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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

 

 

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Thursday
Jul242014

Northern Fur Seal Pups of Saint Paul Island

Northern Fur Seals NEW FRIENDS (Callorhinus ursinus, L’otarie à fourrure du Nord) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II , 2X Teleconverter III, Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 4,000 f/8 @ 1/1,6000s Manual Mode.  PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a couple of Northern Fur Seal pups from my Saint Paul Island workshop. Seals only have one baby at a time, so these two are neighbors meeting for the first time. They are fascinating to watch, and their calls sound very much like a barn full of baby sheep. I shot this image with my Canon 600mm f/4 IS II and 2X Teleconverter wide open at f/8 to isolate the subjects from the volcanic rocks, and used a shutter speed of 1/1,600 of a second to be sure to freeze the rapidly vibrating mouth and teeth while they were calling.

Tuesday
Jul222014

Creating Intimate bird portraits

Crested Auklet Portrait (Aethia cristatella, CRAU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II , 2X Teleconverter III & 25mm Extension Tube, Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 2,500 f/16 @ 1/500s Manual Mode.  PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's an intimate portrait (of what has to be my favorite bird) from my recent Saint Paul Island Workshop; the Crested Auklet. Getting close and isolating the subject against the dark cliffs requires lots of patience, but the real secret is simply approaching the cliff edge slowly so they don't flush before you even know they are there. Always remember to use a small enough aperture to maximize the depth of field, which is extemely narrow at the lens/extender/extension tube minimum focusing distance. Choose your shutter speed to freeze the birds sudden movements and any feathers blown around by the wind if there are any.

Using a sturdy tripod with a good tripod head and micro-calibrating your camera are, of course, the foundation to crisp and sharp images.

Monday
Jul142014

Quality, not quantity?

Tufted Puffin BAD HAIR DAY (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II , 1.4X Teleconverter III & 25mm Extension Tube, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 1,250 f/16 @ 1/400s Manual Mode.  PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

My Saint Paul Island trip was simply fantastic; I had a sold-out group of eight fantastic photographers (six repeat workshop clients) and we enjoyed near perfect photographic conditions with endless photographic opportunities. While preparing for this year's trip, I pre-visualized a portrait of a Tufted Puffin with it's hair (or tufts) blowing in the wind; I was thrilled to have the opportunity to make the image above on an overcast day with gusty wind blowing it's tufts all over the place.

I spent a considerable amount of time perched on top of a cliff with my camera pointed straight down at this Tuffted Puffin waiting for that perfect moment to press the shutter thinking about the old "Quality, not quantity" adage (An adage is a short, usually philosophical, but memorable saying which holds some important fact of experience that is considered true by many people, or that has gained some credibility through its long memetic use. - Wikipedia). You see, I had a participant who I never saw take a single image during the entire trip; all eight days! When asked, he would simply say "Quality, not quantity" with a big smile on his face "Don't worry, I got some good stuff here". He said he was from the old school.

Well, If I had not perservered and hit the trigger every time this Puiffin's head swang back, and forth, I would not have made this image. I took 101 frames during the session; 14 were timed perfectly for the head angle, 13 had at least one nictitating membrane covering an eye and only one made me happy (okay, really happy)! I spend an incredible amount of time photographing very fast moving birds and have very good hand eye co-ordination, but if I had only pressed the shutter once, like the gentelman suggested, I would not have this image. While I agree it's useless to push the trigger unless there is a change of producing a great image; the very best image may have been the one you didn't take. I truly do believe that once your subject presents, you owe it some time and effort ... you owe it the very best result, not the first one - smile.

2015 Saint Paul Island Photographic Expedition/Adventure

I have, yet again, secured the very best week to be on Saint Paul Island for 2015. Do join me for the trip of a lifetime from July 5 to July 12, 2015. This is an Eight day (seven night) photographic dream trip - read more about my July 5 to July 12 Saint Paul Island Photographic Expedition and Adventure HERE.

 

Wednesday
May212014

THE Ultimate Bird Photography Workshop

Northern Gannets LOVING  (Morus bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA ) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D X, 70-300mm F4-5.6 L IS USM @ 277mm Hand Held ISO 800, f/7.1 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

The Ultimate Birds Photography Workshop

If you really want to master bird photography; birds in flight, portraits, shooting from a tripod, shooting hand held, with long lenses and short lenses, then this is your chance to join me, Christopher Dodds (Canon Northern Explorer of Light) at the very best venue I have found in the world to teach bird photography!

I have hosted thousands of photographers during my Gannets Galore workshops on Bonaventure Island and many of them have produced winning images during the workshop; some of those in world class competitions.

