An Eastern Sierras Excursion
The Eastern Sierras are one of the benefits of birding in California. They have a wealth of breathtaking scenery that we get to visit or pass. They are easily the equal of well-known scenic wonders like Yosemite, Big Sur, Death Valley, and Lake Tahoe. And these are just a few of the places that inspire awe. Driving around the state, I’ve developed an interest in geology as well, but birding is the main focus of my travels.
Example of what you see without the Vortex Spotting Scope
Many spotting scopes these days provide the attachment options for digiscoping. Consequently, this offers the ability to attach a digital camera and use the scope as a telephoto lens to take photos. Digital photo adapters vary widely in their design, ease of use, and speed to deploy. They also range in their compatibility with respect to the cameras they can accommodate. The Vortex Razor Spotting Scope is a relatively recent entry in the spotting scope market, providing high-quality optical performance at a very reasonable price (see Vortex Razor Scope Review). Vortex offers a digiscoping adapter for use with the Vortex Razor Spotting, so I took it out in the field to give it a try.
Digiscoping with the Vortex Razor Spotting Scope
Digiscoped with Vortex Razor Spotting Scope
I went out this past Sunday to Laguna Niguel Regional Park with the Razor scope equipped with its 20-60x zoom eyepiece, the Vortex Razor Digital Adapter, and my Canon 40D camera with a 50-mm lens. This was my first attempt to digiscope with this equipment combination, so the pictures here are mostly to show what is possible and do not represent fully optimized photography with this rig.
An Osprey eating lunch at the park provided an interesting and challenging subject for this demonstration. The bird was sitting in a eucalyptus tree in rather unfavorable lighting. So as an illustration, we first took the photo (above) with the camera only. This is to show the level of zoom with and without the scope in line.
Next, we zoomed the eyepiece on the scope to about 40x and took the same photo (right) through the scope. As a result these photos give a good comparison of what a dramatic difference shooting through a spotting scope makes. This camera/scope combination at this magnification is equivalent to about a 3200-mm lens. This will vary from 2000 to 4000 mm at this level of zoom depending on the type of camera. We have not cropped these photos in any way. They are full-frame shots. We have only resized them to fit the pages here.