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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds


Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too


Jacques-Andre Dupont Guest Blog Kudos

Northern Gannet LOVERS (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec Image Copyright and courtesy ©Jacques-Andre Dupont All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 7D mark II, 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 L IS II (@263mm). ISO 800, F5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

I received a wonderful letter from J.A. (Jacques-Andre) Dupont; a wonderful person, and great photographer. As an educator and workshop/safari leader, I love sharing what I've learned during my workshops and it truly is wonderful to see a workshop participant improve their skills and learn how to reliably create awesome images filled with visual impact during a workshop/safari. Congratulations, J.A., much continued success. Many thanks for your wonderful letter. - Christopher Dodds.

Without further ado, here's J.A. Dupont:

This is a testament to my The butterfly photo effect or how my Chris Dodds workshops started things for me:
Dear Chris,
I wanted to write you a few words to tell you the story of how meeting you created a true butterfly effect for me.
I have been on two workshops so far with you.  Last year we did the Atlantic Puffin on beautiful Mingan Islands. And this year we did the Northern Gannet on the world renowned Bonaventure Island.
Both workshops were outstanding in many waysI learned quite a lot on a technical level.  But I believe that your workshops helped me do much more…  In a way, you helped me open my (photo) eyes.  You have showed me how to look at the birds, understand their behaviour and in a way use my images to bring them to life. You have helped me understand light in a new way, so the animals are almost as beautiful as in real life.   And you help me dig deeper within the tools that I brought with me; and of course I mean my Canon DSLR and my trusted L series lenses.
Both workshops were also amazing because you helped us discover amazing sights for wildlife photography and animals that are highly photogenic.
So in a nutshell, I believe I am a better photographer because of you.
And because of these two amazing photo trips and your guidance, I got to live quite a rushing experience in the last few weeks.
It all started after I put my gannet pictures on National Geographic web site.
Just a few days after I uploaded them online, things started to move in a new way for me.
๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปIt started by two of my pictures making the cut by being selected in the Daily Dozen section of National Geographic web site.
Then it went on turbo gear.  The next four things all happened within 48 hours
๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปI was contacted by a National Geograhic photo editor who offered to do a feature on my series of gannet photos as well as an interview with me. See the interview HERE.

๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปNational Geographic Senior Photo Editor also contacted me because she wanted one of my photos to be Photo of the Day on National Geographic (as photo of the day you get to be published on all Nat Geo social media platforms and you are on the first page of the web site… I received 21 000 likes on facebook just from being on their Facebook page). See the National Geographic Photo of the Day HERE.

๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปA 500PX editor contacted me because a Spanish magazine wanted to licence one of the photos for a feature (yet to be published). See my 500px portfolio HERE.

๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปAnd finally Solent News, a UK News and Photo agency contacted me to represent me and sell my pictures. After we agreed, my gannet pictures were published within a few days in the London’s Daily Telegraph. See the Daily Telegraph image HERE.

๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปAnd in the paper version:

๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปThis same agency is now selling other of my photos.
๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปAnd to top this tsunami of photography love, I was published last week in Canadian Geographic Special Collector Edition Best Wildlife Photography with a Cedar Waxwing photo. 
๐Ÿ‘๐ŸปAnd then last week I received an email and learned that three of my Gannets Photos were selected by Canadian Geographic as finalists in this year Wildlife Photography of the Year Photo Competition!
So this long email, is just my way of saying thank you. I feel very lucky to have been taught by you and this will not be the last time!

Jacques-Andre Dupont Montreal Canada




Upload Landscape and Portrait images to Instagram 

Well, it's finally happened! I have opened an Instagram account! I resisted for a very long time, because I felt working within the square was too restricive for my imagery. Now that Instagram lets you upload Landscape and Portrait images, this platform is much more appealing to me. If you would like to read how to post non-square images, go head and click on this link to the Instagram blog post announcing the change.

Do click on the link below and follow me and I'll follow you back:




Disaster proof digital storage ioSafe 1513+ Mini Review

I am sure it no surprise to you that I have a huge image archive. I am constantly making back-up copies of the master hard drive array and storing them in various off-site locations to ensure that my images are safe from accidental deletion, virus infection, hardware failure, fire, flood, robbery and anything else that may wipe out my valuable files; they are my life’s work and I would be a fool to think they could survive without extreme attention and care. Constant vigilance and attention still gives me nightmares; there are so many things that can go wrong. I could accidentally copy or mislabel the wrong drive or accidentally erase every single image I have ever created. Sure, there are plenty of “Cloud storage” solutions that offer unlimited storage in several redundant geographic locations, but I would need much more bandwidth than my current “small town” high-speed internet provider delivers, not to mention how long it would take to upload my entire archive at about 16TB. I just can’t imagine the time it might take to upload a card of fresh RAW images from a trip; it’s just not a practical solution for most photographers today.