This is the perfect workshop for you no matter what equipment you own, or the skill level you are at. This is the perfect opportunity for the seasoned pro to take advantage of my site knowledge and logistics, or a total novice to master the skills to become a competent bird photographer. Super-telepoto lens not mandatory - you don't need a big gun to take full advantage of the Gannets of Bonaventure Island; many award winning images have been made with a 70-200mm lens! I am not satified unless you are creating images I would be happy to call my own.

Read more about my Gannets Galore workshop HERE

Thanks for a truly remarkable photographic experience on both land and water! The Zodiac rides were a wonderful way to spend the early mornings during your Gannets Galore Photo Tour. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the birds and the seals. The nonstop action at the Gannet colony provided countless photo opportunities every second. Now I can see how you can still find it interesting and challenging even after visiting the island over 350 times. Your extensive experience photographing at the colony meant that we always knew where the best opportunities were at any given time as the wind and weather constantly changed throughout the day. And your excellent tips on exposure, technique, composition, and use of flash allowed us to take advantage of those opportunities and capture some wonderful images.
 On a logistical note, your fluency in French also proved invaluable at many points during the trip when you came to the rescue of us dumbfounded English speakers. 
Hope to see you again soon, maybe even on a June trip back to Bonaventure!

Mike Milicia Boston | MA | USA

Wednesday
May072014

2014 Ultimate Puffins Galore Photo Tour Announced

Atlantic Puffin CLOWN OF THE SEA (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II, 2X Extender III, Canon 25mm Extension Tube II, Canon 12mm Extension Tube II, Canon 1.4X Extender III. Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 3,200s, f/16 @ 1/200s Manual mode & manual focus. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Atlantic Puffin & Razorbill Heaven

Puffins Galore

Photo Safari & Expedition

July 26-28, 2014 (3 Days/4 Nights)

SOLD OUT in less than 9 hours!

I am thrilled to finally announce my Puffins Galore Photo Tour at Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada.

I have been in search of the ultimate destination for an Atlantic Puffin workshop / safari for a very long time.  The mandate was simple; find a location that is within reach, safe and easy to get to without a dangerous boat landing on slippery rocks and a place where we can get close to these comical little seabirds without hauling our gear up, and over, huge distances or having to hang over towering cliffs; a place where anyone can comfortably reach, regardless of age or physical ability; a place with reliable , safe and easy boat landings. I have photographed Atlantic Puffins in Iceland, Maine, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec; All of these "known" places have their drawbacks., and I simply can't imagine subjecting my clients to the abuse.  Mission accomplished; I have found Puffin Paradise. This is the very best place in the world to photograph Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills fishing, with fish in their bills, in flight and in golden light.

Beyond the 50th parallel, along the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, lies a remarkably beautiful scattering of some thirty limestone islands and more than 1000 granitic islets and reefs. The territory, the "Mingan Archipelago", became Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada 1984.
This necklace of land carved out of the limestone bedrock is the site of spectacular natural monuments which bear witness to the never-ending wear of the sea and of the centuries. And there is an abundance of life in this strange half-world: plants of variegated hues and shapes, seabirds gathered in colonies, seals, dolphins and whales, swarming the blue vastness in which the islands bathe.

Join me, Canadian Wildlife Photographer Christopher Dodds, for a Puffin photography workshop / safari. This trip will be limited to five participants and will surely be the trip of a lifetime for anyone seeking to get close and personal (safely) to Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills. We will spend a few hours photographing fishing Puffins each morning from a boat, before landing on an island where we spend the rest of the day until sunset for three full days. I have secured special access, so we will be the only people on the island during the first, and last, few hours each day.

Price is $2,995.00 (plus sales tax) including four nights single occupancy accommodation (with full kitchenette), three days private boat tour with highly experienced captain (weather permitting), three days park access fees and three days expert instruction. Other subjects might include Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Great Cormorants, Savannah Sparrow (there are many) Common Eider, Grey Seals and whales. Meals, beverages, transportation to Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, Quebec and souvenirs are not included.

Getting there:

Our base of operations, accommodations and starting point are in the town of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan.

Havre St. Pierre Airport or YGV (serviced by Labrador Air) is 46km or 28.5 miles

Sept-iles Airport or YZV (serviced by Air Canada) is 152km or 94.5 miles

Quebec City Jean Lesage Airport or TQB (Serviced by most carriers) is 831km or 516 miles

Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport or YUL (Derviced by most carriers) is 1,086km or 675 miles

Sign-up for my Ultimate Puffins Galore Photo Tour HERE

Monday
May052014

Canon 1DX AF Settings Guidebook Update

Canon 1DX AF Settings Guidebook Update

Canon has produced a new version of its AF Setting Guidebook for the EOS-1D X DSLR designed for smartphones and tablets, which is now available for download on CPN.

