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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in Christopher Dodds (6)

Tuesday
Dec222015

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Mini Review

Christopher Dodds (Nature Photographer, CANON Northern Explorer of Light and X-rite Photo & Video Coloratti) with the newly announced Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer.

I’ve always been an advocate for the print; my favourite images are never quite finished, until I make a large print. I currently own several printers; among them are the Canon Pixma PRO-1 desktop printer for everything up to 13” wide, and a Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6400 for everything up to 24” wide. The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 will replace the Canon Pixma PRO-1.

If you have followed this blog and read my review of both the Canon Pixma PRO-1 and my Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6400, then it is no surprise that I am a perfectionist with a passion for the perfect image; it’s what keeps me out there perfecting my craft and drives my passion for the print. As a master printer, I used to have to spend countless hours pouring over printed images looking for ways to squeeze every ounce of colour gamut out of which ever printer I was using; that all changed when I switched to my Canon imagePROGRAF iPF6400, then added my Canon Pixma PRO-1, and now the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 will replace my Canon Pixma PRO-1 for everything up to 17" wide.

Full disclosure: My introduction to the Canon line-up of printers came after my being named the very first Canon Canada ambassador, or Canon Northern Explorer of Light, some four years ago. I had been using another popular brand of LFPs (Large Format Printers) until that time. I had invested so much time figuring-out workarounds for all of their shortcomings, I was foolishly reluctant to change; Each return to the studio was almost dreaded, as I knew it might be hours before I could start printing while waiting for cleaning cycles and head alignments. Those days are all in the past, and my experience with both of my beloved Canon printers has been nothing but a delight.

Although Canon has, and does, continue to sponsor me as a Northern Explorer of Light, I am under no contractual obligation to try to sell you anything. I am simply sharing my experience and making a personal recommendation to help you avoid the frustration of choosing the right printer, and avoiding the frustration of choosing the wrong one (because, after all, I had already done that to start with - smile). This is an updated testament to the printer(s) I choose for my print production.

What is it: Canon’s latest and greatest addition to their already impressive printer line-up is the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000. I was excited to put it to the test and offer my thoughts on this new model aimed at the serious amateur, semi-professional and professional photographers who produce professional quality colour and monochrome photographs up to 17” wide.

Initial impression: The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer arrived and I couldn't wait to give it a try; The printer looks impressive and sports a new thin red line, which was traditionally only seen on L-series lenses and reflects their top-of-the-line quality. I was pleased to see an LCD display on the control panel; it was missed on my Pixma Pro-1. Set-up and instillation was fast and easy; remove the packaging and security tape, install the print head, then installing the new (larger) ink tanks was a breeze, thanks to the new ink tank configuration along the bottom front of the printer. One important observation was the inclusion of a full set of full 80ml inks; an important consideration while reflecting on the cost of upgrade (printers usually ship with only enough ink to prime the ink lines, the print head, preform set-up functions like head alignment and then only make a few prints. You usually never get more than half-full ink tanks).

As is typically the case with all of my reviews, I won't be listing all of the technical specs which can be found on the Canon website HERE. In a nutshell, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 features a new design with all new specs here’s what is important to me:

NEW print head, Lucia Pro inks and image processor: The imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 combines a new print head, new inks and a new processor to achieve the highest quality prints, without compromise in performance or productivity. The new 80ml LUCIA PRO inks developed for the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 enable photographers to reproduce their images accurately in print. The wide dynamic range of colours allow for a high colour gamut (up to 19 percent larger than the PIXMA PRO-1 printer) and rich expression of detail in darker areas, with outstanding image permanence. The Chroma Optimizer ink helps achieve uniform glossiness when printing on glossy paper. By being applied over the printed image to cover the bumps between the ink droplets, Chroma Optimizer regulates the surface reflection to deliver natural colour reproduction in the finished print. This creates images with deep black density and prevents unwanted bronzing (scratch resistant). The new print head design (50% larger than the Pixma PRO-1) utilizes a sophisticated real-time ink ejection system which helps to maintain a consistent print head temperature allowing for consistent ink droplets to help limit clogs and reduce cleaning cycles and wasted ink. The new print head helps to further reduce the amount of wasted ink through anti-clogging technologies where ink ejection conditions are precisely checked with sensors, and if a clog is detected, another nozzle automatically provides backup. The new image processor provides optimal control of the printer, maintaining high-speed, accuracy and high-resolution printing while maintaining the balance of inks and the precise placement of ink droplets, carefully calculating best results for each print mode and media using various factors including colour reproduction, tonal gradations, black density, graininess, glossiness, anti-bronzing and elimination of metamerism”

