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Monthly Archives: December 2009

31 Dec

Digiscoping (holding a small digital camera over the eyepiece of a spotting scope or telescope and taking pics) with my new telescope/spotting scope has been a blast and, as always, I am amazed at just how easy this method is for getting pics of birds. Digiscoping, though, is not the only technique for taking photos with a spotting scope.

Before digiscoping, we coupled an SLR camera body (no lens) to the spotting scope body (no eyepiece). The fancy word for this is prime focus photography, but it is simply using the scope as a telephoto camera lens, rather than taking …

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30 Dec

Finally!! Got my new telescope out for a fist look under the night sky and I was not disappointed. First target was the nearly full moon, using my 22mm Televue Nagler eyepiece. I always choose the moon, or, should I say, the edge of the moon, for a color test with refractor telescopes. A standard achromat (lens design) refractor telescope will always show some color fringing on the edge of the moon and the cheaper the achromat refractor telescope, the more color fringing seen. Have seen some cheap refractor telescopes that produced so much color fringing that the moon looked …

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29 Dec

I just got a great deal on a classic pro level SLR camera. Okay, it’s a great deal if you are actually looking for a 35 mm film SLR camera, but that’s exactly what I like in a camera. Don’t get me wrong – I own digital cameras, too, but I grew up and started on film SLRs and there will always be a soft spot in my heart for film cameras and this one is an all time classic film camera.

Here’s my new baby. It’s a Nikon F3 HP and it is practically new in the box. I …

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28 Dec

I am still waiting for the skies to clear so that I can use my new and unique 80mm triplet telescope for some astronomy, but that does not mean the LOMO APO triplet optics in this 80mm refractor telescope are not getting a workout. I have been using this fine short tube, 480mm focal length telescope, as a spotting scope for some day work and that is one of the advantages of a short focal length refractor telescope; you can also use such a compact telescope as a spotting scope for some day work.

In this case, I have the …

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23 Dec

Had just enough snow, overnight – about an inch of soft stuff on top of last week’s crusty four inches – to make it over to the park for my first cross-country skiing of the season. The first thing I noticed, not surprisingly, was that I was out of shape. That first half-mile had me huffing and puffing. The last half mile, though, was more of the old me and it felt so good. Cross country skiing does that for you – you are nearly exhausted, but it is the good kind of tired that brings a smile to your …

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22 Dec

It’s called the new telescope curse. It goes like this. You wait and hope and dream about having a nice telescope, someday. Lo and behold, the day finally arrives when you have that new telescope in your hot little hands. You unpack the telescope from its box, assemble it, then take some time to admire it. Nest, you check out the telescope eyepieces and other telescope accessories and see how they fit on the telescope. No curse, so far, other than, perhaps, some buyer’s remorse for having spent so much money. Not to worry, when your husband sees all the …

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21 Dec

Some of you have recently emailed and called to congratulate me on my recent marriage and subsequent relocation to Milwaukee. Thank-you. Life moves on, as always. One of the things I will miss the most about my recent life change, though, is my job at Optics Planet. It has been a great five plus years.

The good news is that I will still be connected to OpticsPlanet on a limited basis, doing more blogging and answering forum questions, as always. This is going to be even easier than before, since my new location is a much improved place for birding, …

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16 Dec

The holiday season, here at OpticsPlanet, for me at least, might as well be called the beginner telescope or beginner microscope season. During the month of December, we sell more beginner telescopes and beginner microscopes than all the other months of the year, combined. This is good for business, of course, but I also like the idea of selling products that can spark an interest that can last a lifetime and what greater gift can you give than an interest that lasts a lifetime? There are no guarantees, of course and buying too cheap a telescope or microscope can have …

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15 Dec

When people think of astronomy, even amateur astronomy, their thoughts automatically turn to telescopes or, now and then, to astronomy binoculars. This is only natural, of course, since telescopes and binoculars are the basic tools for an amateur astronomy. However, one of the things I also enjoy about astronomy is the wealth of books and videos that can keep your enthusiasm high and also make you a better astronomer, to boot. Astronomy videos and films are standard fare for many astronomy clubs when meetings get “clouded out” and that’s just one of many reasons for joining a local astronomy club. …

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14 Dec

Cold weather means it’s time for my zip-loc bag reminder. Zip-loc bag reminder, you say? Okay, you are outside with your binocular, spotting scope, camera, monocular when it’s cold and then you seek refuge in that nice, warm, cozy house. What happens to your binocular, spotting scope, camera, monocular? Right, moisture condenses all over it when it hits that warm air. If your binocular or spotting scope is waterproof, no big deal, but it is rare for a camera to be waterproof, so that moisture can be a big deal. The solution? Put that camera in a zip-lock bag and …

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