Jonathan Smithies
Wildlife Photography

Finding the dipper

A couple of days ago I managed to break the curtain rail in my bedroom. Consequently, I’ve been woken up earlier than usual by the morning light. Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the fact I was awake, so I headed to my local park in search of a kingfisher.

I’ve managed to photograph the kingfisher a number of times over the last year but recently it has been more elusive, at least to me. I think it may have something to do with the river levels being a lot lower in the location I typically go to photograph them. When the river is less full, it also flows more slowly, and the combination means the kingfisher isn’t able to dive and hunt fish as easily.

Yesterday I spotted the kingfisher twice, and it landed on the branch I was hoping it would… but sadly not for long enough to get a shot off! That said, I’m not cruel enough to talk about kingfishers without showing you one of my kingfisher photos, so here’s a juvenile from a few weeks back.

I wanted to show you the before and after post-processing photos. Typically I don’t edit my photographs too heavily. I will sometimes remove minor distractions and make subtle adjustments to improve the overall quality of the image, drawing attention to the subject. In this instance, I have chosen to make slightly heavier changes because I was only able to capture a couple of images of the dipper. Unfortunately, the weather was overcast and the bird was sat in the shadows on the edge of the river. On top of that, because I wanted to shoot on the same eye level as the bird, I had to climb down into the river edge and hand hold the camera.

Dipper – before and after

Please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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About the Author

About me

Jonathan Smithies is a British wildlife photographer currently living in Bristol. He has a passion for photographing birds and enjoys travelling throughout the UK and abroad.