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Charlie Spencer

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Everything posted by Charlie Spencer

  1. Thanks. I didn't know there were lenses for phones. As you said, they may not guarantee good pictures, but for $15 they're worth a try. I use a fanny pack instead of a wallet, and it looks like one of these lenses might fit in there.
  2. Yeah, that requires buying a spotting scope. Assuming I blew that kind of change, having a scope along implies I'm explicitly birding. If that's the case, I'll have a 'real' camera too and won't need to use the phone. I'm looking for suggestions for those situations when I'm not explicitly birding or toting around all the attendant gear, for when the phone is all I have. I acknowledge that the tool may be insufficient; that's what I'm trying to determine. I'm basically looking for the ability to get an identifiable photo, not to create great art.
  3. I'll second the ID, and agree regarding the great photo! Even uncommon birds show up sometimes. Here are Reddish Egret sightings reported to eBird for the last five years: https://ebird.org/map/redegr?neg=true&zh=true&gp=false&ev=Z&mr=1-12&bmo=1&emo=12&__hstc=75100365.bac5a58e0a18c35c6a7e8e593f9e4616.1471186901140.1537917354188.1538083352404.175&__hssc=75100365.6.1538083352404&__hsfp=1318562561#_ga=2.267280330.551804025.1538083352-293810757.1471186901
  4. Having a field guide and an application are not mutually exclusive. An app is great for targeted learning about a specific species, the kind of knowledge @Administrator describes in his previous post. But just thumbing through a field guide is a great way to get more general information. There are lots of different types of ducks; there aren't many species of dippers. Wow, look at the different sizes of wading birds - Lesser Bitterns to Great Blue Herons. Who knew that chickadees and titmice were related, or cuckoos and roadrunners? Say, why are the birds in this book arranged this way? I didn't know vireos or pipits or sage grouse even existed; being aware of them may make me more efficient when I use an app.
  5. https://forums.whatbird.com/index.php?/topic/1714-how-can-i-use-a-smart-phone-to-take-good-bird-photos/
  6. Assume the only thing I know about smart phone cameras is how to open the application itself and to push the button to take a photo. Okay, you don't need to assume; those are facts. What I know about using a phone's camera can be spray-painted on the head of a pin with plenty of room left for the dancing angels to mock my incompetence. That's just for general photos; my attempts at photographing birds look like Pollack and Picasso on a bender. So what tips, techniques, links, how-tos, or other basic info would you offer to a birder who doesn't have his 'real' camera with him and is restricted to a device he doesn't fully grok? Thanks. EDIT: I'm using an iPhone SE with iOS 12, if that makes any difference, although I hope this topic will include general tips that will be of use to others regardless of their devices.
  7. I almost never have phone with me if I'm not travelling or actively birding. Indeed, I didn't have a phone before I received this company-issued one, and wouldn't if I had to pay the bill myself. I always have a camera when I'm actively birding (it's always in the car anyway); I use the phone exclusively for eBird. Honestly, I often forget it has a camera (along with a lot of other features I don't remember exist). I keep thinking of it as a device for voice communications; I haven't made the mental adjustment to thinking of it as anything else. I can discuss its properties professionally, but in daily use my gut keeps telling me it's a PHONE. I don't know that there's anything wrong with smart phone cameras for bird photography. I see these ads demonstrating all the great photos people take with these devices, although I don't pay attention to whether they're taking shots of gnatcatchers at 500 meters. Maybe a topic like, "How to effectively use a smart phone camera for bird photography?" I agree with you on the shake and stability issues, and the apparent inability to zoom effectively.
  8. This is part of why an app doesn't fit the way I personally bird. I don't spend much time trying to ID birds in the field. I make notes of what I observed and try to get photos, then ID it when I get home. Another part is that I just suck at using a phone camera. I have yet to take a decent picture with one, and at ranges beyond about 10 feet most of what I get is unidentifiable anyway. (For an IT professional, my skills with consumer tools are surprisingly low (along with my interest in most of them).) Since I can't take a decent photo with the camera, I'm not sure I'd be well serviced by an app . I'm sure there are techniques to improve the quality but if I'm going to work on improving my photographic skills, I'd prefer to spend that time and effort on my 'real' camera. I guess I could upload the photos from the camera to the phone and then run those through the app, but it's easier to post them here instead
  9. Least Bitterns aren't likely to be perched out in the open. They're most often found in tall marsh grasses.
  10. I think eBird can give you that. Click the 'Science' tab and look for 'Download eBird Data Products'
  11. I'll be traveling soon with birding as one of the goals. I'll leave out the details since I'm a bit paranoid about revealing that kind of info in a public forum, but I don't think they're relevant. Obviously you pack your gear - binos, camera, regional field guides (physical or electronic), etc. I'm more interested in what kind of advance research or preparation people do. I've printed out checklists from eBird for hotspots I'll be near. Any other suggestions? Thanks!
  12. Yes, it's a Dark-Eyed Junco, subspecies Slate-Colored. And welcome!
  13. Is the apparent relative shortness of the neck an indicator? Also, the head on the smaller bird appears wider from this angle.
  14. Respectfully, was he actually eating berries or did you assume that's what he's doing? This looks like a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher to me. Narrow black bill, black legs,, overall dark gray over light gray, darker wingtips and tail tip, white eyering. The first photo has a stubby appearance to the tail but I'm assuming the bird had it cocked away from u.
  15. Seconded. In addition to the red, I've recently learned to check the nostril opening. If you can see through, it's a Turkey Vulture.
  16. Keep an eye on those branches next year. The Rough-Wingeds and Barns perch on a couple of 'No Trespassing' signs at a nearby pond a few times a week. They've returned to these signs for the last few years. They give me plenty of opportunities for decent shots from the 'car-blind' (well, as decent as I'm capable of capturing).
  17. I can't find any Stellar's Jays in plumages with that much white. I can see the eye stripe of a Blue Jay and the 'bridle' is starting to come in.
  18. You might want to copy your post and paste it into a new post over in the iBird discussion. They can't fix what they don't know about. https://forums.whatbird.com/index.php?/forum/14-discuss-ibird-apps/
  19. You are, of course, correct about the bill and legs.
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