28.12.06 | Learning the ropes

Santa has been very generous this year, delivering my spotting scope, digital camera and digiscoping accessories!

Took delivery of my Olivon T90 spotting scope and Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera on Christmas Day. Thursday the 28th and the bad weather disappeared, MIchaela and I went to Cannock Chase to walk off the Christmas pudding with our friends. The light was excellent that day so I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to practice using my new Coolpix 4500 camera and may be even some digiscoping. I was only interested in trying to get a sharp image so I concentrated on mainly trees and leaves.

After attaching the camera and scope via my new Olivon digital camera adapter and playing around with the settings on the camera, managed to get some nice crisp shots of the leaves blowing in the wind. If I can get the same results when there's a bird in the frame, I might get some interesting pictures.

The shots opposite show some early tests on Cannock Chase, the scope was set to 22x zoom, the camera set on aperture priority, the available light gave me a shutter speed of 1/250 with a small amount of optical zoom applied on the camera to eliminate vignetting. See the my technique page for more information.

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larger image.


29.12.06 | Digiscope image numero uno

After the excitement of Cannock Chase, I had to get out again, may be this time I would capture a critter!

In my enthusiasm and perhaps lack of patience, I ignored the poor weather conditions that arrived on the 29th of December. Standing in my kitchen with the back door open to avoid the rain, I pointed my scope out in the direction of the large tree in my back garden and waited.

I managed to capture this image of a Great Tit munching on a sunflower heart, the conditions were so poor, the image was very under exposed. I had the camera set to full manual, shutter 1/60 and aperture around 4.0, smallest I could get after zooming in the camera to eliminate the vignetting. Scope 22x zoom.

After some heavy work in Photoshop, lots of brightening, noise reduction and unsharp mask, I was reasonably happy for a first attempt. Maybe next time I'll wait for some sunshine.

Great Tit - Picture not so great.

The final image looks overworked,
and too grainy.

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larger image.


30.12.06 | Early morning bright spell brings success

Saturday morning brought a brief bright spell, I quickly set up my gear in the back garden and observed the birds participating in an early morning snack.

A female Chaffinch remained still for a moment on a tree branch and I managed to snap her.

The shot opposite was the best out of a bunch of approximately 9 pictures. The bright light enabled a much faster shutter speed resulting in a sharper image. Minimal work was required in Photoshop just a small amount of brightness and contrast plus unsharp mask.

The following mornings brought further success, I captured Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Collared Dove. See the my pictures section for more images.

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Female Chaffinch poses
for the camera

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larger image.



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