Search Nature Photography Blog

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format
SPONSORS

 

 - 

Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds

 

Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Island (7)

Tuesday
Aug052014

Shoot Vertical

Parakeet Auklet DORSAL VIEW (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II USM Handheld. Full Frame. ISO 800 f/4.5 @ 1/4,000s Manual Mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's another image from my Saint Paul Island Expedition; A Parakeet Auklet against the pastel Bering Sea. Shooting small birds in flight while holding the camera vertically is quite a challenge; shooting over the top of a cliff while pointing down and looking at the Bering Sea below adds a whole new dimension and is not for the faint of heart. As always, practice is the key to success and best done in excess well before your departure to any exotic location.

Thursday
Jul242014

Northern Fur Seal Pups of Saint Paul Island

Northern Fur Seals NEW FRIENDS (Callorhinus ursinus, L’otarie à fourrure du Nord) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II , 2X Teleconverter III, Jobu Designs Algonquin Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 4,000 f/8 @ 1/1,6000s Manual Mode.  PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a couple of Northern Fur Seal pups from my Saint Paul Island workshop. Seals only have one baby at a time, so these two are neighbors meeting for the first time. They are fascinating to watch, and their calls sound very much like a barn full of baby sheep. I shot this image with my Canon 600mm f/4 IS II and 2X Teleconverter wide open at f/8 to isolate the subjects from the volcanic rocks, and used a shutter speed of 1/1,600 of a second to be sure to freeze the rapidly vibrating mouth and teeth while they were calling.

Wednesday
May212014

THE Ultimate Bird Photography Workshop

Northern Gannets LOVING  (Morus bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA ) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D X, 70-300mm F4-5.6 L IS USM @ 277mm Hand Held ISO 800, f/7.1 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

The Ultimate Birds Photography Workshop

If you really want to master bird photography; birds in flight, portraits, shooting from a tripod, shooting hand held, with long lenses and short lenses, then this is your chance to join me, Christopher Dodds (Canon Northern Explorer of Light) at the very best venue I have found in the world to teach bird photography!

I have hosted thousands of photographers during my Gannets Galore workshops on Bonaventure Island and many of them have produced winning images during the workshop; some of those in world class competitions.

This is the perfect workshop for you no matter what equipment you own, or the skill level you are at. This is the perfect opportunity for the seasoned pro to take advantage of my site knowledge and logistics, or a total novice to master the skills to become a competent bird photographer. Super-telepoto lens not mandatory - you don't need a big gun to take full advantage of the Gannets of Bonaventure Island; many award winning images have been made with a 70-200mm lens! I am not satified unless you are creating images I would be happy to call my own.

Read more about my Gannets Galore workshop HERE

Thanks for a truly remarkable photographic experience on both land and water! The Zodiac rides were a wonderful way to spend the early mornings during your Gannets Galore Photo Tour. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the birds and the seals. The nonstop action at the Gannet colony provided countless photo opportunities every second. Now I can see how you can still find it interesting and challenging even after visiting the island over 350 times. Your extensive experience photographing at the colony meant that we always knew where the best opportunities were at any given time as the wind and weather constantly changed throughout the day. And your excellent tips on exposure, technique, composition, and use of flash allowed us to take advantage of those opportunities and capture some wonderful images.
 On a logistical note, your fluency in French also proved invaluable at many points during the trip when you came to the rescue of us dumbfounded English speakers. 
Hope to see you again soon, maybe even on a June trip back to Bonaventure!

Mike Milicia Boston | MA | USA

Wednesday
Jun262013

Lesser White-fronted Goose from Saint Paul Island Workshop

Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus, Oie naine, LWFG) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II, 2X Extender III, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 3,200s, f/8 @ 1/500s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus, Oie naine, LWFG) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II, 2X Extender III, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 3,200s, f/8 @ 1/500s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus, Oie naine, LWFG) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm F4 L IS II, 2X Extender III, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 3,200s, f/8 @ 1/500s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

A SUPER RARE Treat for my Saint Paul Island Workshop Participants

After spending some incredible time photographing a gorgeous male Snowy Owl (see my next post) during my Saint Paul Island Workshop, everyone in my group were thrilled to spend a few hours getting some awesome images of this rare Goose. The Lesser White-fronted goose was only ever reported once before in North America on Attu in June of 1994 (an Island in the bering Sea which is part of the near islands group of the Aleutian Islands). On June 22, 2013, Laura Lestenkof gave me the heads-up that she had called Scott Schutte and told him about the unusual Goose. Scott later confirmed it was, indeed, a Lesser White-fronted Goose. We quickly headed out to the pond in the rain and had an awesome time getting our feet wet while wading around and photographing this rare beauty. The Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus, Oie naine, LWFG) is listed as "Vulnerable" on the ICN RED LIST and it's global population is currently thought to be decreasing and currently at about 28 to 30 thousand individuals. This was only the 2nd North American record of this species - what a thrill!

