Tips & Tricks

Guide to buying Binoculars

Posted on November 29, 2017 by Wendy Busa

Whether it is for the sports fan, bird watcher, astronomer or any outdoors person, Binoculars make a great gift! How do you know what to look for when purchasing binoculars? What do the two numbers stand for? For example if the binoculars are a 7x35, the first number is the magnification or how many times larger the subject will appear  and the second number is the diameter in millimeters for the front lens. 

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Posted in #binoculars, #birding, #fujibinoculars, #gift, #holidaygift, #meadebinoculars, #nikonbinoculars, #sportsfan, #vanguardbinoculars

Telescopes make a magical gift. Gift givers guide to buying a telescope.

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Wendy Busa

Give them the moon, the stars and the planets. Telescopes are a great gift that give years of wonder and enjoyment. There are so many options, where do you start?

This article will shed some light on terminology and features to look for when purchasing a telescope.

First here are some things to consider...

1. What do you want to view? Planets, galaxies, birds or other earthly/terrestrial  objects?

2. Is the person a beginner, hobbyist or advanced user?

3. Do they enjoy the manual hunt to find celestial objects or do they prefer the telescope to aid in the process with a Go To mount?

4.Where will they be doing their viewing? Is close by, in the backyard or do you have to carry the telescope a distance. Consider the size and weight of the telescope.

5. Will the person want to do astrophotography?

 6. Of course, What is your budget?

Understanding the numbers and the description on a telescope will help you understand what you will be able to view and give you an idea of the price. Lets look at the Meade beginner telescope the Infinity 70mm Altazimuth Refractor.

I forgot an important detail, what do telescopes do? They gather light and allow us to see objects much fainter than our eye can see. So on the Meade Infinity 70mm, the number 70mm stands for the diameter of the front lens, the objective. Why is this important? The higher the number or the larger the objective the more light it can gather and the more fainter items you can see. Also, the higher the number usually the more expensive the telescope is.

A telescope with a lower number will allow you to view larger objects like planets. A telescope with a higher number will allow you to view deep sky, fainter objects like galaxies.

The diameter of a telescopes objective is more important than the telescopes magnification. Some stores will tout 300x magnification. More magnification is not necessary good. It magnifies everything from the simple movement of your hand on the telescope to the atmosphere ( ex. heat rising from the ground). Magnification is determined by dividing the eyepiece diameter by the focal length of the telescope. So changing your eyepiece or adding an accessory like a Barlow lens will change the magnification.

When looking at telescopes there are basically 3 different types: Refractor, reflector and Scmidt Cassegrain or SCT.

1. Refractors use a lens to gather light. This makes the image contrast better. You view direct through them so they tend to be longer; something to think about if you travel with it. A benefit to a refractor telescope is that they are low maintenance.

2. Reflectors, like the Meade Polaris 127mm use mirrors to gather light, this tends to make them more affordable. Because of how the mirror attaches it is sensitive to bumping when transported.

3. Schmidt Cassegrain-SCT-use both a lens and mirrors. They are more compact, but tend to be a little more expensive. An example of a SCT is

the Celestron  Nexstar  6SE.

Besides the telescope itself, you need to consider what kind of mount, how it attaches to the tripod. The mount defines how the telescope moves. 

There are basically 3 types of mounts:

1. Alt-Azimuth, simply it moves the scope up and down and left to right. Easy, but not as easy to track with.

2. Go-to mounts- this is motorized. There is a simple set up for alignment. Once aligned, you can input what you want to see and the telescope will go there. This type tends to be more expensive. Meade even offers a telescope that I say has a built in astronomer. It is called a LightSwitch and with the flip of a switch the built in camera that is used with the GPS sees the night sky. The astronomer will come on and tell you what is in your night sky and then it will guide the scope to what you want to see. It does not get easier than that.

3. Equatorial mount- Since the earth moves, what an equatorial mount does is it tracks the stars in an arch. This is a manual system that takes more time to align, but is allows for better tracking and for photographers who do not want stair trails, this is the mount to go with.

Using the above information you can decide what your budget allows to get the biggest diameter telescope that you want for your viewing purposes.

 Now that you have the basics, please do not forget the accessories, extra eyepieces, filters, especially the moon ND filter and more. 

As Carl Sagan said "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

So get out there and start discovering..

 If you found this article to be helpful, Please like it and share it.

