Steve and I are both back from the Southwest Astrophotography Seminar (SWAP) and the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo (ASAE), he to Golden, me to Florida. What a week! I went early and stayed at a rented house at the Arizona Sky Village near Portal Arizona to do some imaging under desert skies with the first production model of the Paramount MYT. This place was in the middle of nowhere, and the skies showed it. Inky black the second night (alas, clouds the first night), but the seeing was poor due to a front coming through (how else do you go from cloudy to clear?). I hope to return and give the location a second chance to redeem itself sometime in the future! Had I brought a wide field camera setup... well you know what they say about hind sight.
SWAP in Tucson was a great event. The first day we put on a "Comrade in Arms" round table discussion. Me, and a dozen or so (sometimes smaller) of our customers just sat around a table and talked about astrophotography together. Questions about the mounts, TheSkyX, or best practices were answered not just by me, but also by the other participants. It was a very positive and uplifting experience, and I took notes of some suggestions that were made. A couple of them have already started making their way into our internal builds of TheSkyX. I was honored the second day to be one of the main speakers at the event, and I had two presentations, one on equipment selection and one on DSLR astrophotography, both aimed at beginners. The talks were well received and I was practically swamped with questions afterwards. There were a lot of beginners at this conference, which means the hobby does indeed have a healthy influx of new people.
The star of the event was of course the new Paramount MYT. We had it on display at SWAP, and at ASAE we had all three Paramount models on display at our booth. Papa bear, Momma bear, and Baby bear as I called them. On Saturday, we were especially BUSY. I brought some software demos along, and we never got to them except shortly on Sunday due to all the conversations about the new mount. The Paramount MYT was the rock star. Surprising everyone like we did with the new model was definitely worth the work and secrecy leading up to the launch. The first production run is done, and we'll be shipping them out in volume in a couple of weeks. I know first hand we've sold several of them at the show through our dealers, and they could be in use by Thanksgiving. What's on your Christmas list?
Speaking of Christmas lists... OMG (as the kiddies say), there was so much bling on the floor. I love these events, it's like being a kid in a candy store... except I'm a very tall kid with a credit card ;-)
What's next? Well, we are less than two weeks away from the free Paramount Workshop at GMARS. Both days are full (well, there are still two spots left on Sunday) and we couldn't be more excited. Nearly 60 Paramount customers in one place for hands on training to get the most out of their investment. I don't know of any other vendor who's done such a thing, and we are hoping it's going to be a great success both for us and for our customers.
I'm also going to try to get our late and very pregnant iOS update out the door before then. There are some new imaging features and a planner coming to the iPad version, and both editions (iPhone as well) will be updated with support for the new Paramount MYT. In a future blog I think I'm going to talk about about the suitability of the MYT for visual use. There are a surprising number of people using our mounts for both visual/outreach type events, and also as an imaging platform. The MYT is ideal for this.
Meanwhile...back to work!
11-05-2014 7:30 AM