After 30 years of making photographs of the night sky and the sun, Dayton astrophotographer John Chumack has released his first book of photographs that includes a wide variety of his work.
Chumack self-published the 12x12 coffee table book Galactic Images, Astrophotography by John Chumack that features images of earthly and deep space scenes in full natural color that is often mind boggling. The 72-page book is organized by chapter to separate the different types of objects Chumack has captured with film and digital cameras.
The sections of the book start with our own solar system objects and events: the moon, the sun, eclipses and transits where other planets cross the sun’s face. Subsequent sections take you through the aurora borealis (northern lights) planets, meteors, comets, stars, nebulae, our Milky Way and distant galaxies with breathtaking imagery.
The book also reveals Chumack’s path to reaching the quality of images he makes and how he challenged himself to build a telescope that would allow him to capture many of the deep space objects on film, before digital cameras.
Chumack’s photos have appeared regularly in Astronomy Magazine and other publication highlights include Time, National Geographic and NASA’s EPOD (Earth Science Picture of the Day) website.
“It feels good,” Chumack says about the book coming to fruition. “I’ve had many images published. Literally thousands of images published over the years in other books and other magazines, television, everything like that. But nothing beats the feeling of knowing that you’re a published author.”
Chumack credits the Miami Valley Astronomical Society for their support. “That’s my astronomy club. I’ve been involved with the club for over 30 years. They’ve always encouraged me to continue shooting and loved looking at my images regardless of how good they were.”
When asked about his favorite photo, the answer may be surprising to some for its earthly proximity. “Probably the aurora borealis I’ve taken in Alaska. They’re phenomenal shots, but what’s more phenomenal is not the photographs, it’s actually what’s happening and what you’re watching. It’s the most fantastic light show on the planet. Those will always be my favorite.”
If you like this book, Chumack says it is the first in a series he has planned, which will also include a book filled with aurora borealis photos.
Galactic Images, Astrophotography by John Chumack is available through the website