NEW Larger Print Size: “Enjoy the ability to print striking images up to A2 (and 17” x 22”) without compromising quality. Take advantage of our fast print speeds and colour collaboration: with a plethora of media types supported from gloss, matte, fine art papers and canvas, you’ll get the look and feel you desire.”

NEW The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Is the only Canon desktop printer which incorporates the vacuum platen (formerly reserved only for Large Format Printers), it feeds paper with air suction, keeping the paper flat and preventing ‘floating’ and ‘edge-curl’ during the feeding / printing process allowing borderless printing on fine art papers.

NEW Software: Print Studio Pro v 2.0 works with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, and Canon’s Digital Photo Professional. “With 16-bit processing capabilities, fine details are dramatically improved, gradations are smooth and a highly accurate reproduction of the original captured image can be reproduced. Improving on the existing Print Studio Pro plug-in, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 utilises the updated version 2.0.0. This features a new screen layout that makes it easier for you to adjust the printer, paper, layout and colour settings to help deliver the best quality prints. You can create favourite settings that you feel comfortable with, and come back to them time and time again. Colour management is easier than ever, with a simple box to allow ICC profile selection, rendering intent and a brand new feature to enable soft proofing.”

In conclusion: After set-up, I deliberately chose to print a colour image with a lot dark colours and tones; an image I knew could test the limits, and one that could really prove if the new Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 was capable of producing prints which can stand above it’s predecessor. I was immediately blown-away by the remarkable difference in colour depth and accuracy; all of the dark areas immediately opened-up and, though subtle, the difference in print quality very quickly had me making new prints of lots of older images; every one of them, to a greater, or lesser degree, was different from those I had previously printed; all of them were better.

The new Print Studio Pro V2.0 was easy to use, the printer preformed flawlessly and the prints are a testament to it’s abilities.
 

The hardest part of this review was running-out of sample ink, draining the remaining ink from the lines (to prepare for shipping) and packing the sample printer to send it back to my friends at Canon Canada. I will be placing my order to arrive when my Winter Snowy Owl Workshops finish at the end of February.

Economic Considerations: If you are wondering about the economics of investing in a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, consider this (very short-sighted approach, since the printer will last for years and make many thousands of prints over it’s life):

Suggested retail price for the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is CAD$1,600.00, but it includes a complete set of 80ml inks which, after set-up, will likely make about 50 17” x 22” prints. If you manage to sell those for more than CAD$32.00 each (plus the cost of paper), then the printer has paid for itself. Now, the first set of inks primed the print head and filled the lines that feed the print head; the second set of inks will set you back CAD$863.88 at full suggested retail, but they will make about twice as many prints … see where I am going here; It makes perfect sense to upgrade, just from the cost/copy and quality standpoint.

Canon Canada Press Release:

NEW CANON imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 PROFESSIONAL, FINE ART INKJET PRINTER CAN RECREATE POWERFULLY VIVID IMAGES THAT WILL MOVE YOU

New 17-inch Large Format Printer Can Produce Sharp Images and Astounding Image Clarity for Pro Photographers and Design Professionals

MISSISSAUGA, ON., October 21, 2015 – Canon Canada Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Professional Inkjet Printer, a 17-inch, large format solution packed with significant technological advancements, such as a new print head, new ink set and a new image processing engine, resulting in stunning image quality designed for photographers who are “equally obsessed" with the printed image.

