DIGISCOPING WITH AN IPHONE AND SPOTTING SCOPE

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 | Date Posted: 11/14/2013

This blog entry comes to us from Tim Schreckengost, a Field Ornithologist and blogger. He has worked throughout the country on several bird research projects and in his free time enjoys birding, blogging, and photography. He's especially interested in migration, radar ornithology, and keeping cats indoors. We look forward to more blog posts from Tim in the future!

This is an introduction to a developing photography method called digiscoping. I will follow this post with tips for getting higher quality images while digiscoping. Digiscoping is the art of taking photographs through a spotting scope, binoculars, telescope, or a variety of other optical devices. In the birding world, spotting scopes are the weapon of choice. Over the past year, I have been digiscoping with my iPhone and Celestron spotting scopes. The Regal 80F-ED and Regal M2 80ED proved to pair nicely with an iPhone and a specialized adapter.

Digiscoping Setup

As I traveled around the country in 2013, I had the opportunity to digiscope birds in the deserts of Arizona, hummingbirds in extreme southeast Arizona, coastal species in San Diego, and fall migrants in Delaware. Once you catch the digiscoping bug, it’s hard to give up. I take my adapter everywhere I go now, whether I’m using a spotting scope or binoculars. There is always something to take a picture of. Even if I don’t have the adapter, I hold my phone up to the binoculars and take a handheld shot. Either way, digiscoping is a great way to take pictures of birds and other wildlife.

A lot of folks use digital cameras for digiscoping. In recent years, digiscoping has become more popular because of the options for smartphones. It’s that easy! Hold your smartphone up to your optics and snap a photo. Of course, it’s easier with an adapter, but you can do without.  If you’re crafty, you can make an adapter out of items lying around the house. 

Enough of the jabber, here are a few of my favorite photos from 2013.

Black Bellied Whistling Duck
Black Bellied Whistling Duck

Tropical Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird

Vermilion Flycatcher
Vermillion Flycatcher

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler

-Tim Schreckengost