What to look for in pair of binoculars destined for birdwatching


Summer is right around the corner and I’m starting to feel the mood for going birdwatching with my loved ones. This is such a beautiful hobby that gives me plenty of scenery to admire and quality time spent with my family. If you feel like getting into birdwatching, you must be prepared with the right pair of binoculars. And sometimes the perfect pair might force you to ease up your wallet. Choosing the ideal binoculars is a master art because it takes years of practicing for observing the subtle changes of nuances and viewing characteristics. Optics is a field designed for perfectionists, therefore, it is very important to keep in mind some technical traits before buying birdwatching binoculars. I suggest reading some pieces of my advice but also go ahead and test some products until you find the one that suits your needs best.


You can’t possibly call yourself a birdwatch lover and not own a pair of good binoculars. They are the extension of your eyes. Therefore, one major feature you must keep in mind is power magnification. This is responsible for making the object larger even at a far distance. Technical specs include in general a set of two numbers; the first is responsible for the degree of magnification. I recommend opting for 8 to 10 range which is ideal for birdwatching.

As I previously mentioned, the first number from the set marked on the binoculars refers to magnification while the second one gives information about the amount of light that reaches the viewing area. Basically, the higher the number, the brighter you will see the targeted object. This is very significant especially if you plan to go birdwatching at dawn or dusk.

Another aspect you must consider is the field of view of the binoculars. You must be able to have a large spectrum of the area when observing birds. This way you can catch different species without moving the binoculars too much.

Don’t forget about image quality. I for sure prefer natural colors over filters. This is the main reason you should check the binoculars before to see whether they have a dual focus option to adjust. Also, while testing, see how great the construction of the eye relief is. Especially if you wear glasses, you will need something comfortable and adjustable. Most binoculars provide rubber sleeves which aren’t so durable so I prefer the twisting or the sliding eyepieces which are more practical.

Keep in mind the material and the size. Birdwatching is a wonderful experience but after hours spent in nature you will feel the burden of carrying a weight in your hand. If you like going in humid environments, waterproof binoculars are most suitable.

No matter what you choose, beware that birdwatching can become addictive so choose binoculars that can cure your bird curiosity!

My new hobby: stargazing with an used telescope

Stargazing is a beautiful activity that can bring so much satisfaction especially if you are looking for a hobby. Being able to look at the sky and see that the universe is so much bigger than we could possibly imagine can be overwhelming but nevertheless stunning. So, if you feel like a freshman stepping into the optics field you probably don’t know how much money to spend on a good telescope. I would suggest not to invest too much in the beginning because in time you will increase your knowledge and more likely prefer advanced models. However, I will give a few hints about important features that even used telescopes must possess to give you a full optic experience.

Buying a used telescope doesn’t mean that it is broken or not working properly. It may be the reason that the previous owner didn’t have time to use it or maybe he needed a professional tool. Either way, the first thing you must consider in your search is the brand name. A good product will last more therefore even used a telescope will be sufficient. Plus, it is more likely to find service support for a well-known telescope in case you need repair or piece replacements.

A brand-new telescope with full option technical feature may ease your wallet considerably but if you opt for a used one that won’t get you ripped off you should look for a model that has some useful extras. You should read everything that is written on the box or right on the telescope. A serial number can make a huge difference in price and quality. Trace the letters and the numbers online or consult a professional forum and learn more about the model you are interested.

Once you find a telescope that catches your attention you can contact the buyer and if possible plan to make a try-out. This way you can test what you are buying and see if the product has faults.

Even if you are a novice in terms of optics and telescopes you can learn a few things before the purchase. The aperture or the diameter of the primary lens should be large and with a full capacity of attracting the light. Also, the size of the telescopes decides its portability. For outside gazing, you might want a smaller telescope that is easy to carry around.

Magnification should be no more than two times the aperture if you look for clarity and precision.

