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$1,110 pledged of $15,000 goal
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$1,110 pledged of $15,000 goal
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About this project

Hi I'm Van King. I write and publish books. It is my goal to produce an extraordinary photographic art book of the crystals from the greatest crystal locality in the world: Franklin, New Jersey. My son and I have made a successful art book about some of the greatest crystals in the entire world. The new book we have in mind will specialize in using the latest macro photography techniques, to produce full page images of very tiny crystals.

Here is an example of what we can do now:

Crocoite from Tasmania 2" x 2" (Photo by Van King)
Crocoite from Tasmania 2" x 2" (Photo by Van King)

With funding:

  • We need 3 of the highest quality Zeiss microscope lenses to fit onto our cameras.
  • We will be able to travel to where the good crystals are. They are not all in Franklin, New Jersey. Some of the good ones are scattered in personal and public museums around the USA. The places to photograph are in the New York City area and its suburbs, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia,  Washington DC, and even California.
  • When we get there we will be able to take the best possible pictures.
  • We will do the production work. We will edit the photos and text for the book. We will lay out each chapter for production.
  • We will send the book to the printers.
  • The books will be delivered in time for the Franklin Mineral Museum 50th anniversary celebration.
Franklin, New Jersey mineral under short wave ultraviolet light. (Photo by Nathan King)
Franklin, New Jersey mineral under short wave ultraviolet light. (Photo by Nathan King)

My Background Story

I have believed in the dream to produce this book for many years. I have have the experience in producing, researching, writing, photographing, and publishing of 20 books. (List of my books http://www.newryqs.com/booksbyvtk.html )

Nature's Garden of Crystals by Van King
Nature's Garden of Crystals by Van King

The book I have in mind will be similar to my recent art book Nature’s Garden of Crystals that I worked on with my son.  He has agreed to join this project. Nature’s Garden of Crystals is an art-style book featuring beautiful crystals from around the world.

Tourmaline and Topaz from Brazil
Tourmaline and Topaz from Brazil

Specimens from twelve different private museums are featured from both North America and Europe. A variety of photographers joined in this effort. In most of my books, I’ve tried to build communities and have had many co-authors and co-photographers as partners. The Franklin book project is no different and my son and I are assembling a team of additional contributors. Nonetheless, we are the workhorses on the project. We both have photographed thousands of Franklin images for the project already, but we still only have scratched the surface.

Be sure to see the images from Nature's Garden of Crystals on my facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/FlowersOfTheMineralKingdom?fref=ts

Fluorite crystals from around the world
Fluorite crystals from around the world

The Project

The Franklin Mineral Museum will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary and we proposed to them that we produce an art book timed with their celebration. Just like Field of Dreams, they said "If you do it, we will print it!" The Museum has agreed to print the book, but their color book fund has only about enough money in it for printing costs. The book will be 8 ½ x11 inches, so the pages are large. There will be 500 pages and the book will be hardbound. We already have price quotes from printers in Arizona and Ohio, so the costs of printing fit the museum’s budget.

That’s why we’ve come to you. With your help, this book will become a reality.

Please see the list of amazing rewards to the right. With full-funding, we can complete the book, on-time and it will look great.

Tourmalines from Brazil
Tourmalines from Brazil

Stretch Goals

If we receive additional funding, the book will, of course, be better. How much better would it be?

With slightly more money, we can photograph more specimens and have a photo DVD to accompany the book which will contain all of the images that didn't reach print.

We can host images on the museum’s website. This is an ambition of one of our potential collaborators.

We can add additional pages to the book.

With an additional $25,000 we can have a two volume book. Two volumes are actually the optimum size of the project. Every increment of funding helps make this a better project.

Why are we putting in so much time into this project?

Van and Nathan King
Van and Nathan King

Well firstly, I've retired and my son, Nathan has just graduated from college. For myself, I got into the publishing business from the back door, dragging Nathan along with me kicking and screaming while he was in college. He loved it. Four years ago, the economy was the ruin of all of us. It was also a terrible time to retire. Einstein was right: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result." We needed to change course and we did that by writing a different kind of book. Previously, we had volunteered to write technical books, just because we loved doing it. We had a consulting business and we could fit book projects in between assignments, often with the travel costs covered by the consulting trip. When reality changed, we did too. We started publishing books on our own.

