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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


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Entries in Pandion haliaetus (5)


Osprey Workshop Testimonials Canon EOS 5D Mark III Firmware V 1.2.1

Osprey with Fish (Pandion haliaetus, Balbzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress (near Vero Beach), Florida ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 1,600, f/4.5 @ 1/800s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Osprey Workshop Kudos

I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Dodds a few weeks ago in Florida when I signed up for his Osprey workshop. The sign up process and pre workshop communication was excellent and concise. I must admit that as I drove over from Tampa to the hotel I was a bit uneasy after looking at Chris's images wondering if he was approachable, patient, and a good teacher with someone like me who didn't have a lot of experience shooting wildlife before. We met in the hotel lobby , chatted for 30 minutes or so and thankfully Chris put my concerns to rest. I went to bed that night knowing that the next few days would be an adventure.

I can honestly say that Chris Dodd's workshop for Ospreys far exceeded my expectations. Chris is a great guy, very happy to answer your questions and the best thing of all, fun to shoot with. I learned a lot, met a new friend and best of all was blown away at the quality of my images because of Chris's help/techniques. I cannot wait to meet Chris somewhere else in the wild and experience another awesome outdoor shooting experience. Thank you Chris, I hope to see you again soon!

Mark Weaver - Tampa, Florida, USA


I recently joined Chris on his Ospreys Galore Photo Safari and Expedition. This was actually the second year in a row that I have joined Chris for this photo safari. Including myself, there were three repeat clients for this experience. All three repeat clients are from Florida. I have a chance to photograph ospreys year round but I have found this to be THE BEST EXPERIENCE to photograph ospreys in their natural environment. I agree with Chris that Lake Blue Cypress is one of the most beautiful places in Florida. The lake is surrounded by land that is designated as  conservation land. That means no development and pristine environment around the lake. Cypress trees ring the lake and I have never seen as many ospreys in one place.

One of the things I particularly like about being with Chris is his genuine concern for the safety and well being of his clients. On this last trip we had some weather passing through the area. Chris delayed going out in the pontoon boat until the stronger weather had passed. He also talked about the possibility of rain showers and made sure everyone was prepared even though it did not rain on us while we were out.

Chris’ knowledge and expertise was evident in getting us close to the ospreys. Most of my images taken during the three days were taken at less than 300mm. I was able to get in-flight and very close up images hand holding a 500mm lens, but most of my images were taken with a 70-200mm lens with a 2X extender. I didn’t need the big lens to get very good images.

While we were all shooting Chris would be keeping an eye out for all of us. He tailored his field instruction for each individual. His insight into the latest thinking on shutter speeds with DSLRs was especially invaluable to getting crisp images. Chris even shared his camera equipment with people to give them some experience with the latest equipment.

I have joined Chris on several trips and look forward to future adventures with him.

Jim Boland - Titusville, Florida, USA


CANON EOS 5D Mark III Firmware Version 1.2.1 Available

Canon EOS 5D Mark III users should be thrilled to learn that has just released exciting new free firmware. The highlight for nature photographers is that Canon has enabled centre AF point auto-focus when extender/lens combinations have combined maximum aperture of f/8. If AF point expansion is selected with an f/8 maximum aperture lens/extender combination, the four AF points surrounding the center point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that appear small in the viewfinder and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the center will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.

Check-out the comprehensive list of fixes and other improvements and download Firmware V. 1.2.1 HERE


SEO How To Naming Image Files

OSPREY CATCH A GLIMPSE (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS-1D MKIV500mm F4 IS & 1.4X Extender III. ISO 1,600  f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's another Osprey from my recent Ospreys Galore and so much more workshop/safari at Lake BLue Cypress in Florida. We had many opportunites to photograph Ospreys returning to their nests with fish. Be sure to sign-up early for next year and avoid the planned $100.00 price increase.

Naming an image with a descriptive file name is a crucial step to selling more images on-line. I can't tell you how often I see missed sales opportunities for great images because the photographer used some sort of code to name their images "30d-070826-7186.jpg". Worse yet, is leaving the file number that was created by the camera when they pushed the shutter button "img_0983.jpg".

Search engines can't interpret an image and decide what the subject is; you need to tell it what the subject is. For birds, I typically include the English, French and Latin names of the species, the four digit American Ornithologists' Union alpha code and my name separated by an underscore or hyphen and ending in the original file name as created by the camera to avoid duplicates "Osprey-Pandion-haliaetus-Balbuzard-pecheur-OSPR-CDODDS_74F2591"


Ospreys Galore Workshop a huge success

OSPREY FISH-ON (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV,  500mm F4 IS. ISO 1000, f/5.6 @ 1/2500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I can't believe that it's been over a month since my last blog entry! Many thanks to all who wrote to check and see if I was okay.  Much like many things in life; the break was not a planned one. After moving House, home, studio and office on March 1, our washing machine sprung a leak and flooded our new basement. Nothing was lost or damaged, though it did look quite disastrous at first; I was to set-up computers, workstations, bookcases and studio equipment that day, so the floor was littered with books, computers and camera gear (thankfully, everything was still in the double walled boxes and their thick walls kept the water out long enough for rescue).  Renovations start tomorrow and the new ceiling, floor and walls should be finished in about a week.

