Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Digiscoping birds in flight.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 1 votes, 5.00 average.
Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 21:14   #1
Richard Ford
BF Member
 
Richard Ford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NE Hampshire UK
Posts: 839
Digiscoping birds in flight.

I think a few people have tried to do this and I wondered if you have developed a good technique. I spent a few days last month in an area on the Isle of Wight where two Ospreys were regularly fishing. I wanted shots but when the birds were perched they were far to distant for good shot, and the fact that I was anchored in the harbour on a catamaran made stability very difficult. The birds often flew within scoping range however, and I managed a few shots using this technique.

1: Basically guess what the correct exposure should be and set the camera to it.
2: Have the cable release and tripod handle in the same hand so you can move the whole set-up and follow the moving bird.
3: once you are on the bird, follow it and half press the shutter to lock the exposure and focus of the camera.
4: As the bird flies follow it and use the other hand to focus the scope until the focus is correct, and click the shutter.

I took plenty of shots and got two that were exposed ok and roughly in focus, one is below.
Considering the circumstances I was pleased to get anything and this has been heavily cropped etc.

Has anyone else tried this or similar techniques to Digiscope flying birds?

I believe Ianf has managed a few good shots, how did you do it Ian?

Regards

Richard
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	osprey21-08-03-040.jpg
Views:	489
Size:	12.3 KB
ID:	3236  
__________________
Richard Ford <br>
www.digitalwildlife.co.uk
Richard Ford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 21:30   #2
peteh
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 1,159
Ive managed it a couple of times. (nothing great though)
But only have had not bad outcomes when Ive been able to do like test runs/photos on the birds flying around.
So Ive been able to check how the exposure was coming out.
Then do a bit of exposure compensation either way. (If the sun is out I am nearly always on -0.7)
Then when I go for a pic I have the camera on infinity focus so its just a matter of half pressing the shutter (no remote or cable release) , follow the bird, fine tune the focus on the scope, get ahead of the bird and stop following and fully press. (Ive tried panning with the bird with digiscoping but cant seem to get that right)
Ive cant seem to manage a decent one of a fast flying bird like a manx shearwater though.
Practice makes perfect I suppose.

This photo is a Sandwich tern which was one of my attempts at digiscoping flying birds.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	sandwichtern2.jpg
Views:	496
Size:	39.5 KB
ID:	3230  

Last edited by peteh : Friday 26th September 2003 at 07:31.
peteh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 22:08   #3
Richard Ford
BF Member
 
Richard Ford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NE Hampshire UK
Posts: 839
Quote:
Originally posted by peteh

This photo is a Sandwich tern which was one of my first attempts at digiscoping flying birds.
Excellent, I thought others would have had a go.
Looks like you got the exposure and focus bang on.
Nice one Pete
__________________
Richard Ford <br>
www.digitalwildlife.co.uk
Richard Ford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 25th September 2003, 23:17   #4
CJW
Hit-and-run WUM
 
CJW's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 4,861
Now show us your Manx Shearwater shots Pete
Honestly, I don't know how you guys do it, I've tried on allsorts of birds in flight and I just can't get the hang of following them with the cp4500's screen.
__________________
Chris
CJW is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 01:48   #5
IanF
Moderator
 
IanF's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Billingham, NE England
Posts: 55,866
Richard, I have had some limited success and really the technique that I use is exactly as you have described. I'd only add that I had the tripod adjustments, vertical and horizontal very loose so as to make tracking the bird very smooth. Also just make do with 20x zoom and 2-2.5x optical camera zoom so as to get as fast a shutter speed as possible.

CJW as regards tracking the birds with the C4500 LCD I found it easiest with using the 2x magnifier using the set up as a scope following the bird. It certainly makes focusing easier.

With the Marsh Harrier shots that I took, the location was a big factor as the birds were hunting parallel to my position tracking backward and forward so actual distance away from me didn't alter that much, again making it a little easier. Even then results were very inconsistent.

Last edited by IanF : Monday 2nd February 2004 at 17:23.
IanF is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Friday 26th September 2003, 07:43   #6
peteh
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 1,159
Ah yes good point about the zoom Ian.
I use only 20x on the eyepiece and am fulling back on the camera.
(so my shots flying shots always require the vignetting cropping out.)
Ive found I can't locate or track birds if I zoom in on the camera :\
peteh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 07:45   #7
robinm
Registered User
 
robinm's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kent, England
Posts: 19,002
I have never successfully digiscoped flying birds. Do you think using a higher ISO setting would help? I realise this will produce more noise.
robinm is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Friday 26th September 2003, 08:08   #8
Richard Ford
BF Member
 
Richard Ford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NE Hampshire UK
Posts: 839
I suppose cranking the ISO up a notch would enable higher shutter speeds and more chance of freezing the movement, so yes I guess it’s worth thinking about for flying birds.

