A Guide to Low-Light Binoculars

Serious nature-watchers may want to invest in low-light binoculars in order to take advantage of the dawn and dusk hours, when wildlife is most active, and thus most visible.


| May/June 1989



Man Looking Through Binoculars

You'll find extra hours in your nature-watching day with the right optics. 


PHOTO: BRANSON REYNOLDS

It's at least a thousand yards across the river valley to the grassy little park where I watch our local elk feed most every June evening. Tonight they emerge from the quaking aspens and scrub oak at exactly 7:30, following the lengthening tree-shadows out into the little clearing.

By 8:40, it has grown too dark to continue watching the animals through my little 7X2 minibinoculars. In fact, I can no longer see well enough through them even to focus. I put the minis aside and take up a newer, larger pair, of low-light binoculars, size 7X50.

Optical magic.

Not only are the elk once again visible, but with the help of the big 7X50s, I can now make out subtle differences in size and coloration between individual animals and observe exactly what each is doing: A lone cow is lying near the bottom edge of the park chewing cud. A few yards above her, next to a clump of scrub oak, lies a second, somewhat larger cow, this one with a very small calf relaxing nearby. At the very back of the clearing, two pony-sized yearlings are playing tag in and out of the "quakies." A sixth animal is feeding in the deep shadows

With these magical low-light binoculars, a full half-hour passes before I again lose clear sight of the little herd. That's half an hour of prime-time nature observation I would not, could not, have enjoyed without them.





dairy goat

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