Way back in January, my friends at ioSafe sent me a ioSafe 1513+. The ioSafe is a fireproof and waterproof housing that somewhat resembles a real safe (the kind you might buy for your valuables), and inside it houses five hard drives; mine came with five Western Digital 4TB Red hard drives. But it is not just a housing, or enclosure, it’s a full-blown NAS (Network Attached Storage). Although ioSafe built their hardware “from the ground up” and spared no expense building a product that can withstand 1550โ„‰ or 843โ„ƒ for up to 30 minutes, and can then be submerged in up to ten feet or 3.5 meters of water for three days (yes, even after it’s been torched!), they partnered with Synology to provide their already proven hardware and software architecture; the award winning Synology DSM (Disk Station Manager).

At the time of this writing, the maximum capacity of the five drive bay 1513+ is 30TB (five 6TB drives), but capacity can be increased up to 90TB by adding up to two 5 bay ioSafe N513X expansion chassis, and, like the ioSafe 1513+, they are fireproof and waterproof. The abundant ports include USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA and quad gigabit ethernet that can be aggregated for maximum throughput. Read and write speeds are impressive, with 202 MB/sec write and 350 MB/sec read speeds. Read more specs HERE

Once connected to your network, the ioSafe1513+ can be accessed by all of the other computers connected to your network, and if your network is connected to the internet, then it can be accessed from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. No more need to carry a couple of small hard drives full of images in case a photo buyer needs an image while away!

As mentioned, the ioSafe 1513+ runs the award winning Synology DSM or Disk Station Manager, and is powered by a Synology motherboard with 2.13GHz dual-core Atom processor with 2GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 4GB. Synology offers a plethora of apps which can expand it’s operating system so it can be used as a personal cloud, file server, mail server, media server, Apple Time Machine, Video Camera Surveillance Station,  and so much more.

The Synology Disk Station Manager supports these RAID types: Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10. Since I am not a huge believer in relying on a RAID solution, I opted to leave my unit as it was configured to operate using the Synology Hybrid RAID.

Weighing-in at roughly 60 pounds, this is a beast, but to keep thieves from walking off with your ioSafe 1513+, there are bolt-down theft prevention solutions available for floor and rack mount, and an integrated Kensington slot.

In conclusion, I am really impressed by the ioSafe 1513+. The build quality and engineering is exactly what I expected from a company that has built it’s reputation around delivering indestructible data storage solutions. The Synology DSM is so easy to use, you don’t need to be a NAS expert to take full advantage of all it has to offer; a huge relief to me, as I went into this knowing almost nothing about what I was getting into. The customer service is free, you get to speak to real people who know their product inside and out and they will take whatever time you need to explain anything that needs explaining to you. The read and write speeds are impressive in practice. I hope I never get to find out if it really is fireproof or waterproof, but have no doubt it will be. The ioSafe 1513+ has been working flawlessly since I first installed it and automatically backs-up to my Synology 1515+ via an app I installed to my DSM dashboard. I still make full back-up copies to external hard drive arrays which are stored off-site, but sleep much better knowing that ioSafe and Synology have my back, and my life’s work is well protected.

Although the ioSafe 1513+ is still a very current and capable solution, I have linked to the new ioSafe 1515+ which has recently replaced the ioSafe 1513+.


Gannets Galore Bonaventure Island Photo Workshop Update

Northern Gannet SEAWEED IN YOUR FACE (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 200-400mm F4 L IS USM XT, (@274mm). ISO 1,000, F4.5 @ 1/4,000s Manual. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Northern Gannets of Bonaventure Island

Gannets Galore

Photo Safari & Expedition

June 5-7, 2015 (3 Days/4 Nights)

Sold Out!

June 8-10, 2015 (3 Days/4 Nights)

Sold Out!

June 11-13, 2015 (3 Days/4 Nights)

Only 2 Spots left!

A spectacle not to be missed! This is, by far, the very best workshop to master your birds in flight technique. I have invested well over a year of my life at this site, so I know the birds and I know the site intimately, and I know the best way to maximize the photographic opportunities in any wind or weather. I know, and work with, the people at the park & in the village, so from having our gear hauled to the colony in an ATV, to getting special access, I have all of the bases covered. I have hosted over one thousand photographers for this adventure and it  truly is my favourite and most productive workshop.

