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Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos [Paperback]

by Stefan Seip
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 4, 2008 1933952164 978-1933952161

At first glance, the challenge of astrophotography may appear daunting. But not only are spectacular results possible, they are easy to learn with the step-by-step instructions provided in Stephan Seip's Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos. Today, amateurs can produce images that only twenty years ago a large professional observatory would have been proud of; and this book shows you how.

Learn how to:

  • Set up your camera for optimum results
  • Focus your camera for razor-sharp images
  • Take beautiful night shots with a simple compact digital camera, a tripod, and a telescope
  • Use a DSLR camera to shoot the Sun, Moon, stars, star clusters, and nebulae through your telescope
  • Get brilliant images of planets with a Webcam
  • Capture remote galaxies with a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera just like a pro

    Also included are lessons on the processing that is done in the "studio" after your shoot, including how to:

  • Shoot RAW format images and improve them with calibration frames
  • Take short exposures of faint deep-sky objects and combine them into a longer exposure
  • Perform brightness, contrast, and color correction
  • Make corrections to correct for vignetting and uneven field illumination
  • Process your images for stunning results

    Equipment requirements for astrophotography range from nothing but a simple camera and tripod to a multi-thousand dollar computer controlled telescope equipped with a CCD auto-guider and separate guide-scope. Researching the best equipment for your needs is a task in itself. Seip helps you to sort out which cameras are best for the various celestial objects, what to look for when buying a camera, and what accessories you really need.

    The rewards of this fascinating hobby, as the author says, "Grants you unforgettable hours under the night sky; it allows you to produce aesthetically rewarding and lasting results. Astrophotography is a love-match between physics, photography, art, and digital image processing. It is exciting!"

  • Frequently Bought Together

    Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Cosmos + Digital SLR Astrophotography (Practical Amateur Astronomy) + A Guide to Astrophotography with Digital SLR Cameras
    Price for all three: $91.20

    Buy the selected items together

    Editorial Reviews

    About the Author

    Currently living in Stuttgart,Germany, Stefan Seip works as a professional fine art photographer, an IT consultant, and a science writer. His enthusiasm for the activities and objects of the cosmos dates back to his early adolescence. Driven by his innate desire to capture beauty in images, it was only natural to combine his two loves; astronomy and photography.It is only recently--decades later--that Stefan started to grasp what he had gotten himself into. Although, he still enjoys visual astronomy, astrophotography has gained the upper hand, requiring his full commitment. He said, "Had I foreseen the amount of time, perseverance, technology, know-how, and (in the end) money would be necessary in order to produce first-class images, I would have had second thoughts about it--only to pursue the same path again!"Astrophotography grants him many unforgettable hours under the night sky, while it allows him to produce aesthetically rewarding and lasting results. His love for this challenging craft is evident in his many spectacular images.To learn more about Stefan Seip, and to see his stunning astrophotos and fine art images, visit his website at

    Product Details

    • Paperback: 162 pages
    • Publisher: Rocky Nook (January 4, 2008)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1933952164
    • ISBN-13: 978-1933952161
    • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.4 inches
    • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
    • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing July 19, 2009
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I've been reading up on astrophotography but I'm still a rank beginner, so I'm shocked to meet a book that seems too shallow even for me. Here's how the book's contents break down:

    13 pages - Introduction
    22 pages - Compact Digital Camera
    26 pages - Webcam
    32 pages - DSLR
    42 pages - CCD (SBIG, Starlight Xpress)

    Choice of a telescope is limited to a half page discussion in the introduction. There a picture of an equatorial mounting, nothing more. The Meade LPI is given two sentences. For CCD cameras, only the SBIG and Starlight Xpress get a mention. There is no index.

    One interesting aspect of the book is the large number of formulas for helping you estimate optimum magnification, angle of view, etc. But overall, this book is trying to cover too much material to do any of it well.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A great primer for astrophotography January 17, 2008
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Astrophotography is an area in the hobby where most beginners feel a measure of intimidation- from the high cost of equipment, the myriad jargon tossed around in amateur astronomy forums on the web, and a seemingly confusing and endless selection of knobs, plates, adapters, scopes, mounts, tripods, cameras, etc. available in the market place. But most folks are hooked the moment they take a photo of the moon or a planet through a small digital camera or even a cell phone cam.

    Seip's book is concise, highly readable and an up-to-date book on amateur astrophotography. It is clear and well written and perhaps the best primer to read when one is contemplating delving into this area of the hobby.

    I would have liked to see a little more elaboration on guiding (manual and auto), on focusing a DSLR (that's what most people start dabbling in), and on the importance of a good mount-perhaps an appendix guide on mount recommendations, stability considerations, the concept of PEC and maybe on drift alignment (a proper mount is the biggest success factor in astrophotography), but this information can be easily found elsewhere on the web and in books (Ron Wodaski has an excellent section on telescope and mount selection and considerations in his book that bears reading). All in all, an excellent book. I enjoyed reading it very much.