This is the first in a new series of imagePROGRAF printers that are marked by the distinctive Canon red line across the body of the printer, echoing the same red line on Canon’s EF L-Series lenses. This feature-rich professional printer complements Canon’s professional line of DSLR cameras and lenses for an ideal pairing that can produce high-detail, high-quality images when printed on a variety of media, creating images that look as accurate printed as when they were captured.

“We designed a printer to give our customers incredible large-format image reproduction in a size that fits almost any home, studio, design and production departments, or in a classroom of photography students,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc.  “Knowing how important fine details and precise colors are to professional users, this printer is designed so that the final output is exactly what they envisioned. The launch of the first printer in the new imagePROGRAF PRO Series of printers further illustrates the commitment Canon has to providing the imaging community with solutions that help deliver superb output true to a photographer’s obsession.”

New Print Head
Improving upon the specifications of the Canon PIXMA PRO-1 printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer features a 50 percent larger print head, which also expands the total number of nozzles to 18,432 for each of the 12 channels. The increased size of the print head helps produce faster print speeds†† while still maintaining high-resolution prints. This new print head design utilizes a sophisticated real-time ink ejection system which helps to maintain a consistent print head temperature allowing for consistent ink droplets to help limit clogs and reduce cleaning cycles and wasted ink. The new print head helps to further reduce the amount of wasted ink through anti-clogging technologies where ink ejection conditions are precisely checked with sensors, and if a clog is detected, another nozzle automatically provides backup.

New Inks
The new LUCIA PRO 11-color plus Chroma Optimizer ink system was designed specifically to meet the demands of the most critical photographer. An optimized resin-coating of each pigment allows for denser droplets to be applied to the media, resulting in an increased color gamut of up to 19 percent over the PIXMA PRO-1 printer. This dense ink-configuration also brings gloss uniformity for viewing conditions and image clarity that helps achieve anti-bronzing. The LUCIA PRO ink system also introduces an improved level of black density not only achieving deep, rich blacks but also helping to bring out incredibly fine shadow detail in the darker areas, creating works of art on fine art media. The imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer is designed to work seamlessly when changing media types, Photo Black and Matte Black inks have their own dedicated nozzles so no switching is necessary.  Users can print on glossy media then fine art media with no worries, no changes, and no waste. The new ink system includes matte black, photo black, gray, photo gray, red, blue, magenta, photo magenta, cyan, photo cyan, yellow and Chroma Optimizer. The size of the ink tanks is 80ml per tank, allowing for less frequent refills and reduced cost per print.

New Processing Engine & Printer Architecture
Demonstrating a rich understanding of optimum balance stemming from its expertise in camera technology, Canon offers precise placement of ink droplets ideal for vivid print results. The new processing engine, L-COA PRO, controls the balance of inks and the precise placement of ink droplets, carefully calculating best results for each print mode and media using various factors including color reproduction, tonal gradations, black density, graininess, glossiness, anti-bronzing and elimination of metamerism, all of which contribute to creating an amazing printed image. L-COA PRO, combined with an internal 1GB of memory, enables high-speed processing of massive volumes of image data for demanding workflows. To bring further accuracy to ink ejection and limitation of color unevenness, the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer offers a two-way vacuum paper feeder, which keeps media flat and even, helping with accuracy of ink ejection. The imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer also has a built-in calibration function to help prevent variability of color output by aging changes or printer differences. This feature allows for a consistency in colors from PRO-1000 to PRO-1000 of under a Delta E of 2†††.  Reliability and quality are further maintained by the enhanced rigidity in the printer chassis allowing for even more improved dot placement, helping to produce sharper prints, including stunning borderless images.

