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Monthly Archives: May 2008

29 May

Almost all things, optical, that I own, personally, are small. This is dictated, in part, by my keep it simple life style and, in part, by my bicycle lifestyle. If it cannot be carried on a bicycle, a binocular, spotting scope or digital camera will not see much use by yours, truly. It’s all relative, though. I do own a rather large binocular in my 10×70 astronomy binocular, but, compared to a telescope, even a 10×70 binocular is more portable and, with a backpack, I can still bicycle a binocular this large to a dark sky site. See you out …

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28 May

Been thinking of replacing my small point and shoot digital camera with a larger, higher performance digital camera, but I can’t bring myself to sacrifice the portability of the smaller digital cameras. Guess I’ve been spoiled with these cameras that are small enough to slip in a purse or the back pocket on my cycling jersey. Is there a compromise? Maybe. I’ve been looking at the Canon G9. Not that the 6x optical zoom is a big deal, but I do like having an optical viewfinder and a layout a bit more reminiscent of a DSLR. Size-wise, it may just …

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27 May

First really nice weekend, weather-wise, so I spent most of it on the bicycle (logged 162 miles), but I did see a few birds and talked to a few birders. We agreed that the spring warbler migration is pretty much over, but I did manage to get a Cerulean with my Zeiss compact binocular on Saturday, along the bike trail. Then too, there is still so much bird activity with all the birds singing and rushing about to nest, who could put their binocular away? Still a lot of wonderful resident birds to see. At one of my rest stops …

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26 May

Sometimes amazes me how people will spend big dollars on a camera or spotting scope, then stick a cheap tripod under it. Over the years, I have learned the hard way the price you pay when using a cheap tripod, especially those with plastic heads. Ever seen a $2000 spotting scope bite the dust when a plastic tripod head cracked? I have and it isn’t pretty. Other issue is stability. Add a 25×100 giant binocular to a light tripod and you have an useable binocular, no matter how good the optics. Good optics deserve a good tripod.…

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22 May

A must have for any hobbyist is a gooseneck style magnifier, such as the Carson Magnifly. I have used this type of magnifier for tying flies, as the name indicates, but also for studying insects, working on model trains with my nephew and I have a friend who uses a gooseneck style magnifier to make jewelry. In other words, anytime you need hands free, a gooseneck magnifier is a great way to go. For me, at least, this type of magnifier is less of a hassle than clip ons or visor type magnifiers.…

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21 May

Okay, this is not a rehash of the refractor versus reflectors versus all the other telescope designs. This is a more personal and intimate reason for liking refractors. Fact is, I just like refractor telescopes, especially small, high quality refractors. Maybe it’s because a refractor was my first telescope, but mostly it’s because small refractors suit my go light, keep it simple lifestyle. At this point in my life, living off a bicycle as I do, there is simply no room for large telescopes or complicated and fragile telescope designs. If I can’t thow it in a pack and carry …

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20 May

Had a good warbler day on Sunday (finally), despite temps in the 40s and a nasty north wind. Go figure. Guess the warblers decided to move, weather or no weather. Anyway, I managed 10 species for the day and, remarkably, all from one spot on the bike trail, early in the morning. That is definitely my best, single stop record. The list includes Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Redstart, Tennessee, Prothonotary, Yellow-rumped, Yellow and Yellowthroat. Once again, despite the clouds, the little Zeiss 8×20 binocular came through, contrary to what some will claim about compact binoculars not being suitable for birding. …

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19 May

Had some excellent digiscoping opportunities over the weekend for some song birds, namely a Bobolink and a Magnolia Warbler, both at about a distance of 10 yards. That’s the good news. The bad news is no spotting scope or digital camera to take pics. I’ve been trying to find a good compact digiscoping package that I could carry on the bicycle, since I do almost all my birding, these days, off a bicycle. Seems a shame to waste such great digiscoping opportunities, but I get very fussy about carrying weight on the bicycle. Might have to look into one those …

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15 May

Been lusting after a Televue 85 for some time, now, but can’t say my bank account agrees. To keep the internal peace, I have been considering a less expensive, though still quality, option in the Vixen ED81SWT. This Japanese telescope may not measure up to overall quality of a Televue, but it’s no slouch and has recieved some excellent reviews. The money I save would allow me to add a Vixen Porta mount, plus an eyepiece or two. Be the perfect grab and go scope and would look nice in either my living room or my patio. Tough choice, but …

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14 May

Hey, all you television addicts! Did you know that you can sit and relax and enjoy an even better show by heading outdoors with a spotting scope and a portable chair? One of my favorite things to do is to sit behind a spotting scope at a local marsh and watch all the shore birds, waterfowl, wading birds and other bird groups, not to mention all the other types of wildlife. Best of all, no commercials and lots of sunshine and fresh air, plus, you never know how the show will end. Turn off the TV, grab a spotting scope …

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