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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too

Wednesday
Nov022016

Great Gray Owl INTO THE STORM

Great Gray Owl INTO THE STORM (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM. ISO 1,600, f/6.3 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

It's not too late; there is still only a couple of spots available for the coming winter owl season! Learn more about my Winter Owl Workshop click HERE.

More Kudos:

Being a female on my first photo safari, I had some apprehensions before joining Chris on his acclaimed Winter Snowy Owl Safari.  I worried about safety, that I wasn't a good enough photographer for someone with Chris's acclaim, and that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the group on treks. My fears subsided on Day One, and I knew this would be a week I would never forget.  With the small group size, Chris was able to give each member the level of instruction they needed.  Beyond having great opportunities for owl pictures, I learned helpful things about owl behaviour, owl spotting techniques, operating the camera, processing images,  best clothing and gear for winter, and things like the "Dodds duffel toss" that help prevent injuries while putting my camera backpack on.
Chris has an extensive knowledge of exposure theory. He is a patient teacher, skilled in helping his participants gain a deep understanding of this critical element of photography. He demonstrated why it is important to capture as much detail as possible for the best possible print, then showed us how to accomplish it. During the week of ever changing light, he kept checking our work to make sure we were getting the best possible results.
I usually learn from books and enjoy photography as a solitary pursuit, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of this group experience and received many tips on world travel. The photo safari gave me time to immerse myself in photography and nature.  I'm already planning my next safari with Chris.

Karen Miller Pennsylvania, USA

Tuesday
Nov012016

Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owl GROUND EFFECT (Surnia ulula, Chouette épervière, NHOW) Ontario ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 100-400mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @ 250mm. ISO400, f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

There are still a couple of openings due to cancellation for the upcomming winter owl season. Find out more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshop HERE.

KUDOS

Thank you so much for a memorable week during your Snowy Owl Workshop, I have enjoyed it immensely.

The week has been EPIC, Exhilarating Pictures, Instructional Colossus, what more can I say.

It has been a long held ambition of mine to photograph Snowy Owls and in choosing your trip all my expectations have been filled and some. The company has been an important and enjoyable part of the trip and I will recall with great fondness many of  the hilarious moments we have shared together.

I appreciate all the hard work that you have put in to ensure the success of our trip and I wish to thank you for that.

I hope the season continues to go well for you and I wish you happiness in your life.  

Again a heartfelt thanks.

John Sheppard Banbury | England

Monday
Oct312016

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk Vertical Bank (Buteo Lagopus, Buse Pattue, RLHA) southeastern corner of Ontario ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D MArk IV, 500mm f/4 L IS USM. ISO800, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Rough-legged Hawk Hovering (Buteo Lagopus, Buse Pattue, RLHA) southeastern corner of Ontario ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D MArk IV, 500mm f/4 L IS USM. ISO800, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

A Rough-legged Hawk put on quite a show for my Snowy Winter Owl Workshop Group. We were all sitting low and still, and quite close to a snowy owl when this Rough-Legged Hawk swooped down and started to harass the Owl. Interesting to note that fewer Rough-legged Hawks are recorded during Christmas bird counts where Red-tailed Hawks are doing well; The Red-tailed Hawks stay on their territory year round, and they vigorously defend it against the winter visitors.

 

Kudos

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

Sunday
Oct302016

Great Gray Owl Phantom of the North

Great Gray Owl Phantom of the North (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM. ISO 2,500, f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

The winter owl workshop was excellent. From the pre-planning through the last spectacular day with the snowy owls.  In addition to the skills and nature experience Chris brings to the workshop, he also brings his passion of nature photography as well as a genuine focus on the safety of the owls and wildlife.  The group size was great and the team composition was excellent, travel was pleasant, safe and comfortable.   It was great to be able to peak into Chris's personal life, spending time with Chris opened up a new world for me that I want to explore.  I learned value insights and lessons related to exposure, histograms and the habitats and behaviours of owls.  It was great being out in the nature and cold, learning not only to capture razor sharp images, but how to do so in extreme weather.  Most americans will not know the excitement of seeing a Tim Horton's in the distance or the comfort of fresh Poutine, I can say I am now a fan.


Kim Ringeisen Flying Monkey Photography North Carolina | USA

Saturday
Oct292016

Snowy Owl Photo Tour Update

Snowy Owl Winter's Ghost  (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @300mm. ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 1/1,600s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Winter is almost upon us and the owls are starting to move south already! I have a few last minute openings for this winter's Snowy Winter Owl Prowls.