New Software*
Enhancing the user experience with imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer is the intuitive software solution of Print Studio Pro v 2.0. With a focus on quality and ease of use, Print Studio Pro is a plugin for Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe Lightroom® and Canon Digital Photo Professional software that easily exports files directly to the printer.2 With 16-bit processing capabilities, fine details are dramatically improved, gradations are smooth and a highly accurate reproduction of the original captured image can be reproduced. Also set to be included is the Media Configuration Tool (MCT)*, enabling customization of the media in both the driver and printer. Additionally, MCT can make adjustments such as print head height and vacuum strength for each media, offering the flexibility needed in order to help achieve optimal quality across a broad range of media options. Accounting Manager* is set to be included for those looking to keep track of consumable costs such as ink and media, allowing users to manually enter in their costs in order to help determine their overall printing expenses. Whether it is an individual printing in their studio, or an administrator looking to centrally manage a number of users in a multi-unit networked environment, this tool can help you keep track of printing expenses.  Device Management Console* is an administrative tool which provides users with the means to manage multiple PRO-1000 printers by helping users monitor activity such as error messages and printer information such as the execution status of calibrations.

Availability and Pricing

CANADA: The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is scheduled to be available at the end of November 2015 for a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $1,599.99. MSRP of each colour ink is $71.99 and Chroma Optimizer is $65.99.**

USA:The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is scheduled to be available end of October 2015 for a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $1,299.95. MSRP of each color ink is $59.99 and Chroma Optimizer is $54.99.**

For more information visit:

CANADA: http://www.canon.ca
USA: http://www.usa.canon.com.

† Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

1Wireless printing requires a working Ethernet network with wireless 802.11b/g or n capability. Wireless performance may vary based on terrain and distance between the printer and wireless network clients. Wi-Fi is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

*Certain software and utilities to be released post launch:

Device Management Console for PC estimated to be available December 2015, for MAC 3rd Quarter 2016,Media Configuration Tool for MAC estimated to be available 1st quarter 2016 and

Accounting Manager for MAC and PC estimated to be available for 1st Quarter of 2016.

2 Adobe® Photoshop®, Adobe Lightroom® and Canon Digital Photo Professional software must be purchased separately.

††Photo print speeds are based on the standard mode driver setting using photo test pattern(s) and select Canon Photo Paper. Print speed is measured as soon as first page begins to feed into printer and will vary depending on system configuration, interface, software, document complexity, print mode, types of paper used and page coverage. See www.usa.canon.com/printspeed for additional information.

††† Delta E of 2 inches is guaranteed only Canon genuine media.

**Availability, specifications and pricing are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.

Monday
Nov172014

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM mini-review

My friends at Canon Canada have done it again; another box with a prototype inside arrived, this time it was the new, and much anticipated, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. I have an "MT" sample, which basically means that it is a pre-production sample and I can't share images from this lens. I was granted permission to post a picture of the lens, so here I am in my favourite weather conditions, with the lens on a newly released EOS 7D mark II; truly a killer, and "must have", wildlife imaging combination! (Image courtesy and copyright Julie Morrison - Thank-you!)


Despite the continual debate about it's consistent sharpness, the original Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens was almost always mounted on a second camera body and slung over my shoulder for nearly a decade. The copy I had was consistently sharp and produced many "portfolio" images, which continue to sell for publication and as prints. I see history repeating itself again, as I anticipate having the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens paired with the new Canon EOS 7D mark II slung over my shoulder while out with my tripod-mounted super-telephoto lens and Canon EOS 1DX in the future.

First impressions: The lens features a completely new design with the old push-pull to zoom lens barrel replaced by a much more weather resistant and user friendly turn to zoom variable torque twist ring. The new lens collar features an easy to remove lens foot and the lens is adorned by a new lens hood with a push button lock release and a sliding window to accommodate filter adjustments (mount the window on the bottom of the lens in wet or snowy weather to keep the front element clean and dry). No detail was over-looked by the Canon engineers when redesigning this beast; it even includes an improved pinch-lock style 77mm lens cap.  It is a little heavier than its predecessor, but the improvements to design, image quality and weather sealing are, in my opinion, worth every ounce....and I did get to test the weather sealing while out in the wet snow for an extended shoot as seen in the image above (but let's not tell my friends at Canon what I do to their prototypes - smile).
It's even more of a beast if you install a Canon Extender EF1.4X III between the lens and 1.6X crop factor camera (like the 7D mark II); Yes, it still auto-focuses and offers an effective focal length of 224-896mm! Image quality is still impressive with a Canon Extender EF2X III, but the lens needs to be manually focused at a mind-blowing 1280mm equivalent.

