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Monday, January 21, 2008

Cardinals digiscoped

Here are some Cardinal images taken at Jekyll Island, GA recently at a bird feeder. In this situation I basically following the rules for digiscoping which are:

- Digiscope in sunny conditions
- You should be no more that approximately 50 - 75 feet away from small birds, 100 - 150 feet from large birds.

Actually it wasn't always sunny, sometimes it was cloudy, hence the differences in the photos. Usually, when I am this close to birds, I have my big Canon 500 mm lens and Canon Mark II camera, but this was an unexpected situation and I only had a scope and my Canon A620 point and shoot camera, so I took it as an opportunity to digiscope. Usually, I only digiscope in extreme situations, such as when we saw the Kirtland's Warbler and it was very far away.

When we were at BirdWatch America 2008, I learned that many people either have heard of digiscoping and do not know how to do it, or they have never even heard of it. I spent some of my time there, teaching folks about it. In it's simplest form digiscoping involves taking photos with a camera through your spotting scope. Most people use point and shoot cameras, and either manually hold then up to the scope or use an adaptor to connect the camera to the scope. Some people use digital SLR cameras to digiscope but this may require special attachments.

For the photos above, I used the scope on the lowest power, focused it on the bird, then held the lens of the camera against the scope while looking at the screen in the back of the camera. When looking at the screen, you may see a black circle around the bird. That can be cropped out of the photo in Photoshop or other editing program. Or, you can zoom out the lens of the camera a little and the circle will disappear. I tried to hold the camera as steady as possible, then took a few photos in a row, hoping some would be sharp.

There are many more details about digiscoping on the internet which you can learn about, just google digiscoping. Or, just have a little fun using the down and dirty digiscoping method I did.


The Zen Birdfeeder said...

I find it very hard to get such nice clear digiscoped images when hand-holding the camera. These look great for being hand-held!

Lillian Stokes said...

It helps to hold the lens of the camera together with the eyepiece of the scope, so they are more locked and steady. Do this with one hand and snap the photo with the other hand. See our next blog entry for more info.

Anonymous said...

I am somewhat amazed that you have to digiscope the cardinals. I have them and a lot of birds in my backyard wildlife habitat here in the big city of Brookville, Ohio. I didn't even know you could use a digiscope like that.

Lillian Stokes said...

I did not have to digiscope the cardinals, the reason I did it was because I had left my usual camera, my Canon 1D Mark II and my lenses (300 and 500 mm Canon IS lenses) at home. So I chose to use my little point and shoot camera for some digiscoping fun. There were many cardinals at this place and you could get fairly close to them.