Another year, another PanoTools Meeting. I've been involved in their organisation since the first one in Berlin back in 2003, but this was the first time I was the main organiser.
It's work. A lot of work. Fantastically rewarding, though. Around 40 panoramic photographers turned up in Plymouth for a series of talks, show and tell sessions, excursions and - possibly the most important bit - meals where everyone can chat and socialise.
The meetings have grown over the years, but for me that last point is vital and a good reason to insist on it being a meeting rather than a conference. The first meeting was an excuse for people who only knew each other through the medium of a mailing list to meet face to face, the social side is, for me, the most important aspect. As a purely volunteer-run event we've always managed to keep it an informal non-commercial event with no fees, no big ‘fuss’, the speakers being the people who come along. That said, we do tend to have some low-level sponsorship - ICCI paid for the room rental, minibus rental and tea and biscuits, while Thomas Rauscher of Garden Gnome Software and Joost of PTGUI paid for the name badges, croissants and danishes.
There are limits to this approach, though. 40-50 people is about as big as it can get without a committee, a registration system etc. That's where bodies like the IVRPA come in, with the potential for larger, higher profile conferences.
You can find many of the photos taken during the meeting and the Thursday excursion on Flickr, but there is plenty more scattered around the web:
Assorted PanoTools videos on YouTube including my timelapse/stop-motion animations.
Looking forward to Vienna next year,