Photography Pocket Guide (Author Interview)

The Photography Pocket Guide is an Amazon Best Seller.  What makes it so popular with readers?

I think it is a combination of simplicity and relevance.  Rather than study photography for years, a reader can learn in just a few pages how to capture some of the more challenging images.  I spent years trying unsuccessfully to capture images of the night sky.  When I finally learned how to do it, it was incredibly simple.  I share this knowledge with other photographers in the most efficient way possible.

What can you tell us about your photography experience?

I was a film photographer for many years.  I am an engineer and corporate innovation expert by profession.  Photography was just a hobby.  My local framing shop wanted to sell numbered prints of some of my images, but I passed on the opportunity because I had no idea what that meant. 

When I took early retirement, I decided to make the transition to digital photography.  I recognized many advantages to capturing digital images but was surprised at how difficult it was to learn.  Most of the books on the topic assumed significant experience with digital photography.  Eventually, I enlisted the help of a retired fashion photographer and learned the craft in just a few hours of his tutoring. 

In 2012, I entered an art contest.  It is the only contest I have ever entered.  Sedona is a community of artists, and the most elite association is SAGA — Sedona Area Guild of Artists.  SAGA sponsored a contest that was open to the public.  There were 8 categories of art in the contest and each artist could submit up to 3 entries.  The art was then judged by the Curator of the Western Art Museum in Phoenix.  The resulting show would consist of 32 works of art.  One of my images made the cut and I was included in show as well as SAGA’s list of Best Artists of Sedona 2012.  There were two world renowned photographers in the contest who did not make the cut.  I decided to turn pro and joined a gallery.  I also began writing books about digital photography so others wouldn’t have to struggle to learn as I had.  I have written more than 20 photography books in the last 10 years.  My best seller has been the #1 digital photography book in the Kindle Store for most of the last nine years.


How long have you been doing photography?

About 65 years, but I got my first serious camera a little over 40 years ago.


What will readers get out of your book?

A fast-track solution to capturing challenging images like the Milky Way, a Rising Moon, and Wildlife.


What motivated you to become a writer?

I have always written as a form of stress reduction, but I began publishing books in earnest about ten years ago.  Photography was a hobby of mine for most of my life.  When I made the transition to digital, I was shocked at how difficult it was to get information.  Ultimately, a retired commercial photographer tutored me for two hours.  In that time, I learned what I couldn’t get from books or continuing education courses.  I became a professional photographer and decided to share what I had learned with others. 


How did you come up with the ideas in Photography Pocket Guide?

I was out one evening in preparation for capturing the rising of a super moon.  There were two other photographers set up next to me.  They both had expensive cameras and tripods and were clearly experienced photographers.  Neither of them knew what settings to use for the moonrise shot.  I was glad to help.  Neither of these photographers needed tutoring.  They just had not attempted a moon rise before.  It took me less than a minute to bring them up to speed.  That experience made me realize that some people only need the bottom-line camera settings for specific challenging situations.  So, I made a list of such situations and decided that a simple pocket guide would be valuable to many experienced photographers as well as novices.  It is an exceptionally short book but well worth the price.  It would have saved me many hours of frustration if it had been available when I was learning.


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing Photography Pocket Guide?

Some of the challenging situations were obvious but I wasn’t sure I had enough to justify the cost of a book.  I just started jotting down what I would like to share and eventually decided that there was enough value even if the book was short.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

Just goggle Al Judge and you will find all my books.  You can also go to the Amazon Website and search for Al Judge.

My MoreAlive@75 YouTube Channel can be found at with additional info at . 

My photos are available at . 



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