Maine Feldspar Families & Feuds by Van King
Maine Feldspar Families & Feuds by Van King

The first book project we actually published from start to finish, Maine Feldspar Families & Feuds, was about mining and how small communities were affected by a new industry located in their hills. It was also filled with human interest about how a poor family developed unreasonable expectations of how much their land should yield. The result was a generational break up of a family and love lost over a matter of only $75. The story involved a rural area in Maine and included events from far away places including mining in the Franklin, NJ area, factories in Trenton, New Jersey, and even Liverpool, Ohio. Pictures are the essence of telling a story and we knocked on quite a few doors asking descendants if we could copy and publish their precious family photos. The book was also copiously illustrated with new pictures of crystals, people, and places. It was a hit!

Aquamarine from Albany Maine 3" x 3" Photo by Van King
Aquamarine from Albany Maine 3" x 3" Photo by Van King

Encouraged by this success, the next book was purely an art book, Nature's Garden of Crystals, and it is about great and wonderful crystals of the world, including from Franklin, New Jersey . 

Nature's Garden of Crystals by Van King
Nature's Garden of Crystals by Van King

The Plan

We will produce an art book about all of the wonderful crystals from Franklin, New Jersey, which incidentally, is also known as the Fluorescent Mineral Capitol of the World. The challenge is very big. There are over 357 different kinds of minerals from the Franklin area. Of that total, there are 85 different kinds that glow in the dark when an ultraviolet lamp shines on the crystals and rocks.

People in a dark room choosing glowing Franklin crystals to photograph (Photo by Nathan King)
People in a dark room choosing glowing Franklin crystals to photograph (Photo by Nathan King)

We CAN do this. We only need to be able to afford to do this. Travel is a big money item as we live 350 miles from Franklin. We are also trying to increase our ability to take the best pictures that we can. To that end, we have invested in new camera equipment, but some of the best equipment is still beyond our reach.

Van King photographs a small Franklin crystal. (Photo by Nathan King)
Van King photographs a small Franklin crystal. (Photo by Nathan King)

Franklin crystals are not all giant sized. We have macro equipment, but it has limitations. We have enlarging lenses to get to incredibly small distances away from the crystals, but even those are not enough. We bought a motorized focusing rail that could get us to the point where we could fill the screen with a 2 mm tall crystal. That gets us to be able to photograph about 80% of the Franklin minerals. Last week, we found an old microscope and adapted the lenses to our camera and made the next leap in pursuing the tiniest crystals. We used them and some of the shots are even OK, but it was really just a student grade microscope. The Holy Grail of lenses are specialized lenses made by Nikon, Zeiss, and Mitutoyo. With all of our efforts, we can't settle for ho-hum pictures.

Thank you for your attention.

We can't get there without your help.

Please visit our webpage to download sample layouts from the book. Please check for updates. http://www.newryqs.com/Franklin.html

Or go directly to the PDFs:

http://www.newryqs.com/Franklin_book_2013_02_05.pdf


http://www.newryqs.com/Franklin%20Mineral%20Vein.pdf

Golden Axinite with rose red Rhodonite 6mm Franklin, NJ (Photo by Van King)
Golden Axinite with rose red Rhodonite 6mm Franklin, NJ (Photo by Van King)
Fluorecent polished Franklin mineral spheres on display in Tucson, Arizona (Photo by Van King)
Fluorecent polished Franklin mineral spheres on display in Tucson, Arizona (Photo by Van King)

Risks and challenges

In the 1960s, my friend Dr. Alfred Standfast's dream was to photograph Franklin minerals for an art book. Subsequently, six other photographers inherited and pursued this dream. Unfortunately, the photos they took mostly have been lost among the possessions of their estates and were never published.

The size of this project is daunting. There are 357 different minerals from Franklin. Additionally, 85 kinds of these minerals glow in the dark when an ultraviolet lamp shines on them.

This is a big project, but I've worked on big book projects all of my life. The Franklin book will be my 21st book.

As I've gone through life, each book seemed larger than the last. One big challenge was writing about the crystals of my home state, Maine. Eventually, the two volume Maine book had about a 1000 pictures and had about 1000 pages . The entire State of Maine has slightly fewer minerals than just the Franklin, NJ area! Fortunately, I won't have to write much text. The pictures will be equal to a thousands words.

I am a professional editor and publisher (retired). My son and I will layout the book from start to finish. We are going to photograph the minerals, write the descriptions of what are in the pictures, edit the content of the book, and assemble a team of experts on Franklin NJ crystals to join in this effort. With a completed manuscript we will layout the book so that it is ready to be printed.

