Its been a long time since I wrote a mini book review but after having this book recommended by a friend Astrophotographer I had to write something about it. Ive already been praising it and recommending it to fellow images in the Astro Society.
Lessons from the Masters is one of the few books I can use as a guide to processing astronomical images. Yes there is plenty of information and tutorials online, several I have used, but the concepts presented in this book clearly explain and demonstrate how to put them to practise, and that makes a big difference.
One of the concepts Ive never really seen is using PixelMath (not as scary as it may seem after practising it using guidance from this book) in PixInsight to split an image into Large and Small scale structures allowing different processing to be performed on each. I actually put this into practise with my M45 image which is why I have managed to get some of the red dusty stuff to show up and not completely blow out my stars (which I didnt get from shorter subs or anything, just controlled processing).
Images that Pop
Another useful tutorial was how to make an image pop. This was demonstrated on Thors Helmet in the book and something I applied selectively to the Flame and Horsehead Nebula to make the Flame and Horsehead stand out more. Its basically using high pass filter in Photoshop but seeing it presented and coming together in the book was very useful. There were other Photoshop tutorials, more so than the PixInsight ones, and some useful concepts on presenting your image (what a difference orientation and cropping can make).
Come on share your secrets!
There is a bit on planetary imaging but Ive not found this particularly useful yet compared to the rest of the book, although it did tempt my into using WinJupos and the section explaining what filters are best for what planets was good. I was expecting more! I think there could have been more detail with regards image processing techniques, since after all thats what the book is about. In my opinion this section covered everything for planetary imaging which left less room to write in more depth about the image processing and demonstration by example, in fact I dont recall seeing any step by step guide in this section. Still it was a good read and some useful pointers.
Use the link below to take you to Amazon to view the book.
Flame and Horsehead Nebula Processed with Concepts from Book (Published in Astronomy Now Magazine May 2014)
M45 Processed with Concepts from Book