As well as being designed specifically for smartphones and tablets this latest version of the Guidebook has been fully updated in line with the EOS-1D X firmware update Version 2.0.3 that enhanced the camera’s AF, exposure and customizable options.
Download your copy HERE.

Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina, Paruline Tigree, CMWA) Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontrario. Image Copyright ©Christopher DoddsPURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Point Pelee; it's not too late!

Canon Canada's Northern Explorers of Light program and Henry's have teamed-up to offer you some extraordinary events during spring migration at Point Pelee National Park of Canada. The cold spring and late arrival of the warmer weather is likely to make this spring's migration epic! These events are timed to coincide with the very best birding Pelee has to offer photographers; the highest possibility of a fallout (high number of birds), before the leaves obscure our view.

Events include an hour long slideshow, portfolio reviews, half day walking tours and full day walking tours. Not only will I help you improve your bird photography technique, I will share my strategy to maximize your opportunities during spring migration at Pelee. I can help beginners leap forward on the technical side and offer site guidance to advanced amateurs and pros.

The events are open to everyone and Canon equipment is not mandatory - I will be teaching bird photography that will improve your images regardless of the brand camera you own. Henry's will have both Canon and Nikon gear on site for rent.

Check it out and register at Henry's School of Imaging HERE

 

Saturday
May032014

Spring Migration Special Event with Canon Canada Northern Explorers of Light and Henry's School of imaging

Black-and-White Warbler (Mniotilta vary, Paruline noir et blanc, BAWW) Point Pelee National Park, Leamington, Ontrario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DS II, 500mm F4 L IS, 2X Extender. ISO 640, f/8 @ 1/160s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I am thrilled to announce that Canon Canada's Northern Explorers of Light program and Henry's have teamed-up to offer you some extraordinary events during spring migration at Point Pelee National Park of Canada. The cold spring and late arrival of the warmer weather is likely to make this spring's migration epic! These events are timed to coincide with the very best birding Pelee has to offer photographers; the highest possibility of a fallout (high number of birds), before the leaves obscure our view.

Events include an hour long slideshow, portfolio reviews, half day walking tours and full day walking tours. Not only will I help you improve your bird photography technique, I will share my strategy to maximize your opportunities during spring migration at Pelee. I can help beginners leap forward on the technical side and offer site guidance to advanced amateurs and pros.

The events are open to everyone and Canon equipment is not mandatory - I will be teaching bird photography that will improve your images regardless of the brand camera you own. Henry's will have both Canon and Nikon gear on site for rent.

Check it out and register at Henry's School of Imaging HERE

Tuesday
Apr012014

Ultimate birds in flight workshop and kudos

Snowy Owl FRIGID SUNSET @ -34℃ (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontrario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II, 1.4X Extender III, Jobu Jr. 3 and Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod ISO 2,000, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

It's been a whirlwind of a year so far, with eight weeks of sold-out owl prowls and three weeks of sold-out Bald Eagle workshops under my belt so far ... and it's only April 1. I have had an awesome year so far, and it's only just begun!

Here's a Snowy Owl from one of the coldest days of the winter, in some of the sweetest light. There are still a few (only a few) openings for my 2015 owl prowls ... have a look HERE

The Ultimate Birds in flight Workshop

If you want to attend the premier workshop to learn bird photography, then this is it. There are birds to photograph all day long, thousands at point-blank range. I stopped counting after spending more than a year of my life on Bonaventure Island, have an intimate knowledge of the location, the subjects and the people (we often get special privileges, among them is the park transporting our gear up to the colony each day).

I have hosted hundreds of workshops on Bonaventure Island and my record stands for itself. Simply put; if you want to master birds in flight photography, then this is the workshop for you.

Read more about my Gannets Galore workshop HERE

I attended Christopher Dodds’ “Gannets Galore” workshop in Perce, Quebec, Canada. I have attended many wildlife photo workshops over the years and this workshop was a 10+ without a doubt. The trip was exactly as he described on his web site; no overpromising and under delivering.

Chris provided access to a colony of 63,000 nesting pairs of Northern Gannets (and at least as many non-breeding birds) and his relationships with the local park staff allowed us to get to locations in the park that were closed to the public.  Throughout the trip he was cheerful, very well organized and took care of all  those details (and this was a complicated location) that can ruin an experience..  I was able to concentrate on what I came to do…..photography. 

