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Entries in ile aux Perroquets (3)

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.

Thursday
Dec012011

WOW Thank You

 Razorbill PORTRAIT (Alca troda, petit pingouin, RAZO) 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-1D MKIV800mm F5.6 L IS, 1.4X Extender IIITripod & Jobu Jr. 3 with Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 400, f/8 @1/320s Manual mode. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION. This one from my Puffins Galore and so much more workshop CHECK IT OUT HERE.

Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party a HUGE Success - THANK YOU!

I'm thrilled to report that last night's presentation at the Hudson Village Theater to a sold out crowd was a huge success and raised $2,510.00 for Le Nichoir; well over the goal of $1,500.00, and almost my secret goal of $3,000.00. Thank you to The Hudson Village Theater for the free use of your amazing theater. Thank you to all who came out on a week night to support such a worthy cause. Thank you to the volunteers (who already work tirelessly for the birds at Le Nichoir) for working so hard to make the event a huge success. Many thanks to the sponsors who contributed more than $3,000.00 worth of prizes! Read more about Le Nichoire HERE

Be sure to encourage our sponsors (great Christmas ideas for photographers):

Jobu Design (Makers of my favorite tripod head, the Jobu Jr.3)

Cotton Carrier (Makers of my favorite camera harness system)

Think Tank Photo (Camera bags for every need)

Digimarc for Images (Digital watermarkes to protect your images online)

Tiffen (Makers of Tiffen Dfx Digital filters)

FirstPass Image Editing Software for Mac

Monday
Aug092010

Atlantic Puffin Paradise found (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU)

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) Vertical Portrait île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 2X Teleconverter II, Canon 25mm Extension Tube, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. 580EXII Flash manual mode. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 800, F16 @1/60s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Puffin Photography Workshop/Safari announced July 5-7, 2011

I'm just back from another trip; this time, I went out in search of the ultimate destination for Atlantic Puffins. The mandate was simple; find a location that is within reach, safe and easy to get to without a dangerous boat landing on slippery rocks and a place where we can get close to these comical little seabirds without hauling our gear up, and over, huge distances or having to hang over towering cliffs. I have photographed Atlantic Puffins in Iceland, Maine, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec; All of these "known" places have their drawbacks. Mission accomplished; I have found Puffin Paradise. Special thanks to the Loiselle Familly of Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan for their gracious hospitality during my time there.

If you are interested in joining me for a Puffin photography workshop July 5-7, 2011, then be sure to send an email to chris@chrisdoddsphoto.com. This trip will be limited to six participants (two spots booked already) and will surely be the trip of a lifetime for anyone seeking to get close and personal (safely) to Atlantic Puffins and Razorbills. We will spend a few hours photographing fishing Puffins each morning from a boat, before landing on an island where we spend the rest of the day until sunset for three full days. I have secured special access, so we will be the only people on the island during the first, and last, few hours each day. Price is CAD$2,495.00 including four nights single occupancy accommodation, three days private boat tour with highly experienced captain, three days park access fees and three days expert instruction. Other subjects might include Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Great Cormorants, Savannah Sparrow (there are many) Common Eider and Grey Seal. More details after my return from teaching the August Gannets Galore workshop in about 10 days. Meals, beverages, transportation to Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, Quebec and souvenirs are not included.

Testimonial

Many thanks to Chris for a wonderful and exciting photography experience. Your professionalism, talent, patience and knowledge helped to make the Gannets Galore photo trip an experience of a life time. The hundreds of thousands of Northern Gannets on Bonaventure Island were unbelievable. I took thousands of photographs of Northern Gannets in their everyday activities. They were elegant, comical, clumsy, arguing, fishing, sleeping, working, copulating, preening and fencing. It was nonstop and exhilarating. Now, I get to my favourite part - the Zodiac tour around Bonaventure Island. It’s 5:00am and we start the 4 hour trip to see dozens of species of birds and seals as well as couple of Minke whales. The 4 hours seemed to pass like minutes. The Harlequin ducks and Black Guillemots were among my favourites and a real treat to observe and photograph. - Gordie Kadonoff Hampstead | Quebec | Canada

Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU)

The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) is a seabird species in the auk family. Also know as “common puffin”, “clown of the ocean”, “clown of the sea” and “sea parrot”, these squat little pelagic birds look comically awkward on land and rather heavy in the air, but once in their element, the water, they become able predators. “Flying” through the sea on stubby wings, they dive-bomb shoals of herring, sand eels, sardines, and other small fish and sometimes squid. These pursuit divers collect their victims one at a time, but can hold as many as 20 small fish crosswise in their brightly coloured beaks at the same time. The Atlantic Puffin is 26–29 centimetres (10–11 in) in length (bill 3-4 cm), with a 47–63 centimetres (19–25 in) wingspan. The male is generally slightly larger than the female, but they are coloured alike. A puffin can fly 48 to 55 mph (77 to 88 km/hr). The puffin beats its wings rapidly to achieve this speed reaching up to 400 beats a minute.

This species breeds on the coasts of northern Europe, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and eastern North America (Canada and New England), from well within the Arctic Circle to northern France and Maine. It is the only Puffin species found in the Atlantic Ocean. The winter months are spent at sea far from land - in Europe as far south as the Mediterranean, and in North America to North Carolina.  Puffins often nest in well populated colonies usually on remote, rugged islands free from egg and chick eating land predators. They deposit a single egg deep within a burrow excavated in soft earth, or in a feather, or grass, lined lair in a rocky cleft. After fattening-up their hatchlings on fish, the parents return to the sea. The young Puffins, still unable to fly, eventually scramble to the shore by night and plunge into the water.