Thursday, June 19, 2008

American Dipper Lamentations

American Dipper fishing underwater - not quite sharp

This is a story of attempt, not of success; of progress but not achievement--as I would prefer. On a previous blog I showed a few pictures of an aquatic passerine called the American Dipper, a very fascinating bird that hunts for bugs, grubs and fish underwater. I did make a return visit to the spot where the bird was vigorously collecting food to supply her ravenous chicks. My hopes were to get an over/under shot of the bird gathering food. This seemed like an epic task, given the time I had, and in some ways, almost ridiculous. But I spent a few hours observing the birds behaviours and decided on a location to set up the camera, which was placed in an underwater housing with a wireless remote enabling me to fire the camera from many feet away. I had another camera with a 500mm lens, and I would try to shoot the bird when above water, while waiting for it to swim by my camera. Miraculously, the bird proceeded towards the camera, swam right in front of it and I fired the trigger. The noise of the shutter scared the bird and it flew out of the water. But, miraculously x two, it returned again. I fired the trigger, but the host of things necessary for perfection in this attempt did not coalesce. Shadows, proximity to camera lens, direction of the bird, blah, blah, blah.

American Dipper almost in focus

But, it was an almost, and I may venture one more time to attempt this image. I spent the better part of the day watching, waiting and shooting while the Dipper was gathering food and feeding the chicks. Stay tuned, it would be surprising, but not impossible to get the shot.


Roy Mangersnes said...

Hi Patrick,

I must admit your blosite has been a great inspiration to me. Ref. my own site

I'm always looking into what you are up to, still dreaming about returning to Alaska one day.

Cheers, Roy (from Norway)

Patrick said...

I just returned from a few days in Denali National Park. I checked out your blog and really liked your landscapes, especially the blue ice shot. Keep Alaska in your future sights!