Birder's Guide

DEC 2015

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.

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Page 11 of 43

10 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2015 lot of attention gets paid to the importance of hav- ing a good (what the heck, how about great) spotting scope in one's optics quiver. But let's not forget that the tripod/ head combo foundation is every bit as paramount to optimal scoping. Like the gear they are designed to support, tripod and tripod head offerings have come a long way since many of us began birding. Here, I'd like to summarize some consid- erations for tripod and tripod head selection, whether you are ready for your frst investment or mulling an upgrade to your existing kit. When dealing with a multi-part system such as tripod, head, and scope (and perhaps digiscoping adapter + camera), overall performance can be limited by the weakest link in the system. In this regard, your choice of support can be nearly as important as your choice of scope. As with about any major gear purchase, a signifcant starting point is to think about how you plan to use the equipment. For example, a birder with a small scope for traveling will look for a tripod system differently than someone planning to use a large scope for digiscoping. ABA Sales partner Eagle Optics provides a great resource for birders, frstly by selecting tripods and heads best suited for birding out of the vast photography market, and secondly by providing detailed descriptions and specifcations for any product they carry, al- lowing for easy online research. If anything I discuss leaves you with questions or if you just want to cut to the chase, give them a call or try their online chat. With a staff of experienced birders on hand, they will work with you on a personal level to fnd a perfect ft for your needs. So what are the major considerations when choosing a tri- pod system? I think a fundamental area to begin with is the tripod material. The choices for tripods fall into two types: A Propping It All Up

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