    Lastly, if you see Seip's astrophotography photos on the web, you will realize how spectacular his photos (and skills) are. Perhaps it is a reflection of his humility that he avoids showcasing his jaw-dropping photos in his own book!
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    17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars An Ideal Intro and Much More March 1, 2008
    By JC
    Many of us have been impressed by the images made by Stefan Seip, an astro-photographer based in Stuttgart Germany. His shots of Comet Machholz against the Pleiades and Venus at inferior conjunction framed by wispy clouds are stunning examples of what digital imaging technology can produce when directed by a discerning eye.

    So, even though I'm a committed visual observer, when Seip's "Digital Astrophotography: A Guide to Capturing the Universe" became available (It was first published in German under the title "Astrofotografie digital") I thought what better photographer to acquaint me with what's become such a huge part of the astronomy hobby. And I was right. As an intro, it's superb.

    His book is an attractive soft cover volume, profusely illustrated in color and printed on a heavy weight glossy paper with lots of open margins for notes. It enjoys two clear advantages over some other digital astrophotography texts. First, it does not limit itself to one particular type of digital tool/photography and two, being published this year, its camera and software references should be up to date.

    A short introductory chapter, "Before You Start" addresses some basics and presents some terms and concepts which will figure in later discussions.

    Then comes the heart of the book: four chapters, each treating a type of camera available to today's digital astro-imager:

    - Compact Digital Cameras
    - Webcams
    - Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR)
    - Charged Coupled Device Cameras (CCD)

    Within each chapter, Seip

    - explains the characteristics of the specific camera type and
    mentions its advantages and disadvantages

    - mentions the types of photographs suited to it, e.g.
    Read more ›
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! An Understable Book on Astrophotography February 17, 2008
    I've quite a few books on astrophotography in my astronomy library and they've all followed the same course: They start with extreme basics and then jump into using a $[...] camera to gather 800 6 hour exposures and how to stack and process the singles into an image better than the Hubble could capture. You'll need a $[...] mount.

    Since I am an observer, my interest in astrophotograhy is not deep enough to entice me into spending the time to do all the work that most books teach. This book covers the middle ground nicely. If you want to go beyond holding a camera to the eyepiece but don't care to build an observatory dedicated to electronics, this guide book will have you producing beautiful images---on any budget. And if you want to go "all the way" there is plenty of material for that too.

    I was very pleased when I got the book and am more pleased every time I open it.

    Chris Reich,
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Not for the amatuer
    This is a great overall guide for astrophotography for the advanced digital photographer. One needs to be familiar with some of the quirks of current astronomy software for... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Daniel M. Young
    1.0 out of 5 stars Why is this rated as a good book???
    First of all, I don't know anything about astronomy and astrophotography. However, I do know quite a bit about photography, but because of the first comment, I don't know anything... Read more
    Published 7 months ago by Harry M. Shin
    5.0 out of 5 stars I can do this
    This book talks to you. If you have only thought of doing Astrophotography this book will get you over your reservations. Read more
    Published 15 months ago by Chet H. Spiro
    5.0 out of 5 stars Book for astrophotographers
    This a very good book for who wants to have a information about astrophotography, especially for beginners or intermediate amateurs in astronomy and photography
    Published 20 months ago by Carlos A Carvajal
    2.0 out of 5 stars Better material on forums
    I expected much more from this book. It glazes material in my opinion, and you can find much better how to's and details through any number of online forums.
    Published 21 months ago by Geminijk
    1.0 out of 5 stars Digital Astrophotography a Guide to Capturing the Cosmos
    The book leaves a lot to be desired. It mentions nothing about "F" stops or any general settings at all. Once I received it, I was not very pleased with the book at all.
    Published on March 13, 2012 by Jimmy J.
    4.0 out of 5 stars Guide to amateur astronomers
    Stefan Seip in his book has created a concise reference to beginners in Astrophotography. He explains the variety of tools necessary for imaging,from webcams to advanced CCD... Read more
    Published on December 14, 2011 by koralage winston
    4.0 out of 5 stars very useful introduction to astrophotography.
    This book is well organized, assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader, and seems to be complete coverage. An excellent introduction.
    Published on December 12, 2011 by Rusty Hill
    5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Every Penny
    I am a old astrophotographer returning to the hobby after a 10 year leave of absence. I went looking for a good reference that would lead me back into the hobby. Read more
    Published on October 10, 2011 by adogdoc
    2.0 out of 5 stars Information too basic and general to be very useful for me
    I found the book lacking in any real examples of night sky photographic technique. Book is divided into sections which detail the types of cameras one can use with some starting... Read more
    Published on March 20, 2011 by Photographer
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