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Entries in Birds in flight (7)

Thursday
Aug172017

Sony a9 and Sony G Master 100-400mm lens ready for bird photography

Atlantic Puffin PORTRAIT OF A CLOWN (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. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS @ 400mm @ minimum focusing distance. Full frame image (top to bottom; left and right cropped to square aspect ratio). ISO 2,500, f/6.3 @ 1/1,600s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

 

Sony a9 and Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master Lens: Ready for Bird Photography?

 

Canadian Nature and Wildlife Photographer Christopher Dodds with Sony FE 100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master Lens


My friends over at Sony Canada sent over a Sony a9 and Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master Lens for me to test while leading my four consecutive Deluxe Atlantic Puffins Galore Workshops in Puffin Paradise. The workshops were a huge success, with crew after crew of wonderful participants and awesome photographers who all made boatloads of Atlantic Puffin and Razorbill images, while enjoying life on a tiny island and the ambiance of a lighthouse with gourmet meals - it was fabulous! Learn more & sign-up for my 2018 Deluxe Puffins Galore trip HERE.

The Sony a9 is the first mirrorless camera I have tested that is capable of replacing my current Canon 1DX mark II camera bodies. So, why did I consider adding, or moving away from my current Canon set-up in the first place? Like all of my workshop clients and friends who travel and constantly worry about getting camera gear in the cabin of the airplane as carry-on (or who may be tired of lugging all of the “big and better” stuff around), I am always on the lookout for smaller, lighter, better and more manageable cameras; In this case, the a9 offers some incredible specs. to the birds-in-flight photographer, as seen on the Sony website HERE.

The camera arrived moments before we left for the long drive, and because it uses Contrast and Phase detection autofocus points built into the sensor, I didn’t have to worry about delaying my departure, and taking the time to micro-calibrate the camera and lens before leaving; My Canon SLR cameras have a separate auto-focus sensor, which require micro-calibration (or, to be more specific; require me to go through the process of micro-calibration to make sure the camera and lens combination are producing sharp images, even if no calibration is required). Having undertaken the time consuming task of the micro-calibration of all of my Canon cameras and lenses, and any combination possible with tele-converters countless times …… this is huge!

The Sony a9 and G Master 100-400 feel great in the hand, and seem perfectly balanced and easy to hold; a whopping two and a half pounds lighter than my Canon 1DX with Canon 100-400!

I quickly set-up the camera for birds-in flight action photography and immediately found the autofocus to be almost a magical dream of perfection. The AF points cover 93% of the surface of the sensor; this seems to be a huge advantage for keeping really fast and erratically moving subjects in the viewfinder. Initial autofocus acquisition seems so fast with this camera, that I had absolutely no hesitation hammering away the moment I had the target in the viewfinder. The results are remarkable! I spent every moment (unfairly) trying to make the Sony a9 fail with circumstances that I know none of the other brands can keep-up with; I was on a beach at low tide in low contrast light, aiming at Puffins flying low over seaweed covered rocks. All of the Canon cameras that I own, and Nikons I have owned and used would focus on the seaweed covered rocks. I could point the camera at the Puffin while it was tiny in the frame (well before I would normally try to acquire autofocus), and the camera would pick-up, and focus on the Puffin nearly every time. It seemed like there was an algorithm in the firmware that was looking for something moving in the frame to target. It would lock-on and stay with the Puffin all the way along its flight path towards me. Autofocus systems are challenged by objects moving towards the camera at a constant rate of speed; as an object approaches a camera at a constant rate of speed, we must move the focusing ring faster to keep the object in focus (or the camera’s autofocus mechanism must accelerate its adjustment). This often proves challenging to even the best autofocus systems; the Sony a9 kept-up every time! I was blown away.

I quickly realized that there was a lag between the live view on the back of the camera, and it’s automatic switch to the EVF (electronic viewfinder) when the camera is brought up to the eye. This felt awkward and interfered with my “target acquisition”,  so I switched to EVF display only, and was surprised that there was no menu choice to use the EVF for shooting, and the rear LCD to display the menu; In other words, when the camera is set to use the EVF display, you have to use the EVF for live-view (perfect), and menu adjustments (not-so-perfect). I quickly set-up a custom menu, with it’s first option to switch back the display to the rear LCD screen for when I want to make menu changes. The EVF was remarkably good and didn’t take long to get used to. Not having to drive the rear LCD increased battery life immensely, and I regularly filled a 128GB card with 2,200 RAW images on a single charge with battery life to spare.

I installed a Black Rapid Sport strap to sling the camera (and lens) over my shoulder at my waist; I quickly adapted to partially depressing the shutter button as I lifted the camera to my eye to “wake” the sensor and EVF. Since SLR cameras don’t need to keep the sensor energized to project an image in an EVF, this is not a problem when using a traditional SLR with optical viewfinder. This seemed a pain at first, but it really didn’t take long to develop muscle memory, and it became reflex very quickly.

I set the camera to silent mode, which seemed really strange @ 20 frames per second, but I quickly grew to love the silence, and think this to be a huge bonus while photographing flighty subjects like warblers that take-off at the sound of a camera shutter.