As a professional photographer I know my field, but it is a major bonus to find someone who can provide instruction to me.  My flight shots improved dramatically!  Chris has an uncanny understanding of composition and light and presented me with many opportunities to test my skills.  He understands creativity in photography as well as being a technical master. This trip was perfect for a beginner or a professional and he gives as much instruction and guidance as you need without arrogance, attitude or making you feel too shy to ask.  I would encourage any photographer, no matter what level,  to sign up for Chris' workshops."

Terry Turrentine San Francisco, California USA

Testimonial

Winter owl photography was near the top of my bucket list.  My research kept ending up with one name, Christopher Dodds.  I had participated in nine previous field instructional photo tours throughout the USA, Canada, Japan and the Falklands with six different professional photographers all of which were excellent but this one was a cut above.

The best field photography instructors are professionals, formally trained in photography and have extensive experience in studio work as well as other areas.  Chris Dodds comes with those credentials and 20 plus years as an outdoor photographer and is a sub specialist in winter owl photographyHe understands and teaches from the basics to the most advanced science and technical knowledge in the field.

Beyond the photography Chris’ Owl Prowl stands out as the model for a highly successful experience.  After 20 plus years of developing relationships and infrastructure his photo tours are characterized by superb organization, logistic, transportation, and communication.  We stayed on schedule at a relaxed pace and he was always mindful of our small group's personal safety during extreme weather conditions.

The return on my investment and expectations in Chris Dodds' Great Owl Prowl was excellent.  It's true! you get what you pay for.

CJ Hockett Vermont USA www.cjhockett.com

Friday
Mar282014

2015 Bald Eagle Workshops announced and Kudos

American Bald Eagle SNOWGLOBE (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, EF 200-400mm F4 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Jobu Jr.3 deluxe gimbal head and Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod ISO 6,400, f/4 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's one of many new Bald Eagle images added to my portfolio during my three recent back-to-back Bald Eagles Photo Tours. There were no shortage of amazing opportunities for everyone who attended and my site knowledge over the years took us to many new bays and private beaches which we had exclusive permission to use.

I used my Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 with built-in 1.4X extender almost exclusively during this year's trips; what a lens! Expect a mini-review soon, but suffice it to say it is one mind-blowing lens!

My 2015 Bald Eagle Photo Tours are starting to fill, so be sure to book early to avoid disapointment! Learn more about my Eagle workshops HERE.

Testimonial

I just got back from a 10 day trip to Homer, Alaska., the place to shoot the majestic Bald Eagle. My host was Christopher Dodds and what a host he has been. He gave the 2 groups I joined a lot of field time and put us in the best positions to take epic shots every single day. There are others out there but Chris has been doing this for more than 25 years so I think it’s justified to call him the primus inter pares. A great workshop leader, excellent photographer, teacher and above all a really nice guy. If you ever consider shooting Bald Eagles and get the best for your money go see Chris , he will not disappoint you.

Dennis Binda The Netherlands

Tuesday
Mar042014

Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod Announced and mini review

Canadian Wildlife and Nature Photographer and Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds photographing owls in the Canadian winter (Feb,. 2014). Photographed with a prototype of the new Jobu Designs Algonquin tripod, Jobu Jr.3 deluxe gimbal head, Canon 200-400mm f/4-5.6 with built-in tele-extender, 600mm f/4 IS L II, Tamrac Expedition 9X camera bag and two Canon EOS 1DX camera bodies. Photo copyright and courtesy of Michael J. Lang (thanks, Michael)

Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod

I have spent the better part of the winter testing prototypes of the new Jobu Designs Algonquin tripod and am thoroughly impressed with it's solid and reliable design. I make no secret of the frustrations that I have felt working with a variety of very expensive carbon fiber tripods over the years. None of the ones I have used worked reliably in the extreme temperature fluctuations and harsh conditions that I often subject them to. The weak point often being the collar that tightens and locks the leg at the chosen height. I have even experienced one manufacturer throw my tripod in the trash when it was still covered under warranty, stating it was abused and therefore not covered under warranty; not bad for a $1000.00 tripod!

Finally a tripod that is designed for nature photography! The Jobu Algonquin tripod has worked flawlessly during my extreme testing in the winter conditions in temperatures as low as -34℃ (-29℉). When I was sent the first prototype, I was warned it would be a rough, mill finish sample and asked to "give it hell". When I received the prototype, it was a beauty; much, much nicer than I had expected. After just one session in the cold with the new tripod, I was impressed and hooked! After most of the winter working with it, I can endorse it! Paired with my beloved Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe Gimbal head, it is one killer rig! I am proud to have been part of it's design and testing.

