Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Digiscoping

Recently I've been making a few changes to my 'pages'. They are linked at the top of the blog right below the main image. One of the new pages is about digiscoping which I've also posted here as a blogpost as a way to introduce it (i.e. blog filler)!


I'll be regularly posting new digiscoped photos to this album:
Digiscoping

Digiscoping is a relatively new field of photography (the word was coined in 1999 - probably the only word I know of and am older than!) which involves holding a camera up to a telescope and taking a picture. Easy, right!

My setup:
I use the Canon s95 camera with my Swarovski ATM 80 HD scope + 20-60x eyepiece.



I chose the Canon s95 because I had read that it is one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market. I certainly haven't been disappointed with the results. The camera designers made it extremely user-friendly to change the Aperture and Exposure settings which, in my opinion, are two of the most important settings for bird photography. It produces high quality images that are comparable with the photos I used to take with my Nikon d300s camera. Admittedly, the photos can't be enlarged to print on a huge poster - but who does that anyway?


The adaptors I use are the Jackar Universal Adaptor + the Swarovski DCA. Both adaptors are needed in unison for this setup.

You can find more information about digiscoping with the Canon s95 here.
Mike McDowell has a wonderful blog with many useful tips that helped me out a lot at the beginning.


Advantages/Disadvantages of digiscoping:
The obvious disadvantage of digiscoping is that it is much more difficult to photograph birds that are flying or constantly moving around. Bitterns are ideal subjects because they tend to be patient:


But with some patience and luck it is possible to get small birds that are notorious for never sitting still:


And if you're experienced it is possible to get some great photos of birds in flight. Check out this Tern.


The main benefits that I see in digiscoping are:

-You can photograph birds from much further away - meaning you don't need to harass distant birds.

-It is cheaper - yes a decent scope costs a lot of money, but if you're a birder there's a good chance you already have one so all you need to get are the camera and adaptors. Compared with a high quality Nikon or Canon camera with a 500mm + lens you'll be saving a few thousand dollars and be getting photos that you'll be just as, or even more, satisfied with!

-An extra incentive to get a better scope which will make the birding more enjoyable!

-Lighter in weight than a traditional camera setup - meaning you get to walk further and faster and enjoy the day even more.

-It's a good way of combining birding and photography - I usually have the scope with me so it's more convenient to only have to set up one set of optics to look at a bird and photograph it.



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