Ken, the far distance coupled with the flexibility of the light pole may pose steady-camera difficulties when zoomed in on a nest some several hundred feet away. Your thoughts? Are there any similar installations where they have overcome this?
The problem I see is the intended flexibility of the high-mast light pole. As you know when using your telephoto lens, the slightest movement makes viewing erratic and the condition worsens with distance. Other long distance cams are probably fixed with steadfast connections to non-moving concrete or similar poles.
Yes, Mike, I thought about this. An even bigger problem is the movement of the nest tree itself, which would greatly exceed that of the pole. That's why my first idea was to try to put the camera on the nest tree itself-- it would sway with the wind and the nest would always be in the same place while the surroundings moved back and forth. FWC did not look favorably on this plan, insisting that the camera be placed in a separate platform at least 10 feet away. One camera supplier also recommended against this approach, although a USF&WS nest camera in West Virginia is indeed mounted on a branch in the nest tree itself!
There is really no solution for this-- the nest would simply not be very visible during high winds, even though the pole is quite a bit more rigid than the tree.
If everything goes according to plan, the camera will be robotic, permitting it to be zoomed in and out. When the winds are high it could be zoomed out to help alleviate the problem.
The biggest obstacle right now is getting the plan put into effect. We should know where we stand within a very few days. If approved and funded, we could start immediately, as installation would not involve disturbance of the eagles, and no FWC permit would be required (as confirmed by FWC).