The tripod adjusts from 3-3/4" (9.5cm) to 62" (157.5cm) and is 27.7" (70.6cm) long when collapsed. It's current weight is 4 pounds (1.81kg) , but this may change slightly during production. The leg sections are made of 100% carbon fibre without the usual filler or cosmetic wrap (which actually weakens the integrity of the tube) and each of the legs has a foam leg cover built-in. The leg collars (the knobs that tighten to secure each leg section at the desired length) are made of Aluminum without the rubber grips that often spin endlessly in the cold. The feet are stainless steel snow/ice spikes with a rubber foot cap that stays securely in place when the spikes aren't necessary; a great design advantage.

Be amongst the first to order your Jobu Design Algonquin tripod and get a special introductory price is $600.00 with an expected delivery of 4-6 weeks. Order yours here: http://jobu-design.3dcartstores.com/product.asp?itemid=122

Canadian Wildlife and Nature Photographer and Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds photographing owls in the Canadian winter (Feb,. 2014). Photographed with a prototype of the new Jobu Designs Algonquin tripod, Jobu Jr.3 deluxe gimbal head, Canon 200-400mm f/4-5.6 with built-in tele-extender and Canon EOS 1DX. Photo copyright and courtesy of Michael J. Lang (thanks, Michael).

Sunday
Jan122014

How to make razor sharp images

 

American Bald Eagle ATTITUDE (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm F2.8 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 2,000, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

After spending the first day of this week's Snowy Winter Owl Workshops with numerous Snowy Owls in rather balmy weather conditions, I wanted to re-cap one of the important topics that we discussed: How to make razor sharp images. I often get comments about how sharp my images are, and folks often feel there is a secret to making consistently sharp images. While good field craft and techniques do play a major role in making sharp images, you need to start with a solid foundation. Yes, I do use a tripod whenever possible, I ensure I have enough shutter speed to freeze my subject and have the correct parameters set-up in the user menu of my Canon 1DX. I have invested the time to practice, and can consistently acquire fast moving little birds when I bring my eye to the viewfinder; but my answer trumps all of my years of experience and the best technique.

Each and every time that I get a new camera, I meticulously micro-calibrate each, and every, lens, extender and possible combination or both with my LensAlign MKII. This is time consuming, boring and I hate the whole process, but it tightens the manufacture tolerance and ensures that my images will be sharp if I use proper technique. It's like building a house on a solid foundation.

Read more about the LensAlign MKII HERE

Friday
Jan102014

Canon announces new pro camera body

Juvenile American Bald Eagle WINTER'S FLIGHT (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm F2.8 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 2,000, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's a juvenile Bald Eagle from last year's epic Bald Eagle workshop. There are still a couple of spots available for this trip of a lifetime from March 7-11, 2014. Both March 12-16 and 17-21 trips are sold-out. Learn more and sign-up for my Bald Eagles of Homer, Alaska Workshop HERE.


Canon announces new pro camera body

Well, not really a new pro camera body, but this firmware update sure will make the already awesome 1DX feel like a brand new camera - and it's a free upgrade!

Canon has released a firmware update for the EOS-1D X Digital SLR Camera.
Details
Firmware Version 2.0.3 incorporates the following functional improvements and fixes.

  • Auto focusing performance under low-light conditions has been enhanced when performing focusing before shooting in AI Servo AF mode. The enhancement comes from the improvement in tracking capability for the first image in the low-light conditions.
  • The number of release parameters settings for the “AI Servo AF 2nd image priority” AF function has been increased to enable improved AF tracking in low light or maintain consistent high frames rates during continuous shooting.
  • The number of parameters for acceleration/deceleration tracking in the AF Configuration Tool will has been increased.
  • Exposure compensation can be performed when using manual exposure and ISO Auto.
  • The minimum shutter speed limit for ISO Auto has been increased with shutter speeds up to 1/8000.
  • A new function to keep the exposure constant by altering the ISO or shutter speed in manual exposure, when the aperture value changes when zooming or changing lenses has been added. This is an awesome and very useful feature!
  • A new option has been added to orientation linked AF point to enable only the AF point to switch as you change orientation rather than both AF point/ AF area settings
  • A new option to continue to use the previously manually selected AF point as the initial starting AF point when switching to 61-point automatic selection has been added.
  • New customization of the Exposure metering and AF controls has been added for more flexibility.
  • The number of possibilities for controls to switch between one-shot AF and AI Servo AF using custom controls has been increased.
  • A function has been added to allow the playback and review of protected images only.
  • A phenomenon has been fixed in which the white balance may be disturbed by the timing of the shutter release when the drive mode is single shooting and a flash (E-TTL)is used.

