Okie Ingenuity and An Armful of Yellow Fever

Harpy eagle, OKC zoo, digiscoped
Harpy eagle, OKC zoo, digiscoped.

I’ve just come back from getting my shots- in my right arm is typhoid, in my left, yellow fever. Right above my left elbow are hepatitis A and B. Later, I go back for tetanus and the second round of hep. And start the anti-malarial pills.

I’m going to the Amazon.

Nikon fieldscope. So cute, so portable!

But enough about that- today I solved the problem of how to connect my new fieldscope with my little point-and-shoot camera to get ready for some digiscoping. This is where you use your scope as a long lens in the field. If you have a bird in view, you can put your camera lens up to the eyepiece and with a little finagling and a lot of practice, get an awesome photo. Nikon and Swarovski both make attachments for their scopes but they are pricey and designed to work only with certain cameras. I made one today out of ordinary stuff from Ace hardware and it only cost me $1.98. Want to know how I did it? Of course you do!

my digiscope setup, Okie style.
My digiscope setup, Okie style.

My new scope is a Nikon ED50 angled eye 15-30 fieldscope. It weighs about a pound and fits in my purse, and it’s not a very big purse. My usual gripe about scopes is that they weigh a ton and they need a sturdy, heavy tripod to schlep around. This scope fits onto a pochade box tripod which telescopes down and fits into a shoulder bag. My new scope setup is lightweight, compact, waterproof and really cute. I’m taking it to the Amazon.

How the camera fits into the digiscope device.
How the camera fits into the digiscope device.

But I digress. The digiscope fitting is made of three inexpensive items from Ace Hardware: a 1 1/2″ diameter (inside diameter) by 2 3/8″ copper pipe coupling ($1.79), something called, no kidding, a ballcock shank washer ($.19) and a few inches of electrical tape to hold the first two things together (use duct tape if you want to go Total Okie. And drink a Mountain Dew while you assemble your project). The copper coupling fits perfectly over the eyepiece of the fieldscope, and the lens of my Canon Powershot fits perfectly into the center hole of the (giggle) ballcock shank washer, putting the lens of the camera right up to the glass of the eyepiece. It works, it’s cheap, and you can get everything you need at any hardware store. Happy digiscoping!


15 thoughts on “Okie Ingenuity and An Armful of Yellow Fever

  1. Janet Wilkins says:

    AWESOME! I’m going to make one for myself!

    When I traveled to the Bahamas (for research with Tufts), I had taken some of my “pro” camera equipment and hardly used it because it was just soooo heavy to lug around. Where were you then with these ingenious ideas? 😀

  2. zeladoniac says:

    Thanks, Janet,I’m glad you’re here, too.

    Let me know if you try the ingenious digiscope connector yourself. By the way,the components are useful if you ever have to repair a toilet.

  3. 100swallows says:

    Great demo, Debby. It was fun to follow though I know nothing about any of it. I can’t wait till you go to the Amazon, though I suppose you will be off internet for awhile then. If you come back with as good stories and photos as after your stay in New England, I’m going to get a better idea of the jungle than I ever got anywhere else. And learn stuff too. I bet those arms hurt. Just one diphtheria shot kept me awake one night.
    I liked the zoo drawings.

  4. Pam says:

    Debbie, Thanks for your ingenuity! I have a Fugi scope with a straight eyepiece and an old Nikon coolpix. I try the hand held system of camera to scope – not always successful. I look forward to trying your idea out! And, now, and new item for my wish list….. a light scope 🙂 Good luck finding a comfy sleeping position with sore arms! Can’t wait to see your work upon return. Safe travels! Pam

  5. TR says:

    Can’t wait to try it out. Two Okies in the Amazon a week apart – will they ever recover! I decided against the anti-malaria pills – cover me up!

  6. TR says:

    p.s – rumor has it there’s a banjo-playing birder going to New River (posted at Mary’s View). I think it might be you. Won’t you reconsider!! How ’bout If I dangle a free ticket? This trip alone racked 25,000 miles — just for you.

  7. zeladoniac says:

    The arms were only sore for day, and not too bad at that. And TR- boy, is that tempting! Do they offer a banjo-player scholarship at the New River Festival?

  8. Brian says:

    Thanks for the Okie take on digiscoping, I needed that.
    Where did you find that collapsible pochade(?) box tripod, and do all canon powershot models work with this set up, or just one kind?

  9. Linda Coldwell says:

    Debby: so cool that you’re on your way to the Amazon! I’m glad I checked back in with your blog so I can follow along. LC

  10. zeladoniac says:

    Brian, see my response to your question in the last post.

    Thanks, Linda! I’m sure there will be stories. And pictures. Keep checking!

  11. julie Zickefoose says:

    Dude. I am trying to find a chink in my insane Oct. schedule to get just those freakin’ shots, cuz I’m S. America bound in November. So glad to hear it was just a sore arm for you. Someday I’ll tell you about my ordeal with Amazonian prep shots in 1981. Suffice it to say I contracted polio…Partayyy!

    Just opened a mysterious box from OK to find muggies from Uncle Dunk’s (yeah!!!) and the most expressive chicken mug evah. I’d have thought you drew it but it’s too old. Thank you, thank you!

    Where in the Amazon are you going? Is this the DRE scholarship at work?


  12. Ken Januski says:

    So, almost a year later now, and with me trying to decide whether to buy the ED50 that I ordered or the Nikon 60mm ED fieldscope that I was sent instead, I wonder if you still like your little scope?

    I realize that since this is such an old post you may not see the reply but I’ll take my chances. I’m leaning toward the ED50.

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