Thursday 7 January 2010

Experimental photograph

My mapping has been almost at a halt for a few weeks now, what with Christmas, snow and other stuff.  A few other distractions have crept in; I tried to take a photo of a bird in the garden using a mobile phone camera through the optics of binoculars, with some success.  Well actually I didn't photograph the bird, a redwing, but the branches of the tree came out well. 

I have tried this sort of thing before using a compact digital camera to take pictures through a telescope, indeed amongst bird watchers it has been popular for some years and a new portmanteau word sprang up: digiscoping. I thought I'd try through a scope to see how easy it is. 

With the telescope on a tripod it leaves your hands free to hold the phone. The position of the camera in relation to the eye piece is the critical thing. It needs to be just the right distance away to maximise the extent of the image used, too close and the image is a small circle surronded by a huge black border, too far away and the image is impossible to keep still.  I'm talking a millimetre or two either way. It's also important to hold the phone perpendicular to the line of sight through the telescope to avoid unbalanced focus.

It worked but not that well.  I snapped a couple of shots of a tree about 50m away, not the most inspiring subject, but its twigs show a good spread to check the focus, which is far from perfect.  The horizontal lines are telephone cables.

My findings: buy a good telephoto lens for your SLR.

1 comment:

Andy said...

I've used a digital camera through a telescope to take pictures of the moon before, and they came out great. It's best when it is not a full moon so you can see shadows in the craters.