Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, August 10, 2012

Suggestions? Comments? Help?

Since that new photo blind has been set in such a wonderful spot, I've been spending more time out there.  It's been great...  I've seen a family of otters swimming across the lake; I see the bald eagle frequently; the kingfisher is almost always around; yesterday I was thrilled to see two cow moose wading along the upper end.  This morning a cow moose was having breakfast.  Just a constant view of something going on!

Bill & I have a spotting scope that we haven't used a lot.  I took it to the photo blind a couple of days ago and am becoming more used to it.  (We've only had it 5 or 6 years...)   

I have a couple of cameras that I've been trying to use with the scope...

The little Canon seems to work best...

Here's a photo I took holding the camera up to the scope...
 Here's what I see through the eyepiece...
Note how scientific I am about all this...  Hey, I'm a "point and shoot" person.  

Now, I crop and fix the lighting some....
That's a cow moose out there... 
While I kind of like the "water color" effect, I'm probably the only one who recognizes it for what it is.

Again...  through the lens...
 A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron...  slightly slanted...  and look at those strange colors around the edges....

Now, using Picasa, I've cropped, straightened and fixed the lighting....
 The birds (actually I think it's the "whites") now have a blue halo.

This last photo is so off-center I only caught part of it with my camera....
 Bald Eagle
Perched on top of a Spruce Tree

Cropped...  lightened up...
Very Blurry picture of our National Bird....

Now, I really enjoy viewing these critters through the scope, but wonder if there are any hints, helps or suggestions about how to photograph them more effectively?

As I wrote, I'm just a "point and shoot" kind of photographer. I know nothing about filters, settings or actually much more than how to turn on the camera and push a button.  As my photographer friend told me once... "You take enough pictures some are bound to come out good".

I certainly take a lot of pictures...
Thank goodness for digital!

Just wondering if anyone out there shoots through a scope?

That's All For Today!


  1. I thought about trying photos through a scope a few years back, but never got into it. I don't own a point and shoot, so my camera won't work with my scope. I think Bayfield Al does some shooting through a scope. You might want to give him a holler.

    All of that being said. I have a do-hickey that came with the first scope I bought. It hooks on to the scope and holds the camera at the eye piece. I will never use it. If you would like it, let me know, and I'll send it your way. :)

  2. Ooh, I think I'd take "Judy and Emma" up on the offer of the do-hickey. I understand do-hickeys are very good things to have.

    I've never tried to shoot through our spotting scope. I look forward to seeing the responses you get. It would be great to know how to do it... as long as I don't have to go out and buy any expensive do-hickeys.

  3. I've heard several people talk about "Digiscoping" but I've never tried it, nor do I have the proper equipment to do it. But I've seen some pretty amazing photos that were taken that way! Just throw your question out there on a blog post, and I'll bet you'll get some suggestions. You're sure seeing a nice variety of birds and wildlife!

  4. I am a dreadful photographer but I wish you luck!

  5. Maybe a camera with a good zoom lens would be easier.

  6. A company called Swarovski Optics makes adapters that will fit practically any point and shoot camera to allow the camera to be attached directly to a spotting scope. The problem with this is they are expensive running over $300 or so. Other than that, the only thing one can really do is use a tripod to hold the point and shoot as close to the scope as possible to avoid shaking.

  7. Hi Sharon-

    I digiscoped extensively for about ten years and still do occasionally. It wasn't until I got my big DSLR and zoom lens that I got away from it.

    I found that a point-and-shoot camera with a lens approximately the same size as the eyepiece on your spotting scope works best. This meant that I wasn't using my "best" camera, as it had a bigger lens. I used Canon A-80 and A-95 cameras as they fit my scope perfectly. I've also used a Canon A-630 with good results. What all of these cameras have in common is that they have a smallish front lens, a flat area on the front of the extended lens, and they fit right up against the flat rubber on the eyepiece of my spotting scope. You don't want to have glass-on-glass contact, but you also don't want to have any gaps. If the camera lens and scope eyepiece are about the same size, it makes it much easier to line them up and get a centered image.

    If you have a zoom eyepiece on your spotting scope set it on its lowest power. Conversely, set the zoom on your camera to the highest power. That will give you the fullest field of view and eliminate much of the dark circle that you are getting.

    As far as getting a fixture to mount the camera to the eyepiece: I never used one because I wanted to use my spotting scope as a stand-alone scope, and only when I got an animal in the scope and well-focused did I go for the camera. If the camera is mounted to the scope you are forced to do all of your aiming and scope focusing through the camera screen, and I found that very difficult. Teri and I got very quick at digiscoping. While I got the scope on the animal and got focus, she would get the camera turned on and zoomed in, then hand it to me. We got it down to just a second or two.

    Beyond that it comes down to having enough light and a cooperative target. Digiscoping needs a lot of light to get good results. My great frustration last summer in Maine was the large number of gloomy days! It pays to learn what adjustments are available on your camera. If you can adjust the ISO (speed of the sensor) you can partially make up for a lack of light. Higher ISO settings work better in poor light, though the pictures will be a bit grainier. What you are trying to do is keep your shutter speed up high enough to eliminate blur.

    And as you've found, you can get some odd light "shifts" when shooting through a scope, so learning to do adjustments in Photoshop Elements, Canon Zoombrowser, or some other software program can help to clean things up.

    I suggest practicing on a fixed object like a pot of flowers on a table, a sign, or ?? Under those circumstances you can experiment with zooms, camera settings, etc. under controlled conditions. Then you'll be a little more comfortable when that moose steps out!!

    Good luck, and feel free to contact by e-mail if you want to go into more detail.


  8. I was going to tell you to look into digiscoping, but I didn't get here in time. I can see I'm not needed.