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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds

 

Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Owl (20)

Thursday
Nov292018

Great Grey Owl BOO

Great Grey Owl BOO (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) ©Christopher Dodds  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS ISO 2,000, f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual Exposure mode and Sony's eye AF. Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Yet another example of how well the Sony Eye AF works! I am loving the new Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS

Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Tuesday
Nov272018

Great Grey Owl a la Sony a9 Eye AF 400mm f/2.8 G Master

Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) ©Christopher Dodds  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS ISO 3,200, F5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Exposure mode and Sony's eye AF. Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Sony is very careful to note that Eye AF is designed to work with human subjects; they make no claims about it's ability with birds or mammals..BUT, with every firmware update, it seems to work better with non-human subjects. Make no mistake, it is not flawless, but when it works, it really nails the shots ;) The rumours are that Sony is continuing their efforts to improve this feature, and hope to announce it officially sometime in the future.

Do note the intentional movement in the wing-tips, even with a high shutter speed of 1/3,200 of a second. When I want to freeze the motion, and zoom into every detail, then I am working with a minimum shutter speed of 1/5,000 of a second.

In case you missed it, I wrote a mini-review of the new Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS in a recent blog post HERE

Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Wednesday
Nov212018

Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM Mini Review

Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) ©Christopher Dodds  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS  ISO 1,250, F2.8 @ 1/5,000s Manual Exposure mode. Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS Mini Review

I am just back from a cross Canada road trip that took just over six weeks and covered more than 17,500km. I was honoured to stop and present at various camera stores across the country, then ended the trip with presentations at ProFusion (Canada's largest camera show); all sponsored by Sony of Canada. Thank you Sony. I got to meet so many great photographers along the way; it was a blast!

I have received a lot of email asking about my thoughts on the new Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS lens; if I had one, and if I thought it was worth the price tag. Yes, I do own one and YES, it is worth the price! When paired with the Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera, the Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS is the fastest, most reactive with the most accurate auto focus lens that I have ever used. It is light and very well balanced (there was a lot of engineering involved to carefully design the lens with most of it's optics toward the back to make it really easy to hand-hold; a real win for birds-in-flight photographers). Add the Sony 2X Tele-extender, and you end up with a prime killing 800mm f/5.6 that is sharper and more capable than the Canon or Nikon prime lenses that I have used.

Sony took a huge step when thy developed the hybrid AF system that the Sony a9 uses; they have leapt forward with the XD Linear focus. There is no camera and lens that can focus as fast!

From the Sony website: "The XD Linear Motors have been newly developed to deliver higher thrust and efficiency than conventional types in order to make the most of the rapidly evolving speed performance of current and future camera bodies. Linear motor design and component layout have been thoroughly revised to achieve significantly higher thrust. Two of these new motors are used in the SEL400F28GM, achieving up to a 5x improvement* in moving-subject tracking performance. This means that the full speed performance of advanced camera bodies can be applied to capturing perfect images of the most dynamic sports or wildlife subjects. The XD Linear motors are further supported by new algorithms developed specifically for them, notably improving the motors’ response to control signals and minimizing lag and instability that can occur when driving a large aperture focus lens group for quiet, low-vibration operation. "

In summary, XD Linear focus is so much faster than the conventional rotational focus because it quickly and efficiently "thrusts" forward and backward to achieve tack sharp focus. Since conventional lens elements rotate like a nut on a bolt, they have to travel about five times further (think how little a nut moves in relation to how many times it must be turned). There is a limit as to how fast a lens (or lens group) can safely move in a rotational manner. 

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
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

Thursday
Nov172016

Great Gray Owl FROSTED FLAKES

Great Gray Owl FROSTED FLAKES (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Ottawa, Ontario ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm F4 L IS, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 ISO 1,600s, f/5.6 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

KUDOS:

With health issues and possessing few skills in tracking birds in flight, I headed to Montreal with a good share of trepidation about having any success on the Winter Owl SafariChris Dodds is not only a master photographer, but I soon discovered that he is an incredible leader and instructor who is quick to give suggestions, share his vast knowledge and patiently answer any question.  As a result, I was successfully capturing more and more action shots each session as the days went by.  Chris went out of his way to make sure each one of his clients was safe and as comfortable as possible in the extreme conditions in which we were photographing.  Aware of my health issues, he was continually monitoring me to make sure that I wasn't over doing it.  Chris is fun to work with and is spoken very highly of by the landowners who he deals with, which in turn, makes many private tracts of land where the owls are located accessible to him and his groups.  He seemingly has an inexhaustible level of energy that ensures that his clients will have the most productive experience humanly possible.  Returning home with many stunning photographs and memories of such a delightful experience, I am looking forward to the time when I can do another one of Chris Dodd's workshops with great anticipation.

