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Monthly Archives: February 2010

26 Feb

Had a visit from my best friend, yesterday, who I haven’t seen in a few months, so, after a few hugs, we naturally asked each other, “What’s new?” That was an opening I could not resist, so I headed to my camera cabinet and pulled out my already beloved Nikon camera to show her.

I handed her my Nkon F3 HP camera and told her it was not exactly new, given that the serial number indicated it was made in 1983; it only looked new because it had, essentially, never been used and that, in fact, it came with the …

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25 Feb

It’s no secret that using two eyes to look through optical instruments like binoculars is easier than using one eye, as when using spotting scopes or a telescopes. A good way to appreciate the advantage of using two eyes for observing is to use a monocular microscope for an hour compared to using a binocular microscope for an hour. Using two eyes does improve visual acuity and it does make for much less eye fatigue for long observing sessions.

With spotting scopes and telescopes, there is no binocular eyepiece option, though, so we are stuck with using one eye. So …

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24 Feb

Not sure if digital cameras are allowed at the Winter Olympics, at least at the competitive events, but, if I was lucky enough to be in Vancouver, right now, I would still carry a film camera or digital camera to get some shots of that great city and breathtaking country. I’ve been to Vancouver and British Columbia (many, many years, ago, so no pics); if ever there was a city and countryside made for photography, it is this very picturesque corner of the world. It really is a special place, just as all the tourism commercials say.

With all that…

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23 Feb

Yesterday, I was talking about one of the most popular telescope accessories, namely, a Barlow lens. Just about everyone who owns a telescope, owns a Barlow lens or has at least tried a Barlow lens. However, there are other telescope accessories that can also prove very useful to an astronomer.

One of my favorite telescope accessories is a nebula filter. Nebula filters can do an amazing job of revealing an otherwise invisible nebula or, in the case of a nebula that is visible in the telescope eyepiece, show it in better detail and glory. There are a number of different…

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22 Feb

To Barlow or not to Barlow? That is a question that anyone who owns a telescope will ask when buying telescope eyepieces. For those new to astronomy, a Barlow lens is a lens that attaches to telescopes eyepieces and increases the magnification of a given telescope eyepiece, so to speak. Thus, a telescope eyepiece that delivers 50x in a given telescope, will deliver 100x in that same telescope when you attach a 2x Barlow lens to the eyepiece. Astronomers, though, have mixed feelings about Barlow lenses; some hate Barlow lenses and some love Barlow lenses.

I, myself, have used Barlow…

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19 Feb

Got up in the middle of the night, last night, to take care of business, then got a case of the munchies, so headed downstairs to raid the refrigerator. It’s a bad habit, I know, but not something I do that often. On the way to the kitchen, though, I peeked through our floor to ceiling high picture window in the living room and caught my breath. The stars were magnificent!

Our window has a southern exposure, so I had a nice view of the star Spica in the constellation Virgo a bit to my left and could just catch …

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18 Feb

Sooner or later, I knew I would have my digital camera, in hand, when my local deer made their appearance on one of my near daily ski runs. Yesterday, it finally came together and I got a pic with my Panasonic ZM50 digital camera. No, the pic won’t make the cover of any wildlife magazine, but it is fun to view and it will bring back memories of a certain winter day whenever I pull it up on the computer.

The shot was made with the digital camera lens at 420mm, roughly 12x in terms of magnification and image stabilization …

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17 Feb

I am not a competitive person, at least not in a conventional sense; I have no inclination to compete with others, though I do compete with myself on a regular basis in my never-ending quest to improve myself. When folks think of competition, though, they tend to think of competition in that Olympics sense of the word, with contestants battling it out for Medals and a bit of honor. Despite my lack of competitive spirit, though, I have been watching the winter Olympics. No, there are no Olympic events that cover my expertise in binoculars, spotting scopes, digital cameras, telescopes …

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16 Feb

Okay, you are trying to do some bird photography with your digital camera and you are a little hesitant to pay the price for that really long telephoto lens you need to fill the frame with something the size of a songbird. By now, you know that a 300mm telephoto lens isn’t going to get you close enough and even that 400mm telephoto lens is just a start. A 600mm telephoto lens is better and … well, those darn songbirds are really small, aren’t they?

Enter, digiscoping. This is a very simple, but also a very effective way to do …

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15 Feb

How much magnification, in terms of either a telephoto camera lens or a spotting scope do you need for bird photography? The answer depends on the equipment and the technique you are using for bird photography.

If you are going the traditional photography route with a standard digital SLR camera and a long telephoto lens, the answer is almost always more than you think. You must be very close to fill to fill a frame with a songbird, even with a 400 mm camera lens, which translates to about 12x in a digital camera format and about 8x in a …

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