I’m getting better at digiscoping bit by bit. At a basic level digiscoping is using a compact digital camera to take photographs (and now video) through a modern optical telescope. The early Nikon Coolpix cameras (especially the 990) were a personal favourite in the early digiscoping boom. Remember those? Here’s a couple of fonder and not so fond memories. Blasts from the past:
This juvenile Red-backed Shrike was near South Landing, Flamborough in Sept. 2005. Just by hand holding the camera up to my old Leica APO 77 ‘scope I did OK. An early (probably Greenland) Lapland Bunting and a migrant male Stonechat also got nicely caught on camera that day.
But with new cameras, more gizmos and greater expertise I only seemed to get worse. A failed digiscoper. So I quietly shelved the habit for several years.
female Black-throated Thrush at Buckton, Flamborough in March 2007. I blew it! This somewhat distant bird kept disappearing from view and I figured out where it might be more easily viewable. Away from the little gathered crowd my hunch proved correct. Peering through a gap in the hedge the bird was much closer and relaxed. Should have easily been the best photos of the bird! I wonder what could have been caught on digi- video? However, I was poorly practiced with a new camera (which I never mastered) and should have done so much better than this blurry shot. One of several examples of getting worse and not better!
I knew the power of it to capture images beyond the easy reach of DSLR cameras, but it was seeing a video of Richards’ Pipit which James Lees sent me that reignited the interest. Video. Taken with little pocket camera through James’ scope I was impressed. Similarly informed on the tremendous usefulness of video from working with artists David Quinn and Ian Lewington, I decided to try again. Plenty of inane questions followed alongside patient instruction from James, Paul Hackett, Steve Blain and others. I am a failed digiscoper no more. Definitely a learner, but at least an encouraged one. It’s working again.
My hope for this page is to chart various digiscoping efforts and to address some of the trickier issues with help from friends. Hope you find it entertaining and useful. For starters, some recent efforts below to try to showcase what can be achieved including some comparisons with DSLR photography. I like details and trying to capture as much useful information on bird behaviour, structure and plumage as possible. I am an increasing fan of trying to get at least a bit of video; so much info there! To see more on these posts, simply click on the purple ‘linked’ titles. To be continued…
‘Powder Down’ may explain this curious plumage of what was already an exciting bird to see being only the 3rd record in the Flamborough area of East Yorkshire.
An iconic falcon sits on distant rocks or pod of Orca surfaces while seawatching. You have very little time and are being buffeted by an icy wind. What to do? Grab some video. Not perfect but very satisfying.
How many have ever seen woodcock, on the ground in the daytime – feeding? Digiscoped photos compared with DSLR and good video results of a sight rarely seen.
Got to share a special moment with Tormod Amundsen on our ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ speaking tour. His first ever Caspian Gull. Pleased with photo and video results.
A Herring Gull, a tyre and a gargoyle atop an inaccessible sea stack made for a great digiscoping opportunity. I was impressed with the details it was possible to capture on the bird’s orange ring.
Featuring some exotically colourful birds in Eastern Europe, this was the 2nd most popular posting on Birding Frontiers in 2012. My first encounter with the new Swarovski ATX ‘scopes and bits and some of the results obtained.
Knowing stuff and not being able to share it doesn’t suit my personality. Embargo over, this was how I reported on the new ways Swarovski would do ‘scopes and digiscoping aides from summer 2012