iPhonescoping

By Steve Blain

It just so happened that while Justin was in Florida for the World Digiscopers meeting I was also in Florida for a holiday.  A family holiday.  Definitely not a birding holiday.
But maybe a holiday with a little birding.  And by complete coincidence some of the places we ended up going for a walk were great birding spots too!  Although you can’t really fail to see great birds all around Florida – from flocks of White Ibis in your yard, Eastern Phoebes on your mailbox, and Palm Warblers hopping around your drive, to Sandhill Cranes along the central reservations of the freeways and Ring-billed Gulls trying to steal your sandwiches on the beach! The confiding nature of some of these birds gave me an opportunity to try out my new telephone…

Green Heron, Viera Wetlands

Painted Bunting, Merrit Island (shot using the HDR setting to retain some details in the over-exposed area of the feeder in the sunshine)

Great White Egret, Gatorland

Snowy Egret, Gatorland

Reddish Egret, Merrit Island

Aligator, Gatorland

White Ibis, Gatorland

All images in this post were taken with an iPhone 6, hand-held to a Swarovski ATS 80 HD, and 25-50x eyepiece.

6 thoughts on “iPhonescoping

  1. Dan Martin (@DanielCMartin1)

    Superb shots – Gatorland is great for a family day out and the chance to get close to good birds. We had Osprey fishing there and ST Kite. I am just upgrading to iPhone 6 and have the 60 scope with same lens. Do you do anything special with settings on either phone or scope?

    Reply
    1. Steve Blain Post author

      Hi Dan, sorry for not seeing this sooner. No, nothing particularly special used. I simply turn up the zoom on my scope to 50x, twist out the eyecup three-quarters and now pop on my home made adapter. I’ll document the adapter on Birding Frontiers soon, but it is very simple – a mustard jar lid glued on to a cheap iphone case. I now tend to only use the native phone app as it is so quick to open and you can easily change the exposure. I also think the slow-mo video is fantastic – use it!

      Reply
    1. Steve Blain

      Thanks, Dan and Rolling Harbour.

      Regarding settings – no, pretty standard stuff actually. The native camera in the iPhone 6 is very good and now includes exposure compensation. However I do use one app over the native camera app, and that is called ‘Camera+’. It just gives slightly better control over the focus and exposure points as you can separate them – think focusing on a birds eye while exposing off its white breast, for example.

      I’ve just created a mk4 version of my home made iphonescoping adapter. It costs less than £3 to make and uses a mustard lid to attach to the eyepiece of my scope. I’ll have to write a post about it…

      Reply

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