If you go anywhere where birders congregate in the bird-friendly state of New Jersey, you’re likely to see quite a few binoculars sold by the founder of Pop Optics, Denis Cleary—in the hands of their beaming and grateful owners.

For 15 years and until recently Denis sold binoculars and spotting scopes at New Jersey Audubon Society’s Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary in Bernardsville, and was one of the organization’s premier nature optics specialists. During this time he demystified the subject of optics at a host of workshops that often left their participants smiling (if not convulsed in laughter) and ready and eager to join the ranks of binocular evangelists. But he got the most fulfillment from facilitating the bulk purchase of binoculars for a variety of schools and other educational institutions—thereby putting optics in children’s hands and fostering the curiosity about, and interest in, the natural world that is the result of getting “a closer look.” 

The catalyst behind the creation of Pop Optics is not, however, all those binoculars sold—but rather the far greater number NOT sold. You see, Denis plied his trade on a NJ wildlife sanctuary where arguably every visitor was interested in nature and the outdoors—yet only a small percentage bought nature optics. Why was that? Perhaps word had not gotten out that a quality, inexpensive binocular (or even a really, really expensive one!) can enrich the outdoor experience for everyone—not just for people who watch birds.

Indeed, these days people are using binoculars to “watch” not only birds but butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, native wildflowers and plants, airplanes (gas hawks), celestial bodies, even the architectural features of old buildings (gargoyle watching?) All of those things that we encounter when we turn away from our screens, shut down our electronics, get outside and look around. So the dream and the mission of Pop Optics and its founder is to encourage the enjoyment and exploration of what’s outside, all around us, and to use nature optics as a tool for that, bringing…

Your world, closer.