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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too

Monday
Nov092015

Snowy Owl TUNDRA GHOST High Imapct vs Low Impact Images

 

Snowy Owl TUNDRA GHOST (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontrario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM ISO 2,000 f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

High Impact vs. Low Impact images

We all know the “shock & awe” value of a close-up action image posted to your favourite critique forum, web site, Facebook Page, Instagram or Twitter feed; The instant connection between the viewer and the high impact, awe inspiring thumbnail is often rewarded with lots of Likes, comments and kudos. Do you take the time to step back, zoom-out and see the bigger picture? Do you think about more distant views?   Do you think about including some habitat in your images? Do you strive to make the kind of image that often looks better on your wall or in a calendar, but is often over-looked on websites because the thumbnail is not as visually “exciting”? Do you think about making "low impact" images?

More Kudos: Chris Dodds knows how to do a workshop!

I had the pleasure of attending Chris' Snowy Owl Workshop this past January. To be honest, I did not know much about Chris before the trip. All I knew was the quality of his images on his website and that I wanted Snowy owl pictures. Needless to say, Chris met and exceeded my expectations. He goes over and above to get you in the right place at the right time to capture the best images possible. Having been on numerous workshops around the world with various leaders, I can say Chris worked harder than most..... He also made sure that we were in position to get a variety of images and not just 1000 photos of the same animal behavior. Chris knows his birds and what they are going to do next (as much as humanly possible). He teaches in a way that things make sense. I was getting frustrated with my photography before this trip. I was able to get great shots before the workshop but felt that the percentage of great shots to missed shots needed to be better. Chris explained ways to change a few of my bad habits in a way that no one else ever did. I have tried manual exposure in the past but never got comfortable with it but after a day or two with Chris it clicked in my mind and my images improved and percentage of keepers went up.
If you get a chance to go on a workshop with Chris I would highly recommend it. I know I will again.


Rick Susi  Orlando, FL, USA

 

READ MORE TESTIMONIALS HERE

Wednesday
Nov042015

Carl from Survivor Africa survives my winter owl prowl

Great Gray Owl SYMETRY  (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM. ISO 1,250, f/3.5 @ 1/4,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's a note I received from Carl Bilancione, or "Dr. B" from Survivor: Africa television fame, after he attended (survived) my Snowy Winter Owl Workshop. It's not too late for you to get in on the action this winter; there are just a few spots left. Read more HERE.

KUDOS:

I'm happy to say I survived  Africa and now I survived the bitter cold and wind of Ontario. Once I saw the movie the "Big Year"  the Snowy Owl went to the top of my bucket list. There was only one photographer who combined excellence and instruction that I wanted to help me achieve capturing the Snowy Owl; Chris Dodds. Chris is an amazing photographer who taught our group to use manual setting and fully explain the technical aspects of our cameras(we were all Nikon users & Chris is a Canon guy). Chris made sure we were all in the position to capture a great image and he constantly was helping us and reviewing our skill set and lack of skill set. I was able to get a lot of great images and fully understand photography at a professional level. I am now a better photographer.. His preparation for his workshop was the best I have been part of. The small group workshop allowed Chris to spend individual time with each of us and that was the real bonus. If you want to capture great images and learn from a master photographer there is no one better in my opinion. The workshop and the accommodations were great. I look forward to my next outing with Chris.


Carl Bilancione (Survivor Africa contestant) Winter Park, Florida

Friday
Oct162015

Bald Eagle Photo Tour more Kudos

 

American Bald Eagle GRAVITY from my 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 @400mm ISO 4,000 f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Full Frame, shot vertical in manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Kudos

There are a lot of photographers to choose from when deciding to take a workshop.  I had come across Christopher Dodds Photography on Facebook and really like his photographs.  I read about Chris’s workshops.  They all sounded well organized and he has years of experience going to various places.

I love Alaska and had been dreaming of taking an Eagle photography workshop and decided to sign up with Chris.  I am so glad I chose Chris for a lot of reasons.  The workshop was very well organized.  Chris provides the attendees with a list of suggested clothing to be sure you are comfortable in the Alaskan winter weather.  He provided us with a list of suggested equipment so that we knew exactly what was needed to get the kind of photos posted on his workshop page.  The group was limited to 5 attendees, so we each had ample opportunity to get feedback and suggestions from Chris. Chris is extremely knowledgable about Kachemak Bay and knows where to go to get the best shots depending on the wind and the weather, and whether there is sun or snow.  Chris uses the same boat and captain for this workshop, so the captain knows exactly what Chris wants to do and how to get us into those best areas…. Chris believes in safety above all else, but snow, sleet and rain did not keep us from going out.  In fact, it made for some great photos depicting the Alaskan winter eagle environment.  It was an amazing trip and I got a lot of great photos.  I would definitely choose Chris for another birding workshop as he is dedicated to doing everything he can to make sure you come home with lots of amazing photographs!   Thanks, Chris, for a fantastic workshop and wonderful adventure!