Less apparent new features are the lens now "features one fluorite and one super UD element to help provide impressive contrast and resolution with reduced chromatic aberration across the entire zoom range. Canon’s new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, while fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens surfaces help lessen smears and fingerprints. A 9-blade circular aperture renders beautiful, soft backgrounds, and a 3 mode (standard, panning and exposure only) Optical Image Stabilizer provides up to 4 steps* of image correction." - Canon product page.

Auto-focus speed and accuracy are impressive, with zippy performance only usually expected in the most expensive optics. I haven't tested the lens for birds in flight yet, but my initial impressions are that AF acquisition time and speed are remarkably good. As I discovered way back in 2011 while testing the Canon EF70-300mmL IS USM, the new optics and coatings improve resolution and contrast, which greatly improve the already impressive new auto-focus systems in the latest Canon cameras. The minimum focusing distance has been reduced to only 3.2 feet (my test unit focuses much closer than that), making it a fantastic walk around lens for details in nature too!

As always, I don't spend my time looking at specifications or MTF charts, but I do closely examine the images and evaluate image quality for my "real life" use; big prints. The results are impressive! While important to note that I have based this mini-review on a pre-production unit, it is unlikely that image quality will change with a production model; It would be hard to make it better.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an incredibly versatile wildlife, nature, birds-in-flight, sports and action set-up that won't break your back or bank account, then the new Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens, paired with the new Canon EOS 7D mark II and a Canon Extender EF1.4X III truly are a wildlife photographer's new secret weapon! It's a relatively compact, packable and manageable kit that I won't be caught without!

From the Canon product page:
"The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens delivers a superb combination of cutting-edge performance, compact construction and brilliant resolving power that’s great for sports and wildlife photography. The lens features one fluorite and one super UD element to help provide impressive contrast and resolution with reduced chromatic aberration across the entire zoom range. Canon’s new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, while fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens surfaces help lessen smears and fingerprints. A 9-blade circular aperture renders beautiful, soft backgrounds, and a 3 mode (standard, panning and exposure only) Optical Image Stabilizer provides up to 4 steps* of image correction. The new inner focusing AF system helps ensure fast and accurate focus down to 3.2 ft. with a .31x maximum magnification. Usability enhancements include a rotation-type zoom ring with adjustable zoom torque for more precise, customizable zoom performance, a redesigned tripod mount that can be attached and detached without removing the lens from the camera, and an all-new lens hood with a side window that makes it simple to adjust specialty filters-like polarizers-without the need to remove the hood. Ruggedly constructed with advanced dust and water sealing for durability in a range of environments, the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is a stellar performer with refined controls for a wide variety of situations."

 

Thursday
Jun132013

Canon Northern Explorers of Light Presentation in Montreal

 

American Bald Eagle MAJESTY (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 1,250, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Another Bald Eagle image from my epic Bald Eagle Photography Workshop in Alaska this past March. Seats are selling quickly for 2014, so I've added another session; limited space is available from March 12-16, 2014 and March 17-21, 2014. This truly is the very best Alaska has to offer and we spend more time out on the water than anyone else. Do consider joining this opportunity to photograph hundreds of Eagles fishing within 300mm lens working distance. This is only for those who love high volume opportuniies and shooting at a furious pace!

Canon Northern Explorer of Light Presentations at Photo Service in Montreal

I'm thrilled to announce yeat another series of Canon Northern Explorers of Light seminars at Photo Service in Montreal (222, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Vieux-Montréal near Métro Place-d'Armes). They are sponsored by the Canon Northern Explorers of Light program and are free to attend. Each session will be about two hours long and I will cover a huge amount of tips and techniques in French. This is an awesome way to learn the tips & techinques I use every day in the field - all for free (thanks Canon). Click the link below to register:

June 27, 2013 @ 2:00 PM SOLD OUT

June 27, 2013 @ 4:30 PM

June 27, 2013 @ 7:00 PM SOLD OUT

Thursday
Apr182013

Canon Northern Explorers of Light Press Release

American Bald Eagle Fishing Silhouette (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @ 300mm with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 1,000, f/5.6 @ 1/1,250s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

We had a blast photographing hundreds of Bald Eagles that were fishing along the shores of Kenai Peninsula National Park in Kachemak Bay during my recent Bald Eagle Photo Tour. The flat water and amazing light produced some incredible silhouettes for everyone. The trip was a huge success and my many years of leading small groups there had us in the right place at the right time every time. My March 2014 Bald Eagle Photo Tour details are on-line and live; do consider joining me for what is always a photographic trip of a liftime for all who attend.

