Elbow Falls Dipper

American Dipper - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/640 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

I went up to Elbow Falls last weekend for the sunrise but I stayed for the American Dippers (Cinclus mexicanus).

Winter Dipper - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DII + 70-200mm lens: 1/1000 of a second at f/8 on ISO 1000

I love watching these aquatically adept birds stalking, diving and swimming in the middle of the rapids.  On the last visit to the waterfall, there were three Dippers flitting about moving between the bottom of the waterfall and the rocks at the top.

Patience - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/640 of a second at f/4 on ISO 4000

An uphill battle - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/1000 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Splashing around - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/1250 of a second at f/4 on ISO 2500

They chased each other down river a couple of times but spent most of their time fishing alone.  On a quiet morning in Kananaskis, it was nice to spend my time watching them.

Dipper Portraiture - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/640 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Let's have a look - 2014 © Christopher MartinCanon 5DIII + 500mm lens: 1/640 of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

4 responses

  1. That first one has such an energetic pose. Only seen one at Johnson’s Canyon, it was a fascinating bird to watch.. Enjoyed reading your exposure readings above, you and others have got me shooting often in aperture priority with good results.

    March 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm

  2. Great photos. I have tried on many occasions to get good Dipper shots but always left empty handed as the dipper was always just out of range of even my longest lens. However, the time spent watching those guys going in and out of the water was well worth it.

    March 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm

  3. Dear Christopher,

    Your pictures are ALWAYS wonderful! Do you shoot in aperture/ shutter priority mode or in manual? I try to shoot in manual, but with quickly moving object (birds, etc.), I just don’t have the time to figure out the right exposure :(. How do you do it?

    Thank you for your time,
    Svetlana

    March 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    • Hi Svetlana,

      What a nice note – thank you!

      Regarding shooting, with wildlife I often use aperture priority together with the exposure compensation. I will use manual for birds in flight when the light on them is relatively constant while the background brightness changes. There are many situations that I will use manual but generally I start in aperture priority. If the situation requires, or it is just easier, to go with manual, I will do that.
      When I don’t have a lot of light to work with (mornings, evenings, etc.) I’m most concerned with shutter speed when I’m photographing wildlife. I try to stay close to 1/1000 seconds at a minimum and that often means having the lens wide open and moving the ISO up or down to keep the shutter speed up. That might help to try focusing on that when you are out.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      March 19, 2014 at 7:17 pm

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