Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Proof is In the Picture

If like me you enjoy getting away from the crowds then taking images of the good birds that you find is very important. There are three reasons for capturing images of the rarer birds you find: firstly it helps to prove your ID, secondly it backs up your claim if your a single observer and finally a photo is a great souvenir. I think it's a must for any up and coming birders to take photos. I pride myself on having a very high percentage of my better bird finds either being seen by other birders or being photographed. Occasionally a mobile bird is not photographable but if you get enough credit in the bank you will be forgiven for occasionally not getting a photo.

Digiscoping is a great way of capturing record shots, as you can get images of distant birds. Most scopes these days have adapters to allow you to attach a range of cameras. Even smart phones can be connected to scopes. Basic images can be created without needing to spend a fortune.

Some bird species need to be photographed for the records to be accepted. In Leicestershire the record committee insists that Caspian Gull submissions include photographs.

Compact cameras probably offer the best flexibility for digiscoping. If you can get a camera that the zoom range works with your scope you can just hold it against the eyepiece. At present I handhold a small Sony compact with a 3.6 x zoom straight on to my scope. The focusing is done using the scopes focus wheel.

Another great solution is one of the modern super zoom bridge cameras. These take really good quality video and you can take a screen image of the paused video and turn it into a photograph.

Photographs help to keep you on the straight and narrow as the camera generally doesn't fib. I have found it invaluable with my interest in gulls, the images allow me to study the more difficult gulls again when I get home. It also allows my peers to have a look at my identifications.

The photo below was taken today using my Sony compact RX 100 handheld against my scope. It's at the better end of the quality you can get without having an adapter to fix your camera to your scope. Most images captured with a digiscoping set up are good enough to prove what you saw, but good quality images are possible if the subject is quite close and the light is good.

Corn Bunting Taken with a Sony RX100 Compact Camera handheld to Scope Eyepiece

1 comment: