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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in Florida (12)

Friday
Apr132018

Speckled Perch and the Osprey

Osprey with fresh Speckled Perch (Crappie) (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Lens with Sony 1.4X tele-extender @ 540mm Full Frame image. ISO 2,000 f/8 @ 1/2,000s Manual mode.

Just back from Florida after hosting two wonderful groups of photographers on Lake Blue Cypress for my Ospreys Galore workshop. There was no shortage of Ospreys returning to their nests with fish. The Speckled Perch (also known as a Crappie or Speck) were the prize catch for both the Ospreys and the photographers - smile! Ospreys often stop and eat the head of their catch before returning to the nest to feed the babies but I have so much experience on the lake, that I know which pairs are more successful gatherers and those more likely to return with whole fish.


Join me next April for my Ospreys Galore Workshop on Lake Blue Cypress in Florida. CLICK HERE to learn more and sign-up.

Wednesday
Mar212018

Bald Eagle HANGNAIL

American Bald Eagle HANGNAIL (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Lens @ 333mm Full Frame image. ISO2,500, f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual mode.

More Eagles Galore

Here's another favorite from the last day of my Eagles Galore Photo Tour earlier this month. We had some great fun in the snow with the Eagles. I love the variations in their plumage. Learn more about my March 5-9, 2019 Eagles Galore Photo Tour HERE

Ospreys Galore Last Chance

I only have two spots left for my April 5-7, 2018 Ospreys Galore Photo Tour, and the April 8-10 trip sold out months ago. Please visit my Ospreys Galore Page HERE to learn more and sign-up.

Special Thanks

I recently joined Chris on his Osprey Galore tour in southern Florida.  Not having been on this type of photo tour before, I did not know quite what to expect.  I can honestly say it was well worth the time and money and one of the best photographic experiences I’ve ever enjoyed.  Chris runs a very organized photo experience to say the least, but keeps the pace and daily routine very relaxed and informal, making everyone feel comfortable and able to get the most out of their photographic experience.    His body of work and experience in the field,  has made him not only a world class photographer, but an extremely knowledgeable outdoorsman, greatly adding to the entire experience.  I particularly enjoyed how instruction, tips, and techniques were tailored to the experience level of each photographer individually.  There was no pressure to compare images, nor did Chris spend a great deal of time taking his own shots.  Instead he devoted his efforts to not only putting us in the very best position to achieve a meaningful shot, but continually answered any and all questions throughout the day, reminding us of small details that were very helpful, regardless of anyone’s level of expertise.  It is rare to find this level of photographic expertise coupled with such a comprehensive knowledge of the natural surroundings, all shared in a very friendly and engaging manner.  I learned a lot, enjoyed my time thoroughly, and came home with some incredible images I would never have achieved on my own.  You can’t ask for much more than that.  I will be joining Chris again in the near future for another photo tour.  Five stars!!
 
Brian Shul Gallery One

Wednesday
May012013

Osprey Workshop Testimonials Canon EOS 5D Mark III Firmware V 1.2.1

Osprey with Fish (Pandion haliaetus, Balbzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress (near Vero Beach), Florida ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 1,600, f/4.5 @ 1/800s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Osprey Workshop Kudos

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Dodds a few weeks ago in Florida when I signed up for his Osprey workshop. The sign up process and pre workshop communication was excellent and concise. I must admit that as I drove over from Tampa to the hotel I was a bit uneasy after looking at Chris's images wondering if he was approachable, patient, and a good teacher with someone like me who didn't have a lot of experience shooting wildlife before. We met in the hotel lobby , chatted for 30 minutes or so and thankfully Chris put my concerns to rest. I went to bed that night knowing that the next few days would be an adventure.

I can honestly say that Chris Dodd's workshop for Ospreys far exceeded my expectations. Chris is a great guy, very happy to answer your questions and the best thing of all, fun to shoot with. I learned a lot, met a new friend and best of all was blown away at the quality of my images because of Chris's help/techniques. I cannot wait to meet Chris somewhere else in the wild and experience another awesome outdoor shooting experience. Thank you Chris, I hope to see you again soon!
 

Mark Weaver - Tampa, Florida, USA

 _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I recently joined Chris on his Ospreys Galore Photo Safari and Expedition. This was actually the second year in a row that I have joined Chris for this photo safari. Including myself, there were three repeat clients for this experience. All three repeat clients are from Florida. I have a chance to photograph ospreys year round but I have found this to be THE BEST EXPERIENCE to photograph ospreys in their natural environment. I agree with Chris that Lake Blue Cypress is one of the most beautiful places in Florida. The lake is surrounded by land that is designated as  conservation land. That means no development and pristine environment around the lake. Cypress trees ring the lake and I have never seen as many ospreys in one place.

