Photographing The Deep Sky: Images In Time And Space by Chris Baker (book review).

Look at the cover of Chris Baker’s book, ‘Photographing The Deep Sky: Images In Time And Space’, and tell me you aren’t tempted purely by the cover. Baker owns a telescope observatory in Spain and all the photographs in this book are taken there or in the viscinity. The book is divided between nebulas and such without our Milky Way local space and the galaxies beyond, using similar filters to the Hubble telescope. Seeing the Horsehead Nebula in black and white, it’s easy to understand why colour works so much better for the eye and gives distance a dimension. There’s also accompanying text to put the photos in context.

What is fascinating is seeing some nebulas I haven’t seen before although it is interesting on some of the names they are given, like the Pacman Nebula. It’s always a sharp reminder how humans put names to shapes. Oddly, I do think the Thor’s Helmet Nebula looks more like a dog or an owl.

When it comes to the various galaxies out there and, literally, the billions of stars, it would be impossible to dismiss that we aren’t the only sentient species out there and I defy any of you reading this book and studying these photographs to not come away with a sense of awe.

Chris Baker points out from the start and end of this book that he is only an amateur astronomer with an expensive hobby and shows how the photographs were made and how to get started at an affordable price, providing you can afford an astrocamera which has a long exposure rate. The resulting photographs taking over a series of nights, using different filters giving the photos here. You don’t have to be in Spain to take night sky photos, just a clear sky and a waning Moon.

He also spreads his praise and help from fellow amateurs Sara Wagner, Andrew Harrison and Tony Halker, the latter adding and checking technical details of the text, hence the extensive website links below.

Undoubtedly, you’ll be buying this book for the photographs but the sections devoted to how to prepare your own photographs should make an interesting incentive.

GF Willmetts

August 2019

(pub: Pen And Sword. 171 page illustrated squarish hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK). $32.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-52671-553-1)

check out websites: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk, www.galaxyonglass.com, www.swagastro.com, www.darkskiesimaging.com and www.tonyhalker.com

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