Digiscoping – Is it worth the trouble?

A photo showing a Ferruginous Hawk without digiscoping advantage

Ferruginous Hawk photographed without a spotting scope

Sunday, I drove by El Toro Marine Base – now “Orange County Great Park” and found a Ferruginous Hawk perched out on one of the trees. I decided to try and take a photo of the bird despite the fact that just about everything was against getting a good photo of it. The day was mostly cloudy with intermittent rain and the lighting was very poor. As this portion of the “Great Park” is not open to the public, the closest I could get to this bird was off Irvine Ave. To make things worse the area is enclosed by an 8-foot chain link fence that would mar any picture taken through it. A range-finder confirmed the perch of the hawk to be 218 yards away.

Digiscoping a Ferruginous Hawk with a Leica spotting scope

Digiscoping a Ferruginous Hawk with a Leica spotting scope

Climbing through the sunroof of my car and standing on the center console got me an unobstructed view over the fence. Standing the tripod fully extended on one leg on the car seat, allowed me to see the bird with a spotting scope. This was a very unsteady position, so trying to take a picture from this position in poor lighting was going to be interesting! I wondered how many of the cars whizzing by on Irvine Ave understood that I was another of those crazy bird watchers taking a picture. At least the Irvine police who patrol the base didn’t find me! These sorts of things can be difficult to explain in the post-911 era… .

The Leica D-Lux4 camera and digiscoping adapter is so easy to slip over the eyepiece of the Apo-Televid 82 spotting scope that taking quality pictures is trivial. I am no digiscoping pro, nor am I expert at photography with a pocket camera. The Leica digiscoping outfit is simple, fast and yields impressive pictures..

Is it worth the trouble?? What trouble?

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