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Monthly Archives: October 2010

29 Oct

What a storm! Fallen trees are everywhere and we could hear them crashing to the ground during the night, compliments of the fifty mile and hour plus winds. We even had to cut up a couple of fallen trees, just to get out of our driveway. No wonder our power was out for a day. Hats off to the folks that were out in this weather to restore everyone’s power. You folks are the greatest.

As spooky as a storm like that can be, though, the drastic change in weather it brings gets the birds moving, so there can be…

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27 Oct

Had our first snow, today. No, just some light snow mixed with rain and certainly not enough to wax up the skis, but enough to tell us that winter is on its way and that means it is time to it grab the gloves when heading out with the binoculars.

So, do your binoculars qualify as binoculars for winter? Is there anything you can do to winterize binoculars? Not really, other than to pick the right binoculars, assuming, of course, you haven’t done anything stupid like drowning the focusing mechanism on your binocular with oil or grease. If so, all…

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27 Oct

Individual eyepiece focus binoculars (IF binoculars, in bino lingo) might seem to offer the perfect binocular focusing system. After all, once adjusted for your eyes and initially focused at a proper distance, everything remains in focus from as close as twenty or thirty yards to as far as you can see. Perfect, right?

Actually, for some purposes, it is darn near perfect. For one, individual eyepiece focus binoculars are the height of simplicity with no moving parts in the focusing system other than the binocular eyepieces. That makes IF the most rugged focusing system in the binocular world and also…

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26 Oct

Unlike automobiles, SUVs and trucks, you rarely find custom options on binoculars. In other words, when it comes time to buy binoculars, you rarely get to choose which binocular features you want or don’t want with any given model – you take the features that come with the binocular or you move on and choose different binoculars. In truth, this is all to the good, in my opinion, since many binocular features, such as waterproofing, full multi-coating, armoring, long eye relief and so on are still good features to have on a binocular, even if you don’t really need them…

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25 Oct

We’ve hit a stretch of rainy, soggy weather, up here in the north country, so this north country gal hasn’t had much in the way of opportunities to use her favorite birding binoculars or her astronomy binoculars, of late. Doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, though, what with all my music (a jazz group and possibly a blues group) and bringing a new puppy into the house (he is chewing on the hem of my bathrobe, as I write this). It just means I haven’t been outdoors as much as I like, though that is just a temporary thing. Besides,…

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22 Oct

Of all the field marks used to identify birds, either with binoculars, spotting scopes or the unaided eye, size is the least reliable. We humans just aren’t too good at estimating the size of an object unless is adjacent to another object of known size. That’s definitely the way it works with birds. Estimating the size of a single sandpiper on a mudflat, for instance, is risky business, especially if you are using the high magnification provided by a birding spotting scope. If there is a Killdeer, next to it, though, as there often is, you have a visual ruler…

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21 Oct

Everyone wants binoculars with the best possible optics for their hard earned dollar and, let’s face it, the first questions people ask when they want to buy a binocular are about the optics. Binocular optics are important, of course and, it is true that optics are the biggest part of a binocular price tag. No one wants a binocular with poor optics.

What about the rest of the binocular, though? Mechanical construction is equally important, especially if you are concerned about how long your new birding binoculars, hunting binoculars, marine binoculars and so on will last. It is mechanical or …

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20 Oct

The diopter adjustment on binoculars allows a binocular user to adjust the binocular for the user’s individual eyesight and, since most folks have one eye stronger than another, it is a must have feature on a serious binocular. Setting the diopter adjustment on binoculars, though, is seen by some newcomers as a mysterious, highly technical process, when, in fact, it is the height of simplicity. On a center focus binocular, as found on typical birding binoculars, simply use the main focus wheel to adjust the side of the binocular without the diopter adjusting mechanism, then use the side with the …

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19 Oct

There is more to owning a binocular than a list of binocular features, binocular quality or binocular brand, but only when you have owned and used a binocular long enough for it to become a good friend. Do you remember your first birding binoculars, hunting binoculars or astronomy binoculars? Odds are, those were not the best binoculars you ever owned, either, yet you would gladly have them back in your hands if you could, same as me. Those beginner binoculars, like my old Tasco 1040 porro prism binoculars, opened a whole new window in the natural world for many of …

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18 Oct

At four in the morning, the Beehive Cluster, M44, is easily visible in our dark, north country night sky, no astronomy binoculars or telescopes needed, though the view through just about any binoculars makes getting up at that crazy hour well worth the effort. This open star cluster fills the field of view in my Nikon 10×70 Astroluxe, nicely, for instance.

Can you see this cluster from your backyard without any optical aid, assuming, of course, that you get up that early in the morning, this time of year and know exactly where to look? If you live in a…

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