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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in IPT (46)

Thursday
Oct262017

Atlantic Puffin CATCH OF THE DAY

Atlantic Puffin CATCH OF THE DAY (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. Full frame image. ISO 800 f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Getting back to the immense number of Puffin images produced with the Sony a9 & Sony 100-400 G Master during my Deluxe Puffins Galore workshop in July/August. Here is another Puffin with Capelin image; full frame at 400mm. I have said it before, and I will say it again: The new auto-focus is unstoppable! The number of Puffins returning to their burrows with Capelin was similar to other years, but the number of tack sharp images @ 20fps was tough to edit thanks to the Sony a9.

Sony RX-10 mark IV Mini-review

I am in the midst of preparing for a bunch of presentations, but want to share that I  received my Sony RX-10 Mark IV a couple of weeks  ago, and the first results are remarkable. Although it won't fit in a pocket (I didn't expect it to, and my phone is already there and ready for those shots), the idea is to always have a camera with me that has fast auto-focus (.03 second focus acquisition), 24 frames per second and a built-in zoom that covers from 24 to 600mm at f/4. This is for those times when you see a something and wish you had brought your full camera rig. Of course, like all things in the photography world, there are trade-offs, so you shouldn't expect it to produce files like the a9 at higher ISO. Overall, the Sony RX-10 Mark IV has impressed and delivers everything promised. It is a great introduction to the Sony world for those photographers fully invested in other brands, and a great camera choice for all naturalists, birders or sports fans and parents!

Canon Lenses for Sale

Email me an offer! chris@chrisdoddsphoto.com

  • Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x US$9,000.00 or CAD$11,000.00 OBO
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Telephoto Lens US$1,600.00 or CAD$1,900.00 OBO
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Zoom Lens (Version I) US$1,100.00 or CAD$1,300.00 OBO
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens 1,100.00 or CAD$1,300.00 OBO
  • Canon Speedlight 580EX II Flash US$210.00 or CAD$250.00 OBO
Friday
Sep152017

Atlantic Puffin with Capelin Bouquet

Atlantic Puffin with Capelin bouquet (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. Full frame image. ISO 3,200 f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here’s another image from my Deluxe Puffins Galore Workshop in Quebec. The photographic opportunities with the Puffins and Razorbills were endless! The Sony Alpha a9 auto-focus was simply unbeatable; it locked onto the small and fast Puffins and Razorbills time and time again! So far, at least eight of the fine folks who joined my four back-to-back trips have ordered a a9 with the Sony 100-400 after they tried my loaner.

As I continue to write my short & detailed auto-focus set-up guide, I continue to test my Sony equipment and am simply blown away by the image quality, the auto-focus performance and just love how light and manageable it is. I am going off to spend a few days with the Metabones adapter which will allow me to use my Canon 600mm f/4 II with the Sony Alpha a9, then my great friends Al & Fabs @ CasaForns have gifted me a Sigma adapter which will be here next week for me to test; thanks AL & Fabs. Stay tuned, but everything I am hearing is that they should work-out just fine

Wednesday
Aug302017

Sony Alpha a9 High ISO Birds in Flight Performance

Atlantic Puffin RAINFLIGHT (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. Full frame image. ISO 8,000 f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Atlantic Puffin THE RETURN (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. Full frame image. ISO 20,000, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Razorbill (Alca troda, petit pingouin, RAZO) 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. Full frame image. ISO 20,000, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Sony Alpha a9 High ISO Birds in Flight Performance

Here are a few more images from my recent Deluxe Puffins Galore Workshop. As I am sure you can tell from the camera settings, we had a day of really foul weather. It was the perfect occasion to get the Sony a9 wet and see what it is made of! Although I did use a LensCoat rain cover, the rain was so hard and constant that I did manage to fog the viewfinder by the end of the day; I put the camera body with its body cap off into a zip-lock bag full of white rice to clear it out overnight.

Yet again, the camera amazed me; not only was it locking onto everything I pointed it at in low contrast and heavy rain, it excelled at high ISO! The details in the files are exceptional; Do take the time to read the setting I used under each image. The images above are all full-frame and lightly processed with some mild noise reduction applied. I don't post raw images, because I don't use Raw images for anything other than a starting point. It wasn't that long ago when 800 ISO was noisy, and here I was using 8,000 and 20,000 ISO!

The Sony Raw images require much less processing than my Canon 1DX Mark II, or files I have from other digital cameras that I have used. Although there is noise at 20,000 ISO as expected, the details in the darks are exceptional!

TIP: In order to get the most out of an image, but particularly at extreme ISO, remember that it is critical to expose the image correctly and try not to crop much! All cameras see light like us, they haven't yet figured out how to record darkness. If you brighten an image while processing it, then you are introducing noise.

