OPTICS AND COMPUTING TIPS
TOTAL BEGINNERS AND IGNORAMUSES
main emphasis will be to offer advice and tips on
digital photography, enhancing, meanings of technical
specifications, which cameras, tripods and optics
to purchase, for the beginner. Any additional tips
or opinions will be welcomed. More to follow.
Rule of Thirds
This is the name of the method whereby a picture can
be taken by a digital camera, through a high- powered
spotting telescope; It can be taking pictures of magnification
of 100X or more! It began in about 2000 due to innovative
Nikon 4500 cameras, became popular, but the interest
has tapered off. This is because no camera has ever
been manufactured specifically for digiscoping that
has proved an all-round success. However, the results
with a working combination of camera, telescope and
adaptor, can be fantastic and always challenging.
Plants: Flora is an excellent subject
for digital photgraghy. You can now photograph all
these plants (never pick wild flowers, leave for everyone
to enjoy and allow plants to scatter their seeds)
and check on the pictures from the comfort of your
armchair. You can get closer to plants than birds,
and they don’t move around so much. Yes, this
is facetious, but plants do move in the breeze. Hold
the stem. Another tip is to place a coin or a finger
near the plant, to give indication of size.
the picture of a giant fungus, means little until
the size is revealed.
Zoom: This means
little. It simply disposes of pixels, so you might
as well crop or blow the image up on your computer.
Optical zoom on the other hand, is genuine.
If you have seen a rare or beautiful bird, or a common
bird displaying unusual behaviour, there can be intense
excitement as you download onto your computer. The
upshot can be either intense satisfaction or bitter
disappointment. You can never too sure of the quality
of pictures until you see them on a big screen. Most
should be deleted. Your friends are not interested
in a slightly out of focus Sparrow. If the bird was
moving and is blurred, or was too much over or under-exposed,
then delete. Unless the subject is rare, means something
special to you, or is captured in an unusual pose,
delete, delete, delete.
or Lightness: We are however, able to
manipulate and improve our results. Usually easier
and best to let the camera do this automatically,
but if in doubt, always slightly under-expose rather
than over-expose, but do not over-do this. A photo
manipulation programme can easily brighten up a picture,
with little loss of definition, but if the picture
is over exposed, definition may have been irretrievably
Enhancement: There are only 3 tools that
are needed to improve wildlife pictures, which make
pictures come to life. Adjust the lighting, sharpen
and crop, and all can be done in seconds. With people,
do not sharpen, if anything, soft focus is more pleasing.
One of the best tools for improving wildlife pictures.
For a peculiar reason, it is sometimes called the
‘Unsharp Tool’. You can adjust how much
a picture can be sharpened before it becomes unnatural
and ‘noise’ appears, and you can see this
by clicking a ‘Preview’control. The more
pixels, the more it can be sharpened.
Stands for PIcture Elements or the number
of dots that form a picture. Do not be too obsessed
with pixels; the human eye is quite satisfied with
a 3 megapixel image, or even less. The major advantage
of a high resolution image is when we wish to produce
a large print, to crop an image, or sharpen it.
One of the most used tools, not just for wildlife,
but every type of picture. Cut out superfluous details,
just highlight the subject. It also reflects more
of what our eyes actually see, as we do not take in
all the details of a scene. Sometimes though - leave
This saturates the colours and is the most
dangerous tool. Here a dead, flat image can come to
life, by accentuating the colours. It is tempting
to overdo this, so best to avoid using it. Within
seconds, that House Sparrow acquires the wow factor
of a Kingfisher, but it is not true. Indeed, the results
can be so appalling they could win the Turner Prize.
Beware of manipulation. It is okay for certain categories,
but not nature, there is no requirement.
of Field: This is the area that will
be in focus in the picture. Sometimes you may wish
the subject to stand out, so everything else should
be out of focus, other times you may wish to show
as much as is possible in a scene.