Book-Length Guide for Astrophotography with "Regular" Cameras?

Ben-71

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astrostu
Okay, not quite the responses I thought I'd get, but that's
a good thing.
I'm curious, though, as to why one would buy a book I'd write
as opposed to, say, the few I linked to in my first post?

To answer this would take knowledge of the market niche.

Still, the humble experience I do have (I've participated in various productions
& projects) makes me believe that once your book is out there, and provided
that it is a good product in a few ways, it would sell.

From personal experience in investing in various fields, and by observing how
other investors decide whether to invest in commercial offers, I can tell you that
in many cases, the final investors' decision whether to invest in something or not,
even though he/she may have all the data available, is based on gut feeling, or
hunch, whatever we call it.
This is no science.
I've seen promising projects (by the figures and serious analysis) fail,
and I've seen questionable projects soar.

If something like your book would have been offered to me as a business opportunity,
I'd go for it.
(This is not a hinted suggestion J, and I don't think that you need an investor.)

I can only try and help by laying out (In a very concise way) what I think
would make it succeed.

It starts with how the product looks (outside & inside) and named, and continues to
how its contents compare with the competition.

The buyers' first impression is very important, and the first impression is from the
front cover.
The cover should include an attractive photograph, a good choice for the books' name
and an appealing graphic design that relays seriousness.
As the photographs' background is typically black, the text should be bright, and
maybe echo one of the light colors in the photograph – so the photograph and the
verbal message "become one".

It would be a nice selling point if you show the reader how to make the
front cover photograph – as a step by step case study – and somehow
point to the fact on the cover.

The cover graphic design and the book's name should relay the 'feel' that
the buyer is looking for, the beauty that deep space offers, and the impression
that this is not "just another guide".
The verbal message should relay that this book is all that either the knowledgeable
& experienced photographer or the amateur with a P&S needs, to get good results.

A demonstration for the considerations that should be made:

A name like ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE would effectively "camouflage" your book among others.

However, something in this direction –


ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY
With Your Digital SLR or Point & Shoot Camera

Explained In Detail


– would be more attractive.
(The space, that accentuates the 'Explained In Detail', is not a coincidence.)
 
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Ben-71

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Originally Posted by Ben-71
The guide can be edited so it addresses – from page one – the less
knowledgeable readers.
Another option is to edit it so it is obvious from page one that it is
a serious professional guide, which also allows the less knowledgeable
readers to use it.

In the first option, you begin with the basics, like almost every other
guide does.

Going for the second option, so I think, could make your guide different,
and stick out in the "crowd", by plunging right into the main subject,
and putting the basics at the end. This may be a refreshing change from
the conventional pattern of guides.

For more experienced photographers, who consider purchasing your book,
seeing yet another book that starts with the most basic stuff, may suggest
that the rest of it might not be up to what they look for.

Such issues can be answered by adding pointers to the relevant sections
at the end, or in a FAQ section.


astrostu
It's been said of me that I'm too much of a linear thinker.
Here's evidence of that. To me, I would prefer option #1.
All of us think linearly, those who say it to you included. That's how we're made, and
that's why our languages are linear, even the traditional Chinese or Japanese picture writing.

Integrative (or creative) thinking, though it includes subject "jumps", to connect seemingly
unconnected things, is still linear thinking.
Example:
The thinking process issue is not exactly photography-related, and therefore may be outside
the context of this forum, so I'll connect the two... – The perception of a picture, though very
rapid, is still a linear accumulation of 'data'... J


It just seems like the "logical" thing to do. You start with basics, then
actually do the photography, then process it. 3 "Super"-steps. I have
absolutely no qualms, actually, with simply laying the book out like that:
Part One - Background Into Cameras and Exposure; Part Two - Photographing
the Sky; Part Three - Processing Your Photographs ... or some such thing like
that.


I'm accustomed to writing scientific papers which constantly refer back
to other sections (and I love the § symbol), so again I have no qualms
with, say in Part 3 when talking about clipping the Levels to write, "For
more information on Levels, refer to the section on Histograms in the first
part of the book, page ##."
The nature of the material is such that it branches a lot, and therefore requires
cross-references.
The less cross-references you manage to put there, the better the book, even if this
calls for some repetitions (the fewer the better).
Once you include a reference, it doesn't matter if it sends the reader to page 4, or 304.
I still think that the potential buyer would get the impression that the book is more serious
if the basics are at the end.


 
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Ben-71

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Would such a book benefit from a discussion of the science of what's going on?

Like would it be worth - when discussing Lunar photography including Earthshine and lunar eclipses, for example - actually having a few pages talking about the physical properties of the moon, its orbit, why lunar eclipses happen when they do, what makes the moon red, etc.?
Or would that detract from the actual photography?

I was thinking it may make sense to have a completely separate section for the astronomy, but then I thought that having the astronomy separate from the photography may not make too much sense ... like discussing why lunar eclipses are red on p. 54 but then not talking about how to photograph them until page 127 seems a little scattered.
This is about editing – where do you put what.
.
There would probably be a chapter on the solar system. I'd give a short introduction in
every planet sub-chapter – a sketch of the planets around the sun with the relevant
planet marked, plus some basic data of the planet and its moon(s).
This, I think, should take a double spread, with the data on one page and a full page
photograph on the adjacent page.
"What makes the moon red", can, for instance, be at the part about photographing the
moon, under a photograph of the red moon, or in an insert.

I can understand your feeling, that there's so much information, and skipping it may
make the book lacking, but, as the product is a Photography book and not an Astronomy book,
I wouldn't get too obsessed with going into too much detail.

It seems that your target reader is the amateur or the professional who'd like to
give it a shot and take some night sky shot for fun. This target crowd doesn't
want too much Astronomy.
Remember that they looked for an Astrophotography book, and not an Astronomy
book.
I'd introduce Astronomy only as much as needed for a very basic understanding
(or locating) what you take a picture of, or at what time you should do it.
I'd introduce Astronomy in a measured amount, just enough to cover the needed
information to take the pictures and to encourage curiosity.
Those who are already into Astronomy know the basics.


Would that still work for you, then you could pick it up and

simply skip to Part Two?
For me, it would work better if the basics would be at the end of the book.


copyrighting would also be done (though automatic, you can't actually pursue it legally unless it's registered, I've been told).

I'd do what it takes to protect your copyright.
 

RyanLilly

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I think that Garbz eclipse shot would make a very nice cover. :thumbup:

I think that an in depth fusion of astronomy and photography is the way to go. There are two kinds of people that will read the book.

1) Photographers that are interested in astronomy
2) Astronomers that are interested in photography

So you really need to cover both side fairly well. Plus I think that it would be a much more enjoyable book this way.
 

Ben-71

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It seems to me that –

'Photography for Astronomers'
'Astronomy for Photographers'
and 'Astronomy and Photography'

– are 3 different books that focus differently on many issues.

The equipment used by Astronomers is typically different than
what photographers usually use.
 

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