This update truly makes an amazing camera even better. The update arrives at a time when many were expecting a new camera announcement and continues Canon's recent trend of offering substantial free firmware upgrades for current camera models and incorporating user feedback.

DOWNLOAD Firmware version 2.0.3 for the 1DX HERE

DOWNLOAD Updated users manual HERE Always a good idea to keep a PDF on your smartphone for reference

Read the Canon product advisory HERE

Wednesday
Jan012014

Happy New Year

Great Grey Owl WINTERWINGS  (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket and Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe  ISO 2,500 f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Here's to a phenomenal 2014 filled with much health, love, joy, light, adventure and tons of awesome images! 2013 was like a dream for me, and I thank you all for making my dreams come true!

Facebook Fan Page

If you like the images presented here, do stop-by and "LIKE" my Facebook fan page to see more content: https://www.facebook.com/chrisdoddsphoto

Saturday
Dec212013

Merry Christmas Happy Holidays Thank You

Great Grey Owl SOLITUDE (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 70-300mm F4-5.6 L IS USM @244mm with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 3,200s, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace, Joy & Love

To everyone who visited this blog or my Facebook page, attended a workshop, safari, seminar or lecture, purchased a print or licensed an image: Thank you for making 2013 my best year yet. I am so very lucky and grateful!

Tuesday
Dec102013

Better than Bosque and Workshop Woes

Sandhill Crane SUNSET FLIGHT  A Sanhill Crane lands against the pink, snow covered Sandia Mountains in golden fields (Grus canadenis, Grue du Canada, SACR) NOT from Bosque del Apache, New Mexico ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm f/4 L IS USM II & 2X III Extender with Jobu L-Bracket and Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe  ISO 2,000, f/8 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Better than Bosque?

Is Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge over-rated? Perhaps it's just me, but I feel the offerings there for Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes are far surpassed elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, there are still some awesome opportunities for raptors, ducks and other birds, it's just I feel the hype about Bosque is no longer justified. I'm just back from a nine day trip in the area and only visited Bosque for three sessions, the remainder of our time was spend exploring the surrounding opportunities…. and we hit the pot of gold! I'm in the process of listing a "Better than Bosque" workshop for Dec. 1-5, 2014 so please email me if interested ASAP(chris(at)chrisdoddsphoto.com); there's loads of interest and this will fill very fast. Group size limited to six and we will be based in Socorro, NM. We'll be visiting Bosque when the conditions are right, but our mission is to make the very best images possible; and we'll be visiting several over-the-top spots to do it!

Workshop Leader Woes

While in Bosque, I encountered a few workshops that I just plain need to vent about. Group size varied from 8 to 18 and the lack of fieldcraft and/or knowledge was blatantly evident! Perhaps the participants wanted to go and hang-out for the lowest possible price, or perhaps they signed-up for the first workshop they saw on-line, I dunno; I was simply shocked. I saw workshop leaders prance around like they were royalty, pull-up in front of other photographers and spook fields full of Cranes without even realizing it and I overheard so much gossip and belittlement of other leaders, yet no useful photographic information about composition, exposure or anything else that the participants joined the workshop for. All of the groups went to the same locations to shoot and none of them showed any sense of doing anything different. There were workshops that advertised small groups (they were 18 people - just imagine how much time is wasted with logistics) and leaders who I overheard say "exposure and technical ability is over-rated, just follow your heart and vision" while this sounds romantic, it was clearly a new leader in way over his head when asked how to reliably make well exposed images.

If you would like to experience a small group (max. 6) workshop focused on teaching you how to make better images without the nonsense, then please do check-out my WORKSHOPS and read some TESTIMONIALS. I truly feel I haven't succeeded unless my clients make images that I would be proud to call my own, and work tirelessly to that end! Do join a workshop for the right reason; join because you like my images and want to learn how I make them - if you don't like my images (and that's alright), then email me and I will send you a list of other workshops by other people to consider (many are much cheaper, but expect what you pay for).

Tuesday
Nov262013

Great Grey Owl GEAR DOWN

Great Grey Owl GEAR DOWN  (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DII, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS. ISO 400, f/6.4 @ 1/650s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

I had a fabulous short visit to Halifax, NS to present my Canon Northern Explorers of Light slideshow to the Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia last Friday. The hospitality was first rate and the East Coast crowd was fabulous. Here's a note that I received after the event:

I just wanted to drop you a line in appreciation of your presentation Friday night in Halifax. From my perspective, of all the Canon Northern Explorers of Light, the Guild struck it lucky when it succeeded in recruiting you for a talk. The images you showed were terrific, but it was your interest in and knowledge of your subjects that made the event so worthwhile - captivating, in fact. No wonder you're a popular workshop and field instructor. Your enthusiastic engagement with the natural world is inspiring.

