I stepped outside with my laptop to do a bit of office work – things you can say when you live in southern Arizona – and, naturally, got distracted by trying to bump up the yard list for the month. A quick scan around the cloudy skies revealed an impressive Golden Eagle soaring close to my yard's airspace. Awesome! I need to answer emails outside more often...
I dashed inside for my camera, but by the time I lurched back through the door the eagle had faded to a mere speck over the jagged skyline of the Chiricahua Mountains. But, a Golden Eagle constitutes a fairly large speck at any distance, so I decided it was a fair opportunity to play around with the maximum zoom on my Canon Powershot SX60. With a 65x optical zoom, I figured I could get something identifiable. (Standard advice: just turn off the digital zoom, it's worthless on any ultrazoom camera.) The results?
|Cropped from maximum zoom and lightened in Photoshop - but you can see golden nape for which this eagle is named. (Click on photo to enlarge)|
|My word, you can actually see an eyestripe defining the supercilium here...|
|Can you still see the eagle at top center frame? (Zoomed out roughly midway, maybe 30x)|
|Where I was standing to take the photo. Can't even imagine seeing the speck of an eagle naked eye!|
Wowzers. THIS is why I throw the camera on my shoulder when I'm out birding. Imagine that this was a rare raptor for the area. If I need to document something, I can pretty well count on this camera to get whatever my spotting scope can see. It won't be National Geographic quality, but it'll sure pass muster for the Rare Bird Committee! And it's a lot lighter than a real DSLR, which might not be able to capture the necessary details at this distance anyway.
And bonus, I just played around with the video function at maximum zoom while I was at it:
No, it's not going to take home a Golden Globe award for Best Documentary Film - especially with that high zoom hand quiver. But, it'll get the job done the next time you have to say "guess what I saw?"
Adventure Birding Company