The history of a book II.
|After returning from my trip to Quartzsite in 2007 I began to research making a book, and all that it entails. I found another site on the internet that makes books in a similar fashion to the Apple iPhoto books, i.e. book on demand. The site is Blurb.com and they produce a similar but somewhat more extensive line of self published books on demand. They are the same price as the Apple books, but with twice the page count. (40 printed pages instead of 20 pages)
They offered a wider selection of physical sizes. I decided to do some more camera tests with my camera and make a test book with only jaspers. Blurb uses their own software (called Booksmart) to do the book layout. It is similar to the Apple software and has a variety of templates. Again I could not find any I liked, so I perused their online forums, and found out how others had made custom books using the software they provided. (Fundamentally you create pages in a separate application, and then set up the Blurb software to accept one large photo per page.) The layout is accomplished in the secondary software and each "finished page" is imported into the Blurb Book software as a jpeg.
I set up the Booksmart software (available for PC or Mac) to create one of their large sized books (11" x 13"). I used a single photo per page with a full bleed over the edges. (A bleed means the photo is about 1/8" larger than the margins and will overlay the page by that amount.)
I then launched Adobe InDesign and set up margins of 11.125 by 13.125 inches. I designed my own layouts using InDesign and when completed I exported the book pages as a numerical sequence of jpeg image files. It was a single step process to import the numerically sequenced images into Booksmart.
This book ended up 120 pages long with only jasper images. I used several pages to test color reproduction, generated computer graphics files, various layouts, and Photoshop techniques. When completed the book was 11x13 inches in size, 120 pages, with about 500 photos and diagrams.
The process of re-shooting most of the photos under higher magnification took several months of trial and error to work out a system of lighting to get consistent results from the slabs. I also had hundreds of pounds of rough to cut, providing a wider range of materials to photograph.
At that time I was using a Nikon D70 digital camera with a Nikon 105mm macro lens for most of the photography. There were issues with adapting the camera to my microscope as the camera turned off auto-exposure whenever a normal lens was removed. Hence microscope images took a lot longer to process with a good deal of trial and error.
I had decided to include both thin-section images and micro structural images in the book. I ended up taking a couple thousand photos to get the final 500 or so for this test copy. I wanted to get it finished and printed before I headed out to both Quartzsite and this time Tucson in 2008.
By late in 2007 I realized I needed to get a new camera with higher resolution and one that would work properly with my microscope. My research led me to the Nikon D200, but it was then being replaced with the Nikon D300. After several attempts to buy the D200 at discounted prices, I gave up and purchased a new D300 in December. All my D70 lenses worked fine with it.
The 2007 book was completed using the D70 and the final 120-page copy was delivered after about 3 weeks, arriving just in time for my trip out west in January of 2008. The front and back covers are displayed on the left as well as several page spreads.
As the photos show the book is now pretty well beat-up from rough handling but it served it's purpose. I took this and the original 60-page book to the 2008 Quartzsite and Tucson shows and showed it around while visiting various dealers.
The interest level was higher now that I had a more finished looking product and I took constructive feed back from both dealers and potential buyers on what they might like to see in the final copy.
They liked the larger physical size, but still wanted the agates to be part of the whole. Several wanted to know about the differences between agates and jaspers and how to tell them apart. Others wanted information on how the agates and jaspers formed. And all seemed to want "more pictures."
After a week in Quartzsite and a week in Tucson I returned once again to North Carolina and began to design the "final copy."
[A word about my background here - I am now retired and have a degree in chemistry working for a chemical company for 25+ years. I did catalysis research, ceramics research, and scientific computing and visualization in the company's Central Research Organization. I have a minor degree in geology and eventually taught one year of freshman level geology in a small university. My first WEB site is one of the oldest of its kind on the internet (since 1996) and has over 3000 photos of gems, minerals and educational materials.]