One of the things I particularly like about being with Chris is his genuine concern for the safety and well being of his clients. On this last trip we had some weather passing through the area. Chris delayed going out in the pontoon boat until the stronger weather had passed. He also talked about the possibility of rain showers and made sure everyone was prepared even though it did not rain on us while we were out.

Chris’ knowledge and expertise was evident in getting us close to the ospreys. Most of my images taken during the three days were taken at less than 300mm. I was able to get in-flight and very close up images hand holding a 500mm lens, but most of my images were taken with a 70-200mm lens with a 2X extender. I didn’t need the big lens to get very good images.

While we were all shooting Chris would be keeping an eye out for all of us. He tailored his field instruction for each individual. His insight into the latest thinking on shutter speeds with DSLRs was especially invaluable to getting crisp images. Chris even shared his camera equipment with people to give them some experience with the latest equipment.

I have joined Chris on several trips and look forward to future adventures with him.
 

Jim Boland - Titusville, Florida, USA

 

CANON EOS 5D Mark III Firmware Version 1.2.1 Available

Canon EOS 5D Mark III users should be thrilled to learn that has just released exciting new free firmware. The highlight for nature photographers is that Canon has enabled centre AF point auto-focus when extender/lens combinations have combined maximum aperture of f/8. If AF point expansion is selected with an f/8 maximum aperture lens/extender combination, the four AF points surrounding the center point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that appear small in the viewfinder and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the center will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.

Check-out the comprehensive list of fixes and other improvements and download Firmware V. 1.2.1 HERE

Tuesday
Apr172012

Ospreys Galore Kudos

 OSPREY CATCH A GLIMPSE (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS-1D MKIV500mm F4 IS & 1.4X Extender III. ISO 800  f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Amongst the many great things about leading photo safaris and teaching workshops are the people I get to meet and spend time with. Geoff sent along this great note after the Ospreys Galore workshop/safari and I thought I would share it today with another couple of images from that trip - million thanks Geoff!

"Osprey safari: An incredible opportunity.

I recently attended the Osprey safari offered by Chris Dodds, and I was positively thrilled with the excursion. The people in our small group were fantastic.  The environment was magical. The photographic opportunities were amazing and abundant. Every part of the physical expedition was most impressive, but what I was really taken with was the panoply of knowledge Chris demonstrated throughout the trip. Whether identifying various birds dozens of yards away simply by call, or exuding masterful control over the camera, Chris was able to display his expertise and offer assistance when needed. Chris is very amiable and approachable. No matter what skill level a photographer has, Chris always made one feel important with his one on one attention and did so without any air of condescension. It was very much like shooting with great friends with your own personal tutor to turn to if needed. I can honestly say that both my skill level and knowledge base increased from my trip with Chris. Thanks again Chris."

- Geoff Powell Vero Beach | FL | USA http://www.artisticpx.com
OSPREY CATCH A GLIMPSE (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS-1D MKIV500mm F4 IS & 1.4X Extender III. ISO 800  f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.
Sunday
Apr152012

SEO How To Naming Image Files

OSPREY CATCH A GLIMPSE (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS-1D MKIV500mm F4 IS & 1.4X Extender III. ISO 1,600  f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.


Here's another Osprey from my recent Ospreys Galore and so much more workshop/safari at Lake BLue Cypress in Florida. We had many opportunites to photograph Ospreys returning to their nests with fish. Be sure to sign-up early for next year and avoid the planned $100.00 price increase.

Naming an image with a descriptive file name is a crucial step to selling more images on-line. I can't tell you how often I see missed sales opportunities for great images because the photographer used some sort of code to name their images "30d-070826-7186.jpg". Worse yet, is leaving the file number that was created by the camera when they pushed the shutter button "img_0983.jpg".

Search engines can't interpret an image and decide what the subject is; you need to tell it what the subject is. For birds, I typically include the English, French and Latin names of the species, the four digit American Ornithologists' Union alpha code and my name separated by an underscore or hyphen and ending in the original file name as created by the camera to avoid duplicates "Osprey-Pandion-haliaetus-Balbuzard-pecheur-OSPR-CDODDS_74F2591"

Tuesday
Apr102012

Ospreys Galore Workshop a huge success

OSPREY FISH-ON (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV,  500mm F4 IS. ISO 1000, f/5.6 @ 1/2500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I can't believe that it's been over a month since my last blog entry! Many thanks to all who wrote to check and see if I was okay.  Much like many things in life; the break was not a planned one. After moving House, home, studio and office on March 1, our washing machine sprung a leak and flooded our new basement. Nothing was lost or damaged, though it did look quite disastrous at first; I was to set-up computers, workstations, bookcases and studio equipment that day, so the floor was littered with books, computers and camera gear (thankfully, everything was still in the double walled boxes and their thick walls kept the water out long enough for rescue).  Renovations start tomorrow and the new ceiling, floor and walls should be finished in about a week.

