Friday, February 19, 2010

Digiscoping in Costa Rica

Resplendent Quetzal in Costa Rica

Resplendent Quetzal in Costa Rica

One of the most amazing birds I've ever seen is the Resplendent Quetzal, a large trogon with bluish-green feathers, a scarlet breast and long sweeping tail coverts on the males that are spectacular to see in flight. I saw some of these mystical birds in the Monte Verde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica a few years ago and I took a few pictures of them using a new method called digiscoping.

Digiscoping is a method of taking photos by which you hold a digital camera up to the eyepiece of a spotting scope and take a picture by looking through the LSD screen on the camera, which allows you to get a photo many times magnified without having to use an expensive camera or pricey lens. My birding guide had a scope with him for me and my husband to use, and after he spotted a Quetzal, he showed me how to put my digital camera up to the eyepiece so that I could take a clear photo of the bird through the lens of the scope. I didn't get the best shots, since the technique was new to me. But I got a few photos that were much better than I would have been able to capture with just my camera.

Now digiscoping is a becoming very popular with birders. There is more gear for sale that makes it easier to attach the camera to the scope, field courses you can take to learn the technique, and lots of websites devoted to the subject. I am considering buying a scope so that I can use this new technique on my birding trips.

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