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Monthly Archives: August 2009

26 Aug

Wish I could get film cameras out of my system and be a good little girl and go with digital cameras, like the rest of the world. I don’t regard the digital camera empire as the source of some conspiracy to eradicate all film camera and film camera lovers from the face of the earth, but it is becoming ever hard to stay with film, especially old film cameras. Furthermore, I think it is right to be concerned about the effects of film processing chemicals and how could I argue with getting rid of mercury in camera batteries, even though …

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25 Aug

By now, most people know that the rumor about Mars appearing as large as the full moon, this month, is a total hoax. (Well, not everyone. I just got off the phone with a very nice and very grateful lady on this very thing.) Be sure to check the NASA site which exposes this rumor for the nonsense it is. On the other hand, I don’t want people to stay indoors on these beautiful August evenings, not when there is so much to see with a binocular or telescope. In fact, a lot of us telescope and binocular users have …

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24 Aug

Ball head, pistol grip ball head or standard video head on a tripod for spotting scopes? I have used them all and, day in, day out, I’ll take a video head, such as the Bogen 128RC (the old 3130) Lot’s of reasons. First the video head keeps the point of balance low and centered right over the tripod legs. This gives you the most of that all important and essential stability. Ball heads and, even worse, pistol grip tripod heads raise that balance point higher over the legs and make balance more precarious. Yes, I have seen some expensive spotting …

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19 Aug

If you’ve been trying to choose the right telescope because you’ve heard a rumor that the planet Mars will be as large as the full moon, later this month, be sure to check the NASA Mars Hoax bulletin before you buy a telescope. The Mars Hoax email has been making the rounds, again. Does this mean you should not buy a telescope? Does this mean you can’t use a telescope to see good views of planets this month? Certainly not. Jupiter is well placed in the souteast in the evening this month and Jupiter will always show more detail than …

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18 Aug

Had a visit from the folks from Zeiss to go over some of their new products and, as always a real treat to get our hands on that premium selection of Zeiss binoculars, Zeiss riflescopes, Zeiss spotting scopes and Zeiss laser rangefinders. We were particularly impressed with their new Victory RF laser rangefinder binocular. My only criticism was the weight, but optics are the usual Zeiss Victory FL terrific and the laser rangefinder was easy to use and quick to give us a readout. The venerable and, formerly untouchable, Leica Geovid will now have a run for its money. Rich …

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17 Aug

This was not a good year for observing Perseid meteors, due to the presence of the moon and, as always, the severe light pollution in my area. Still, I walked over to a local park where I had a good view to the northeast and actually managed to see one or two. I suspect I went just to say I did it and also to honor some of the superb Perseid sessions I have had over the years. I enjoy meteor showers for many reasons, not the least of which is the break from my telescope or astronomy binocular. You …

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12 Aug

We now carry some bike lights on our website via the very affordable Dorcy bike light combo and Nite ize accessories, but, since I ride my bicycle in the worst winter weather, I have been looking for a bike light that is a bit more rugged and weatherproof. I’m talking mostly about a bike light that allows me to be seen, rather than a bike light to actually see, but it must be able to survive extreme cold and moisture conditions. Most bike lights last me no more than a year of hard use and it is usually nasty weather …

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11 Aug

If you like just getting out in the field a getting close-up views of the little things – rocks, twigs, insects, spiders and so on – the traditional optic is a handheld magnifier, such as the excellent Nikon 8D. However, there are just times you need more magnification. Most naturalists, therefore, carry a pocket magnifier with hgiher magnification, such as the10x Zeiss D40. You will notice, right away, though, that as magnification goes up in a magnifier, lens size decreases, rapidly. No way around it. By the time you get to 10x, you have a tiny lens about half an …

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10 Aug

Have been getting some customers who have been taken in by the Mars hoax email that just won’t seem to die. Okay, I do inform them about the hoax – how could I not? – but I also do everything I can to convince them that astronomy is still a great pursuit, with or without the Mars hoax. In fact, I tell them the sky is full of things that I consider to be even more spectacular than what a hoax can imagine and that many of these things can be seen in astronomy binocular, not to mention a telescope. …

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05 Aug

These days, if you are shopping for a tripod, you may run across a model labeled as a digi tripod. What is a digi tripod? A digi tripod is a lightweight tripod, both in terms of tripod weight and tripod load capacity and it is a tripod designed to be used with today’s ever popular small point and shoot digital cameras. These pocket sized digital cameras do not need the size and weight of a traditional tripod used for larger digital SLR cameras, hence the “digi” tripod. Keep in mind that digi tripods are not designed for heavy use or …

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