So, after doing your fair amount of research you should be able to get a telescope that suits your needs and budget. Take into consideration my advice but also consult the optics clubs, books or any other useful resources.

What type of telescope do you need for seeing Saturn’s rings?



If you’re about to get your first telescope, you might have to think twice before spending your money on a model as you need to make sure that it can allow you to look at everything that interests you. There are three major factors that you should try to bear in mind when prospecting the market for optics, in general, and a telescope, in particular.

The first piece of advice that I can give is to avoid rushing in. It’s a good idea to spend some time doing your research and coming up with a list of ten telescopes, for instance, that you might want to buy. In some areas in the United States, there are clubs where people can get together and look at stars. Amateur astronomy requires a bit of investment in terms of both your finances and the time that you’ll devote to studying it. Other people can help you make the right choice, so if you have friends who are into telescopes as well, be sure to give them a ring and ask for their opinions.

Above all, you should try to avoid getting overly excited while you’re at a department store. In most cases, the units that you’ll find in such a store aren’t the best in the world, and they often cost more than products that you can get online. Besides, you might have to consider that, if you choose a cheap setup at the beginning, you might lose that money and be unable to spend it on a higher quality alternative later on.

If you want to look at Saturn’s rings, all you need to have is a small telescope that comes with a 25x magnification setting. Saturn’s moons can be seen with a 2-inch scope, but you might have a bit of trouble with this type of product if, for example, you’d also want to take a peek at Jupiter. There are many ways of telling the difference between one telescope and the next, but one of the factors that you should consider is the power rating. Anything that goes beyond 100 power is great for seeing both Jupiter’s cloud structure and Saturn’s rings.

A 3-inch scope with a 50x magnification can, in fact, let you glance at the rings in a very individual manner, which is to say that you’ll be able to make the difference between the planet per se and its rings. Medium-priced telescopes will usually let you look at planets like Venus and Mercury, but Neptune and Uranus are a whole different thing as you’ll need a high-end alternative to see them.

Last but not least, I’d like to add that if you’re not focused on seeing Saturn’s rings, you can even use a regular pair of binoculars to check out the sky and look at the planet. I hope that this post helped you somehow.

Our new telescope is here, and we’re extremely excited


I was telling you about my passion for birdwatching in one of my latest posts, and about how I was trying to find the right equipment both for my daughter and for my son. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that there is no way in the world I am going to please the both of them. I’ll probably have to buy a microscope for our daughter because I have just received a telescope for our son!

We’re all very excited to try to work with it, but we’re waiting for a clear night so that we can look at the stars and galaxies. If there are any areas near New York that we can travel to to do just this, please let me know in the comments.

Buying the telescope was a baffling adventure because I had no idea just how many things I had to consider. Eventually, I decided to purchase a mid-priced Celestron model just because the kid doesn’t yet know how to handle such equipment and I get a picture in my mind that he’s going to break something very soon. The model we picked is a 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ refractor telescope. In my opinion, the fact that we got it from Amazon is what made it possible for us to purchase it for less than one hundred dollars.

As you can probably imagine by now and considering the fact that I’ve been an art dealer and am passionate about painting and art, in general, I have little to no idea when it comes to choosing telescopes, binoculars, and such pieces of equipment. Nonetheless, since I noticed that this particular option had received rave reviews, I thought I’d give it a try especially as my husband seemed to have nothing to say on the matter. He’s been busy for some time with his job, and it gets on my nerves that I can’t seem to rely on him for any decision I have to make around the house.

For now, we’ve just set the thing up and it seems to be doing what it’s supposed to given that I’ve taken a peek at the moon and it’s amazing. What I liked about this model is that, technically, you can use it for terrestrial observation, as well, although I hardly think that it’s a great option for birding. I guess we have only to wait and see, depending on the time we have available and whether or not the kids have a lot of homework in the upcoming weeks.