A large part of my moving logistics was dedicated to making sure that my image files were not susceptible to loss during the move, and to ensure that I knew where every copy was at all times, and that multiple copies existed in multiple geographic locations in the event of theft, loss, or simply being submersed under water during a flood! I made four fresh copies of my entire collection and placed each into a small watertight & bombproof case before distributing them to four separate locations (all will remain top-secret). Do consider taking inventory of your image collection and making at least one copy that you can keep in your safety deposit box, at your parents or a friend's home in the event of a disaster.

My Ospreys Galore (and so much more) photography workshop/safari at the beginning of April was a huge success! We were blessed with a mix of weather which ranged from fog to spectacular golden light. The small group was amazing (50% were repeat clients), as was our Captain Kevin who usually captains cruise ships and did a spectacular job of following my instructions and keeping us at the right angle and in the very best spots - leaving me free to teach and photograph - thank-you Kevin! Watch-out for more images over the next few days and be sure to consider signing-up early for this one next year and avoid the planned price increase of $100.00:
Ospreys Galore & so much more April 5,6 & 7, 2013   

Tuesday
Jan172012

Ospreys Galore and so much more

OSPREY FISHERMAN (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV,  500mm F4 IS. ISO 800, f/5.6 @ 1/2500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Ospreys Galore and so much more Workshop

 

April 1-3, 2012 & April 4-6, 2012  - 5 Participants with Christopher Dodds and fully licensed USCG Captain

It's not too late to join-in on the fun photographing Ospreys on the Beautiful Lake Blue Cypress in Florida. Join me at one of THE most beautiful places in Florida for three action packed days of Osprey photography. Lake Blue Cypress in southern Osceola County (just 20 minutes from Vero Beach) is known for it's high Osprey density; More than 240 pairs of nesting Ospreys build their nests in the Cypress trees along it's shores and many of them are at eye level and accustomed to human activity and close approach.

Large, stable 24 foot pontoon boat to ensure freedom of movement and excellent photography opportunities without being bothered by any space restrictions during our daily 4 hour morning light photography cruise. New this year is a US Coast Guard licensed sea captain to ensure our safety, and get us into the very best possible positions to photograph the many Ospreys.

Land-based afternoon photography sessions at some of the best hot-spots in Florida with exceptional access, diverse species and action packed, card filling photo fun!

Huge telephoto lenses are not required for this one; in 2011, I made many of my favourite images with Canon's 70-300mm zoom lens.

The Crown Jewel of Florida, Lake Blue Cypress is the perfect habitat for the hundreds of Osprey nests that cover the ancient Cypress Trees which pierce the pristine water and surround the lake. We will have tons of opportunities to photograph Ospreys on their nests at (or below) eye level, diving for fish or gathering nesting materiel. Our trip is timed perfectly to see the parents bring fish to their babies. We will photograph other species of Florida birds and will have constant urges to capture the true beauty, spectacular sunrises and all it illuminates in landscape images of the unspoiled, wild and spectacular setting of Lake Blue Cypress.

REGISTER HERE

Thursday
Jun302011

Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM ROCKS!

OSPREY head-on (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 640, f/5.6 @ 1/2000s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's an Osprey from my workshop on Lake Blue Cypress in Florida last April; it's full-frame, at the longest focal length of 300mm and wide-open at f/5.6. It's razor sharp. During the last day of the workshop, friends and long-time repeat clients, Rick & Melody, loaned me their Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM lens. To make a long story short; I loved it so much that it is a new favourite carry everywhere, mid range zoom lens. The auto-focus is snappy and accurate and it's relatively compact and lightweight lens.

Like the new 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM, this lens auto-focuses down to 47.1 inches (mine will focus to 41 inches @ 70mm and 44 inches @ 300mm if focused manually), making it a great all-purpose lens ready for a close encounter with wildlife, or point it straight at the ground and start shooting details in nature. The new tripod and monopod sensing, 4 stop IS unit works just as advertised when used in low light conditions; I was blown away with sharp results at 1/4 second at it's widest 70mm, and 1/8 second at it's longest 300mm focal length.  

Overall, the build quality, image sharpness and auto-focus accuracy is all there; this is a sweet lens. Will it replace my 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II USM lens? No, but I will have to own both from now on. This will be the most used nature, travel and general purpose lens, but the 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II USM lens will remain in my kit when photographing events, people and extremely low light work, or when a really narrow depth-of-field is needed. As for the over-the-shoulder go-to lens? That's an easy one; it is now the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM.

