Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Digi-Poaching

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
13 comments
Leica digiscoping set-up. Courtesy Mike McDowell.

Most birders are now familiar with the term digiscoping—using a digital camera to take photographs or digital video through a spotting scope or (less commonly) through binoculars. There are countless websites devoted to sharing digiscoped images (here is a good one from Leica, and one from Swarovski, one from Zeiss, one from Nikon, and another one affiliated with Eagle Optics). There are also online forums where digiscoping's ever-changing technology is discussed and debated.

I learned a new "digi" term at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas last weekend. But before I describe it, let me set the scene for you.

The SHOT Show is held annually in either Las Vegas, Nevada, or Orlando, Florida. It is the outdoor industry's largest trade show, drawing more than 30,000 buyers from retail gun shop owners, to travel outfitters, catalog publishers, hunting club managers, law enforcement, and the military. There to display their wares and services are manufacturers of anything you might need for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, recreational shooting, gun or knife collecting—it's actually impossible to describe the scope of the SHOT Show. It is, some would say, naturally, a very male-dominated show.

So you can imagine the conflict—the torment even—when the SHOT Show's regularly scheduled operating hours conflicted with the year's biggest sports event: The Super Bowl. We're talking thousands of people who HAD to stay in their display booths while the most-watched sporting event in the world took place last Sunday afternoon.

SHOT Show booth operators are nothing if not resourceful. Many of the largest companies at the show spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their booths. Some of this money is spent on the highest-end video display monitors and these are often mounted where passersby can watch a promotional message from the company, or videos of their products in use, or, most often, episodes of the hunting shows they sponsor. So in spite of warnings to the contrary, several of these companies with massive booths and steroidal TV sets tuned in to the Super Bowl. As you might guess, these booths were very crowded during the game.

As I was walking the show aisles, I happened upon the Leica Sports Optics booth where my friend Jeff Bouton was working. Behind Jeff was a TV with a scruffy-looking Tom Petty singing away during the Super Bowl halftime show. The following conversation ensued.


"Jeff! Dude, you guys have the GAME on!" I said.
"No, we don't. That would mean we had an outside video feed. We do not," he replied.
"But how....?"
"It is digi-poaching my friend!"
"Wha???"
"You see that massive booth 50 yards down this aisle here?"
"Yes"
"Do you see their huge-screen TV tuned to the game?"
"Yes"
"We are demonstrating the clarity of our Leica digiscoping system by focusing on that screen and sending the image to this otherwise normal TV display in our booth."
"Digi-poaching! Genius!"
"No amigo, merely superior optics doing what they do best!"

13 comments:

On February 6, 2008 at 7:42 PM BWJones said...

Ah, you can now expect a call from the NFL wanting royalties...

On February 6, 2008 at 8:00 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

I love this, and it is SO Bouton!!!

Le Bouton is ze foxiest of optics reps, and zey are a foxy bunch, ha Haah!

On February 6, 2008 at 9:44 PM Mary said...

Genius and very effective sales effort! I understand it (I think...). Digi-Poaching. Wow.

On February 6, 2008 at 10:32 PM crazyforcinema said...

Oh, that is just so awsome - I have no words...

On February 6, 2008 at 11:49 PM Born Again Bird Watcher said...

I agree Julie - that Jeff is, to paraphrase the noted philosopher Edmund Blackadder, as cunning as a fox who holds the chair of the Department of Advanced Cunning at Oxford.

On February 7, 2008 at 6:54 AM Jayne said...

HA! Who knew??? ;c)

On February 7, 2008 at 8:25 AM Julie Zickefoose said...

Although in all fairness, Clay Taylor from Swarovski has about a million tricks up his digiscoping sleeve and fully qualifies as foxy, too!

On February 7, 2008 at 12:25 PM Bill of the Birds said...

No comment on the hotness of the optics dudes. Now the actual optics? Them 'r' hot!

On February 7, 2008 at 1:08 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

Ah, c'mon Bill. You notice.

On February 7, 2008 at 1:42 PM Trixie said...

Digi-poaching....I think my CCD teacher did that in the '70s when he took lawn chairs to his roof and watched the porn at the drive-in. Yup...

On February 7, 2008 at 3:21 PM Rondeau Ric said...

Isn't Jeff a clever fellow. Once for working for a quality optics company and secondly for his unique dispaly of the quality of said optics.

I'll pass on rating other males.

On February 7, 2008 at 11:33 PM dguzman said...

That is some serious digi-kung fu.

On February 8, 2008 at 3:27 PM Susie@GW said...

Ditto on all the optics stuff. What! WHAT?? A SCRUFFY looking Tom Petty..... he doesn't come any other way, does he?


[BACK TO TOP]