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Using a better Beamer frowned upon in uk??

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Old Sunday 12th January 2020, 12:28   #1
Chilt
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Using a better Beamer frowned upon in uk??

So I was watching a YouTube video yesterday and he said nobody really uses a better Beamer cause itís frowned upon in the uk? Is this true?

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Old Sunday 12th January 2020, 13:53   #2
andyadcock
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I have no idea what this means.
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Old Sunday 12th January 2020, 14:05   #3
foresttwitcher
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
I have no idea what this means.
Just Googled it - a device photographers use to enhance a camera's flash.
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Old Sunday 12th January 2020, 14:09   #4
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Apologies to any BMW owners on here but they are all quite naff imo.
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Old Sunday 12th January 2020, 15:12   #5
DMW
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Originally Posted by Chilt View Post
So I was watching a YouTube video yesterday and he said nobody really uses a better Beamer cause itís frowned upon in the uk? Is this true?

Thanks
Chilt
Never heard this. The Better Beamer is just a fresnel lens on a frame. It serves two purposes with a telephoto lens, to extend the range of the flash, and reduce the possibility of the lens hood casting a shadow. This allows you to remain further from the subject. Not sure why this should be worse than getting closer to the subject because your flash isn't sufficiently powerful.
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Old Monday 13th January 2020, 05:03   #6
Chilt
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Originally Posted by DMW View Post
Never heard this. The Better Beamer is just a fresnel lens on a frame. It serves two purposes with a telephoto lens, to extend the range of the flash, and reduce the possibility of the lens hood casting a shadow. This allows you to remain further from the subject. Not sure why this should be worse than getting closer to the subject because your flash isn't sufficiently powerful.
Yeah thatís what I thought.. couldnít see why it would be frowned upon haha

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Old Wednesday 15th January 2020, 07:31   #7
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I think the issue at least at twitches would be a perception that flash of any sort risks flushing the bird, which it does: most animals in my experience ignore it but some don't (and as a mammal watcher I do spend a fair amount of time in the dark flashing at creatures .) I don't think many people want to take the risk that flash will cause a rarity to depart for ever...

It's usually inadvisable to guess at the motivation or thought processes of animals but I suspect if they think about flash at all they perceive it to be the same as lightning, which is also a white flash essentially unconnected to a sound (which may come many seconds after the flash.)

There are also of course bound to be some people who believe all flash will cause irreparable damage to an animal's eye, in the same way as it does to humans : and that in the same way as they believe a long lens can be effective from three miles away, the flash's blinding effect will occur regardless of distance. It's a little known fact that all celebs who are regularly flashed by paparazzi are functionally blind.... not.

Also, the better beamer unless enclosed in a more substantial structure than the one it arrives with is too delicate for day-to-day birding use. It would also be likely to be regarded, by those who believe flash is deadly, as an invention of the Devil.

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Old Wednesday 15th January 2020, 09:26   #8
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
I think the issue at least at twitches would be a perception that flash of any sort risks flushing the bird, which it does: most animals in my experience ignore it but some don't (and as a mammal watcher I do spend a fair amount of time in the dark flashing at creatures .) I don't think many people want to take the risk that flash will cause a rarity to depart for ever...

John
What's your Canid list like John, please be careful not to say you're going out 'dogging'
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Old Wednesday 15th January 2020, 09:59   #9
Farnboro John
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What's your Canid list like John, please be careful not to say you're going out 'dogging'
Anything that looks foxy is fair game

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Old Wednesday 15th January 2020, 11:14   #10
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I was properly scolded for using a plain old flash on an owl in Poland by people who saw the resulting picture on Facebook so I can imagine that using flash where other birders are around could cause quite some uproar. I then set out to research what is know about it and from articles I read I gathered that it is actually not very good for owls and that is true in two cases in particular - when it is a single owl that gets flashed over and over again, as there is some chance for cumulative damage, and when it is in flight, as it may lead to a crash. But none of the papers found any evidence that an incidental flash on a sitting owl is harming it in any way - and I would naively think that owls are the extreme case as diurnal birds will have less sensitive eyes and if you flash them during daytime, they will also have their eyes adapted to light at that moment. So I continue to flash birds occasionally but I am not aiming for any high-level wildlife photos, I just want to be sure what the bird is, so the flashing is happening from a distance and not usually with full power or even external flash.

Mammals, that's a different story - they are often seen at night and far and I found that a powerful flash completely changes the game for me - and also that most mammals don't really seem too bothered by the flash, but again, it can be in a large part due to me being quite far from them. I am using MagBeam (instead of the wonky Better Beamer) and combined with Canon's EX580II I can basically take images as far away as my 400mm lens is of any use, it's unbelievable what it does at full power. Wouldn't want to be hit by that from 6 meters though :)
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Old Sunday 19th January 2020, 15:36   #11
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Is it this video by any chance?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb7e2cfgrPg

I think a distinction does need to be drawn use of flash as the primary light at night and as a fill-in source during the day. Generally I'm not a big fan of night-time flash photography as IMO it tends to look fake and frankly rubbish (rubbish being a polite substitute word). When it does work it tends to be in an urban setting where the brain can register artificial light as 'natural'. That said, if someone wants to do it I don't necessarily have an ethical issue with it as long as it's being done sympathetically; the subject isn't showing distress, it's not being disturbed at an important location (nest, roost, etc) where it has less ability to leave, and it's not going to cause something like a temporarily blinded subject to fly in to something.

During the day I have even less of an issue with it. When flash is being used as a fill-in source, it's even less likely to be causing disturbance or injury.
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Old Monday 20th January 2020, 09:41   #12
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Flash and Better Beamers are, in my experience, more widely used in the US and not just at night.

Back in 2011 I was on the boardwalks of Magee Marsh in Ohio and 'all' of the big lenses and most of the smaller ones had these flash units attached and there was constant flashes going off at warblers at favoured spots. True the under story was on the dull side but it was truly over kill. Just seems they were incapable of taking photos without using flash.

Then there were those taking photos in broad daylight with flash units of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in Texas a few years ago, in an open field, bright sunlight etc. The intention is/was to get fill flash. Over head sunlight and still have to use a better beamer flash !

On both occasions I was more than happy with the non flashed images I obtained, they didn't looked artificial in that they looked like they were taken in an aviary, which more often or not they look like with flash.

I've rarely taken flash shots of night birds, a couple of owls and nightjars at most, and certainly wont do it during the day even if the light is low.
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Old Monday 20th January 2020, 12:22   #13
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I remember being shown an owl in Puerto Rico some time ago - this was with an organized group. The leader warned that no flash should be used until everyone had seen the bird (in the beam of his flashlight) because the first flash would make it take off and disappear. Which is exactly what happened when he opened up for the flash photo.

Daytime birds in Costa Rican rainforest did not seem to mind one bit.

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