FZ200 and Birding in Rainforest and Sunshine

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Questions thread
JerryElbow
Junior MemberPosts: 28
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Re: FZ200 and Birding in Rainforest and Sunshine
In reply to dgcummins, Jan 4, 2013

dgcummins wrote:

JerryElbow wrote:

I read some of the other comments after writing mine. I agree that a spare battery is a great idea. But you also have to remember to carry it with you! I left my spare back in the back and my main battery died just before one particular hike ended. Fortunately, it had started to rain and we weren't seeing any birds then anyway.

Point taken! I will have a well stocked backpack dedicated to photography that goes with me everywhere.

Spare memory cards are always a god idea. The other approach is to get bigger cards. I do both. My main card is a 32 Gb card plus I carry a couple of 8 Gb spares.

Other than the possibility of losing one, not sure why I would need more than one large memory card. Would I need to keep some pix separate from others for some reason?

I have extras cards strictly for spillover if I fill my main card and I never seem to manage that.

I did use a monopod at some points on the various hikes but sometimes I had to leave it behind and switch over to walking sticks as we were hiking up some pretty steep trails in the mountains. Sure, a tripod would have been even better but it just wasn't in the cards for us.

I have extras cards strictly for spillover if I fill my main card and I never seem to manage that.

This is my dilemma. I don't want to carry a lot of equipment but from what I read, if I use the telephoto I pretty much need something to keep it steadier than my hands and body.

I've got a pretty steady hand and image stabilization really helps, so I was able to shoot full telephoto on my old FZ35 (which is 18x) without a monopod with no problems, (assuming there was enough light of course). The zoom on the FZ200 is longer but the lens is also faster. Now if my monopod was sturdy enough to replace a hiking stick, I might have used it more in the mountain hikes.

I shot some pictures in light rain but have never owned a digital camera that I felt was both waterproof and a really good camera. I have a waterproof digital camera I use when snorkeling but the FZ200 is a hundred times the camera that that one is.

I doubt I would even consider photographing in a rain storm, but would light drizzle affect it?

I've shot in very light rain but usually whip the camera out of my rain poncho, take the shot and hide it back under immediately. Now, it rained a few times daily while we were there in July, but it did not rain constantly. If you're going in the winter, it'll probably rain less in the rain forest. The cloud forest (where rain comes mostly from clouds running into the mountains) might be another matter. It was definitely worth keeping a rain poncho in our backpacks.

Consider getting a shoulder harness that you can hang both your camera and your binoculars on. I had a very nice should strap for my binoculars but only a neck strap for the camera and it was awkward with both. I bought myself a dual-camera shoulder harness for Christmas but have yet to try it. I'm hoping it makes it much easier to carry both about (and you DON'T want to go bird-watching without binoculars, do you?).

I have a harness for my bins, but had not considered or even heard that there was such a thing as a dual harness!! Where does one get one of those?

Here's what I ordered: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00435TDDI/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i01

There were many more to choose from. This one was cheap enough to try and not feel bad if it doesn't work out. It felt really weird at first but I adjusted where the connectors were and I think it'll be fine.

I carried an inexpensive green laser with me that and found it terribly useful on night hikes and even pretty darn handy on day hikes for pointing out to my wife where I was seeing something she wasn't (or vice versa). The guide used a simple compact mirror and was fabulous at lighting up the birds directly with it, but he has years of experience with that thing.

We will have a truly very experienced guide, but still, I had not thought about a green laser. I think I might need one for me and one for my husband instead of trying to describe where a bird is located with "4 o'clock from the top branch of the second largest tree!" Somehow I don't think that will work in CR.

The density of plant life is amazing there. Having some way to point things out was really handy. Of course, I never pointed the laser directly at the birds; I would draw circles in the leaves around them. I had previously bought a couple of cheap ones ($7 US each) from Amazon for stargazing. I took both of them and ended up giving one to a guide who had lost his and mentioned they were still very expensive to get in CR (as are most electronics).

And if you don't already have it, get a copy of "A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica" by Stiles, Skutch and Gardner. It's the standard book the guides seem to use down there so we were glad we had our own to reference.

Already got the book. Thanks for reaffirming our need for it. And for all the great suggestions and information. You are wonderful!

We always try to buy a bird guide that is local to the country we're birding in (we just sent for two bird books for Jamaica, for example). If it's a small country like Belize, you might have to go for the country "next door". The quality of the books vary, of course. This one was no Sibleys, but it was still pretty good.

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