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on May 21, 2013 in Wildlife Photography

The American Dipper & the 800mm – pt1

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So there we were after breakfast on our Mono Lake Weekend at the falls. Now the falls have had American Dipper nests since the creation of the Sierras. Knowing that, I took the 800AFS with me to the falls. For the first time, I had the dedicated TC-25e attached which makes the 800mm a 1000mm f/7.1. I figured my friends the Dippers who I’ve been photographing in this one location since 1982 would be the perfect test zone for this combo.

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What I didn’t expect was the Dippers would already have fledge 1 kid and working on double clutching. Or the fact that the 800mm/TC-25e combo would be for freakin sharp! Not only sharp, but in these conditions it would focus blazing fast on the D4. OMG, I was in pig heaven! After helping a participant on our Weekend, I would use the lull time to stand at the 1000mm and watch the fun of the Dippers which was catchy, most of the Weekenders got into photographing them as well. Why not, they would practically land on your shoe! What you see here is what I saw and photographed.

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The adults spent most of their time going in and out of the nest (the top frame). Their nest looks like a igloo made out of moss. Then every 10-15min, the adult would grab a grub (they get by flying underwater) and would feed the fledgling. Normally I would use a flash to light up the shadows but I didn’t think I would really be spending much time with the Dippers. Well, I was wrong but couldn’t go get the flash. So I waited until the white water would work as a reflector. The 1000mm worked beautifully, the creek really ripping and the Dippers were really active and as you might have guessed looking at the blog title, what you see here isn’t all of the story. You’d be guessing correctly, mtc.