Friday, March 24, 2006

Phonescoping with the new Nokia 6280

Phonescoping is basically digiscoping but involves using a cameraphone instead of a compact digital camera to obtain images through a field scope (a Kowa 821 in my case). Quality is obviously lower but I find it much more fun without the hassle of adaptors and doesn’t interfere with normal birding… and remember your little piece of technology is primarily a phone! Phonescoped images are perfectly acceptable for display on web pages but until the optical quality and image size increases you probably won’t want to print off most of your results.

I received my free phone upgrade on Wednesday. Having used the Nokia 6630 for nearly a year I went for the new Nokia 6280 which has the benefit of a 2 megapixel camera (1.3 MP on the 6630) and the latest 262,144-color display (320 x 420 pixels). A quick lunch break in Regent’s Park in central London allowed me to grab the shots below. Initial impressions reveal that the images are better with the 6280 than the older 6630. If I have time I may post some comparison shots at a later date.

Even though the displays are of similar size on both models, the 6280 functions in landscape mode (during camera operation – the mobile is turned length-ways on its side) and the entire screen becomes the viewfinder (unlike the 6630). I uploaded some of my DSLR photos to the phone to use as wallpaper and they look stunning…at least on par with a PC monitor.

Nokia site with info on the 6280

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Last Laugh

I was back up in my home county of Ayrshire last weekend for another flying visit. The long-staying Laughing Gull (nearly two months) was developing its dark hood and I hoped to get some new photographs... but, of course, as often happens, it was last seen on Wednesday. Despite looking for an hour at Saltcoats on Saturday, there was no sign.

Phoned Birdline Scotland on Sunday in case a more observant birder had located it. No more sightings of the American gull but a report of a Northern Grey Shrike over the border in Renfrewshire saw me head up to Lochwinnoch to see this rare winter visitor. The Shrike was too distant for digiscoping/phonescoping much less traditional photography.

Below is a shot of the Laughing Gull from my previous visit in early February plus a selection of other birds photographed in poor light at the weekend.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

London Wetland Centre WWT

Hoped to get some Bittern shots from the WWT hide on Saturday but the bird didn't show well for me - the next day it was apparently just a couple of metres away! The light was very grey most of the day until a brief period late afternoon when the low sun broke through allowing me to get a few photographs of a Grey Heron. Just as impressive as a Bittern, but still, we'd all prefer the skulker!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Stow & The Valley

Visited Walthamstow Reservoirs in London and River Lee Country Park further north in the Lee Valley at the weekend. Walthamstow has one of the largest inland Cormorant breeding colonies in the British Isles and River Lee CP around Fisher's Green is famous for the Bittern Watchpoint. Neither the Cormorants or the Bittern were performing well for photographs but the late winter/early spring light was really fantastic on the regular birds. Below is small selection of photographs.

Visit the Lee Valley Park Website