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Book Reviews

Capturing the Stars
Author: Robert Gendler

Publisher: Voyageur Press

ISBN: 978-0-7603-3500-0

Price: £16.99 (Hb), 160pp

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Capturing the Stars is an eclectic collection of imagery compiled by one of the world’s leading masters of astronomical imaging and features a potent mix of both amateur and professional offerings. The book is printed in landscape format and its 9.5 x 11 inch size is perfect for the display of this type of material.

The book opens with a foreword by professional astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson and continues with a short preface and introduction by Gendler. It’s then straight into the imagery that is accompanied by short biographies of the astrophotographers. The first two featured are set in a historical context, starting with EE Barnard, a professional astronomer whose pioneering work at the end of the nineteenth century produced outstanding photographs of the Milky Way. Next is William C Miller, who produced some of the best colour images of the time while working at Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories. The book then jumps to the present day with every page featuring a breathtaking image, sometimes taken with just a humble DSLR camera but showing glorious constellations or the ghostly wraith of an aurora over a frozen landscape.

Professional images are represented also and no book on astrophotography would be complete without images by David Malin, who worked as a photographic scientist at the Anglo-Australian Observatory from 1975 until 2001. His amazing images inspired generations of amateur astronomers (including the reviewer) and the pioneering techniques he developed for photographic emulsions have become essential for modern digital photographers.

I had several favourite contributors by the time I reached the end of the book. The amazing high-resolution solar corona images by Miroslav Druckmüller along with his image of Comet McNaught are breathtaking. The UK’s own Damian Peach is rightly featured here with outstanding images of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, which I consider to be the best in the world. And many contemporary amateur imagers, such as Russell Croman, Daniel Verschatse, Johannes Schedler, Ken Crawford and of course Robert Gendler himself have contributed outstanding imagery. The latter is to be congratulated for sourcing such gems and the low price of the book (available for £11 from Amazon) makes this a compulsory purchase for the shelf of any aspiring astrophotographer.

Nik Szymanek

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