Each trip to photograph Franklin crystals costs about $500 in travel expenses. There will be about 20 trips in the next year to get all of the photographs needed. Additionally, we need some more equipment, etc. The places to photograph are in the New York City area and its suburbs, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, and even California. The Franklin Mineral Museum has the funds necessary to print the book. We just need funding to complete the work.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    We will send you a handsome assortment of five digital images of beautiful crystals from our first art book Nature's Garden of Crystals, as a way of showing our sincere thanks.* You will help make this book possible. We appreciate it. Every contribution helps us toward our goal.
    This are genuine photons created in the US of A.
    These images are suitable for your desktop background. (*these will be included in all pledge levels.)

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Immortality - Reward Level #1 : Get your name in a Book. Your name will be printed in the Acknowledgments in the front of this art book, thanking you for helping us make this book happen!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Secret Agent - Reward Level #2: Your name will be printed in the Acknowledgments in the front of the art book, thanking you for helping us make this book happen, and you will get a secret URL access so that you can see all of the crystals we photograph and watch the progress of the book layout as it occurs. See the book before it is printed.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Gift of Knowledge - Reward Level #3: Get 1 book right away! You will get everything listed in the Secret Agent Level reward plus an autographed copy of my color book, Maine Feldspar Families and Feuds. Delivered to anywhere in the U.S.A. at no charge. International postage at cost. (Shipped after we get funding. No waiting.)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Inspiration - Reward Level #4: Get a different book right away! You will get everything listed in the Secret Agent Level reward plus an autographed copy of my color book, Nature's Garden of Crystals. Delivered to anywhere in the U.S.A. at no charge. International postage at cost. (Shipped after we get funding. No waiting.)

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Sorcerers Apprentice - Reward Level #5: Get 2 books right away! You will get everything listed in the Secret Agent Level reward plus autographed copies of BOTH of my color books Maine Feldspar Families and Feuds, & Nature's Garden of Crystals. Delivered to anywhere in the U.S.A. at no charge. International postage at cost. (Shipped after we get funding. No waiting.)

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Head Librarian Level: Get 3 books! You get everything in reward #5 plus an autographed copy of the color book, Franklin New Jersey a Photographic Celebration. (The book you are helping to make happen.) Two of the books will be shipped immediately and the final book will be shipped when printed September/October 2014.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Adventure - Reward Level #7: Get 4 books! You get everything in the Head Librarian Level: plus an autographed copy of my book Collector's Guide to Granite Pegmatites. You will be invited to attend the 50th anniversary banquet of the Franklin Mineral Museum and witness the release of the new book. You will have the opportunity to meet all of the authors and get their autographs. The next day you'll be guided by me on a field trip in Franklin New Jersey so that you can collect your own crystals. (Three of the books will be shipped immediately and the project book will be available when printed September 2014. If you can't make it to the ceremonies, we will ship the project book to you.) You will be responsible for your own travel expenses to Franklin, New Jersey.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Ansel Adams - Reward Level #8: Book acknowledgement, you will receive Collector's Guide to Granite Pegmatites, Maine Feldspar Families and Feuds, Nature's Garden of Crystals and the project book, Franklin New Jersey a Photographic Celebration, all autographed, and I will travel to your city and show you how we photograph Franklin New Jersey Crystals. This will be a full two day workshop. If you don't have Franklin crystals, we can photograph objects of your choice. You'll receive all of the images taken during that visit and you will have publishing rights to those images for your own projects. If we photograph Franklin minerals, they will be used in our A to Z sections of Franklin Minerals. Good for the continental 48 U.S. States. Travel to Alaska, Hawaii, or outside of the U.S. will be an extra cost. (estimated European travel equals an extra $2500.) Plus you will be invited to attend the 50th anniversary banquet of the Franklin Mineral Museum and witness the release of the new book. (Three of the books will be shipped immediately and the project book will be available when printed September 2014. If you can't make it to the ceremonies, we will ship the project book to you.) The next day you'll be guided by me on a field trip in Franklin New Jersey so that you can collect your own crystals. You will be responsible for your own travel expenses to Franklin, New Jersey.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Patron - Reward Level #9: As a major benefactor to this project you will be acknowledged with a full page dedication to you, with color photograph, indicating your love of nature. You will also receive all four autographed books mentioned in this rewards section. (Three of the books will be shipped immediately and the project book will be available when printed September 2014. If you can't make it to the ceremonies, we will ship the project book to you.) You will be invited to attend the 50th anniversary banquet of the Franklin Mineral Museum and you will be part the book signing ceremony where all of the authors in the book will be present. Because you are in the book you will get to sign other people's books as well! The next day you'll be guided by me on a field trip in Franklin New Jersey so that you can collect your own crystals. You will be responsible for your own travel expenses to Franklin, New Jersey.

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Funding period

- (30 days)