Stay tuned for more about my time with the Sony a9

Thursday
Aug242017

Sony a9 for birds in flight photography

Atlantic Puffin with Capelin (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. Full frame image. ISO 640, f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Sony a9 for birds in flight photography

Well, here it is; the first Puffin image I made with the Sony a9 and Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master Lens. After getting everyone in my first group for my Deluxe Puffin Workshop settled into their rooms in the lighthouse, and with a delicious lunch in our bellies on July 29, we headed down to the beach and started working on birds in flight. It was around four when I first lifted the new Sony rig to my eye for the first time. I didn’t take any pictures while tracking the first few Puffins, instead I tried to understand the autofocus system and what the autofocus settings were all about. I headed into this a little blind, as no one that I spoke to at Sony had much insight into where to start; using mirrorless cameras for birds-in-flight was uncharted territory (for the most part). I needed to quickly understand what choices I had to tweak the autofocus system to best track these little erratic bullets as quickly as possible.

I had seen a few blog posts with sample images from the a9 where the autofocus had failed; A Robin flying from its perch in a tree surrounded by a clutter of branches and a Turkey Vulture sticking its head out from long grass. Both sequences of images were out of focus, and the author left out some critical information about which AF settings he had used. Both sequences were out of focus because of user error (in my opinion); the AF point cluster that the photographer had likely chosen was set to large, so the camera didn’t have a chance, given the situation. I would have chosen single point to ensure the camera knew what to focus on. We need to know how our cameras work, what settings are available and when and how to choose them! BTW, those sample images I mentioned; neither one of them would have been sharp with any camera that had pretty-much all of their AF sensors active.

Before leaving for the trip, I downloaded the instruction manual and autofocus guide to iBooks, which made it available (and searchable) from my iPhone, iPad and MacBook; something I highly recommend everyone do this for every piece of equipment they own.

Download the a9 Instruction manual HERE

Download the Sony AF Guide HERE

Back to the Puffin image above; given the contrasty light and blue sky, this was a relatively easy image (for a practiced birds-in-flight photographer). I’ll be back shortly with more about my time with the Sony a9 soon, and will post more images of birds-in-flight and some high ISO images in the coming days. I will share my thoughts on adding, or switching to Sony, and more likes and dislikes. Stay tuned!

Kudos

My teenage son (an avid youth nature photographer) and I just came back from Chris' Puffin trip. We had a day of pouring rain, a day of cloud cover and a day of sunshine and Chris gave practical advice on how to get great images no matter what the weather. Chris is skilled at meeting each photographer where they are as he gives individual customized attention out in the field. Chris uses a variety of teaching strategies (including great metaphors!) to make complex information concrete and understandable. My son came back with incredible images - puffin portraits in beautiful golden light, puffins and razorbills with fish in flight, beautiful groupings, single puffins in grass, flowers and rocky cliffs. He also came back with a wealth of tips, tools and strategies. And amidst all of the superb photography instruction and individualized attention, there was also lots of camaraderie and great stories. Chris is not only an excellent teacher but an outstanding host. Can't wait for our next Chris Dodds adventure!

Deborah & Christopher Graham Ontario | Canada

Thursday
Apr272017

Bald Eagle FOCUS

American Bald Eagle FOCUS from my Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX mark II, EF600mm IS II USM. ISO 4,000 f/4.5 @ 1/2,000s Manual exposure mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.
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No matter what your level of experience you can learn from Chris!


I have been a registered NPS Nikon Pro for years and am now a registered Canon CPS pro photographer.  I have had the privilege of photographing wildlife and landscape for years.  When I found Chris’ web site I was super impressed with the quality of images so I signed up for his Homer Alaska eagle trip for early March 2017.


Chris has a wonderful warm personality whom cares about his fellow photographers on his trips.  I learned additional trips and traps from him and he assisted my conversion knowledge from Nikon to Canon gear.  His help was thoughtful, accurate and delivered in a manner that assists one getting the very best of images.  His approach to using manual exposure is brilliant and one that any bird photographer should embrace for improved outcomes.  He also very focused on the important light directions which can make or break your image outcomes.  If you travel the London England underground tube system you cannot get the safety message “mind the gap” off your mind – when you travel with Chris you will now have the message in your mind “mind the shadow direction”.  The techniques and tools Chris instills will serve you well in all your photographic moments.      


I came home from this trip with stunning images that are impressive!  Chris makes his duty that you obtain the type of images you hoped to achieve.  Wildlife is unpredictable but Chris will assist you going home with more than you thought possible.  His knowledge of the photo industry is very deep.  You will find you will enjoy the fireside chats, learn from every moment, and enjoy his company.  