A large part of my moving logistics was dedicated to making sure that my image files were not susceptible to loss during the move, and to ensure that I knew where every copy was at all times, and that multiple copies existed in multiple geographic locations in the event of theft, loss, or simply being submersed under water during a flood! I made four fresh copies of my entire collection and placed each into a small watertight & bombproof case before distributing them to four separate locations (all will remain top-secret). Do consider taking inventory of your image collection and making at least one copy that you can keep in your safety deposit box, at your parents or a friend's home in the event of a disaster.

My Ospreys Galore (and so much more) photography workshop/safari at the beginning of April was a huge success! We were blessed with a mix of weather which ranged from fog to spectacular golden light. The small group was amazing (50% were repeat clients), as was our Captain Kevin who usually captains cruise ships and did a spectacular job of following my instructions and keeping us at the right angle and in the very best spots - leaving me free to teach and photograph - thank-you Kevin! Watch-out for more images over the next few days and be sure to consider signing-up early for this one next year and avoid the planned price increase of $100.00:
Ospreys Galore & so much more April 5,6 & 7, 2013   


Ospreys Galore and so much more

OSPREY FISHERMAN (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV,  500mm F4 IS. ISO 800, f/5.6 @ 1/2500s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Ospreys Galore and so much more Workshop


April 1-3, 2012 & April 4-6, 2012  - 5 Participants with Christopher Dodds and fully licensed USCG Captain

It's not too late to join-in on the fun photographing Ospreys on the Beautiful Lake Blue Cypress in Florida. Join me at one of THE most beautiful places in Florida for three action packed days of Osprey photography. Lake Blue Cypress in southern Osceola County (just 20 minutes from Vero Beach) is known for it's high Osprey density; More than 240 pairs of nesting Ospreys build their nests in the Cypress trees along it's shores and many of them are at eye level and accustomed to human activity and close approach.

Large, stable 24 foot pontoon boat to ensure freedom of movement and excellent photography opportunities without being bothered by any space restrictions during our daily 4 hour morning light photography cruise. New this year is a US Coast Guard licensed sea captain to ensure our safety, and get us into the very best possible positions to photograph the many Ospreys.

Land-based afternoon photography sessions at some of the best hot-spots in Florida with exceptional access, diverse species and action packed, card filling photo fun!

Huge telephoto lenses are not required for this one; in 2011, I made many of my favourite images with Canon's 70-300mm zoom lens.

The Crown Jewel of Florida, Lake Blue Cypress is the perfect habitat for the hundreds of Osprey nests that cover the ancient Cypress Trees which pierce the pristine water and surround the lake. We will have tons of opportunities to photograph Ospreys on their nests at (or below) eye level, diving for fish or gathering nesting materiel. Our trip is timed perfectly to see the parents bring fish to their babies. We will photograph other species of Florida birds and will have constant urges to capture the true beauty, spectacular sunrises and all it illuminates in landscape images of the unspoiled, wild and spectacular setting of Lake Blue Cypress.



Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM ROCKS!

OSPREY head-on (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 640, f/5.6 @ 1/2000s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's an Osprey from my workshop on Lake Blue Cypress in Florida last April; it's full-frame, at the longest focal length of 300mm and wide-open at f/5.6. It's razor sharp. During the last day of the workshop, friends and long-time repeat clients, Rick & Melody, loaned me their Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM lens. To make a long story short; I loved it so much that it is a new favourite carry everywhere, mid range zoom lens. The auto-focus is snappy and accurate and it's relatively compact and lightweight lens.

Like the new 70-200 f/2.8 L IS II USM, this lens auto-focuses down to 47.1 inches (mine will focus to 41 inches @ 70mm and 44 inches @ 300mm if focused manually), making it a great all-purpose lens ready for a close encounter with wildlife, or point it straight at the ground and start shooting details in nature. The new tripod and monopod sensing, 4 stop IS unit works just as advertised when used in low light conditions; I was blown away with sharp results at 1/4 second at it's widest 70mm, and 1/8 second at it's longest 300mm focal length.  

Overall, the build quality, image sharpness and auto-focus accuracy is all there; this is a sweet lens. Will it replace my 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II USM lens? No, but I will have to own both from now on. This will be the most used nature, travel and general purpose lens, but the 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS II USM lens will remain in my kit when photographing events, people and extremely low light work, or when a really narrow depth-of-field is needed. As for the over-the-shoulder go-to lens? That's an easy one; it is now the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM.