Different possible applications
Birders have long since recognized the benefits of digiscoping and enjoy the particular photographic opportunities it offers. It allows them to capture the experience of viewing birds and to share it with fellow birders. Wildlife observers and photographers appreciate the long focal lengths that enable them to actually “get close” to the object that they want to photograph. This section will provide you with a deeper insight into the diversity of possible applications offered by digiscoping.
„Anyone who spends a lot of time outside nearly always has some kind of exciting experience.“
Every wildlife photographer knows this and this statement is of course also relevant for wildlife observers and digiscopers. In light of this, you should not need to compromise in terms of equipment.
Capturing that special moment – birding and digiscoping
Dale Forbes, manager at SWAROVSKI OPTIK Nature, talks to us about the benefits of digiscoping and about which equipment is ideal for taking which kind of photos.
What makes digiscoping so fascinating?
DALE FORBES: What definitely makes digiscoping fascinating is that it allows you to see everything without having to get too close to the subject. For instance, I can take sharp pictures of a bird that’s far away, which was previously only possible by using extremely heavy photo equipment.
Why is digiscoping so popular among birders and nature lovers in particular?
DF: I think both these activities are perfect for digiscoping. Birding is not a passive hobby, but one where you’re on the move and outside a lot. Digiscoping complements all this really well, especially when birders discover something interesting that they’d also like to capture as a photo. Previously, you had to draw a sketch to do this but, nowadays, this is often being replaced by a photo with additional notes.
But surely, the point of digiscoping is not just to identify species of birds or animals?
DF: That’s right. Digiscoping goes much further than this. The purpose of some of the pictures is to identify a bird correctly later on. But for many, the main aim of their photos is to capture an awe-inspiring experience of nature. These pictures are just wonderful to look at.
What equipment do you recommend for digiscoping?
DF: This completely depends on the area of use and your own requirements. We basically offer two adapters: the DCB II for compact cameras and the TLS APO for SLR cameras. The former is ideal for birders who want to take photos to provide “proof” of their observations. The latter, on the other hand, enables experienced birders to also take outstanding photos.
Whether you are in a local wildlife park or visiting a major natural wonder like the Grand Canyon, the multiple facets of nature and, above all, of the animal world are on display. Viewing this in detail is something that is often only possible by using suitable long-range optical equipment. With the right digiscoping equipment, you can now capture these often unique moments for yourself or share them with your friends or family. The chance to observe and photograph creatures from the animal world such as eagles, puffins, cranes, ruffs or bears in their natural habitat is incentive enough for wildlife observers to venture into the relevant areas. Its size and weight make the ATX 65 spotting scope the ideal travel companion. In combination with a suitable digiscoping adapter and a digital camera (which you’ll have in any case), you’ll have an excellent piece of equipment for both observing and photographing wildlife. Animals frequently live in hiding and are very shy, which means that long focal lengths are an absolute must to be able to produce good pictures.
“Anyone who spends a lot of time outside nearly always has some kind of exciting experience.” Every wildlife photographer knows this. In light of this, you should not need to compromise in terms of equipment.
Objects and fauna and flora in the immediate environment generate just as much interest among wildlife observers, whether in the form of butterflies, bees, a fully-grown emperor dragonfly or a ladybug. Subjects for extreme close-ups can be found almost everywhere. However, when using Swarovski spotting scopes, you should consider the shortest focusing distance (ATX/STX 65: 6.9 ft / 2.1 m, ATX/STX 85: 11.8 ft / 3.6 m, ATX/STX 95: 15.7 / 4.8 m).
Lying in wait (also known as “hide photography”) is a popular method for achieving a wonderful, extremely close-up picture. This involves setting up a spotting scope and tripod and, for example, pre-focusing on the blossom or the blade of grass where an interesting subject is expected to appear. You may have to wait just a few minutes, but it could also be hours. When you are using a spotting scope and a DCB II swing adapter, for instance, you can swivel the camera during this period and take a relaxed look at what is going on in “analog” mode, which is more comfortable, compared to constantly looking through the camera’s viewfinder. One positive spin-off from this “slow” photographic technique is that you have to time to compose the picture properly.
The long focal length in digiscoping is also very suitable for preventing an animal from fleeing. You can take up your position at an appropriate distance, which avoids the risk of being regarded as an attacker or of overstepping the flight initiation distance.
This is also a mark of respect for the animals being observed.