I suppose that many of us have at one time or another tried to photograph a diving water bird. If for no other reason than the challenge. The problem is they don’t wave flags, or seem to indicate that they are about to dive. Like Pooh bear, they just do.
I was sitting watch a pair at the Werribee Mansion Ornamental Lake the other evening and again the need to try to catch one on plunge overwhelmed me and I started out trying to get that moment. 30 frames later, it was obvious, well at least to me, that said Grebe was pretty slick at getting underwater.
But, the more I watched, the more interesting it all became.
I realised that just milliseconds before diving, the little Aussie Battler, expands, then contracts its body feathers, thus trapping air, then it. Dives.
So now I’m peering through the viewfinder, and sure enough, fluff, compress dive. Again we are not talking actions of a Tai Chi long movement. More the instantaneous reeling of silk of Chen Style. Done. Oh, you missed it! I’ll do it again. There is that better!!!
Now, this is not an exact science. And as I watched there seemed to be times when the fluff, compress was followed by a small delay before diving. I might be on to something.
Can’t say I’ve solved the problem completely but at least I had half a chance of getting some of the action.
Feathers all fluffed, ready to go.
A different attempt, and just going down. You can see the back feathers all tightening up.
Dive, Dive, Dive
Just about to disappear
A sneaky slip into the water without the jump
Bottoms up as they say
Right on the moment of disappearing.
The little paddles kick up the last of the diving action.
Off to find a new fishing spot.