance to accept the status-quo is also evident when you review the work of Tony Hallas, the AIC Hubble Recipient for 2009. Tony has been taking deep space images for over two decades and his pictures still display the freshness of someone embarked on a personal voyage of self discovery. He remains a figure in the community who is constantly pushing himself to exceed.

    This year, Tony will conduct two identical workshops featuring advanced processing techniques and recommendations about how to compose highly memorable imagery including composite pictures like his beautiful Galaxy Rising, pictured right.

    Plan to attend!

    Experience the Wonder of Monterey Bay, the Enchantment of Carmel

    While you're settling into the weekend general sessions, let your wife, family members or traveling companion take a trip they will long remember by joining our special, all inclusive Saturday tour to breath-taking Monterey Bay, the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and timeless Carmel.

    After spending the morning experiencing this magical, living museum of oceans behind glass, our guests will enjoy a delicious luncheon overlooking the bay at one of Monterey's finest restaurants, The Fish Hopper, on Cannery Row.

    Following a delightful lunch, there's a short, scenic drive over to
    Carmel, where celebrities blend in like chameleons, movie stars spend romantic weekends, writers hang out at local bars and dignitaries make reservations for dinner. Perhaps you'll see Clint Eastwood behind the wheel of his black pick-up truck or Doris Day petting someone's pooch at her dog-friendly hotel, the Cyprus Inn. Regardless, you'll have a couple of unhurried hours to explore or shop before returning to San Jose.

    Our private, chartered motor coach departs the conference hotel at 9:15AM Saturday morning and includes tickets to the Monterey Aquarium, lunch at The Fish Hopper restaurant and snacks. Our guests will return by 5:00PM Saturday afternoon in time to join you for the AIC Saturday evening Banquet dinner.

    Tour participation also includes all AIC conference meals- a $275 value for only $85 per person. Reservations are strictly limited to the first 25 tourists.

    Make your reservation now!

    Live Demonstration Closes the Gap on Remote Imaging

    On Saturday night, following the annual banquet, conference attendees have the option of joining a special remote imaging demonstration through the 32-inch Schulman telescope, located atop Mount Lemmon, Arizona, hosted by Adam Block, this year's Hubble Award recipient.

    According to the past four AIC post conference surveys, remote imaging represents about 20% of the high-end hobby. This fascinating method of accumulating data experienced explosive growth during the second half of the last decade and has spawned a new industry of hosting facilities scattered around the globe.

    There are several ways enthusiasts can participate, some more affordable than others. These options include outright ownership of a remote observatory; renting instrument space at a hosted facility and hourly rental of remote setups. Generally, a common web browser or remote desktop software and access to the Internet is all that's needed to operate a distant observatory. Adam's discussion will focus on hourly rental situations and include a review of the benefits and challenges astrophotographers face from a practical perspective.

    Assuming the weather over Mount Lemmon cooperates, the demonstration will include live image acquisition of targets, based on attendee suggestions, from the deep, dark skies above this famous mountain top observatory. Hands on participation by a few members of the audience will also be highlighted.

    The demonstration will take place in the main conference venue where the weekend sessions occur, beginning around 7:30PM.

    AIC 2012 Luminaries Will Engage and Enlighten

    AIC is famous for serving up the hobby's top exponents and the 2012 gathering will be no exception! Here's the 18 best reasons not to miss this year's confab:
      Workshops by:

      • Eric Blackhurst, General Manager of Oceanside Photo & Telescope will conduct a workshop that compares the pros and cons of the leading mount designs and help you select the best mount for your telescope;

      • Steve Brady, the co-creator of FocusMax, one of the most commonly used software applications used each night by astrophotographers around the world, will speak on how to obtain optimum focus using his software;

      • Ken Crawford, one of the world's accomplished astrophotographers, will lead a workshop that demonstrates how masks can shorten your processing effort and improve your final results; and

      • Bob Fera, pioneering astrophotographer and AIC board member, will facilitate a processing workshop for beginning and intermediate astrophotographers.

      • Tony Hallas, world renowned astrophotographer, columnist and AIC 2009 Hubble Award recipient, will explore advanced image processing techniques with an artistic eye;

      • Tim Puckett, the 2011 AAS Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award Recipient will host a workshop on how you can participate in citizen science based on the insights he's learned and the techniques he's employed in his successful on-going supernova survey;

      • Ron Wodaski, teacher, author, astrophotographer, Director of the Tzec Maun Foundation and recipient of the AIC 2011 Hubble Award, will delve into advanced image processing techniques using PixInsight;

      Weekend General Session presentations by:

      • Adam Block will receive the 2012 Hubble Award for excellence in supporting astrophotography and present this year's Hubble Lecture;

      • David Eicher, Civil War historian, author, blogger, astronomy popularizer and Editor of Astronomy magazine, will offer insight on the past and future of amateur astronomy and astrophotography;

      • Alan Erickson, Senior Computer Scientist with Adobe, will talk about simple techniques you can use to clean up blemishes in your images like satellite trails, bad columns and other nasties that would otherwise ruin your picture.

