I used to think that birdwatching was reserved for elderly couples. To be completely honest, the vision of Thurston and Lovey Howell sitting in the shade on Gilligan’s Island with binoculars in hand usually came to mind. It turns out, it’s quite a popular hobby for people of all ages from all over the world. It should come as no surprise, as it’s challenging and interesting.
Spotting a new or interesting bird can be very gratifying. That is if you’re focused and your mind isn’t too cluttered with chore lists and busy calendars. This worthy outdoor undertaking is flexible too. You can enjoy it from the back porch, the nearest woodlot, or on vacation anywhere. For many, it’s the capturing that’s fun. That’s why many photographers of all skill levels flock to the institution that is birdwatching (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
If you’re lucky enough to have a close and intimate view, the situation is even better. A subtle colorful tuft of feathers or unique behavior is interesting and thought-provoking.
But there is a catch.
Unfortunately, in the pursuit of a clearer, closer shot, motivated birders and wildlife photographers find themselves too close to their subject, and poof, they’re gone.
As an archery hunter, I understand this all too well.
For capturing different birds at home and on my hunting properties, digiscoping has opened up a new world for my outdoor pursuits. It now allows me to not only magnify my fine feathered friends from a distance but capture them in stunning images. Requiring only my smartphone, optics, and a Phone Skope digiscoping kit, my birdwatching gear is always nearby for my next jaunt into outdoor spaces.
From a birdwatching novice to other birdwatching novices, here are a few of the basics to consider for success.
Getting prepared for birding and bird photography means tackling a couple of simple tasks. For one, study a field guide for your region to narrow down the potential winged friends for viewing. Take it a step further by gaining an understanding of how area birds relate to the given season, as well as the type of habitat to frequent. While digiscoping for birds is an adventure, adding a little structure to improve success is a great idea.
Pack Your Gear
Gear matters. First and foremost, keep a bag packed for your optics, camera or smartphone, and Phone Skope digiscoping kit and accessories. For example, include a tripod, remote shutter button, and a portable smartphone charging bank. For the less technical, pack a journal for notes and documentation, as well as bird checklists. Finally, tend to the other basic common sense needs by packing water, snacks, and appropriate clothing for both the elements and terrain. Good packing and organization will make for smoother digiscoping time in the field.
There’s No Place Like Home
Developing seamless photography and digiscoping skills is integral to success. Start in the backyard or neighborhood park. By doing so, you can build symbiotic skills and actions. This comes in handy for quickly and stealthily connecting your optics and smartphone camera with your adaptor kit. It also allows you to practice your stability and focusing efforts. With a seamless digiscoping regimen, your efforts will be enhanced when visiting more primitive settings.
Embrace Smartphone Technology
Today’s smartphones are not only a key component for digiscoping, they’re teeming with other functionality as well. For example, for bird identification and info, you can utilize bird identification apps such as the Audobon bird guide app. Virtual maps and navigation apps also exist for identifying good birding areas and terrain. Finally, there are great photo and video editing apps that will take your bird photography and digiscoping to the next level. There is a ton of digital firepower in the palm of your hand. Leverage it for both digiscoping and birding success.
While successful digiscoping can be achieved free-hand, taking steps to minimize vibration (and blurred images), is easy. Regardless of how far you travel on foot for digiscoping birds and other wildlife, add stability to the equation with a good tripod or Bluetooth remote shutter button. Both are lightweight and the shutter button is very small in size. Why not make your images all they can be?
Birding and digiscoping are fantastic hobbies on their own. Combining the two is extra fun, challenging, and interesting. Establish your favorite digiscoping setup for birdwatching. Whether you prefer a spotting scope or set of binoculars, pull it all together with a custom Phone Skope digiscoping adaptor kit. The magnification afforded by digiscoping is a game-changer. For capturing images and videos of birds, it’s the straw that stirs the drink.
Yes, digiscoping is for the birds. That is, it’s a great companion for any novice or experienced birdwatcher. If you haven’t already done so, add it to your outdoor arsenal – and be safe, continue to learn, and keep the sun at your back, my friends.