Canon Canada Officially Launches the Northern Explorers of Light

 

I am thrilled and honoured to officially become the very first CANON NORTHERN EXPLORER OF LIGHT. Canon Canada has now issued a press release outlining the program, it's other members and launching their new Canon Pro website. Congratulations go out to Canon and all of the others who received the great honour!


New program and website inspire amateur photographers to shoot like the pros.


PRESS RELEASE: MISSISSAUGA, ON, 17 April 2013 - Canon Canada Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions celebrating its 40th anniversary, announced today the launch of the Northern Explorers of Light program and its accompanying website www.canon.ca/pro. The Northern Explorers of Light are a prestigious group of seven Canadian imaging professionals who serve as ambassadors for the Canon brand and share their photographic passions and technical expertise with aspiring photographers.

The Northern Explorers of Light program is an extension of Canon USA’s popular Explorers of Light program, created in the mid-1990s. The new Northern members join the ranks of more than 50 Explorers whose specialties and styles span a wide range of photographic disciplines including photojournalism, travel and wildlife photography, portraiture, and television and film production. The Explorers’ use of Canon EOS photographic equipment allows them to capture stunning images in unrivalled clarity and detail. Many Explorers also use Canon’s large format printers and high-resolution REALiS projectors to produce and display their art. The Northern Explorers of Light will share their knowledge and enthusiasm with Canadians through workshops, speaking engagements, appearances at industry events, and social media outreach.

The Northern Explorers of Light are some of the most gifted and influential imaging professionals in Canada,” said Ian Macfarlane, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group and Market Development Group, Canon Canada. “This program provides a unique resource for creativity and inspiration among photo enthusiasts, giving them access to the unsurpassed talent and skill of Canada’s elite photographers, and allowing them to improve their own techniques.”

The seven Northern Explorers of Light are:

Todd Korol Calgary, AB
John Lehmann  Vancouver, British Columbia.
Patrick Nichols – Toronto, ON
• Camille Fortin Bensler and Chadwick Bensler (JONETSU STUDIOS) - Vancouver, BC
Ed O’Neil – Toronto, ON
Christopher Dodds – Huntingdon, Quebec.

To support the program, Canon Canada is also launching www.canon.ca/pro, the online home of the Northern Explorers of Light and a forum for interactive discovery and discussion about photography. Targeted to curious and aspiring photographers and cinematographers, the site showcases the Northern Explorers and the tools they use to produce their work. Visitors can browse photo galleries and read articles written by the Northern Explorers about the stories behind some of their most iconic images. The site also features technical information about the professional Canon EOS equipment used to capture and display the photos and videos.

For more information on the Northern Explorers of Light, please visit www.canon.ca/pro

Saturday
Sep292012

Christopher Dodds Canon Northern Explorer of Light

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus, Ours Blanc) at Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Area (south of Wapusk National Park) along the shores of the Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 500mm F4 L IS , 1.4X Teleconverter III, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 (with Deluxe Swing-arm upgrade) ISO 800 f/8 @ 1/800s Manual Mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Canon Northern Explorers of Light

I am thrilled and honoured to share the news that I have accepted the invitation to join the Canon family and their NORTHERN EXPLORER OF LIGHT Initiative as an inaugural member. The Canon Northern Explorers of Light initiative has been founded for the purpose of educating photographers and targets professional photographers. It truly is a huge honour, and I am very grateful to be one of the founding few to be recognized by Canon as a worthy ambassador. Watch out for news from Canon and I'll be sure to let you know when their new pro website goes live over the next few weeks.

