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Binocular Use 101.5: Tips On Glassing

RECOIL and OFFGRID contributor Kevin Estela recently wrote an article about the use of optics (specifically, binoculars) over on Fiddleback Forge. Now, this might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s really not. Many people don’t use their binoculars properly, or more likely aren’t conversant enough with their use to exploit them to their fullest advantage. In the article Estela talks about light reflection, scanning techniques, cleaning and other salient points.

Here’s an excerpt.

“Look up from your computer screen across the room where you are. Take a mental note of what you’re looking at. Think of laying a grid over this image that is broken down into 4 quadrants. This is the same strategy you’ll apply when trying to locate a moving subject over a large area. When you’re using a pair of binoculars in a given environment, zoom all the way out and stare at the center of your bigger picture where the horizontal and vertical axes intersect. Stare at this point and let your peripheral vision (better suited for picking up movement) find the movement your direct focus would not normally see. When you see movement, you can use the zoom of your binoculars to focus in on this movement to verify if it is your subject. If it is not, you return to the intersection of the axes, zoom out and use your peripheral vision again.

For fixed objects, such as a ranger station, a trailhead or lean-to, you will use the 4 quadrants again. I’ve seen plenty of people scan back and forth left to right and right to left then up and down and down and up with no rhyme or reason. They scan aimlessly and hope they’ll land on what they’re looking for. Well, hope is not a plan. When looking for a fixed object, break your field of vision into quadrants and examine them individually. Come up with a scanning pattern that makes sense. If two people are scanning an area in a group effort, establish a “halfway” point to not cross over and maximize the space covered. If the search area is smaller and there are multiple people, sketch it on paper or snap a photo on your phone and discuss overarching search patterns to follow. No matter what you do, do it logically and stick to your plan. Don’t look like a bobble head looking left, right, up, down and over and over.”

Read the article in its entirety and get your learn on right here.


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