Noah Strycker has posted the totals from day 118 of his 365 day quest to see 5,000 birds worldwide. He has 2320 bird species and counting, having birded Antarctica, then up through South America, and just now polishing of Central America, moving to Mexico in the next days and then on to the US. It will be a difficult challenge that no one has ever managed in the past, but whether he makes this mark or not (the personal goal he’s challenged himself with), it is a real treat to experience the world vicariously from Noah’s perspective through his daily writings and images on the „Birding Without Borders“ blog hosted by the National Audubon Society.
Beginning on day one, he treated us with the stunning image above showing a small group of Gentoo Penguins with the Antarctic landscape spread behind, adding marvelous perspective to the feel of the Antarctic summer! The amazing tales and images haven’t stopped since.
Despite the marvelous images displayed daily, the goal is not to get stunning images but to tally birds and lots of them. So as bird volumes increase, Noah is really only shooting from the hip and capturing what he can as he moves rapidly from point to point in search of amazing bird species along the way.
He’s traveling light, carrying only the essential gear and living out of the backpack at top left. His most bulky gear naturally is his optics, his single camera, and his computer – all necessary items for his task.
Of special importance to us at Leica, is the optics and camera gear in Noah’s kit! After much conversation on pros & cons of gear, Noah chose the Leica 10×42 Ultravid HD-PLUS binoculars – not our lightest binocular but Noah chose to stick with a 42 mm objective favoring more light delivery over the lighter weight 32 mm models (the author prefers lower powered 7×42’s for the sweeping field of views, massive circle of light entering the eye and comfortable view provided by the superior depth of field). Introduced at the Photokina camera show in Germany this past September, Noah literally received one of the first new 10×42 Ultravid HD-PLUS models delivered to the United States in the weeks preceding his departure. Similarly, he received the first of our new C-170 tripods and light weight VH-1 video head near the same time (also introduced at Photokina)! For his spotting scope, Noah is using the compact Leica APO Televid 65 mm angled model with our 25-50x wide-angle zoom eyepiece.
While the optics are undoubtedly helping Noah achieve his task by delivering maximum light, offering the finest views possible and unparalleled eye comfort (even with near constant use), the readers don’t get to appreciate these views except for when Noah posts digiscoped images taken with his iPhone through the lenses of the APO Televid spotting scope.
Otherwise all of the images shared are taken with the compact Leica V-lux (typ 114) camera. An amazing point and shoot model providing focal lengths from 25 to 400 mm (and a surprisingly usable 2x digital zoom that will get you to 800 mm). It offers lightning fast auto-focus synch & shutter burst capabilities of up to 15 frames per second to freeze birds in flight. The state of the art video capabilities offer dual stereo audio input & includes high-speed (slow motion) mode. Plus the built in, onboard flash is powerful enough to illuminate wildlife species like owls seen at night. Most importantly for Noah though this is all housed in an ergonomic package that weighs in at less than a pound! He has no other camera gear with him so all of the images provided are through Leica lenses.
To follow Noah’s progress and experience the world vicariously through his daily words & imagery visit the Birding Without Borders blog and stay tuned for updates & interviews here on the Leica Birding Blog!