Digiscoping Up Close, a la Arthur Morris

Sanderling. Photo courtesy of Mike McDowell.

Getting close to birds is an art that requires dedication and patience. As Arthur Morris said, "If you persevere, good photographic opportunities will eventually present themselves." My photographic goal is to walk off the field with portraiture that shows a bird at its best, and minimize whatever impact my presence has on it.

While Arthur's book, The Art of Bird Photography, is written for SLR photography, there are lots of tips that can apply to digiscoping as well.

The rewards of belly-crawling

There are situations when I've removed the entire spotting scope from the tripod, belly-crawled up to the edge of a pond, and poked the objective lens slowly through the cattails, a la Arthur Morris. This method was used for the Sanderling shown here. Of course, you have to have really good light and fast shutter speeds for this technique to yield good results. This is another reason I strongly recommend a digital camera that has aperture priority, so you can see what your shutter speed is.

Shorebirds and waders are among my most favorite bird subjects and, if you take a look at my digiscoping gallery, you can probably guess the shots where I employed this method.

Article and Sanderling photo contributed by Mike McDowell, an avid digiscoper, amateur naturalist, and Eagle Optics employee. Visit Mike's Birding and Digiscoping Blog.