Sunday, February 27, 2011

Digiscoping w/ Flash! - 27 Feb 2011

Its dark, overcast, and lightly drizzling, so I'm bummed that its a lousy day for bird photography.  So, after moping around for a bit I decided to pull out a Nikon SB-600 flash and mount it to the Nikon Coolpix P6000 and see how well the combo digiscopes using a Better Beamer flash extender.

The setup is a bit on the bulky side, but tightening down the ring on the homemade adaptor keeps the setup surprisingly sturdy.  The flash needs to be pointed directly over the edge of the scope so that the beam hits the subject (20 - 60' distance).  And I have to make sure that the camera doesn't try to shut itself off, or I could damage the lens trying to retract.

I took some test shots in the house.  First, the little tent that Buffy and Asia sleep in has a dangling mouse that made for a nice target from about 20'.  Ooh, time to clean the mouse...

Asia was playing on the chair so I attempted to use the flash on her from the other end of the house.  Here I discovered that flash angle is critical!  Still, I got a couple keepers of my entropic kitten.

From there I attempted to photograph some of the American Goldfinches on the feeders outside the back window.  These captures were pretty good considering how dirty the windows were... I actually had the Coolpix adjusted with -2.0 Exposure Compensation, and the Flash at -2.0 Exp.Comp.

With the European Starlings, Black-capped Chickadees, House Finches and House Sparrows cleaning out the feeder in the back of the yard, I was curious to test the combo outside.  Though I was inside the garage shooting through an open doorway, only a pair of Black-capped Chickadees were adventurous enough to attempt landing on the feeder.

I digiscoped this pair of House Sparrows from about 50' without (left) and with (right) the flash.  The TTL setting on the Coolpix seems to do a nice job with exposure, as in this case (~50') I had set both the Coolpix and Flash to 0.0 Exposure Compensation.

It seems to be a viable option for low-light situations that I'll be pursuing more this spring.  Who knows, it might even work nicely for hummingbirds this summer.


Denis Degullacion said...

Hi Jerry,

Greetings...I'm from Borneo. Firstly a big thank you for this information. I have been trying to use this kind of setup but worried it might damaged by gear. I am using a Kowa TSN 603 with D300. I too had problem photographing birds when I am in the jungle canopy but would try not to use to much flash photography but some things cannot be help. Cheers. Denis

Azahari Reyes @ Jason a.k.a horukuru said...

Nice with Flash !