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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Left: Ospreys digiscoped with a Swarovski ATM 80mm Scope and iPhone 4s. Photo © Sharon Stiteler. Right: Loggerhead Shrike taken with iPhone 5s, Swarovski ATX 85mm spotting scope, and PhoneSkope adapter. Photo © Sharon Stiteler. be lined up. If not, back up and try again. Try to hold the phone against the eyepiece securely with one hand. I am right-handed, so I hold the phone against the scope eyepiece with my left Canyon Towhee taken by handholding an iPhone 4s up to a Swarovski ATX 85mm spotting scope. Photo © Sharon Stiteler. hand. This frees up the right hand to adjust focus and hit the shutter. After making sure the bird is focused in the telescope, use the phone to further refne the focus. Tap the screen where the bird is or whatever part of the bird that you want to be in focus. The phone will automatically focus and, in some cases, even adjust the light metering. If you have any vignetting (the black circle around the edge of the image), use your thumb and forefnger to zoom in just enough to get rid of it. This technique takes a lot of practice. You'll need time to fgure out exactly how to line up the phone lens with the eyepiece. It may well require a two-hour practice session to get it down. But, with practice, you can master the technique and start digiscoping in the feld. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Here is a video demonstrating how to hand-hold your phone to a scope eyepiece: Smartphone Adapters For some of us, hand-holding a smartphone is just not an option, especially if you drink too much coffee to hold a phone steady. Smartphone digiscoping adapters can help. They ft over some phones and work with some spotting scopes and binoculars. Binocular adapters should be considered only in a desperate situation. It is incredibly diffcult to hold your binoculars steadily on a bird with one hand while taking photos with your smartphone in the other. I highly recommend investing in a smartphone adapter for spotting scopes. Let the tripod do some of the work. Or lean the binocular against a car, or a tree, or even an understanding friend's shoulder. It seemed at frst that spotting scope companies were ready for the smartphone challenge. Kowa developed a sleek iPhone 4 case with an adapter that ft not only their 77/88mm zoom December 2013 | Birder's Guide to Gear 33

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