More testimonials

I recently had the pleasure to join Chris on one of his Gannets Galore workshops on Bonaventure Island, and it is very quickly obvious why this trip is a favourite among many photographers. Reading the many glowing testimonials really did not prepare me for how amazing the experience is - truly a spectacle of nature. The photo opportunities abound, and with over 20 years experience there, Chris knows where to be, and when. And should you need help or guidance with settings, etc. he is a patient and informed instructor.  Most important to me, his experience with the local businesses and park service is amazing, which help to make sure that your time spent there is a great on.  A perfect example of this relationship he has built arose when there was the potential that we might not be able to make it to the island one day to circumstances beyond his control (government closing the pier that anyone going to the island for construction work) and Chris was not only able to make alternate arrangements with the ferry service to bring the group out, but also was able to make arrangements for the park service to be on the island as well so that we wouldn't lose a day of shooting on the island. 
Without a doubt, Chris is one of the best out there, and I hope to be able to join him on another workshop soon.

Christopher Ciccone Woburn, Massachusetts, USA


Bonaventure Island GANNETS GALORE with Christopher Dodds (June 2013).  This location and subject matter was challenging, photographically superb, and an outstanding learning opportunity.  I’ve been on several tours similar to this format — a well-known photographer, great location, and variable learning opportunities.  

Christopher is by far the best at teaching the fundamentals of photography such as achieving correct exposure using manual settings, introducing the best locations for photography, and giving honest feedback in a non threatening manner.   He was willing to repeat technical instructions and show me how to use the techniques he discussed.  Furthermore he took the additional step of being ‘present’ when needed for information and facilitated my getting the most out of this wonderful location.  I recommend Christopher Dodds without reservation - the very best.

Dwight Tomes Grimes, Iowa, USA

Even More Testimonials

Be sure to take the time to read many more TESTIMONIALS HERE

Tuesday
Jun112013

Canon EOS 1D X Firmaware Version 1.2.4 and Gannets Galore Bonaventure Island mini report

Northern Gannets LOVING  (Morus bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA ) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D X, 70-300mm F4-5.6 L IS USM @ 277mm Hand Held ISO 800, f/7.1 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

I'm just in the door from my Gannets Galore workshops and can honestly say that the Northen Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island is better than ever! We had a mix of weather and I enjoyed some fabulous company from the wonderful participants. The conditions are so good that I have decided to return and have just announced an August 21-23, 2013 Gannets Galore workshop / photo safari. If you want to experience a true photographer's paradise and learn tons about bird photography while there, then this is the trip for you - I guarantee it! This is one of those workshops that 500 or 600mm lenses are not obligatory to make some killer images! No one on earth knows the place better than I do! Do consider joining me and read more about the August 21-23, 2013 Gannets Galore Workshop on Bonaventure Island, Quebec HERE.

TESTIMONIALS

Thanks again for a great workshop. The gannets were awesome and I am really, really happy with my pictures. You did a great job of making sure everything went smoothly and I appreciated your help with camera settings, techniques, etc. I had high expectations going into the workshop and I can honesty say that my expectations were exceeded and then some.

Ian Nicholson Fredericton, NB, Canada


I had a wonderful time on your Northern Gannet workshop on Bonaventure Island. I only wish I could go back now, knowing what I learned from you and using it to produce even better and memorable images. You were an inspiration and very patient with me. It has whet my appetite for more and I'm thinking of your Texas workshop next.
I especially like the way you showed respect for the gannets and the park in general. I haven't stopped talking about my experience and the not-so-difficult climb to the colony, about the zodiac on the sea, about the Kawasaki mule taking our gear up so we didn't have to, about the beauty of Perce, about our leader; a kind and expert photographer.

John L. Block Dollard des Ormeaux, QC, Canada

 

Canon EOS 1D X Firmaware Version 1.2.4 released

Canon has released a firmware update Version 1.2.4 for the EOS-1D X Digital SLR Camera. It incorporates the following improvements and fixes:

1. Improves the speed of the camera’s acquisition of focus when using a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
2. Reduces the time it takes to display the metering result on the LCD or Viewfinder when the meter has been activated.
3. Fixes a phenomenon in which a “Caution 02” message is unnecessarily recorded in the camera status log.
4. Fixes a phenomenon in which continuous shooting pauses when using a Canon Speedlite.
5. Fixes a phenomenon, when the Canon GP-E1 is attached, in which the GPS device settings are reset to default settings when the camera has been powered off.

