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Posts Made By: Alan Birnbaum

May 22, 2003 04:33 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Western Meadowlark

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

I appreciate this shot, as this confirms that the bird I heard and saw singing in Yosemite Valley about two weeks ago was a Western Meadowlark. This angle shows the black "V-neck" that I recall seeing, on a bird way up in a fir tree.

May 23, 2003 06:28 PM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos


Posted By Alan Birnbaum

You might want to do some research as to whether the next might be that of a "house finch," an extremly common, somewhat sparrow-like bird, whose male has prominent reddish or orangish upper body coloration.

As for the possible "intruder" look up "cowbird," as there are one or more such species which by habit leave their eggs with avian "adoption agencies."

May 24, 2003 06:36 AM Forum: Astro Binoculars

Visual Acuity - What’s Yours?

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

Every time I see a new patient, I glance at their visual acuity, which we check for virtually every new patient.

Most of course do 20/20 or slightly worse. BUT, an occasional patient makes 20/15, and rarely, we'll see someone with 20/13. Supposedly, there are some people with exquisite acuity, all the way down to 20/10. Reportedly, the late Ted Williams, the last man to bat .400 (actually it was .406), had vision in that range, which didn't hurt while flying fighter planes for the Marines.

Perhaps there are ophthalmologists or optometrists reading the board who can comment further.

June 5, 2003 06:36 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Bushnell 7x26 Custom Compact-Help!

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

I also have a pair of the Bushnell 7 x 26 Custom Compact binoculars, which I bought as long as twenty years ago, if not more. They were the first pair I ever bought. They remain a fine glass, and actually survived nearly a year lost beneath my former sister in law's carseat! Among other things, their eye relief is adequate for my myopic correction.

Out of the ten or so pair that I own at the moment, if I had to keep just two, these would be one, along with my Pentax DCF SP 10 x 43's. They only deficit this design has would be that the apparent field of view is just 50 degrees, for a true total field of about 50 degrees, but that is an inherent and unavoidable limitation of smaller diameter eyepieces.

They may not meet all of your birding needs, but they are perfect for an every day carry in your briefcase pair, or, for travel where the weight and bulk of a larger pair might prove a problem. And, presuming your sports coat pocket is large enough, they make fine theater glases. For anyone who does not have a compact binocular already, they might well consider the current B&L version, available for just over $200.

My advice would be: don't sell them, but use them and don't lose them!

June 10, 2003 03:07 PM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

House Finch Closeup

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

This is a fine finch indeed! They are quite common in my area, with a few dozen or so yesterday evening spotted hanging on the chain link fence of a nearby drainage pond, that serves as a minor local bird magnet, Great Blue Heron and all.

June 12, 2003 01:40 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos


Posted By Alan Birnbaum

Likely you have mentioned these details before, but:

Is the Swarovski the regular or the HD glass?

Do you have the straight or the angled scope?

Do you use the Swarovski eyepiece and if so which one?

If not, which ocular have you adapted?

What if any adapter do you use to attach the Nikon 4300 to the Swarovski?

June 21, 2003 05:32 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Birding with a Televue 85 apo

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

I'd think that the standard Televue Tele-pod head should work perfectly well for terrestrial as well as astronomical viewing. You can tighten it down for longer exposures, but the balanced altitude and azimuth movements ought to be nice for any semi-action photography, or just plain viewing.

June 22, 2003 02:57 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Eastern Kingbird

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

I suspect that some might be interested in seeing exactly how effective is the VR feature on that 80-400/4.5-5.6VR Auto-Nikkor. Perhaps next time you have a cooperative subject, you might hand hold a series of shots at decreasing aperture, and decreasing speed.

The jump from the 70-300/4-5.6 to the 80-400/4.5-5.6 seems of course to be a BIG one in terms of lens weight, and cost.

July 11, 2003 05:13 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Osprey - D100/Swarovski

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

I suspect that several readers would like to know more about the actual set-up: A) a closer description of the coupling B) comments regarding focusing C) f-stop set on the 50/1.4 D) ISO setting on D100 used E) shutter speed.

As the shot and concept were so interesting, I have taken the liberty of posting a reference to it on the "[email protected]" board.

July 12, 2003 03:29 AM Forum: Birding Optics and Photos

Televue 85 vs Zeiss Diascope 85

Posted By Alan Birnbaum

Clearly the Televue 85 is not an ideal field scope, due to its length, weight and lack of weatherproofing. But, from all I hear, it's a wonderful portable astronomical scope, and it can be used as a birding scope, for good weather days, when you'll be using high power to look at targets relatively far away.

Perhaps you might think about keeping the scope, and eventually complementing it with a similar but smaller waterproof angled spotting scope, such as the Leica 62, Zeiss 65 or Swarovski 65, perhaps even the Nikon 60. Note that at least the Zeiss and Swarovski offer ocular adapters such that for higher powers, you could utilze one or more of your 1.25" telescope oculars, otherwise using a 30-32X eyepiece as the primary eyepiece.