Generally the only time I use a higher ISO is when the light levels are such that I need a higher shutter speed and its a shot I really want, So a dull day really. Personally I think if you have to resort to this then your probably just haven’t got a good day for taking shots at all.

Rich
__________________
Richard Ford <br>
www.digitalwildlife.co.uk
Richard Ford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 08:11   #9
robinm
Registered User
 
robinm's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kent, England
Posts: 19,002
Thanks. I shall do a bit more experimenting. Maybe I just need to sharpen up my technique for following the bird.
robinm is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Friday 26th September 2003, 08:58   #10
Kent
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Waterloo, Iowa, USA
Posts: 124
My attempts at digiscoping birds in flight have been pretty frustrating unless the bird is very cooperative. This Northern Harrier was repeatedly hunting in the same area giving me a chance to get some focus on the infinity setting and a reasonable exposure. Kent
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	170.jpg
Views:	431
Size:	70.6 KB
ID:	3245  
Kent is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 09:22   #11
Richard Ford
BF Member
 
Richard Ford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NE Hampshire UK
Posts: 839
Wow, well there’s the proof it is possible.
Brilliant shot Kent.

I had forgotten actually about hovering birds though I have tried as yet unsuccessfully (where I know others have succeeded) to capture a kestrel.

Rich
__________________
Richard Ford <br>
www.digitalwildlife.co.uk
Richard Ford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 09:50   #12
Kent
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Waterloo, Iowa, USA
Posts: 124
Thanks alot, Rich. I also had great light here. I don't have the data but it was probably 1/1000 sec. Kent
Kent is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 12:10   #13
peteh
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 1,159
Cracker kent!!
I dont know if the northern harrier is like our hen harrier,
but I keep failing miserably trying to get a shot of one of them flying.
Right ....job for me this weekend, more flying bird shots :)
peteh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 13:27   #14
Kent
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Waterloo, Iowa, USA
Posts: 124
Appreciate it, peteh, good luck this weekend!
Kent is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 26th September 2003, 13:48   #15
Larry Lade
Super Moderator
 
Larry Lade's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA
Posts: 14,692
Blog Entries: 3
Peteh,

I believe your Hen-Harrier and our Northern Harrier are one and the same, Circus cyaneus

Some of the older birders refer to the Northern Harrier as the marsh hawk.

Larry
__________________

Larry Lade is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 2nd October 2003, 12:28   #16
Richard Ford
BF Member
 
Richard Ford's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NE Hampshire UK
Posts: 839
Kent
I see you did well with the Harrier, have a look at this people.
Kents Harrier

How did you do at the weekend peteh?

I am going to have a go using the inf setting to take flight shots soon.

Cheers guys

Rich
__________________
Richard Ford <br>
www.digitalwildlife.co.uk
Richard Ford is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 2nd October 2003, 12:50   #17
robinm
Registered User
 
robinm's Avatar

 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kent, England
Posts: 19,002
Agree with Larry on the Harrier. The Sibley World List I use for GGBC shows Circus cyaneus as Northern Harrier/Hen Harrier.

Kent: Great shots - I must get out and practise.
robinm is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Old Thursday 2nd October 2003, 16:14   #18
peteh
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Isle of Man
Posts: 1,159
errr well... i attempted some mute swans that were flying off the beach... all out of focus.
and a kestrel that was hovering. Got one out of ten in focus but his head was in the shade so it looked a bit rubbish :)
peteh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 2nd February 2004, 07:29   #19
Forcreeks
If you want to see something new in nature, take the same path you did yesterday.
 
Forcreeks's Avatar

 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 2,765
Took me til Feb '04 to stumble onto this "hardcore" discussion. You guys are really up for a challenge.. pushing the limits all the way.. digiscoped flight indeed! Okay, never say never, I guess. Next thing you know I'll be out there trying it, telling myself maybe it's just possible after all. I can add this to the discussion for now: I use the Olympus' remote whenever possible for near-zero camera shake.. but flight will be one of several situations where I know it won't work / will be too frustrating. What happens is the LCD goes dark and there's an extra long delay as the focus lock attempts it's job, followed by a shutter release whether it got the lock or not. The result on a moving bird is usually that the bird's not in the frame, or if in the frame, unfocused. It would also take a third hand as you'd have to point the remote back toward the camera front.. doing this with the same hand focusing the scope with the remote pressed by the thumb and index finger leaves the end three fingers to rotate the focus wheel. Whew, what a skill level that'd be. I like your-all idea of taking digiscoping to the next level of accomplishment by honing the in-flight shot-challenge.. sounds like a contest category for a hardy few right there!
Forcreeks is offline  
Reply With Quote

BF Supporter 2007 2008 2009 2016 Support BirdForum With A Donation

Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.23552799 seconds with 33 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 15:55.