 

 

 

Posted in #astrophotography, #celestron, #meade, #nightsky, #stargazing, #telescope

What is a Mirrorless camera & Why would you want one? Mirrorless cameras explained.

Posted on October 30, 2017 by Wendy Busa

So, should you go with a mirrorless camera or a DSLR? Only you can decide. You will get great images with both. Sometimes it just boils down to how the camera feels in your hand. Stop by our store and see for yourself how the camera handles.

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Posted in camera selection, camera tips, dslr, fuji mirrorless, mirrorless camera, panasonic mirrorless, Photography, sony mirrorless

Capture Your Winter Wonderland

Posted on December 01, 2016 by Wendy Busa

 

A snowy landscape is an inspiring image, and to bring your winter wonderland center stage, it helps to include another object that can create contrast.  An exclusively snowy image may not provide enough visual interest, but even shadows can create a compelling addition to the composition.  If you shoot early or late in the day, the sun’s low angle can cast long shadows and contrast to other aspects of the image.  Simply adjusting your camera angle based on the sun’s position can change or impact your final result, which can be a fantastic asset when experimenting with different approaches to this subject.

Posted in Outdoor Photography, Photography, Photography Tips, Snow

Capture Your Winter Wonderland

Posted on December 01, 2016 by Wendy Busa

 

A snowy landscape is an inspiring image, and to bring your winter wonderland center stage, it helps to include another object that can create contrast.  An exclusively snowy image may not provide enough visual interest, but even shadows can create a compelling addition to the composition.  If you shoot early or late in the day, the sun’s low angle can cast long shadows and contrast to other aspects of the image.  Simply adjusting your camera angle based on the sun’s position can change or impact your final result, which can be a fantastic asset when experimenting with different approaches to this subject.

Posted in Outdoor Photography, Photography Tips, Snow

Instagram Tip: Foodie Favorites

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Erik Maros

 

Images of your favorite foodie experiences continue to top today’s Instagram feeds – and with good reason. Beautiful food is an art form in its own right and what could be more fun than seeing what your friends have discovered in their local cafes and restaurants?

 

If you’ve considered adding your favorite dish to your Instagram feed, try this trick that food bloggers rely on for absolutely appetizing images. Simply photograph your plate from the top down to achieve the best effect. You may need to bump up the exposure and the contrast a bit in the image due to the lighting in the restaurant, which can often prove challenging. If possible, make sure to also photograph the front of the restaurant. Your post for the day can lead with that image, saving the delicious dining images for the next update.

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Getting Goulishly Great Photos this Season

Posted on October 17, 2015 by Erik Maros

Spooky Snaps: Getting Ghoulishly Great Photos

 

Halloween kicks off the beginning of the holiday season with kids of all ages waiting to don their superhero costumes in search of free candy. However, sometimes the hustle of the workday and juggling daily demands keeps us from capturing the evening’s events the way we had hoped. Don’t’ worry – we’re here to help! We’ve compiled some of our favorite tips to help you prepare to photograph the entire evening as all the fun unfolds.

 

Start Early: Don’t wait to start taking pictures until everyone is already dressed and ready to hit the sidewalks–-their excitement may make them less enthusiastic about posing for photos. Some of the best photos involve candid images featuring the kids’ excitement in getting ready for the evening. Painting their faces, putting on a tiara, tying on a cape – these moments are ideal in showcasing the anticipation of Halloween festivities.

 

Shooting the Scenery: It’s easy to forget to photograph our surroundings when there are so many great costumes on display. With that in mind, some of the decorations needn’t take second stage. For example, for jack-o-lantern shots, make sure to zoom in close and fill the frame. The lantern is likely lit so keep your flash off as it may overpower the image and create a ‘hot spot’ on its surface. Play with interesting angles, shooting low and upward to give the effect of impending doom and added spookiness.

 

Gaze Through the Glass: If you have a glass pane on your front door, try having the kids look through while you shoot from the other side. Just remember to turn your flash off so light doesn’t bounce off the glass.

 

Make a Run for It: Consider taking a few pictures of your kids running down the sidewalk with their treat bags in tow. Make sure your ISO is at a higher setting to catch the movement and pick your perfect spot to shoot before you let them run free.

 

Nighttime Shots: The right flash distance can make all the difference when it comes to creating that perfect image. Most cameras have a flash that is effective somewhere between five and ten feet from the subject; just don’t stand too close or else you may find your picture looks too bright or overexposed.

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