I went to NEAIC (North East Astro Imaging Conference) and NEAF (North East Astronomy Forum) exhibition from April 15th to April 18th 2010. This turned out to be a very eventful trip and I ended up having to extend my stay due to the volcanic ash clouds from Iceland closing most of the air space over Europe for a number of days.
I had a number of offers to stay with people rather than pay extra for the hotel including an invite to stay at Richard Crisps ranch in California (Richard is well known as an expert on Narrow Band imaging and is widely acknowledged as the person who started the ball rolling for the amateur imager), I also had a kind offer to stay with some people from Cherry Springs (Mike and Dawn) that I met up with at the show so I thank them all very much for their hospitality. In the end I decided to stick it out in case a stand by seat became available so since I was stuck here I decided to try and put some pictures and a video (if it works!) on my site so that others can see what a large exhibition such as this had to offer.
I have to say that just about everyone I spoke to was very helpful, hospitable and in some cases downright hilarious (Jim from Finger Lakes Instruments definitely falls into this category). There was some very nice gear on display and there was plenty of space to move around (Astrofest organisers take note!)
The talks that I attended at NEAIC were very informative and the conference was split up into sections, one for aesthetic imagers such as myself, one for scientific and one for beginners so there was something for everyone and the handy thing was that the conference was held at the hotel where I was staying which made it easy to access. NEAF was about 3 or so miles away at a local college sports hall but getting a lift was no problem and there were plenty of offers from people staying at the same hotel as me, as mentioned earlier Mike and Dawn from Cherry Springs were very kind to give me a lift, in turn I was able to give Mike a few tips in equipment choice as he won the main prize draw of an Apogee 8300 camera and filter wheel so was just starting to get into imaging.
Anyway, on to the pictures and video, please excuse the quality as all the pictures and video were taken on my mobile phone. The first pictures were taken from the balcony overlooking the sports hall to give an idea of the sheer size of the place.
The following is a panoramic video clip that covers the whole hall
For those of you with aperture fever how about this from Orion?
And if one isn't enough how about these two AP reflectors on an "El Capitan"
For those interested in a bit of carpentry there was this carved offering
The latest offerings from Planewave including their new mount, perfect for observatories
A portable Paramount? Yes! The forthcoming Paramount MX
And an upgrade for my Takahashi BRC-250?
And finally NEAF wouldn't be quite the same without Craig Weatherwax from OPT getting dressed up, I missed his Liberace get up but I did catch the "Caped Crusader"
Well this is just a small selection of some of the sights from NEAF and I am sure that other forums will have their own selection. I hope to go back again at some point but I don't think it will be for the next couple of years or so.