John Michael Fuller Duanesburg | NY

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Sunday
Nov132016

Snowy Owl FLIGHT IN LAST LIGHT

Snowy Owl FLIGHT IN LAST LIGHT  (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm f/4 L IS II USM with 1.4X III. ISO 4,000, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

KUDOS:

What can I say? Your Winter Owl Photo Tour was an absolute sensory overload of owls, knowledge and fun! A smashing success! I have to say this was the very best photo trip I have ever joined (and I have joined many). It was an EPIC adventure, and it was a huge success; with your help, I managed to pull off an incredible portfolio of Owl images that was miles better than I could have imagined! Just like your stated goal; I can attest to the fact that the single most important objectives for you as the leader is for your clients to achieve an EPIC portfolio that you would have been proud to call your own, and for everyone to learn. Mission accomplished, my friend…many fold. I would have been thrilled with just one of the hundreds of EPIC images that I created under your wise guidance. You will see me again on another workshop soon. I can offer anyone considering this trip the following advice: DO IT! You won’t regret it. Chris works extremely hard for you to get the very best images; images that will impress everyone. He’s fun and eager to teach anyone, regardless of their abilities. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Peter Frost London | England

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Saturday
Nov052016

Great Grey Owl THE HUNTRESS

Great Gray Owl THE HUNTRESS (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. ISO 640, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

KUDOS:

I wanted to thank you for a wonderful winter owling workshop 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
(Professor Emeritus Ecology & Evolutionary Biology UC Santa Cruz) Santa Cruz, California, USA

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Friday
Nov042016

Snowy Owl BANKING ON PASTEL SKY

Snowy Owl BANKING ON PASTEL SKY  (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.

In my last blog post, I shared an image called Morning Glory. As the the sun continued to rise that morning, the colors in the sky against the retreating fog continued their spectacular show. For more information about my Winter Owl Workshops, CLICK HERE.

KUDOS:

Deep knowledge of animal behaviour and their habitats combined with photographic talent, knowledge and years of experience are the ingredients of trips/workshops guided by Chris Dodds! I had the privilege to join Chris on various trips and experienced unique tailor made experiences, enabling creative and artistic photography. I enjoyed every minute and highly recommend this to colleague nature photographers that like to explore and enjoy the best Nature can offer.

Jan van der Greef The Netherlands

Wednesday
Nov022016

Great Gray Owl INTO THE STORM

Great Gray Owl INTO THE STORM (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM. ISO 1,600, f/6.3 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

It's not too late; there is still only a couple of spots available for the coming winter owl season! Learn more about my Winter Owl Workshop click HERE.

More Kudos:

Being a female on my first photo safari, I had some apprehensions before joining Chris on his acclaimed Winter Snowy Owl Safari.  I worried about safety, that I wasn't a good enough photographer for someone with Chris's acclaim, and that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the group on treks. My fears subsided on Day One, and I knew this would be a week I would never forget.  With the small group size, Chris was able to give each member the level of instruction they needed.  Beyond having great opportunities for owl pictures, I learned helpful things about owl behaviour, owl spotting techniques, operating the camera, processing images,  best clothing and gear for winter, and things like the "Dodds duffel toss" that help prevent injuries while putting my camera backpack on.
Chris has an extensive knowledge of exposure theory. He is a patient teacher, skilled in helping his participants gain a deep understanding of this critical element of photography. He demonstrated why it is important to capture as much detail as possible for the best possible print, then showed us how to accomplish it. During the week of ever changing light, he kept checking our work to make sure we were getting the best possible results.
I usually learn from books and enjoy photography as a solitary pursuit, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of this group experience and received many tips on world travel. The photo safari gave me time to immerse myself in photography and nature.  I'm already planning my next safari with Chris.

Karen Miller Pennsylvania, USA