Well, I'm back home in Lake Mary Florida, only four degrees on the globe further
north, but what a difference in the weather and environment that makes!
This year's Winter Star Party was, without question, our biggest and most ambitious
undertaking as a vendor. We partnered with Officina Stellare (Gino and Giovanni
were both there) and had three Paramounts on the field along with three OS
telescopes. My own small Veloce RH-200, but also a preproduction RH-250 and
"Godzilla Scope", which was a 500mm corrected RC. Steve Bisque also came for
half the week and we met and spoke with a lot of customers and curious
The weather was "okay". We got a start on Saturday before the star party proper
with vendor setup, but really finished on Sunday, which was scorching hot. You
could easily imagine things smoking when they moved from shade into sunlight! The nights were cool and comfortable, but the clouds were capricious. You really
had to be on guard and watch for those short periods of clear skies, and be
willing to slew around and change targets when, for example, the north was clear,
but the south was washed out. Four out of eight nights I was able to image
"somewhere" with only a few block out periods and was there until dawn with my
friends from Italy. We had at our disposal the world's best mounts, the best software, and the best optics...sleep was not an option!
This year I had three entries in the annual Winter Star Party astrophotography contest. I really had high
hopes for my entry in the wide field category, which I won last year, but lost
to a friend of mine who had an excellent shot of Orion next to some palm trees.
My two Deep Space entries however did well, and my Whale and Hockey stick image
took first place! Woot! All done with our software of course, and done on my
Mac. The only non-Bisque software in my workflow was PixInsight and Photoshop to make the
"pretty pictures" out of the data.
The Winter Star Party is definitely my favorite event of the year. Since I
started coming as a vendor, it's turned from vacation into twenty hour work days...
but punctuated with great food and conversation. It's a good trade ;-)
Speaking of manic days, next month is NEAF. See you there!
03-04-2014 9:07 AM