Chris also spends considerable time on scene to ensure that his location he determines for his photo workshop choices provide the photo opportunities you want.   His pre-trip information is one of the best I have experienced for assisting your planning to the very smallest detail.  I have already booked my next trip with Chris which confirms he is truly a person that you should meet and create wonderful images together.


Wynne PowellBritish Columbia, Canada 

Friday
Mar312017

Bald Eagle FISHING FRENZY

American Bald Eagle (with Pacific Saury) FISHING FRENZY from my Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX mark II, EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 IS II USM @234mm ISO 1,000 f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication
This year's Eagles Galore workshops were a huge success. We were blessed with EPIC light and more Eagles than I have ever seen in all of my years leading workshops to Alaska (and I thought we had a record turn-out in 2003). We were across Katchemak Bay and on the beach well in advance of sunrise and the wind was blowing perfectly from behind us. There were at least 150 Eagles fishing right in front of us! The Eagles were close, the action was hot & heavy, light golden and memory cards were smoking!  

This image is made with the new Canon EOS 1DX mark II and Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM @234mm! What can I say? This combo is easy to hold for long periods of time, has amazingly reactive auto-focus, and seems so good it is impossible to put down!

Be sure to learn more about my March 5-9, 2018 Eagles Galore Photo Workshop HERE and read my testimonials HERE.
Thursday
Mar302017

Bald Eagle DREAM CATCHER

American Bald Eagle DREAM CATCHER from my Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX mark II, EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 IS II USM @300mm ISO 800 f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.
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Knowing where to find flat water, getting low on the beach and being out before the sun rises usually results in some EPIC images in Alaska - smile. Join me in Alaska next March for a pretty exciting (and well rehearsed) Eagle photography workshop. Read more about the March Eagles Galore Photo Tour HERE
Tuesday
Mar282017

Bald Eagle LIGHT DANCER

American Bald Eagle LIGHT DANCER from my 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 @220mm ISO 1,000 f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s shot vertical in manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

 Here's another Bald Eagle form my recent workshops in Alaska. Do consider joining me next  Eagles Galore Photo Tour from March 5-9, 2018. This is one of the most exciting workshops I offer. Based in Homer, Alaska, we will focus on making an epic portfolio of Bald Eagle images! Be sure to learn more about my March 5-9, 2018 Eagles Galore Photo Workshop HERE and be sure to read my testimonials found HERE.

  • I have more experience with the Eagles in Homer than anyone else.
  • We have unprecedented access to the Eagles.
  • We spend more time out with the Eagles than anyone else.
  • We get off the boat to photograph; no sea sickness and much better low angles of view.
  • Smaller groups (maximum 5 participants per trip).
  • I work very hard to ensure you return with an epic portfolio of Eagle images and learn a ton!

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

 

Friday
Mar242017

Bald Eagle Deadliest Catch


American Bald Eagle DEADLIEST CATCH from my Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX mark II, EF600mm IS II USM. ISO 400 f/5 @ 1/3,200s Full Frame, manual exposure mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Announcing March 2018 Bald Eagle Workshop dates

Due to popular demand, I've added another Eagles Galore Photo Tour from March 5-9, 2018. This is one of the most exciting workshops I offer. Based in Homer, Alaska, we will focus on making an epic portfolio of Bald Eagle images! Be sure to learn more about my March 5-9, 2018 Eagles Galore Photo Workshop HERE and be sure to read my testimonials found HERE.

Thursday
Nov242016

Snowy Owl FIRE FLIGHT

Snowy Owl FIRE FLIGHT  (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm f/4 L IS II USM. ISO 3,200, f/5.6 @ 1/1,250s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

More Kudos: Chris Dodds knows how to do a workshop!

I had the pleasure of attending Chris' Snowy Owl Workshop this past January. To be honest, I did not know much about Chris before the trip. All I knew was the quality of his images on his website and that I wanted Snowy owl pictures. Needless to say, Chris met and exceeded my expectations. He goes over and above to get you in the right place at the right time to capture the best images possible. Having been on numerous workshops around the world with various leaders, I can say Chris worked harder than most..... He also made sure that we were in position to get a variety of images and not just 1000 photos of the same animal behavior. Chris knows his birds and what they are going to do next (as much as humanly possible). He teaches in a way that things make sense. I was getting frustrated with my photography before this trip. I was able to get great shots before the workshop but felt that the percentage of great shots to missed shots needed to be better. Chris explained ways to change a few of my bad habits in a way that no one else ever did. I have tried manual exposure in the past but never got comfortable with it but after a day or two with Chris it clicked in my mind and my images improved and percentage of keepers went up.
If you get a chance to go on a workshop with Chris I would highly recommend it. I know I will again.


Rick Susi  Orlando, FL, USA

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

READ MORE TESTIMONIALS HERE