January 9-13, 2017 (5 Days) SOLD OUT!
January 16-20, 2017 (5 Days) Only 1 Spot Left!
January 23-27, 2017 (5 Days) SOLD OUT !
January 30-February 3, 2017 (5 Days) SOLD OUT !
February 6-10, 2017 (5 Days) SOLD OUT !
February 13-17, 2017 (5 Days) Only 2 spots left!


KUDOS: A Great Week With Chris and Snowy Owls.  

Chris leads a great workshop.  It quickly became clear the amount of prework Chris had done in the weeks leading up to the trip.  Chris knew where the owls would be each morning when we arrived in the fields.  Another amazing ability Chris has, is he can spot a snowy owl hundreds of yards away.  I remember laughing a few times as I am looking through binoculars saying are you sure and every time he was correct.
 

Chris is an amazing photographer and extremely knowledgeable on both Nikon and Canon photography equipment.  I came home a much better photographer, with a better understanding of my camera gear and how to adjust for the environment and light.  Throughout the day Chris was continually making sure everyone had the correct setting and reminding us to check our exposure/histogram.


Additionally Chris is just a great guy.  He is what i would consider a true outdoorsman and has the adventure stories to go with them.  I really enjoyed the travel and downtime with Chris and we had a lot of good laughs.

I would definitely recommend a Chris Dodds photography workshop especially the winter owl workshop and am looking forward to my next trip with Chris.

Brad Lewis Gilroy | California

Monday
Oct242016

Aguchik Island Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle Juvenile on nest with Fireweed (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Aguchik Island, Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @400mm. ISO 800, f/18 @ 1/250s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Juvenile Bald Eagle on it's nest on Aguchik Island in Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park from this summer. I've seen loads of Bald Eagle nests, but none were quite this beautiful.

Compared to most other raptors which mostly nest in April or May, bald eagles are early breeders: nest building or reinforcing is often by mid-February, egg laying is often late February (sometimes during deep snow in the North), and incubation is usually mid-March and early May. Eggs hatch from mid April to early May, and the young fledge late June to early July. The nest is the largest of any bird in North America; it is used repeatedly over many years and with new material added each year may eventually be as large as 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) across and weigh 1 metric ton; one nest in Florida was found to be 6.1 m (20 ft) deep, 2.9 meters (9.5 ft) across, and to weigh 2.7 metric tons). This nest is on record as the largest tree nest ever recorded for any animal. Usually nests are used for under five years or so, as they either collapse in storms or break the branches supporting them by their sheer weight. However, one nest in the Midwest was occupied continuously for at least 34 years. The nest is built out of branches, usually in large trees found near water. When breeding where there are no trees, the bald eagle will nest on the ground, as has been recorded largely in areas largely isolated from terrestrial predators, such as Amchitka Island in Alaska. - Wikipedia


Kudos

The Puffins Galore Workshop on I'ile aux Perroquets exceeded my expectations. Chris is an exceptional photographer, teacher, and all around good guy.  He was quick to point out the best photographic opportunities for the group, taking into account the constantly changing weather, light and tides.  He was always available to answer questions and give tips, catering to all levels of experience in the group.  The accommodations were excellent and the food was first rate. Our chefs/housekeepers/hostesses, Louise and Johanne, were amazing. The photographic opportunities were endless with an unbelievable number of puffins as well as razorbills, guillemots, gulls, whales and seals.  This was my first photography workshop and I am looking forward to my next adventure with Chris.

Mark Adkins Rochester| MN

Tuesday
Sep132016

How to photograph bats

Pallid Bat REFLECTION (Antrozous pallidus Chauvre-souris blonde) Amado, Arizona, USA. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DX mark II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @300mm. Jobu Designs Algonquin TripodJobu Jr. 3 Photo Trap and four flash set-up. ISO 500, f/18 @ 10 second exposure in Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

 

I'm just back from my Arizona bat workshop, and thought I would share one of the techniques we use to photograph bats and their reflections when they fly over a pond to drink water. It really is simpler than you might think; first, we set-up four flashes to light the bat from the front, then we set-up the phototrap to trigger the flashes every time a bat flys through an infrared beam. This set-up is not connected to our cameras at all; the cameras are set-up on tripods and focused at the exact same place as the infrared beam which triggers the flahes. Exposure was set manually to ISO 500, f/18 and 10 seconds. A remote trigger release is locked on, and the camera is set to make continuous ten second exposures, one after another. The images are mostly black frames, with images of bats captured every time they fly trough the beam and trigger the flash.

So, why not trigger the camera and flashes together? Because there are several different species of bats that frequent the pond and each of them flies at different speeds. Triggering the flash is the best way to ensure anything flying through the infrared beam is frozen at exactly that point; resulting in a perfectly sharp image.

If you would like to learn more, and perfect your phototrap set-ups, join me, Christopher Dodds, at "The Pond at Elephant Head" for an incredible high-speed bat photography workshop. Bats are some of the most misunderstood creatures on earth and there aren't many photographers out there photographing them. I've designed this workshop with only three participants and enlisted the help of Phototrap inventor, Bill Forbes, to ensure you get the images I would be proud to call my own. Learn how to use the Phototrap and high-speed flash photography to create stunning action images on your own. Learn more Here.


Wednesday
Aug102016

Atlantic Puffin TROPHY

Atlantic Puffin TROPHY (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 1DX mark II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @400mm. ISO 400, f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual exposure. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I'm just back from my annual back-to-back deluxe Atlantic Puffin workshops at the Mingan Archipelago National Park of Canada. The birds (puffins and Razorbills) and the folks in my groups were awesome! We had tons of laughs, epic photographic opportunities and some incredibly delicious food while staying in the lighthouse on the island for the four day (three night) trip.

Here's a favorite "grab shot" from the trip; I was putting my camera and lens together on an otherwise quiet morning while I noticed this Puffin circling. It was making it's way into it's burrow to feed it's Puffling (baby puffin) in some pretty sweet light. I called-out that it would continue to circle to those in the group who were near me. I quickly set the manual exposure and then pre-focused my camera at the distance I thought the Puffin would fly past me. This is the first of three frames captured. Call it a lucky shot, but years of photographing and watching seabirds, learning their behaviour and ensuring that my groups have the very best dates does ensure ample opportunities - smile.

Do be sure to book early for next year, as the trips are already starting to fill! Read more about my Deluxe Atlantic Puffin trip July 29 to August 1, 2017 HERE.

KUDOS

The four days and three nights on the I'ile aux Perroquets (Deluxe Puffins Galore Workshop) will go down in my mind as one of those life experiences that will stay with me forever.  That isle is a very special place. You did an incredible job.  I was thinking about you on the trip back.  What does it take to be a top notch photographer as well as a gentlemanly guide, teacher, chaperone, and friend?  You have a unique set of skills that somehow pull off the attributes necessary.  Each and every one of us that left that island felt as though we had made a personal connection with you.  That is no easy task.  Must be a Canadian thing!  Keep doing what you're doing.  A very sincere "thank you" to you.  This trip exceeded all expectations.

- Paul Treseler Massachusetts | USA

Thursday
Jun302016

Bald Eagle The SCREAMIN' EAGLE

Bald Eagle The SCREAMIN' EAGLE (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DXS Mark III, 500mm f/4 L IS USM and Canon 2X and 1.4X Tele-converters II. ISO 400, f/13 @ 1/400s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's an old favorite from my 2009 Eagles Galore Photo Tour. Posting today, as I prepare for my back-to-back Saint Paul Island and Coastal Brown Bear Boat charter in Alaska.

To me, apart from the incredible detail in this image, I really like the way we can see all of that detail in the mouth. I avoided the deep shadows of harsh light by working on an overcast day (with snow changing to rain and sleet), and avoided using a flash (which would have also created some pretty strong and distracting shadows). My collapsible 22" white reflector did a fantastic job of illuminating the inside of the Eagle's mouth (I won't mention the brand, just get the cheapest one available; the bigger it is, the softer the light).

Wednesday
Jun292016

Bald Eagle STARE

Immature American Bald Eagle STARE (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @400mm and Canon EF 25mm Extension tube II. ISO 400, f/13 @ 1/400s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I always carry extension tubes so I can physically connect both my Canon Extender EF 1.4X and 2X (Version III) when I want a really close image, they also reduce the minimum focusing distance when I get really close. During my Bald Eagles Galore Photo Tour in March, I used the new Canon 100-400mm II lens for most of the trip. When this immature Bald Eagle landed right beside me, I instinctively crouched-down, and attempted a really close portrait, but realized that the bird had landed slightly within the minimum focusing distance of the lens; it was closer than 38.4" or 980mm (do note this is the distance from the sensor, not the front element of the lens). I quickly added my Canon  EF 25mm Extension Tube to be able to focus without moving away from the inquisitive Eagle.