The image files are fantastic! At first, I thought there may be a huge gain in dynamic range, but after spending time with the files, I feel it is fair to say there is about 1/3 to 1/2 stop gain in dynamic range at higher ISO, but files at lower ISO seem to compare with those from the Canon 1DX mark II. I haven’t gone to great lengths to scientifically test them, as I will leave that to others and all I am really interested in is getting the better image. Files seemed richer, sharper and more saturated than those from the Canon 1DX mark II. Although I applied the same workflow to the images from the Sony a9 as I do to images from my Canon 1DX mark II, I only needed to apply about half as much of everything to produce some extremely awesome results.

In conclusion, I fell in love with the Sony a9 and Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master Lens! It’s a super light and manageable combination @4.5 pounds that can be hand-held all day long. The autofocus system is second to none (that I have used), it’s silent 20 frames per second with a huge buffer will keep even the most trigger happy birds-in-flight shooters happy, and the files this camera produces are stunning. This is the perfect combination for those who don’t choose the weight or reach of a super telephoto lens (as there are none currently offered by Sony….but they would be wise to jump on a native Sony e-mount 500 or 600mm f/4 lens soon!). Paired with a second body and wider zoom, it would be the perfect kit for an African Safari!

I haven’t yet tried any of the adapters which allow you to use Canon and Nikon lenses at 10 frames per second, mostly because I don’t see an adapted lens as a long term or reliable solution. Please do take the time to make comments here if you can offer any insight from your experience with any of the adapters available; We would love to hear your thoughts.

I’ll be back shortly with more about my time with the Sony a9 soon, and will post images of birds-in-flight and some high ISO images in the coming days. I will share some of things I learned about using the camera and offer some suggestions for menu choices. I will share my thoughts on adding, or switching to Sony, and more likes and dislikes. Stay tuned!

Kudos

I’m an experienced wildlife photographer and I’ve had puffins on my bucket list for several years. Around my Colorado home, I scout my own sites and work my network of photography buddies, so I know what it takes to find good sites, get in and then have the wildlife cooperate, to get good pictures. I’ve even been a scout for a leading professional photographer, looking for superior deer and turkey subjects and locations.
 
Regarding puffins, I’d considered renting hide times, but most involved day-trips on boats. Most importantly, time in the hide is limited and you won’t necessarily be able to shoot when they’re feeding, nor will you likely shoot in ideal light. Angle of view is often not ideal from a hide.
 
I don’t know how, but I ran across Chris’ Deluxe Puffins Galore Workshop at the Mingan Archipelago National Park of Canada. It sounded too good to be true. You can shoot ALL DAY and have gourmet meals morning, noon and night. Hang on.
 
The “galore” part of the title is entirely true. I took over 13,000-shots in my three-days. It required merciless culling to get down to under 200 for sharing. I have many worthy of framing and the culls contain many shots that I might have been happy with, had I not had so many superior shots.
 
There are rules, to protect the birds, about where you can go on the islet, but that in no way excludes you from puffin activity. For example, every evening, we sat in chairs as puffin filled our frames landing, taking off, kibitzing, posing, all in ideal light. By the end of the first day, I didn’t know how I’d possibly improve my shots, but I did, indeed, add to my archive.
 
Importantly, Chris is an affable and professional guy, but he pays close attention to safety, respect of our subjects and comfort of his guests. Everyone in my group was experienced, with good equipment. In fact, I was the only newbie. All had shot with Chris before. Guess what, I’ve signed up for his Snowy Owl Adventure, next January. I suspect that won’t be my last.
 
Chris delivers a premium product, in every way. Planning information was thorough and detailed, making it crystal clear what you needed to get there, to wear, etc.. The only thing left was to take the pix.
 
This is a premium product and a photographer’s dream. This is THE way to shoot Atlantic puffin.

Dave Stephens Colorado | USA

Visit Dave's Portfolio from the trip HERE.



 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jun152016

Northern Gannet The Return

Northern Gannet THE RETURN (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 Mark II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @263mm. ISO 1250, f/8 1/5,000s Manual. Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a simple image from the first day of my Gannets Galore trip to Bonaventure Island. The Gannets continue to do well and the colony continues to grow, offering truly spectacular sights and images; The photographic opportunities are endless. The 1DX Mark II and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM proved to be a killer combination; easy to manage all day with amazing AF and high ISO performance. Do join me for the ultimate Bonaventure Island experience next June 5-7, 2017. Find more details HERE.

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

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

Tuesday
Jul102012

Canon 1DX First impressions Mini Review

Atlantic Puffin FLYBY (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 70-300mm & Canon 580 EX II (ETTL - 1) f/4-f/5.6 @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @1/3,200s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Canon EOS 1DX First Impressions

As I mentioned in my last post, Canon Canada Loaned me one of the very first production models of their new flagship camera that they received; the Canon EOS 1DX. What a camera! In the hand, the camera is slightly heavier than previous 1D camera bodies, but the fit and feel is great. I took the camera to my Puffins Galore photo safari to L'Île aux Perroquets in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada. The great sunlight we had during our first morning gave way to foggy and heavy overcast skies; the kind of light that is very flat with low contrast for the remaining two and a half days. It was the kind of light that wreaks havoc with a camera's ability to auto-focus.