Join Canon's Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds at the largest Northern Gannet colony in the world. Bonaventure Island, off the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, is home to more than 55,000 nesting pairs of Northern Gannets and it is such a beautiful place that National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranks Gaspé number three tourism destination in the world (Nov./Dec. 2009). You haven’t really seen a Gannet until you see the activity at a breeding colony. Bonaventure Island is perhaps one of the world’s best places to teach avian flight technique. Other photographic opportunities will include all aspects of breeding behavior; courtship display, bowing (territorial display), sky pointing, fencing (two mates clashing their bills together while pointing skyward), mutual preening and copulation. Most of the nests will be occupied and will contain babies at various stages of development. In June, we’ll be feet away from hatching eggs and adults feeding their young on their nests. The workshop is timed to coincide with the annual Caplin run in June, so we should have plenty of opportunities to photograph these magnificent birds diving; sometimes forming huge diving funnels containing thousands of birds. Other photographic possibilities include thousands of nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, Black Guillemots, Rozorbills, Gulls, Grey Seals and various Whales. Highlights will include a daily four hour adventure on a 24 foot Zodiac Hurricane (weather permitting). We should have ample opportunities to photograph Gannets diving and feeding in large funnels.

More information and sign-up for Gannets Galore Bonaventure Island Photography Workshop HERE

Gannets Galore: A recent trip to the gannet colony on the Gaspe’s Ile Bonaventure with Chris Dodds proved to be all that I could have hoped for.  The colony is large, active and readily accessible, Chris’ familiarity with the birds and how they would react to the frequent changes in weather and wind direction gave us access to some pretty unique shooting opportunities, and his knowledge of the area and personal connections within the local community allowed us to get to the island when construction on the town’s only pier could easily have prevented us from getting there.  This, combined with Chris’ almost unique ability to teach the principles of photography at the simplest and most complex levels, made this a trip that should not be missed.
Steve Goodman Denver, Colorado



Freeze action for birds in flight photography

American Bald Eagle ICE FISHING from my recent Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 IS II USM @200mm ISO 500, f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's a fun one from my recent Bald Eagle Workshop. I have some secret, and out of the way, spots where I head as fast as possible once it snows; the dark, flat water really makes the snowflakes pop. It's not a bad place to be when there is no snow and the light is nice too ;)

Freeze Frame

The image is made with Canon's new 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 IS II USM lens and my 1DX. Talk about a sweet and versatile lens! I keep finding myself going on about just how sharp and quick the lens is, that I forget to remind you all that techinique and practice both play a major roll in the final product. In keeping with my mantra; I used a shutter speed of  1/4,000 of a second to be sure to freeze every detail of the Eagle's wings, and any motion I may have made with the lens while following the Eagle's flight path. Like a windmill blade, slow movement of my lens results in a really fast movement at the distance where you are focused. Always ensure you have enough shutter speed to freeze movement and extract every ounce of detail from your images. A good start is 1/3,200 of a second and 1/4,000 or 1/5,000 is even better!


I recently returned from Chris’s Eagle Workshop in Homer Alaska. Over the years, I have traveled extensively and can say without hesitating that this was the best trip I’ve ever been on. Chris is a very cordial but no nonsense guy. Everything about the trip was organized to the max. I’ve been photographing wildlife for 35 years and thought I had a pretty good idea about how to do it so I wasn’t expecting to learn a whole lot that was new. Wrong! Over the years, other “professionals” had encouraged me to shoot in aperture priority or auto ISO. When Chris told us he was going to teach us to set our camera exposures manually, I thought that sounded like a lot of unnecessary effort. That notion turned out to be false. If you attend this workshop and don’t already shoot in manual mode, your life will be changed. The exposures of the photos I took are spot on and better than any I have ever achieved.
In addition to the new material I learned, the “eagle shooting” was beyond anything one could ever imagine. It was both action packed and challenging. Our group was only five people and Chris bent over backward to make sure that each of us got the best photos of our lives. Even though I had substantial problems with my equipment, I now have more killer eagle photos than I could have ever hoped for. If you want an informative and fun packed trip, I encourage you to sign up for this or any of Chris’s workshops. I have signed up again for next year’s Eagle Workshop, in spite of my truck load of eagle photos, which I believe tells the whole story.

Ron Brown Colorado USA