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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in homer (23)

Friday
Feb262010

American Bald Eagles Tumbling - Breaking the rules - Save 25% off Point Pelee Annual Pass

 Bald Eagle Tumble Abstract (Haliaeetus leucocephalus Pygarge à tête blanche) Kachemak Bay, Homer Alaska, USA. ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, 500mm F4 IS, 1.4X II Tele-converter, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head II. ISO 400, F5.6 1/1600s Manual Exposure. Full Frame. Cropped from left and right to 4x5 Aspect Ratio for visual impact. BUY A PRINT OR LICENCE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Bald Eagle Tumble Abstract  (Haliaeetus leucocephalus Pygarge à tête blanche) Kachemak Bay, Homer Alaska, USA. ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, 500mm F4 IS, 1.4X II Tele-converter, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head II. ISO 400, F5.6 1/1600s Manual Exposure. Full Frame. Here is the original, un-cropped image. BUY A PRINT OR LICENCE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Breaking the rules...

I strive to always challenge myself to break the standard rules of art, composition and photography; especially when mother nature works against me. In the case of the image above, I was simply making the most of a bad situation; the wind was blowing against the afternoon sunlight and all of the other photographers had opted to take the afternoon off to rest or edit their images. I watched and saw that I might have a chance at something artsy, or abstract, to salvage the afternoon. As I typically challenge myself to compose my images in-camera and shoot full-frame, without cropping, I thought I would include the original, un-cropped version for you to see how cropping, or changing the images aspect ratio, changes the visual impact of the image. While it's generally a good idea to include your subject's face, or eyes(preferably with good eye contact); once in a very great while you can create something nice without including either.

The broken rules:

  • Always photograph birds-in-flight with the wind and sun at your back.
  • Always include your subject's face
  • Always ensure at least one eye is critically sharp & in-focus
  • Always ensure strong eye contact between viewer and subject
  • always follow the rules

Kudos

"I wanted to thank you for a wonderful owling trip last week.  It was great to be in the field with you and I learned a great deal about the birds, environment and my camera.  Thanks so much for being such a great naturalist, photographer and trip leader.  I will go on another trip with you in the future."                                                                                                                                                         - Lynda Goff Santa Cruz, CA (Professor Emeritus Ecology & Evolutionary Biology UC Santa Cruz)

Save 25% on your Season pass to Point Pelee National Park of Canada

Buy or renew your annual pass to Point Pelee National Park of Canada and save 25%. From February 1, until March 31, 2010, take advantage of this great offer to start your preparations for this year's spring migration. Simply call (519) 322-2365, extension 200 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm. I always recommend the Family (or group) pass, as this let's you enter through the automated gate and skip the sometimes lengthy line-ups each morning.

Monday
Dec072009

Emperor Goose

Emperor Goose (Chen canagica, Oie empereur) Homer Spit, Homer, Alaska, USA. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 500mm F4 IS, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head. ISO 400, 1/100s F11 Manual Exposure. Full Frame.
Emperor Goose Close-up detail (Chen canagica, Oie empereur) Homer Spit, Homer, Alaska, USA. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 500mm F4 IS, 2X II Tele-converter, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head. ISO 400, 1/30s F20 Manual Exposure. Canon 550EX II flash in manual mode. Full Frame.

Perhaps the most striking goose in North America, this small goose is seldom seen because of it's high-arctic haunts, where it is never far from coastal tundra. The Emperor Goose, Chen canagica, breeds on the coast of northwestern Siberia, St. Lawrence Island, and around the Bering sea, mostly in coastal northwestern Alaska. Winters mainly in the Aleutian Islands but wanders also down the North American western coast as far as California. Due to its low population size, and restricted range, the Emperor Goose is especially vulnerable to local catastrophic events, such as oil spills. In winter, the majority of the global population of this species can be found in the Aleutian Islands. Eskimos once rounded up thousands in "goose drives" during post-breeding, the flightless molt period, then drove them into traps to be killed for food. The Emperor Goose population is thought to be on the rise in Alaska after an unexplained decline from an estimated 139,000 in 1964 to only 42,000 in 1986.

Inner Game of Outdoor Photography

(Galen Rowell ISBN13: 978-0-691-14069-8) After posting the book reviews in my last entry, I received numerous requests for more; mostly from people looking for the perfect Holiday or Christmas present for photographers. If I could make a single suggestion for anyone interested in outdoor photography, It would be Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography. Rowell, his wife Barbara Cushman Rowell, pilot Tom Reid, and Reid's friend Carol McAffee, were killed in a plane crash near the Inyo County Airport in Bishop, California on the 11th of August, 2002. They were returning from a photography workshop in Alaska.

“Galen Rowell was a man who went into the mountains, into the desert, to the edge of the sea, to the last great wild places in the world to be absorbed by their grace and grandeur. That is what he did for himself. For the rest of us, he shared his vision with—click—the release of a shutter, creating photographs as timeless, as stunning, and as powerful as nature itself.” –Tom Brokaw, from the foreword of Galen Rowell: A Retrospective

In sixty-six essays based on his popular Outdoor Photographer monthly column and with more than 160 color photographs, Galen illustrates how he transforms what he sees into vivid, memorable works of art. He clearly explains why “pre-visualizing” a photograph before exposing any film is one key to making an arresting image rather than a mere replica of what we see through the viewfinder. Includes advice on practical, technical matters, packing for travel, pushing film to extremes, and when to use fill flash and smart flash. Galen was instrumental in my early development as a nature photographer. I remember reading, and re-reading, every word he wrote for Outdoor Photographer; and that was long before I had access to the internet. This book should be a "must have" for any outdoor photographer.

Comments welcome & appreciated.

Thursday
Nov122009

The Screaming Eagle & when not to use flash

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus Pygarge à tête blanche) Homer Alaska, USA. ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 500mm F4 IS, 2X II Tele-converter,1.4X II Tele-converter, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head II. ISO 640, F20 1/80s Manual Exposure and Manual Focus. Full Frame. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

I have been to Alaska to photograph Bald Eagles many times, and always wish for golden light during the first, and last, hour of light. It's often cloudy when I'm there, and my flash is always mounted and ready to go. Typically I would use some light fill flash on heavily overcast days; even when this bird looked to the side I used fill flash. The thing is, I was looking for a perfectly framed, tight portrait of a screaming eagle; and I wanted to see straight down it's throat without any shadows. The single best time to get this shot was during a snowstorm when the clouds and snow diffuse the natural light and bounce it around creating a virtually shadowless world.  It was hovering around freezing and the snow was changing to rain (as we'd endured for a couple of days). I saw this eagle singing and decided to dedicate some time to this shot. So, why no flash? Simple, It would have created a shadow from the front part of it's beak that is hooked downward.

Comments welcome & appreciated.

 

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