All of which is to say I enjoyed your presentation and I was glad of the opportunity to attend.

Kindest regards,

Betsy Chambers Halifax, NS, Canada

Tuesday
Nov192013

Perfect Gift for Bird and Nature Photographers

Great Grey Owl Tranquil Winter  (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket and Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe  ISO 1,600, f/6.4 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

I get almost more emails than I can imagine, and a good number of them lately have been from people wondering what to get the special bird or nature photographer in their life. So, without hesitation, the ultimate accessory for every nature photographer is, without doubt, the Jobu Jr. 3 with Deluxe swing-arm from Jobu Designs.

The PERFECT Gift

I have been using the Jobu Jr.3 since I first told you about it in April 2011 HERE. Then I told you of the long awaited design improvements to the swing arm when I announced the Deluxe Swing Arm upgrade HERE in August 2012. Now I am delighted to announce that Jobu Designs is offering FREE SHIPPING (Canada & USA) AND 15% OFF your entire purchase as a special for the followers of this blog. Simply use the coupon code NATURE at the check-out when placing your order at the Jobu Designs site HERE. This is a limited time offer, so do hurry to place your order and take advantage of this great offer.

This is the only Gimbal tripod head that I have used since I first installed it on my tripod; it supports all of the big glass that I use (300, 500, 600 and 800mm), ensures fluid movement and most importantly, it is super light weight and it's compact size is easy to carry in the field and pack in a world where airlines love to restrict luggage weight and size.

Follow the link HERE and be sure to use the coupon code "NATURE" while at the check-out to save 15% and get FREE SHIPPING to Canada & USA.

Thursday
Nov142013

Canon Northern Explorers of Light Presentation in Halifax

Great Grey Owl OLD MAN WINTER  (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket and Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe  ISO 3,200, f/4 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's one from a very cold and windy day during last winter's Winter Owl Prowls. There is still two spots available for the winter 2014 season - more information about my Snowy Winter Owl Photographic Expeditions HERE

HELLO HALIFAX

I'm thrilled to announce yet another Canon Northern Explorers of Light event. On Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:30PM I will be presenting to the Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia. Everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there if you are around the Halifax, Nova Scotia area next Friday evening. Lots of great door prizes and tons of valuable photo techniques!

Tickets are $15.00 at the door and only $10.00 if you order them in advance from Dean Hirtle tresurer@photoguild.ns.ca Get yours now to avoid disappointment.

Get more information HERE.

Thursday
Oct242013

Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6400 review

World Wildlife Photographer and Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds with Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6400. There's nothing like seeing a big print of one of your favorite images! Notice the X-Rite Colorchecker Passport in the background to help with color accuracy.

Canon IPF6400 Review

As a master printer in the traditional darkroom, I've been working hard over the last decade to master the art of the digital print; often struggling to squeeze every ounce of colour gamut out of the printer and paper I was using. I have owned more inkjet printers than I care to admit, and have spent an inordinate amount of time finding workarounds to each of their weaknesses. My quest to make the very best print has been a very long and often  frustrating journey.

It's no secret that I'm a perfectionist; I push myself to be better at my passion and craft each and every time I am out with my camera; from capture through to the print. I don't feel the image is finished until I have experienced the big picture; my own tactile response to my own work is, perhaps, the most rewarding part of the image making process to me.

Canon Canada sent me their flagship 24" Image PROGRAF IPF6400 printer back in August and I have been to the Canon LFP (Large Format Printing) Lab in Toronto for some training and product familiarization by some of the best in the business. I want to share a little about the printer with you, without re-writing the technical specification sheet (which can be found HERE); I wanted to write a hands-on review of the printer, it's extraordinary colour gamut, ease of use and the masterful prints it creates; Let's just say I have been blown-away by my first Canon LFP; this is an industry changing printer that truly is a turn-key solution for excellent prints without needing to be an expert print maker. I have finally found the perfect printer!

The unboxing and set-up was quick and easy, thanks to the single page set-up instructions. The included stand with built-in wheels makes it easy to move out of the way when not in use. The design is well though-out, with built-in paper bin and it certainly looks great in the studio/office.

The included software is, quite frankly, brilliant and easy to install and use; Canon was wise to develop a dedicated plug-in for Photoshop to facilitate easy 16 bit printing and a stand-alone software to manage print media called the MCT (Media Configuration Tool). The MCT allows you to add both custom and Canon paper types which will appear on the printer's LCD display when loading new media. Canon has made it easy to find profiles for their media HERE and compatible third party papers HERE.