All in all, I’m entirely pleased with our choice especially as I didn’t have to spend a fortune on a beginner’s telescope. If you’ve bought one yourself, be sure to leave me a comment so that we can discuss more about the matter and other products I might have to be in the market for in the future.

What kind of equipment do you need to tell if a painting is an original or a fake?


Telling the difference between an original and reproduction has always been a difficult task, even for professionals. Of course, people who have worked in the industry for several years have the experience to use certain tools and actually give a diagnosis on the matter. Others, however, who feel like they have been less inclined to give the subject some thought to, have little to nothing to say about the authenticity of a painting. Today, I’m going to try to tell you a bit about what I’ve learned while I was working at an art gallery.

Both the front and the back of the piece have something to say when it comes to assessing the age of a painting. You have to check for specks of dust, anything regarding the texture, as well as whether there’s a certain smell or a bit of dirt on and around the canvas. The surface of the latter can also give a pointer as to the moment it has been painted, in that with most old pieces you’ll notice a certain patina on the back of the canvas.

Another tip I can give you is to have a close look at the wood. Whether the piece was framed recently or not, you can tell by the looks of it if it’s an older work or a newer one. What’s more, you might need to examine the piece in close detail just so that you’re able to tell if there are any bristles on or in the paint on the canvas. Believe it or not, you’d fail to discover this exact detail if the painter was using high-quality brushes and a higher quality ganache or paint.

Finally, if you’re thinking of purchasing a painting using a website such as eBay or virtually any other online retailer that allows people to organize auctions, you need to be on the lookout just to make sure that you’re not getting cheated. If the value of the product is well beyond several hundred dollars, you might have to ask for the opinion of an art appraiser. If there is an art gallery in the area you work or live, perhaps you can go talk to a dealer. He or she will surely ask for several pictures in order to assess the authenticity of the piece at least at first glance. It goes without saying that, ideally, the appraiser would have to see, smell, and hold the painting in his or her hands in order to determine if it’s a fake or an original. Since this is sometimes impossible, the least thing you can do is talk to the seller and get some sort of authenticity proof.

This is all the advice I had for people buying paintings online.

Why I love going birdwatching with my children



As I’ve told you in one of my other posts, I enjoy going birdwatching with my kids. I have a son and a daughter, both of which are, lucky for me, into nature and exploring the great outdoors. I like this activity because it helps me to bond with my children without me having to make a real effort. They love animals, in general, and while we have a cat and a dog at home, they hardly come in contact with birds when they go to school or do their homework.

Since my husband is busy with his job, it’s my responsibility to make sure that our son and daughter get enough fresh air and exercise during the weekends or the holidays. I’ve been fascinated by birds ever since I was very young and I used to go out all by myself and try to paint the ones I was lucky enough to lay an eye on. My parents thought I was a bit crazy, but being an introvert satisfied with observing the world around her has always suited me rather well.

Because I’m trying to make the whole experience as fun as possible for my kids, I have recently started doing a bit of research about networks and groups that might be in the New York area and that we could join. One thing I like about this activity is that I can take a picture of a bird and then go back home and try to look it up and find out all there’s to know about it. Once I’m absolutely convinced that it’s the one I had a hunch about, I do my best at learning everything I can about it.

My daughter has recently developed an interest in biology, and so I’m looking for different ways to spike her interest even more. While our little boy seems to like astronomy, I’ve decided that I can try to make them work together by convincing them to go birdwatching with me. How does one work with the other? Well, it’s rather simple, in my opinion. To take pictures of the birds you’re trying to observe, you need some sort of equipment. That’s where a telescope might come in handy, as well as a good-quality camera. As I was saying in another article I wrote in the past, it seems to me that most of the camera equipment primarily intended for hunting is the best one on the market these days.

Something I’d like to add is that there’s a code of conduct that many birdwatchers seem to forget about and it’s that you have to make an effort in order to preserve the environment you’ve violated with your presence by keeping it the way you’ve found it. This means that no waste or litter has to remain behind you.