Birder's Guide

DEC 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/216642

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Minneapolis, Minnesota sharon@birdchick.com Sharon Stiteler Smartphone Digiscoping T he digiscoping game has changed, thanks to smartphones. When point-and-shoot digital cameras hit the scene, they seemed a natu- ral ft for birding. You could keep the small camera in a jacket pocket, ready to line it up to a spotting scope to document a rarity. These cameras were not expensive, many were versatile because you could get landscape and group shots, and quite a few had excellent macro features. Camera companies were not thrilled with this. Point-and-shoots were made 100,000 at a time and were meant, in part, to get folks interested in spending more money on larger camera bodies and lenses. So when people asked camera companies to make point-and-shoots to work with adapters for spotting scopes, the companies weren't too interested. But then many people stopped digiscoping and started using more expensive single lens refex (SLR) digital cameras. What started out as a relatively easy way for people to get photos in the feld became a sometimes-unwieldy and increasingly expensive hobby. But, with the right scope and camera body, you can still get some amazing shots. I've had some of my digiscoped images printed in books and magazines. When smartphones hit the scene, they changed everything, from digiscoping to listing to feld guides. Smartphones incorporate high-quality still and video camera options, especially in low-light conditions. You don't need multiple lenses, and you can easily snap a group shot of your friends, take a picture of that out-of-range Brown Booby through your scope, and send your photos to all your social media outlets. The latest version of the iPhone 5 even offers the option of burst mode shutter (taking several photos at once) and slow motion video. Nokia Lumia 1020 Leica's David La Puma demonstrated the technique of coupling an iPhone 5S with a Leica scope via a MeoPix adapter. While not all subjects are as cooperative as this particular Red-tailed Hawk, you can see the possibilities of this convenient method. Photo © Derek Lovitch. December 2013 | Birder's Guide to Gear 31

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