Book is done, and NPS map resources

My book of Yellowstone photos is done and printing! It's amazing to me how much work these things take.  After quickly throwing some images together I started a longer process of polishing it up, while teaching myself Adobe InDesign at the same time.   The official 0.9 version of the book has been uploaded to Blurb and ordered, and should arrive in time for Thanksgiving.  This is the first time I've used Blurb and I have no idea how it's going to turn out.  I've mentally prepared myself for it not turning out well so I'm fully expecting to have to adjust the colors and reprint it.

I like printing large so I went with their new premium paper and large format landscape size, which is 13 inches wide by 11 inches tall.  That means a double-truck spread is 26 inches wide!  (I included at least one full spread and a couple of 1.5 page spreads.)

While I was on Blurb's website I took a look at the books that other people have published and shared.  There are over 2,100 Fine Art books and 3,900 Travel books, so I'm not the first person ever to do this.  Oddly, I don't see any way to sort the books which means most of them will never be seen.

While researching some data for the book I went looking for a good map of the Yellowstone.  It turns out that there's a National Park Service office called Harper's Ferry Center, which is the map making division of the National Park Service.  They make a lot of their maps available for download in the original Adobe Illustrator format! These aren't just small, low-resolution maps - these are the actual files they print the park maps and brochures from!  Like all data created by the Federal Government, they are in the public domain.

Here are the eight different maps for Yellowstone that you can download.

Here are some notes about the maps which are also interesting.

I downloaded the full map for Yellowstone and then started hiding layers that just added clutter and ended up with a nice, clean graphic to use for the endpapers of the book.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Back from Wyoming/Yellowstone, and Adobe CS4

Although our flight ended up delayed by 24 hours, we made it back to California OK.  I got a lot of great shots and I've decided that I'm going to put a book together with my shots from this trip and our trip 2 years ago for Christmas.  I made a simple test book of my shots from Vietnam and I learned a lot from that experience.  I want to give it another try and see if I can do (a lot) better. Last time I used to book printing module in Apple's Aperture software and printing service and I was happy with how easy it was to use.  I don't actually own Aperture though and my 30 day trial is over so this is a good excuse to try some other tools.  The next logical choice would be Blurb, and I've downloaded their BookSmart software and I was surprised at how limiting it is, although people seems to really like the printing quality/value.   Luckily you can just upload pre-rastered pages from anything that outputs and use them purely as a printing service.   (As a side note, I believe that you can set up Aperture to output pages of any size and use Aperture for the layout without using Apple's printing.)

I have Adobe's InDesign and I've always wanted to get more familiarity with Adobe's Creative Suite so I'm going to give it try on this project.   On a whim, I went to Barnes and Noble to see if there were any books out for CS4 yet and to my surprise, there was already a copy of Adobe InDesign for Dummies on the shelf.  (Pretty fast, since CS4 started shipping last week.)  I checked the copyright page and it's copyrighted 2009!   Is that legal???

In Wyoming

We've been in Wyoming for a couple days now and everything is going well.  We're staying at a friend's hay ranch and we've taken a trip up to Silver Gate, Montana and spent some time in Yellowstone and had a quick trip to Grand Teton National Park. The wildlife viewing has been excellent and the aspens are beautiful.  Our Internet here is spotty but I hope to have some photos  shortly.