Book Review – "Astrophotography for the Amateur"
by Clayton Kessler
Author: Michael A. Covington
Copyright Cambridge University Press 1999
First Printing 1999
The second edition of this authoritative tome on astrophotography is a welcome update to the revised first edition that I purchased several years ago. Originally published about 15 years ago and revised about 5 years ago the continuing evolution of films and techniques makes frequent updates of this type of work almost a necessity. This is not a book that you will sit down and read cover to cover in one fell swoop. This is far too information packed inside for that. I found it better to read it a chapter at a time and then take some time to "think" about the material presented. The author is very complete in his explanations so when you finish a chapter you understand the processes involved.
All aspects of astrophotography are covered here from simple "camera on tripod" type shots to the most exotic high magnification stuff. There are excellent discussions on methods, film, processing and darkroom techniques, digital processing and cameras. The various appendixes discuss exposures, polar alignment, film, filters, give plans for an electronic drive corrector and list resources.
It is hard to call any book on astrophotography a "Definitive Work". Films alone change so fast that data true last week could be totally invalid today, as we have seen with Fuji Superia 400 film. This being said, if I had to choose just ONE astrophotography book – this would be the one I would take.