      • Tom Field, the developer of the RSpec Real-time Spectroscopy software, will discuss the use of affordable spectroscopes and how they can expand amateur contributions to science;

      • Dr. Don Goldman, well known astrophotographer, lecturer and mastermind of Astrodon filters, will discuss the popularity of planetary nebulae and how to capture them photographically;

      • Sal Grasso, of the hobby newest stars, will share processing methods that have helped to illuminate many of his great images;

      • Bernhard Hubl, one of Europe's most popular astrophotographers and co-organizer of CEDIC, will examine the differences between long and short focal length imaging, overcoming their challenges and taking advantage of either;

      • Dr. Geoff Marcy, the world famous exo-planet hunter, will share about his personal journey to find planets around other stars and understand the chances for habitable planets similar to Earth;

      • Dr. Travis Rector, Professor of Astronomy & Physics at the University of Alaska and world famous astronomical image processor, will share techniques to produce aesthetic, presentation quality and scientifically valuable astrophotographic images;

      • John Smith, President of CCDWare software, will reveal techniques he uses as one of the hobby's most sought after telescope installation, alignment and optimization consultant;

      • Alistair Symon, astrophotographer and cosmic muralist, will explain how to create compelling panoramic mosaics with wide field images and

    23 Exhibitors Confirmed

    Unlike other big name national and regional astronomy events, the Advanced Imaging Conference is built around the sharing of information, ideas and techniques about astrophotography.

    However, the cost of organizing, promoting, up-front funding and managing the annual get-together is greater than the attendee registration fees can support. So the AIC also features a Product Showcase packed with the world's leading manufacturers, retailers and service providers. Their fees help offset costs and make each AIC possible.

    This year will be no exception. 23 Sponsors and Vendors will be exhibiting at AIC 2012.

    In past years, many have offered exclusive discounts to AIC conferees during the meeting- hopefully, many will do the same this year, too. The AIC encourages you to patronize these fine establishments, especially in between sessions. This year, the Product Showcase will be open during the Friday afternoon workshops for those who want to shop.

    Here' a list of AIC 2012 exhibitors:
    Founding Sponsors
  • SBIG
  • Software Bisque

  • Editorial Sponsors
  • Sky & Telescope
  • Astronomy Magazine

  • Sponsors
  • Apogee Imaging Systems
  • Astro-Physics
  • Celestron
  • DC-3 Dreams
  • Officina Stellare
  • Oceanside Photo and Telescope
  • Planewave Instruments
  • Woodland Hills Camera and Telescopes
  • Vendors
  • Astrodon
  • AstroHaven
  • Atik Cameras
  • Canon
  • CCDWare
  • Chroma Technology Corp
  • Fishcamp Engineering
  • Mount Lemmon Sky Center
  • Quantum Scientific Imaging, Inc.
  • Sierra Remote Observatories
  • Starlight Xpress, Ltd.

  • Pre-register Now and Save $30 off the Price at the Door

    Register now and make your hotel reservation for the 2012 Advanced Imaging Conference, Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28! This year's meeting will convene at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara- the same hotel where the 2011 gathering took place.

    But hurry, discounted rooms are almost gone and the price of registration will be $30 more at the door!

    Friday will be dedicated to workshops brimming with expert instructional advice covering image processing, data acquisition and the use of popular processing software applications. It's a treasury of information you'll find no where else on Earth!

    The Saturday and Sunday sessions also promise an exciting constellation of Astro-imaging's brightest stars and, throughout the long weekend, AIC 2012 will showcase the latest technology from our community's leading vendors, manufacturers and service providers.

    All meals will be included in the conference fee:
    • continental breakfast on Friday;
    • full breakfast Saturday and Sunday morning and
    • both lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday.
    Transportation between the San Jose International Airport and conference hotel will be provided free of charge and you'll be able to download each of the meeting presentations following the meeting.

    But, don't come alone! Bring your spouse, companion or your entire family and, for a small additional per person fee, they can tour the Bay area all day Saturday while you're at the meeting plus they can join you at every conference meal.

    Remember, there are other great gatherings where you can shop for better equipment but only the Advanced Imaging Conference equips you to create better images!

    Plan to be there!

    AIC 2012 Introduces Local Bay Area Admission Package

    Many AIC attendees live within the Bay Area and drive each day to the conference. Because our registration fees are all inclusive, this has resulted in some local attendees paying for meals they do not take. So, this year, the Advanced Imaging Conference is offering local residents a special conference rate that excludes breakfasts and dinners.

    This special Local Area Resident Package includes admittance all workshops and the weekend general sessions, admittance to the Technology Showcase, the souvenir program guide, plus Friday and Saturday lunch for a reduced rate of only $299.00 per person.

    Admission to the Friday dinner and Saturday's banquet may be purchased together on-site during the conference for an additional fee of $100.00.

    Look for this special local rate when you register. All prices are subject to change without notice.

    The 2011 AIC Image Gallery Now Online

    The 2011 meeting offered attendees an opportunity to submit images for display during conference breaks, lunch and the Saturday night dinner. Again this year, the response was overwhelming to this invitation- we received dozens of beautiful pictures representing the current state of the art.

    To preserve this great gathering of talent, the AIC has posted the third annual on-line gallery of astrophotographic images. Each picture is displayed in a random sequence. A control is provided to navigate through the list. Click on any image to open a viewer that will display the full image with high quality. Here's the link:

    2011 AIC Gallery

    2011 Presentation Downloads Now Available to Everyone

    The complete set of 2011 conference presentations is now available without the need to submit a username or password.

    All previous year's presentations remain unrestricted for download and study. Following is a list of links to each of the AIC's presentation archives.

    2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011

    This newsletter and its contents are copyright 2012 Advanced Imaging Conference.

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