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Old April 8th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #1
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Red-winged Blackbird

The male Red-winged Blackbirds have returned to the marshes after their winter absences. This is one of my favorite birds. The males are highly territorial and will shortly begin displaying their bright-red wing patches as they display against competing males. Right now they are just feeling each other out and not in full display, but I kind of like the shades of brown in the winter cattails that will soon give way to a bright green. This male was captured with another one of my homemade combos of an old 500mm Soligor Mirror lens and 18mm Scopetronix eyepiece used with the old Canon Optura 200 MC camcorder. The distance was about 80 feet on a cold and windy day in the marsh.

Rick

Last edited by Rick A. Phillips; May 10th, 2007 at 06:46 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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Rick,

I am amazed that you can mount your optura to that lens with some form of coupler. I recognize that your resolution is lower but it still seems awefully soft. could you post a still pulled out of the clip without resolution reduction?
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Old April 9th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #3
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Dale,

The eyepiece is threaded and simply screws onto the front of the camcorder just like a teleconverter lens. The eyepiece holder is a short piece of PVC pipe glued onto the back of the old mirror lens.

I don't have much in the same catagory as this equipment to compare the image against. I usually either think it's "ok" or "not ok". I do think it's better overall than what I'm getting with a sony teleconverter that yields about the same magnification. Here is a frame grab. Later in the season I might be able to get close enough to get some footage with just the camcorder alone (it's just a 10x optical zoom) for comparison.

Rick
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Old April 13th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #4
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The weather has warmed up a bit in the past couple of days and the Red-winged Blackbirds are starting to get even more territorial. Watch how this one male flares his brilliant epaulettes as another male invades his space. This was taken with an old Sony Digital 8 and a Sony 2x teleconverter. I actually think my homemade lens combo shown above is a little sharper.

Rick
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Old April 13th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #5
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Rick,

I have been following your recent work here and great job. You seem to have a talent for capturing some great clips (views) of birds with some (if I recall correctly) basic equipment. I can see a little camera vibration in the first clip but it still looks darn good. Was the vibration the wind or your tripod? If it is you tripod, then this is the area I would work on. I am looking forward to seeing a possible compulation of your clips set to music and or narration.

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Old April 13th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #6
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Mark,

It was probably wind. It was quite windy that day. I have a good Bogen 3021 tripod that's pretty solid, but it still vibrates in a gusty wind. I'm starting a new job this fall and sometime in the next year I hope to upgrade my camcorder. Meanwhile, I have fun with this stuff and get some practice.

Rick
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Old April 14th, 2007, 12:36 AM   #7
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Rick, amazing to watch!
Much of the vibrations from wind can be resolved using IS lenses!
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Old April 15th, 2007, 04:27 PM   #8
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And...finally...the same birds at about the same distance using the Meade ETX-90 scope and same eyepiece and Optura 200MC camcorder. This is the same location only on a very overcast day. In fact it started raining just minutes after I took this. Shows off the light-gathering power of the 90mm objective on the scope.

Rick

Last edited by Rick A. Phillips; May 10th, 2007 at 06:46 AM.
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Old April 17th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #9
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rick,

I am really impressed with what you get considering the equipment you use!!!!

You should collect some up for the uwol challange, come may 1st.
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