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Monthly Archives: March 2009

31 Mar

April for me, back on the prairie of my youth, was always shore bird month, so that meant time to grab the spotting scope and tripod, maybe a camp chair if you wanted to go deluxe, a thermos of coffee and sandwich and then head to a favorite prairie marsh. As a passionate birder, that has always been my favorite way to spend a day birding. Don’t get me wrong, I love all types of birding, but a prairie marsh is such a special place. It means as much to me as a trout stream when I am fly-fishing or …

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30 Mar

Despite the weekend’s rough weather, complete with gale force winds and snow, did see my first Great Egret in the Leica 10x25BL compact binocular. The Great Egret is much more common in this area than back on my Nebraska prairie, but always a magnificent bird and a treat to see. Egrets and herons are also the perfect subjects for digiscoping due to their behavior. Egrets and herons typically stand motionless in the water as they watch for prey. This greatly improves the chances of a sharp pic while digiscoping with spotting scope and digital camera. The fact that egrets and …

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25 Mar

I have been accused of being an old-fashioned photographer, but I like to think of myself as being more retro than old-fashioned. When it comes to cameras, true, I have an aversion to cameras that do the thinking for me. I want to do the work, myself, as far as focusing, metering and so on. For me, that is part of the fun and challenge of photography. I am, of course, a minority in this day and age of digital point and shoot cameras and ever more advanced DSLRs and this generation of photographers born with a computer in their…

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25 Mar

I have been accused of being an old-fashioned photographer, but I like to think of myself as being more retro than old-fashioned. When it comes to cameras, true, I have an aversion to cameras that do the thinking for me. I want to do the work, myself, as far as focusing, metering and so on. For me, that is part of the fun and challenge of photography. I am, of course, a minority in this day and age of digital point and shoot cameras and ever more advanced DSLRs and this generation of photographers born with a computer in their …

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24 Mar

Scanning my local ponds and lakes this last week with a spotting scope has paid some dividends in new birds for the year and, as always, some great views of colorful spring waterfowl. This spring I’ve seen more Red-breasted Mergansers than in years past and the view these ducks provide in a good birding spotting scope like my Kowa 663 spotting scope is something you have to experience, firsthand, to appreciate. So good, in fact, that I am going a bit crazy trying to do some digiscoping for these challenging subjects. Recent high winds and choppy water combined with this …

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23 Mar

If you are an avid wildflower photographer, now is the time to get ready for the upcoming wildflower season. For years, I have been telling myself that this will be the year to grab my digital camera and start a photo journal of all the wildflower species I see as they bloom through the spring, summer and fall out on the bike trails. I have yet to get this done from start to finish, spring through the fall, despite the fact that I almost always have a digital point and shoot camera in my purse or pack as I ride …

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18 Mar

Seeing a lot of tripods being marketed as digi tripods. What is a digi-tripod? It’s actually a pretty generic term for a lightweight tripod for small digital point and shoot cameras. The word digi-tripod should not be taken to mean a tripod for any digital camera, however. Camera size is the key. Full size DSLR cameras or SLR sized point and shoots, such as the Leica V-LUX 1 or Canon SX10-IS still need the support of a stout tripod, especially when we start to zoom up in magnification or, in the case of the DSLR camera, add long telephoto lenses. …

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17 Mar

You cannot deny the practicality of digital cameras in this hurry-up, instant gratification world of ours, but I still miss the unhurried pace of a manual focus, manual metering 35mm film SLR. To be sure, you can always focus and meter manually with any good DSLR, like the Canon EOS 40D, but seems like these functions are more of an afterthought on a digital. Get an old Contax S2 or Leica R6.2 in your hands and you’ll understand the difference. I used to use a Contax S2 for all my macro work with wildflowers, many years ago. Oh the pain …

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16 Mar

What is the difference between Canon Powershot SD point and shoot cameras and their less expensive siblings, the Canon Powershot A series? Fair question and one I get, now and then, from a customer. Biggest difference (or maybe I should say the small difference) is the size. Canon SD models are the slimmer, more compact Canon Powershots. The SD Powershots also tend to be more heavily loaded with advanced software and will be overall a better built point and shoot digital camera. The only way to get a more advanced Canon Powershot is to step up to the Canon Powershot …

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12 Mar

If you’ve never owned or used a premium grade spotting scope such as a Swarovski, Leica, Zeiss, Kowa and so on, you probably wonder why they are so darn expensive. Of course, you get superb build quality and high grade objective lenses – that’s a given at these prices – but what a lot of people don’t understand and appreciate is that you also get superb, state of the art eyepieces with these spotting scopes. I am a firm believer that a spotting scope eyepiece is at least half of the scope in terms of performance, so take a look …

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