One of the things I am hoping to learn with my new scope is digiscoping. Digiscoping is using your scope with a camera (point and shoot or dslr), even an iPhone, to take close-ups. It’s a good alternative to an expensive telephoto lens (especially once you have spent all your money on a scope!), and some people can take amazing digiscoped photos.
One of those people is Sharon Stiteler aka Birdchick. Not only is she a great digiscoper, but she is a great teacher as well and has video tutorials, posts, and other helpful tips on digiscoping at her Birdchick blog.
One downside to digiscoping is that the adapters that help you get better photos can be expensive, especially if as mentioned above you have just spent a lot on a scope. You can hand-hold the camera to take photos, but it can be difficult to hold it still enough. One solution, which I like, is a DIY adapter. While it’s not as good as the real ones, it works quite well and is very cheap!
You will need:
A plastic pop/soda bottle (a 2-liter bottle works well)
Duct tape (also known as gaffer’s tape)
A hot glue gun
Backer rod foam insulator (from the hardware store)
Most importantly, patience!
Following along with my how-to video below, cut the plastic bottle to the specifications of your scope’s eyepiece. My adapter’s dimensions are 4″ high and 8-1/2′” long. Make sure the adapter isn’t too tight or too loose, and that it slides up and down the eyepiece easily. I wrapped duct tape all around the clear plastic to give it more of a finished look. I glued backer rod, cut in half, inside the adapter to give the camera support when taking photos.
Here’s my finished DIY effort,
When taking photos with this adapter you get vignetting, which is the black ring around the photo. You can get rid of the vignetting by cropping to get rid of most of it, or zooming in with the camera to reduce the amount of vignetting.
Swarovski holds an annual “digiscoper of the year” contest, and there is a Facebook digiscoping group too.
In winter in my part of Alberta there aren’t a lot of digiscoping opportunities, but it’s fun to practice on the chickadees, redpolls, and woodpeckers at my feeders. I took more than 40 photos of this Common Redpoll,