Sunday, 21 June 2009

Quantum Grebes

Australasian grebes (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) exist in two states: diving and preparing to dive. It is impossible to predict what state a grebe will be in at any given time because it can switch between them instantly. And should you be able to get the camera focused on the bird in its preparing to dive state, by the time the camera shutter clicks the grebe will be underwater. On those rare occasions that you manage to photograph the bird on the surface, it will be out of focus. This phenomenon is explained by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Podicipedidae. With any given grebe, you can focus on it or you can get it in shot, but you can do only one of these things with precision.

This is a standard shot of an Australasian grebe — ripples and, occasionally, a fluffy white bum.

But sometimes, you can violate Heisenberg's Principle and get reasonable photographs. By uploading these I may cause a crisis in the world of theoretical physics, but I am prepared for the controversy. Here are pics of a trio of grebes that were sharing the shallows with the plumed whistling ducks at Hastie's Swamp, near Atherton.


Sherrie Y said...

I thought I felt a ripple in the space-time continuum. Then I decided it was just 6,000 Extra People In Our Town of less than 6,000 For Four Days.

Now I think it's grebes.

Snail said...

It's always grebes. The Lindbergh Baby, the Bermuda Triangle, Jack the Ripper ... grebes.

Wanderin' Weeta said...

Careful! That penultimate grebe has noticed you and is considering your effrontery. Prepare for the revenge of the grebes!

Good photos, these and the next post's, too.