Howdy!

A couple of weeks ago I went to San Diego, California, to attend the physics conference SPIE Optics + Photonics 2014. I made the most of my visit to the USA by also visiting research laboratories at Stanford, UC Berkeley and USC, as well as going to a photography conference (Photoshop World in Las Vegas) and on a road trip to Arizona. All this in just 3 weeks! I definitely had a jam packed trip 🙂

Today I want to tell you about my experiences at both conferences.

Conference badges for Photoshop World on left and SPIE Optics and Photonics on right.

Conference badges for Photoshop World on left and SPIE Optics and Photonics on right.

A physics conference is where fellow researchers come together to share their latest work in cutting ege research. Talks are usually 15-20 minutes long and there are several sessions running in parallel. This means that over a 5 day conference there will be A LOT of different speakers. The majority of the people at the conference will be there not only to listen to other researchers but to present their own work too, wether in presentation or poster form. Everybody learns from each other at the physics conference and both super-duper-important-mega-well-known professors and unknown PhD students (like me hehe) get to present their work.

I gave a 20 minute talk at SPIE Optics and Photonics and it was an amazing experience!! Everyone in the room was listening to my work and I got plenty of questions/ suggestions from fellow researchers in the audience… Let me say this again… Super-duper-important-mega-well-known professors were asking me, a simple PhD student, questions about my work!! It definitely made me feel that all the hours spent in the lab taking measurements and in front of the computer analyzing data are actually paying off, I am contributing to the scientific comunity 🙂

As well as learning about other scientist’s latest research, a physics conference is a great place to network. I met some really nice fellow PhD students who are researching in a similar field to mine, we had a great time exploring San Diego together. And there was also an exhibition at the conference, where many many manufacturers and companies related to optics instrumentation and research were showing off their products.

Taking notes at a SPIE talk.

Taking notes at a SPIE talk.

At Photoshop World in Vegas the spirit is a little different. This conference is more about learning photography and postprocessing techniques from the pros. The day was structured in 1 hour long classes. There were several rooms and they each taught different topics, ranging all the way from wedding photography, lighting… to photoshop and lightroom. I learnt a lot of techniques that will improve and speed up my lightroom workflow, leaving me with more time to play around with my photographs and photobooks. There was also a huge exhibition with lots of photography vendors, ranging from software plugins, to printing services as well as camera bodies, lenses and accesories. My favourite was the Canon Professional Services (CPS) I must say. They cleaned my Canon 500D’s sensor for free and printed many of my photos (like this one just below) in large format with gorgeous paper also for free!! 🙂

The Road to Monument Valley, Utah.

The Road to Monument Valley, Utah.

However, my favourite part of Photoshop World was getting to hang out and meet in person friends I’d met through Google+, how amazing is that!? 🙂 I spent some amazing girl time with Pam Boling and Laurie Novak (my partners in crime for brekky margaritas hehehe). It was also great to finally meet John Getchel, who loves physics like me (hi John, I know you will be reading this hehe, thanks for following my posts!). As always, it was great to be able to catch up with Michael Bonocore and Tessa Kit Zawadzki. And meeting new friends like Giselle Coindreau, Armando Pérez-Carreño and Sandy Foster.

Pam also took Giselle, Armando and me to the Valley of Fire, where I got this awesome shot below, and Pam caught me in the action, which you can see here!! hehehehe I loooove road shots 🙂

Valley of Fire, Nevada

Valley of Fire, Nevada

If you would like to see more of my photos from California or my road trip to Arizona, check out my photography website and feel free to purchase your favourites in print! 🙂

This is all for today, thank you for reading and stay tuned for more physics coming soon!!

xx Ana 🙂