Saturday
May282011

HALF is TWICE as good - JOBU Jr 3

Burrowing Owl PORTRAIT  (Athene cunicularia, Chevêche des terriers, BUOW) Cape Coral, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 2X Teleconverter III & Canon 25mm Extension Tube. Jobu Jr. 3 & tripod. ISO 400, F11 @1/320s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

HALF is TWICE as good!

I was sitting here, in front of my computer, thinking of concepts to help remind people how to make better images, when it suddenly dawned on me: HALF is TWICE as good! Well, it’s no brilliant marketing slogan, but as a concept, I think it works.

Take half the pictures, but spend twice the time composing each one; your images will, most likely, be twice as good. It's a simple principle; make the image, instead of taking the picture.

Take half the number of trips, and spend twice as much time photographing in each place; sounds simple enough, right? But imagine how much more you will learn about the place, the culture, your subject and it’s behavior. If you are shooting landscapes, you will learn about the weather, the light and how the light interacts with the scene. If you are shooting wildlife, then you will develop an intimate knowledge of your subject, it’s behavior and it’s habits. Guess what? You will probably make images that are; you guessed it, twice as good!

Keep half the pictures and those you keep will be twice as good? Well, I’m not certain that this one is true, but I am always telling people to edit, edit, edit! People tend to take so many pictures these days, and I cringe every time someone wants to show me pictures from a trip, birthday or event; they want me to sit there and see all of them! For crying out loud people: keep the best and trash the rest!

My new LOVE: Meet JR.

I confess: I’ve been using the Jobu JR. 3 Compact Gimbal Head since April, and although I got one to reduce space and weight while travelling on aircraft, I haven’t been able to use anything else since! As you all know, I have owned, and used, a Wimberley gimbal head forever. I have tried many other makes and models of gimbal head that are smaller and lighter, but never found anything that I could even settle for. The Jobu Jr. 3 was designed for smaller lenses like the 70-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/2.8, 100-400mm and 400mm DO, etc., but I have been using mine exclusively since I left for Texas in early April; It works remarkably well with my 500mm F4 IS L, even when working with the 1.4 or 2X extenders! The level of customer service, after sale support and engineering expertise from Jobu is unmatched in the industry today!

At HALF the size and less than HALF the weight of the Wimberley Head II (23 ounces or .65 kilograms VS. 60 ounces or 1.4 kilograms), the Jobu Jr. 3 has become my main tripod head!

I have also developed a love for their one piece flash bracket, so be sure to check that out as well.

I'm thrilled to announce that I am an official distributor of the Jobu line, and have forged a terric partnership with them. Jobu heads, flash brackets and assorted items will be available for you to test-drive and purchase on all of my Canadian workshops, presentations and lectures.

Workshop updates & FREE JOBU JR.3!:

This is a tough business, I have had a few people cancel at the last minute due to illness recently, leaving some new openings is what were full workshops.

Gannets Galore on Bonaventure Island June 15-17, 2011 - 2 spots due to illness.

Puffins Galore July 1 to 3, 2011 - 2 spots due to illness.

Puffins Galore July 5-7, 2011 - 1 spot due to illness

Tuesday
May172011

When it's Bright; Work Tight - American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher PORTRAIT  (Haematopus palliatus, Huîtrier d'Amérique, AMOY)  Fort DeSoto Beach, Tierra Verde, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 2X Teleconverter III & Canon 25mm Extension Tube. ISO 400, F10 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

When it's bright; work tight!

Let's face it; as much as we might like it, the light isn't always soft and golden. Those times I find myself out with my camera in bright, harsh light, I always work close with big glass to make the best of what light there is. The American Oystercatcher is a spectacular bird, one that's hard to stay away from when on a beach with my camera. I arrived on the beach early to scout out what was worth my time, and discovered the most co-operative pair of Oystercatchers standing against strong, sand laden winds. I immediately noticed their beaks were covered with sand, but also saw that I could manage to get a nice background by getting down low, and including the out of focus grass covered dune in the background. Sand, like snow, reflects a lot of light back into the shadowed areas of the image, reducing contrast and opening-up details that otherwise would be lost. Rather than passing up the shot, I worked what was there.

Later that same day, I rediscovered the same birds I had worked earlier, this time presenting with the sand rinsed off their beaks, and in spectacular light.


American Oystercatcher SUNSET PORTRAIT  (Haematopus palliatus, Huîtrier d'Amérique, AMOY)  Fort DeSoto Beach, Tierra Verde, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Extender III & Canon 25mm Extension Tube. ISO 400, F10 @1/500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

American Oystercatcher SUNSET SURF  (Haematopus palliatus, Huîtrier d'Amérique, AMOY)  Fort DeSoto Beach, Tierra Verde, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Extender III . ISO 400, F10 @1/500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION