Getting closer to the action
Ask any photographer do they want a lens that can get them closer to the action then it’s almost guaranteed they will say yes.
At the same time as most photographers saying yes to the above question they will also be very aware of a number of reasons why despite being desirable a big lens might not be practical all of the time. Issues of weight, portability convenience etc can all come into play – but when it comes to the principle of greater ‘reach’ and improved proximity to the ‘target’ it’s probably fair to say that more is better.
The whole thing about getting close enough to be able to see and capture birds behaving as naturally as possible and at the same time as avoiding disturbing them is a key part of taking great bird pictures as well as being pretty important for capturing the richness of detail in the plumage of even the most common of garden birds – and if you doubt that, have you ever closely checked out a starling or common garden sparrow?
My personal interest is in taking pictures, but some folk are fascinated by spotting and watching birds and aim to enhance their experience by using binoculars or telescopes (scopes). Whilst I can comment reasonably sensibly on cameras, lenses and my general experience of taking bird photographs – my knowledge of what makes a good pair of binoculars or a good scope is somewhat limited.
Getting closer to the action and capturing it
Although i have no real knowledge of the technical side of taking pictures with cameras attached to telescopes, I do know there are plenty of folk who do that sort of thing especially those who enjoy astrophotography – shooting the moon, the stars and so on. I also know there are all sorts of gadgets and adapters to make that happen. I’m less certain though of how portable that sort of kit is… but my interest was raised when I bumped into Dave the other week, a local bird enthusiast out with his spotting scope.
Dave uses a Hawke Nature Trek scope mounted on a tripod which I gather has decent optics, impressive magnification and is pretty portable.
But the thing was, although he was using his scope to checkout a possible sighting of a woodpecker he wasn’t actually bent over peering into the eyepiece. It transpired that he was looking into the impressive retina display of his iphone and was doing his viewing on 6.1 inch screen at high resolution. Dave was also able to snap pictures, record video and zoom in all by using the screen of his phone.
I stopped to chat with him and as well as finding out a bit more I had a go at looking through the scope and then had a go at seeing the same view via the phone screen. It really is decent. I also got to see some fantastic video footage from last year of kingfishers entering and leaving the nest they had built in a local river bank – it was all pretty impressive.
It’s not always about size …
There are some folk who will always say size is everything, big is better etc, but in this case the gadget that connects the phone to the scope is a small, simple looking pocket sized gadget that works well to rapidly connect a mobile phone (iphone or android) directly to a scope in just a couple of seconds
Smart Spot it’s a smart idea
Best of all though, is that this gadget – known as Smart Spot has been designed and developed by Dave – the local birdwatcher I met.
You can see pictures of the Smart Spot in the picture gallery below, it really is very decent, really does take just a second or two to attach to the scope and really is pocket sized. With more applications that bird spotting and watching wildlife what’s not to like about it?
Find out more
If it’s the sort of thing you are interested in you can find out more about Smart Spot by emailing Dave direct at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clicking on any of the pictures below should open a gallery that you can scroll/click through