Saturday, August 9, 2008

First Digiscoping Efforts

On my recent North Shore trip, I tried for the first time the photography technique called digiscoping, which combines a normal digital camera with a spotting scope to achieve a remarkable degree of zoom. New hubby Dave, an avid birdwatcher, brought his spotting scope along on the trip and while we were exploring a nature trail along the St. Louis River estuary in Duluth, I decided to give it a try.

First, below is an uncropped photo I took with the camera alone, zooming in as close as I could on a log on which stood a painted turtle and two Canada geese, situated perhaps 30-40 yards away. Normally for blogging purposes I take the photo at a high-resolution setting and then crop the photo closely to achieve the best close-up.

Next is my best result bringing the camera lens up to the eyepiece of the spotting scope, which was focused on the turtle (this was actually before the geese climbed up onto the log).

Here is my best result looking at the geese in the same manner. The feather detail is quite amazing. I had trouble getting rid of the dark circle, or vignette; since returning and reading a little more about it, I have learned that using the camera's zoom should remove these edges from the view.
I have a lot to learn about using the manual focus on my Nikon Coolpix, and it is tricky when your only feedback while focusing is the camera's LCD display, which is difficult to see well in sunlight. Below is a not entirely successful shot of a pair of Cedar Waxwings atop a dead tree snag some 100 yards away. Even with my camera's full zoom and cropping in afterward, this situation without the scope would not have resulted in a usable photograph. But although the focus is not good and some vignetting is present, one can tell that these are indeed Cedar Waxwings.


And when I crop these photos, as shown below, it suggests that with practice, I may in time achieve some really wonderful photographs.




I have a whole new respect for what goes into the stunning digiscope results seen on blogs such as Ecobirder and Birdchick!
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1 comment:

Mary Schier said...

Penny: The scope is neat. I like the turtle especially. I don't know if this is unusual or not, but Steve and I spotted a black and white warbler at Frontenac State Park this weekend. It's an interesting bird to observe.