Monday, January 19, 2015

First digiscoping attempts with Swarovski ATX95

A couple of days ago I got a brilliant optics kit - Swarovski Optik have very kindly agreed to support the Great Bustard conservation project I am conducting with the best optics possible - Swarovski ATX95 scope, and TLS APO DSLR adapter for digiscoping. This morning I went out for a couple of frozen hours to Whitlingham to try it out for the first time. Personally, digiscoping is a bit of a retro activity. I bought my first digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 4500 - that was one hell of a camera, for it's time at least) and used it for digiscoping for a couple of year until I decided digiscoping sucks and I purchased my first DSLR. Since then I have avoided digiscoping for many years, but when now I got the opportunity to use such a supreme scope, digiscoping became an option for some proper photography - the world of digiscoping has evolved a bit since I abandoned digiscoping...
My fingers were frozen this morning, but the light was quite OK after a grey start so conditions were not too bad. I really enjoyed just birding with the scope first, before I began shooting through the scope. It was fun to check the waterfowl at the far end of the broad in dim light, at a magnification of X60, and get a crisp and clear image. I picked out a male Sparrowhawk flying low over the water away to the far bank. It perched on a post and I could see clearly its yellow iris and all plumage details - I was really impressed by the image quality.
With digiscoping, I need to practice more and improve my own skills. After years of using auto-focus, I need to remember how to focus manually... And I need to test different methods of light metering in order to get properly exposed images. Unfortunately didn't shoot in RAW this morning - don't know why, so I had some exposure problems that I couldn't correct. But for sure I will try to improve my skills and hope to come up with better results in the future.

Great Crested Grebe - taken with Swarovski ATX95 and Canon 40D

So thanks again to Swarovski for their contribution to conservation!

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