There are, and will be, a ton of well written and lengthy reviews of the camera out there; some will be written by folks who may have never touched the camera, others by people who may have popped-off just a couple of frames in the studio. There is a growing number of camera enthusiasts writing reviews based on hearsay and technical bulletins - I find them best avoided and instead like to put the cameras through their paces in the field in difficult conditions. This is just meant to be this man's take after using the camera for three days; in somewhat foggy and dark conditions while photographing very difficult, fast and very small birds.

Atlantic Puffin HEAD-ON (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS, 1.4X III Extender, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 3,200, f/6.3 @1/2500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Observations

There are some new goodies tucked into the camera's Auto-focus menu; I spent a lot of time trying the new scenarios, and loved the ability to tweak minute details within them. I found myself using Scenario 5 most when birds were flying towards me and scenario 1 for most other birds in flight - I did adjust the parameters for both almost constantly; the distraction sometimes causing me to miss a shot, or two, early on.

I made images from ISO 400 throughout 6,400 and found virtually no noise up to ISO 1,600. Images made using ISO 1,600 to 6,400 are surprisingly good and require only a little effort if properly exposed. I used Adobe Camera Raw algorithms to remove any noise and am quite pleased with the high ISO results. I would expect the Canon software to do an even better job this early, and will keep you posted in future posts.

I have been using my Canon 1D Mark IV for most nature photography and my Canon 1Ds Mark III for landscapes, head shots and slow moving subject. This has the potential to replace both cameras, but the deal breaker is no autofocus with lenses or lens and extender combinations with a maximum aperture of f/8 or smaller. I had heard rumours that Canon may release a firmware update that would allow this, but it seems to be just a rumour at the moment; I'll let you know if I hear of a work around.

Atlantic Puffin LANDING (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS, 1.4X III Extender, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 4,000, f/5.6 @1/2500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I did love the narrow depth-of-field from the full frame sensor; it's awesome to obliterate close and distracting backgrounds. 12fps while shooting in RAW format is ridiculously awesome for action photography. Files from the 18MP sensor are rich and full of details. The auto-focus system proved to be totally amazing when trying, so deperatly, to place my moving subjects against anything other than the bright white sky as the background; something that other auto-focus systems had much difficulty with before the 1DX.

Will it replace my 1D Mark IV? No, not unless Canon releases a firmware version that allows autofocus at f/8 so I can continue to shoot birds in flight with my 500 f/4 and 2X extender. This camera will, however, replace my Canon 1Ds Mark III

Expect more about the 1Dx in future posts.

Wednesday
Jun302010

Bonaventure Island Trip Report: Common Murre or Common Guillemot (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU)

Common Murre or Common Guillemot Flying (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé (Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park) Bonaventure Island, Quebec. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS-1D MKIV, 800mm F5.6 L IS. ISO 800, 1/2500s F5.6 Manual. Hand held from Zodiac Hurricane 733. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Common Murre or Common Guillemot Banking (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé (Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park) Bonaventure Island, Quebec. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS-1D MKIV, 800mm F5.6 L IS. ISO 800, 1/2500s F5.6 Manual. Hand held from Zodiac Hurricane 733. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Bonaventure Island Gannets Galore Nature Photography Photo Safari Workshop

One of the highlights of the Gannets Galore Photo Safari is the daily (weather permitting) Zodiac trips to, and around, Bonaventure Island. This year, we had two back-to-back perfect mornings with mirror-like water and virtually no swell; a perfect recipe for photography from a Zodiac Hurricane 733. There were many Common Murres, Razorbills, Black Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even some Puffins floating on the water around the Zodiac, but the crown jewels for the nature photographers on board are always the birds in flight shots of these birds that fly at 80km per hour. I was just thrilled to have a CPS Loaner Canon Mark IV and 800mm F5.6 IS L on loan from Canon Canada for the workshops; most everyone, who wanted, got to try this impressive bird photography rig. I must confess to have fallen in love with the lens after creating these razor sharp images on the second morning of the first (of three) workshops.

If you find yourself trying to photograph seabirds from near their cliff-edge nesting sites, it's best to skip the outbound birds and focus on the inbound birds; Razorbills, Murres, etc., typically nest under other species like Northern Gannets on the cliff face and are typically covered in bird poop when leaving the nest - inbound birds are just back from fishing, so they are all nice and clean. Try to lock onto them before they slow to land  on the water or bank for best results.

More Kudos

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for an amazing trip. I especially enjoyed shooting from the zodiac for all kinds of great shots. You lead an outstanding tour, and I would certainly consider future trips with you. I can tell that you could be of great help as I finish off my wish list of species for the new waterbirds book, as you know many of the key spots for specific species and behavior. I also have a lot to learn about the digital process, and you are gifted in this area. Many thanks my friend!
-Middleton Evans | Baltimore | MD