Download the new firmware HERE

Wednesday
Aug012012

Tufted Puffin Safari Workshop Update

 

Tufted Puffin PORTRAIT (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS , 1.4X Teleconverter III & 25mm Extension Tube, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 400 f/9 @ 1/400s Manual Mode. Fill flash Canon Speedlite 580EX II with Better Beamer in manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

 

Upcoming workshops:  http://bit.ly/X7GaVv

Wednesday
Nov022011

How to photograph birds in flight in low light

Tufted Puffin In Flight #1 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Photographing birds in flight in low light is quite challenging; it's not easy. I love photographing seabirds, and that often means shooting small, and often erratically moving targets; fast and unpredictable little fliers from the top of coastal cliffs in bad weather. The biggest problem to overcome is our need to always grab our longest lens and our reluctance to shoot wide open at high ISO (for Canon users, anyway). I recently had a discussion with a photographer who told me he didn't need a camera capable of shooting 10 fps (frames per second); he timed the wingbeats and only took one frame at a time. Well, let's just say that was one photographer who had a couple of good birds in flight images in his portfolio, but Florida Great Blue Herons are tame, huge, fly slowly and do have predictable wingbeats. What I want to share today is how I succeed (more, or less) at shooting bullets that move at 55 MPH with 100-400 wing beats per minute; I'm talking, of course, about photographing Puffins in flight. I was fortunate to photograph all three North American species of Puffins this summer, on both the East, and west coast. In June I hosted my annual Puffins Galore (and so much more) workshop for the Atlantic Puffin, and then I photographed the Horned and Tufted Puffins of Saint Paul Island (more images to come soon).
Tufted Puffin In Flight #2 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

First of all, get over your phobia of shooting wide open and using a high ISO. You are going to need a shutter speed of at least 1/2,500 of a second, but I prefer 1/3,200 of a second to freeze the fast action; this usually means using an ISO of at least 1,600 and an aperture of at least f/5.6 (always in manual mode). I try to get as close as possible in low light and low contrast conditions; I try to use the shortest lens possible, while trying to fill the frame. Using only the centre auto-focus point only usually helps the autofocus system lock onto your subject, but it's going to take more than relying on your camera to acquire focus. I generally try to pick-up repetitive flight patterns; I try to predict where the bird I am trying to shoot will fly and pre-focus on something near there so the auto-focus system doesn't have to spin the lens much to acquire sharp focus. Once locked-on to my subject, it's all up to me to keep the focus point on the subject and hit the stutter button at 10 fps; the best way to be able to do that is practice; over, and over again.
Tufted Puffin In Flight #3 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I decided to post three sequential, full frame images of Tufted Puffins from a recent trip to Saint Paul Island (The Pribilof Islands), Alaska to demonstrate that it is possible to pull off what seems like the impossible. I left my tried, tested and true Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Lens at home, instead opting for my favorite new 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM and threw it on my Canon EOS 1DMKIV. I set-up my exposure in manual mode and checked the histogram to make sure the blacks from the wet rocks below the cliffs I was standing on weren't blocked-up against the left edge to minimize noise, and carefully made sure I had no over-exposed whites on the right edge to ensure the most detail in the whites. Once sure of my exposure, I watched for the Puffins flight path and pre-focused on a rock where I thought the bird would fill the frame. Now pre-focused on the rock, I saw the bird fly in and followed it until it started to fill the frame, partially depressed the shutter button to activate the auto-focus system and hit the trigger at its maximum capture rate of 10 fps. Truth be told; I waited a fraction of a second too long for this sequence, and ran the risk of clipping the Puffin's wing-tips, but it worked-out fine with three action shots that I liked enough to keep (No, I won't teach you how to reconstruct the wingtips if you clip them, but I will teach you how to capture the image right, in the camera - smile).

Which of the three images here is your favorite & why? Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of the new Mac editing software FirstPass.

Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party

Great news! Jobu Designs (makers of my favorite Gimbal Head - the Jobu Jr. 3), Think-Tank Photo, Cotton Carrier, have all jumped on-board and offered tons of prizes to show their suppoort for my Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party. I expect other sponsors to make offerings and encourage contributions - email me if you would like to donate and promote your product chris(at)chrisdoddsphoto(dot)com

Join me, Canadian nature photographer Christopher Dodds, on November 30, 2011 at 7:30 PM at the Hudson Village Theatre (28 Wharf Road, Hudson, QC   J0P 1H0) for an hour and a half long slideshow presentation to benefit this great cause which is so close to my heart. The show is designed to be entertaining and informative to all; nature lovers and photographers alike. Stories of adventure, natural history facts and information are all on the menu and this show is designed to offer helpful tips & techniques sure to improve your photography efforts with everything from a camera phone, point & shoot camera or professional SLR camera system. Over one hundred of my images will be projected, many unseen.  Everyone is welcome!
Hurry! Only 148 seats. Tickets are only $15.00 each and are available for advance purchase only - every penny is collected by, and goes to Le Nichoir. Please call or email Le Nichoir (communication@lenichoir.org 450-458-2809) to secure your tickets, or make a donation if you can't make it (be sure to tell them it's on behalf of Chris' Photo Geek Christmas Party) Major credit cards and cheques accepted. Finger food and hors d'oeuvres are included and there will be a cash bar (please drink responsibly).
There will be ample time to mingle, meet my friends and contacts and share some of your images with others, so feel free to bring prints, iPads or laptops with your favourite images to share. I hope to see you there and PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

Read more about it HERE