The included ImagePROGRAF Layout Plug-in includes some pretty useful tools to minimize paper waste. If you print canvas and make gallery wraps, then the image expansion tool does a fabulous job of easily extending the edge of the image along the sides with choices that include black border, soft (or blurred) reflection; minimizing image loss during the wrapping process.

As a Mac user, I was disappointed to learn that the Accounting Manager was only available for the Windows platform; though more out of curiosity than needing to know the exact job cost (ink & media). This is much more useful to a print production house than a fine art studio - If you are a photographer trying to calculate exact print costs, then you are most likely not charging enough for your work!

The industry leading 12-color Lucia EX ink offers the widest colour gamut, finest detail and best print quality I have ever seen. The built-in sub-ink tanks built into the printer allow you to change ink tanks without interrupting printing and the new 330ml replacement tanks are a welcome change when doing large print runs.

The new PF-05 printheads have eliminated both clogging and banding; this, alone, is worth the investment. Optimized for speed and ink savings, the driver maintains the highest print quality while reducing ink use by ensuring fewer print head passes; resulting in a much faster print time.

Available features, upgrades and other models:

iPF 6450 - 24" Printer with built-in hard drive and optional X-Rite SU-21 spectrophotometer with automatic colour calibration and colour accuracy across multiple printers and multiple geographic locations.


iPF 8400 - 44" Printer


iPF 9400 - 60" Printer

Because these printers all use the same ink, print heads and mechanics; this review is relevant to them all.

Here is an overview of the printer from the Canon website:

The imagePROGRAF iPF6400, 24-inch large format printer was designed for professionals in the graphic, fine art, photography and proofing markets that seek the highest possible standards for quality-control and image reproduction. An incredibly large color spectrum is produced by the 12-Color LUCIA EX pigment ink set, which also provides better scratch resistance and smoother gradations. The new Multi-sensor included with this printer provides improved color density detection and allows for a full calibration to be completed within 15 minutes, with the ability to use non-Canon branded media. A new Color Calibration Management System allows for color calibration targets to be created using the iPF6450 with optional spectrophotometer and shared across all new iPFX400 12-color printers, and the included software allows for all printers on the network to be monitored from one central location. The printer supports ink tank sizes of 130ml and for the first time, 300ml, and the new sub-ink tank keeps some ink in reserve to allow for tanks to be changed without interrupting a print. In highest print mode, the order of ink application and layering is optimized to maintain the highest print quality with fewer passes, making this mode twice as fast compared to previous models.

To expand printing options and capabilities, the iPF6400 printer comes bundled with a Print Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Digital Photo Professional, and Microsoft Office. The enhanced Print Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop includes a new Adjustment Pattern Setting which allows for multiples of an image to be printed at once with different color values implemented and displayed. Gallery wraps for canvas prints can now be created using the new Gallery Wrap Feature. To improve versatility, the iPF6400 has a media configuration tool which allows customers to not only utilize existing Canon-branded media, but also with third party media. Designed for efficiency, reliability, and above all quality, the iPF6400 is the professionals answer to superior quality large format prints.

Disclaimer: I am a Canon Northern Explorer of Light; paid and sponsored by Canon Canada. I do not write reviews of products that I do not use every day, and do not endorse products in lieu of sponsorship or payment. This review and endorsement is strictly my personal view.

Tuesday
Oct152013

Bald Eagle Photo Tour update

American Bald Eagles HOT PURSUIT (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Pygargue à tête blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay, Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1D MKIII, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Tele-Extender, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 1,250, f/5.6 @ 1/1,2500s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE for PUBLICATION HERE.

Bald Eagle Photo Tour Update

Just a quick note today to let you know that both of my Bald Eagle Photo Tours are sold out; Thank you! I have added a third Bald Eagle Photo Tour from March 7-11, 2014 which has only 4 seats left. If you are looking to build an awesome portfolio of Eagle images and love a little adventrue, then this is the trip for you. Read all about my Bald Eagle Photo Tour HERE.


Chris, Thanks for another great photo adventure to Alaska during your Eagles of Alaska photograpic Expedition!!!!!!
This is the third trip with you and they keep getting better. Always challenging. Always easy-going. Always taking my photography forward. (Take a look at my site for a few new pictures from Alaska.) Your instruction is the best I've experience in taking these kinds of trips. You always seem to know where to put us in the absolute best place. Top Notch!!!! Can't wait till the next one.....wherever that might be. Thanks again!!!!!!!  

Jeff Moore Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA

Be sure to check-out many more TESTIMONIALS HERE