Friday
Jan222010

The Business of Photography: The Business Plan

Red Fox Vulpes vulvas (renard roux). Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds  www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 70-200mm F2.8 IS @ 70mm Hand-held. ISO 500, F3.2 @ 1/125s Manual mode. Ambient exposure using  Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO BUY A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

The Business Plan

One of the biggest mistakes many people starting a business make is not having a business plan. A business plan can be as simple as a Mission Statement and as complicated as you feel necessary. Think of a business plan as a roadmap; Where are you going?, How are you getting there? Are you headed in the right direction? and what to do if you make a wrong turn. A well written business plan is also a great tool to measure your successes and failures as a business person if reviewed periodically.

I don’t want to deceive you, so I’ll make it clear to you now that I don’t know any other photographers that actually have a business plan. I am asked, quite often, how to get into Nature or Wildlife Photography as a profession. I also have regular conversations with other successful photographer friends (Jewelry and studio photographers) about how they plan on getting to the next level; both as a photographer and as a business person. A well written business plan will help you see where you want to go, and how to get there.

I’m sure you all have a plan and have though about where you want to be in five or ten years. All I’m suggesting is putting it in writing and making it an annual event to review and modify things. How often have you had a great plan or idea, only to forget it within a short period of time?

Here’s some simple steps to a successful Business Plan:

Define who you are as a photographer and identify key strengths and weaknesses. Review your photography and identify a specialty and or passion. What makes your clients choose you and why are you different than a stock agency or other photographer? Create an executive summary, or mission statement, that will become the first part of your business plan. This need only be a few sentences long and it is essentially a summary of your findings.

Define your market as a photographer. In what area of photography do you see yourself fitting best? Who are your potential clients? Do you want to sell image rights for publication? or sell fine art prints to collectors? or both? What age group and gender are those clients. If you want to sell images to magazines for publication, who works for the magazines, and who buys those magazines? This section is a summary of your product, your service and your target clients.

Define your Competition. Now you know who you are, what product, or service you offer and who is your likely client. It’s time to think about who else is out there doing the same thing as you, and why you are a better, more logical choice for your client. What do you offer that your competitors don’t?

The last section deals with finances. Identify how much money you need to make to keep your head above water without falling into debt. Essentially a spreadsheet with a list of your expenses that should include: Living expenses like food, clothing, housing (mortgage, insurance, taxes and repairs), Utilities (heat, air conditioning, electricity, gas, water, etc) Transportation (Car payment, Insurance, fuel and repair) and health / disability insurance. Don't forget contributions to an emergency fund; you never know when you have to replace a roof or have a sudden financial crisis. Make a list of the monthly costs and multiply by 12 to figure out just how much money you need (after taxes) to survive a year without falling into debt.

Once you establish how much you need, it’s time to figure out how, or if, you can get there. How much do you sell your product, or service for?, and how much does it cost to produce? If you are a wildlife photographer, then you should make a list of your overhead expenses like photography equipment (cameras, lens, etc.), Office, or production, equipment (computers, printers, etc.), travel (transportation, lodging and food) expenses, professional services (like accounting), business liability & equipment insurance, equipment repair and rental, advertising and promotion costs, office supplies and communications (telephone, internet and mobile phone). You get the picture.

Now add your annual personal expenses (plus income tax) to your annual professional expenses. Do you think it is feasible to sell enough product or service to cover these expenses? Let’s say you sell fine art prints for $100.00 each. You determine your material cost to be $32.00 (ink and paper). You have a gross profit of $68.00. How many prints (think $68.00) do you need to keep yourself afloat? how many do you need to sell to put some savings aside for a bad year (or two) or a catastrophic medical or mental event? (laugh, but most business people suffer one, or the other, at some point in their career) oh, did you think about retirement savings? ... Perhaps a few more than you initially thought - but you knew that, right? (smile).

Now that you have a plan in writing, it's much easier to stay on track. If you make the small effort to review and ammend your plan from time to time, you have a much better understanding of where you have come from, where you are and where you are going.