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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds

 

Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in IPT (75)

Sunday
Apr012018

Bald Eagle FRESH CATCH How to freeze birds in flight

American Bald Eagle FRESH CATCH (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 @ 400mm Full Frame image. ISO 1,000 f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

1/5,000 of a second to freeze action

Here's another Eagle from my recent Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska; it's a full frame image from the Sony a9 mirrorless camera captured at 1/5,000 of a second to ensure a critically sharp image from wingtip to wingtip. I can't stress enough how important it is to use enough shutter speed to freeze the motion of your subject, but there is more to it than just that! The resolving power of todays cameras and lenses require high shutter speeds to freeze YOUR MOVEMENT. I can't tell you how many times I have people approach me to tell me that there is something wrong with their camera, that it won’t produce sharp images. It usually doesn’t take long to realize the failing had nothing to do with the camera, rather the users unwillingness to use a high enough ISO to allow a fast enough shutter speed.

Saturday
Mar312018

Bald Eagle SNOWY PORTRAIT a la Sony a9 Silent Shutter

American Bald Eagle SNOWY PORTRAIT (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 @ 218mm Full Frame image. ISO 5,000 f/16 @ 1/400s Manual mode.

Sony a9 Mirrorless silent mode

Here's another Eagle from my recent Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska; it's a full frame portrait from the Sony a9 mirrorless camera in silent mode at 218mm. After all these years of learning how to approach wildlife without spooking away my subjects, it is incredible to be sitting just a couple of feet from wildlife and enjoying the peace of the silent shutter without concern that the shutter noise from my next image might scare my subject away! While I have used shutter noise to spark curiosity in tolerant subject just to try to get them to move their head to a better angel in the past, shutter noise usually scares away the very best and rarest wild subjects.
Friday
Mar302018

Bald Eagle FLY FISHING a la Sony a9

American Bald Eagle FLY FISHING (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 @ 400mm Full Frame image. ISO 1,250, f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

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 Powell - British Columbia, Canada

Wednesday
Mar282018

Bald Eagle Deadliest Catch a la Sony a9

American Bald Eagle DEADLIEST CATCH (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 @ 400mm Full Frame image. ISO 1,250, f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

Centre spot & Lock-on a la Sony a9

The light was perfect during my recent Bald Eagle Photo Tour; we just needed an Eagle and a fish to collide - smile. If you would like the chance to make many images like this, then do join me next March 5-9, 2019 near Homer, Alaska for Eagles Galore! CLICK HERE to learn more.
Sunday
Jan282018

Northern Gannet a la Sony a9

Northern Gannet BOUQUET (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS  @176mm. ISO 640 f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Northern Gannet from a rare opportunity to photograph alone on Bonaventure Island while I was testing the new Sony a9 mirroless camera with the new Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS lens. I was blessed with a cloudy bright day, which is my absolute favorite lighting for my all-time favorite bird photography place where I have spent more than a year of my life since falling in love with the Gannets there! (If you were to add up all of the days spent teaching workshops there over the years).

I still have a couple of spots available for my June 5-7, 2018 Gannets Galore workshop there. Read more about the workshop I host there every year HERE.

Saturday
Jan272018

Bald Eagle a la Sony a9

Bald Eagle JUVINILE Landing on Lake Ontario Ice (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Lake Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS  @371mm. ISO 2,500 f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Juvinile Bald Eagle that we photographed while waiting for a ferry during last week's Winter Owl Workshop. We were trying for Mergansers in flight as they would congregate in the chanel that the ferry had carved through the ice. It looked like the Eagle would land on the dock beside us, but ended-up landing below the dock on a dead duck that it must have been snaking on before being scared away from by the previous ferry.

Bald Eagle Workshop update

It's not too late to join me for my Bald Eagle Workshop. I have just had another cancellation for the March 5-9, 2018 slot in Homer, Alaska due to illness. Find out more about my Eagles Galore Workshop HERE.

Thursday
Jan252018

Wood Duck Drake

Wood Duck Drake (Aix sponsa, Canard Bronchu, WODU) Tingley Ponds Albuquerque, NM, USA. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS and Sony 1.4X @560mm. Full frame image. ISO 1,600 f/8 @ 1/1,600s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Drake (Male) Wood Duck from my recent Better Than Bosque Workshop last December. Aside from the usual suspects (Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese), the variety and number of ducks were a huge hit with everyone on the trip. I spent a lot of time with the Sony a9 and the 1.4X and 2X on the 100-400mm G Master lens and love the results with incredible detail.

Q&A:

Hi Chris-  I am also a friend of Rob P living in Colorado.  Switching to Sony from Canon. Had most canon lenses from 16-35 to 500mm.  Shot with 1dMk4 and 7d2 for wildlife. Just getting used to settings on the Sony. Today was shooting with the a7riii, 100-400 sony with 1.4 converter. Photographing a soaring red tail hawk in manual settings,  auto iso, 25oo sec., 6.3 in zone focus mode.  I use back button focus and locked on to Hawk but all of the images were not sharp.  With my canon 7d2 and 100-400 II every image would have been sharp.  What am I doing wrong?  Can't believe some images were sharp and some soft in a continuous burst.  Rob said you may be able to help.  I have a couple photo trips coming up in January and February and am leery on the sony setup.  Have not sold my canon gear yet...Thanks, Bob K
Hey Bob,
A careful read of your question leads me to suspect a few reasons for your soft images:
1. Crop vs. Full Frame: You were using crop sensor cameras, but have switched to a full-frame camera with the 1.4X extender. Instead of the in camera crop with the shorter focal length, you are now hand-holding a longer lens on a full-frame camera to acheive the same "reach". This requires much more care.
2.  Shutter Speed: While I don't doubt that you got a lot of keepers with your crop sensor camera and 1/2,500s, I strive to work at 1/5,000s for flight photography. In the past, most would agree that 1/focal length to be sufficient shutter speed for sharp images (1/500s when using 500mm). In my experience, the resolving power of modern lenses and sensors requires around ten times that to ensure razor sharp images.
3. Focus Mode: I seem to be using Centre Spot Lock-on most of the time for birds in flight with my Sony Cameras.
4. Back Button Focus: There are some ergonomic differences between your old and new cameras; perhaps button size, placement and the amount of pressure it needs to be kept pressed continuously. I have never been a fan of Back Button Focus, because it is simply too easy to make a mistake and release a little pressure from your thumb. Back Button Focus is also near impossible in sub-zero temperatures. Consider assigning focus back to the old fashioned shutter button.
Hope this helps!
Chris

 

Monday
Jan082018

Bald Eagle Workshop Update and Used Canon Equipment

Bald Eagle GRAVITY from my Bald Eagle Photographic Expedition (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. 400mm ISO 4,000 f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Full Frame, shot vertical in manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

March 5-9 & 10-14, 2018 Eagles Galore Workshop Space available

Join me, Christopher Dodds, for an Epic Eagle adventure in Alaska. This five day Eagle photography workshop is designed for all levels of photographer to come home with an awesome portfolio of Eagle images and a deep understanding of the fundamentals of bird photography. Don't delay! Space is limited. Learn more HERE.

 

There are a lot of photographers to choose from when deciding to take a workshop.  I had come across Christopher Dodds Photography on Facebook and really like his photographs.  I read about Chris’s workshops.  They all sounded well organized and he has years of experience going to various places.

I love Alaska and had been dreaming of taking an Eagle photography workshop and decided to sign up with Chris.  I am so glad I chose Chris for a lot of reasons.  The workshop was very well organized.  Chris provides the attendees with a list of suggested clothing to be sure you are comfortable in the Alaskan winter weather.  He provided us with a list of suggested equipment so that we knew exactly what was needed to get the kind of photos posted on his workshop page.  The group was limited to 5 attendees, so we each had ample opportunity to get feedback and suggestions from Chris. Chris is extremely knowledgable about Kachemak Bay and knows where to go to get the best shots depending on the wind and the weather, and whether there is sun or snow.  Chris uses the same boat and captain for this workshop, so the captain knows exactly what Chris wants to do and how to get us into those best areas…. Chris believes in safety above all else, but snow, sleet and rain did not keep us from going out.  In fact, it made for some great photos depicting the Alaskan winter eagle environment.  It was an amazing trip and I got a lot of great photos.  I would definitely choose Chris for another birding workshop as he is dedicated to doing everything he can to make sure you come home with lots of amazing photographs!   Thanks, Chris, for a fantastic workshop and wonderful adventure!


 Jessica Duke Eagle Nest, NM, USA

USED CANON GEAR FOR SALE

It is really quite amazing to be part of what seems like a revolution! It seems like friends and clients are switching to Sony on a daily basis. Here is an updated list of my gear for sale, followed by some offered by friends. Shoot me an email chris@chrisdoddsphoto.com if you are interested in buying or making an offer on anything.

  • SOLD: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x 
  • SOLD: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Telephoto Lens 
  • SOLD: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Zoom Lens (Version I)
  • SOLD: Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens 
  • SOLD: Canon Speedlight 580EX II Flash
  • SOLD: Canon 1.4X Teleconverter III
  • SOLD: Canon 2X Teleconverter III
Michael L:
  • SOLD: Canon 1DXI US$2,500 Shutter: 85k. (2 batt.) 7/10 condition (some wear, CF door sticks)
  • SOLD: Canon 1DXII
  • SOLD: 600mmII
  • SOLD: Canon 100-400II
  • Canon 70-200II 2.8 US$1,500
  • SOLD: Canon 24-70II 2.8
  • SPLD: Canon 1.4 III
  • Canon 2.0III US$300 real tree lens coat
Dennis S:
  • Canon 1DX US$2,500.00 Shutter 100K
  • Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x US$8,000.00
  • Canon 180mm Macro US$600.00
  • Canon 8-15mm US$700.00

 

Sunday
Dec172017

Snowy Owl Photo Tour Last Minute Openings

Snowy Owl MORNING GLORY  (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved.  300mm ISO 3,200, f/2.8 @ 1/2,000s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Snowy Owl Photo Tour Last Minute Openings

There are two last minute openings for my January 29 to February 2, 2018 Snowy Owl Workshop. Don't miss out on what is looking like an epic season ahead. Read more about the workshop and sign-up for my Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, 2018 winter Snowy Owl Workshop HERE.

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 expectationsHe 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

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

  • SOLD: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x
  • SOLD: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Telephoto Lens
  • SOLD: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Zoom Lens (Version I) 
  • SOLD: Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens
  • SOLD: Canon Speedlight 580EX II Flash