 Jessica Duke Eagle Nest, NM, USA

Wednesday
Sep302015

Eagles Galore in Alaska with Christopher Dodds

Adult American Bald Eagle REGAL (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D mark III, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM (version 1) @ 210mm  Hand Held ISO 250, f/7.1 @ 1/250s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

It's not too late to join me, Canon Canada Northern Explorer of Light and X-rite Photo coloratti, Christopher Dodds, for the premier Bald Eagle photography photo tour:

March 7-11, 2016 (5 full Days)

ONLY 2 SPOTS LEFT!

March 12-16, 2016 (5 full Days)

ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT!

March 17-21, 2016 (5 full Days) 

ONLY 1 SPOT LEFT!

 

Based in Kachemak Bay, near Homer, AK, this is where all of my famous Eagle images were made. This is your chance to make a truly awesome portfolio of Eagle images; dramatic flight shots, dynamic portraits and there is truly no prettier place than this for Eagles in their environment with mountains as the background. Get more information about my Bald Eagles Galore Workshop HERE.

Kudos:

I’ve long been wary about joining a workshop with a “big name” pro.  I’ve heard (and witnessed) a litany of workshop horrors, ranging from egomaniac leaders to unwieldy, unhappy groups.  Plus, as a professional photographer, I did not think that I would learn much from a workshop.  Indeed, I teach photography and postproduction.

Chris Dodds’ Eagles Galore workshop changed my mind.   Although he is a supremely talented photographer, Chris is approachable and friendly, and he works tirelessly to make sure that everyone in the group has a fantastic experience.  He limits the workshops to a small, manageable size.  And, in spite of my I’m-a-professional-and-don’t-need-help attitude, I am a better photographer for having joined the workshop. After spending a week with Chris, my flight photography is materially improved. (Chris is an expert on the nuances of servo autofocus, for example.)  Chris also taught several useful post-production techniques that I now use routinely in my workflow.

The true measure of any photo trip, however, is the photos.  Chris’ stated goal is for every workshop participant to go home with images that Chris would be proud to call his own. He means it.  The eagle photography was fantastic.  I came home with several dozen “portfolio grade” images, plus thousands of strong shots. Indeed, the single biggest complaint from my fellow workshop participants is the number of eagle shots that they had to sort through when they got home.

I’ve already registered for another workshop with Chris.

Andrew Kelley Denver, Colorado USA

Tuesday
Sep222015

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.
 
πŸ‘πŸ»It started by two of my pictures making the cut by being selected in the Daily Dozen section of National Geographic web site.
 
http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/6491757/
 
http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/6516046/
 
Then it went on turbo gear.  The next four things all happened within 48 hours
 
πŸ‘πŸ»I 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.

πŸ‘πŸ»National 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.

πŸ‘πŸ»A 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.

πŸ‘πŸ»And 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.

πŸ‘πŸ»And in the paper version:

πŸ‘πŸ»This same agency is now selling other of my photos.
 
πŸ‘πŸ»And 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. 
 
πŸ‘πŸ»And 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!
 
Best,

Jacques-Andre Dupont Montreal Canada

 

 

Tuesday
Sep152015

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:

https://instagram.com/chrisdoddsphoto/

 

Instagram

Tuesday
Aug252015

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 1550℉ or 843℃ 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+.

Wednesday
May132015

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 www.chrisdoddsphoto.com 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
, USA

Read more TESTIMONIALS HERE

Wednesday
Apr292015

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!

Kudos

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

Thursday
Dec182014

Snowy Owl Photo Tour Update

Snowy Owl Wings-up (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontrario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's one from one of many memorable moments during my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops last season. The outlook for this winter season is simply superb! I currently know where there are more Snowy Owls than I did this time last year. Remarkably, I have had three cancellations due to illness. Each of the three folks have asked me to try to find someone to fill their spot and have agreed to a discount. Be sure to have a look at the workshop and take advantage of $500.00 savings if you book a 2015 owl trip before midnight Dec. 24, 2014. Space is limited, so don't wait too long!

January 12-16, 2015 Snowy Winter Owl Workshop - NOW SOLD OUT

January 26-30, 2015 Snowy Winter Owl Workshop - NOW SOLD OUT

February 2-6, 2015 Snowy Winter Owl Workshop - NOW SOLD OUT

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