Astrophotography for the Amateur
This is the second edition of Michael Covington’s Astrophotography for the amateur book. It is nice to find a book solely on astrophotography, as that’s what interests me most, I always like to come in from the cold with some images or video to work on.
Although the title of the book is astrophotography for the amateur, I did find this book to be quite in depth and it does include non-beginner topics such as exposure tables, and lots of mathematical equations. The book does not include many colour images, only in a section in the centre of the book.
Astrophotography for the amateur is broken down into four main sections; simple techniques, advanced techniques, photographic technology and digital imaging.
The first section takes you through photographing stars without a telescope, and how to shoot eclipses, the moon, comets and meteors.
The second section on advanced techniques takes you through performing prime focus photography, which is where you connect the camera directly to the telescope. This section also discusses dealing with tracking, vibration, unsteady air, dew and more. This section finishes off detailing piggy backing your camera on your telescope, building and using a barn door tracker, using lenses, dealing with light pollution and how to get the best polar alignment.
The third section entitled photographic technology covers using traditional SLR cameras, there is no mention of digital cameras in this section. This section does include everything you wanted to know about SLR cameras though, such as about film, various cameras and developing and processing your shots.
The final section is all about digital imaging, including file compression, how to manipulate colour, combining images, printing, smoothing, sharpening, working with histograms and all about CCD imaging. The CCD section talks about how CCD works, aiming and focusing, exposures and focal lengths and more.
Astrophotography for the amateur also includes six appendices, such as exposure tables, plans for an electronic drive corrector and about photographic filters as well as an appendix on mathematical analysis of polar-axis misalignment.
So as you can tell there is a lot of content in this book, and it covers lots of areas of astrophotography and it packs in a lot of information. Overall a very good book on astrophotography, just a shame that DSLR cameras were not covered in any detail, perhaps in the next edition the SLR section will be changed to a DSLR section.