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Entries in quebec (27)

Tuesday
Jul102012

Canon 1DX First impressions Mini Review

Atlantic Puffin FLYBY (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 70-300mm & Canon 580 EX II (ETTL - 1) f/4-f/5.6 @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @1/3,200s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Canon EOS 1DX First Impressions

As I mentioned in my last post, Canon Canada Loaned me one of the very first production models of their new flagship camera that they received; the Canon EOS 1DX. What a camera! In the hand, the camera is slightly heavier than previous 1D camera bodies, but the fit and feel is great. I took the camera to my Puffins Galore photo safari to L'Île aux Perroquets in the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada. The great sunlight we had during our first morning gave way to foggy and heavy overcast skies; the kind of light that is very flat with low contrast for the remaining two and a half days. It was the kind of light that wreaks havoc with a camera's ability to auto-focus.

There are, and will be, a ton of well written and lengthy reviews of the camera out there; some will be written by folks who may have never touched the camera, others by people who may have popped-off just a couple of frames in the studio. There is a growing number of camera enthusiasts writing reviews based on hearsay and technical bulletins - I find them best avoided and instead like to put the cameras through their paces in the field in difficult conditions. This is just meant to be this man's take after using the camera for three days; in somewhat foggy and dark conditions while photographing very difficult, fast and very small birds.

Atlantic Puffin HEAD-ON (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS, 1.4X III Extender, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 3,200, f/6.3 @1/2500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Observations

There are some new goodies tucked into the camera's Auto-focus menu; I spent a lot of time trying the new scenarios, and loved the ability to tweak minute details within them. I found myself using Scenario 5 most when birds were flying towards me and scenario 1 for most other birds in flight - I did adjust the parameters for both almost constantly; the distraction sometimes causing me to miss a shot, or two, early on.

I made images from ISO 400 throughout 6,400 and found virtually no noise up to ISO 1,600. Images made using ISO 1,600 to 6,400 are surprisingly good and require only a little effort if properly exposed. I used Adobe Camera Raw algorithms to remove any noise and am quite pleased with the high ISO results. I would expect the Canon software to do an even better job this early, and will keep you posted in future posts.

I have been using my Canon 1D Mark IV for most nature photography and my Canon 1Ds Mark III for landscapes, head shots and slow moving subject. This has the potential to replace both cameras, but the deal breaker is no autofocus with lenses or lens and extender combinations with a maximum aperture of f/8 or smaller. I had heard rumours that Canon may release a firmware update that would allow this, but it seems to be just a rumour at the moment; I'll let you know if I hear of a work around.

Atlantic Puffin LANDING (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 500mm f/4 L IS, 1.4X III Extender, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 4,000, f/5.6 @1/2500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I did love the narrow depth-of-field from the full frame sensor; it's awesome to obliterate close and distracting backgrounds. 12fps while shooting in RAW format is ridiculously awesome for action photography. Files from the 18MP sensor are rich and full of details. The auto-focus system proved to be totally amazing when trying, so deperatly, to place my moving subjects against anything other than the bright white sky as the background; something that other auto-focus systems had much difficulty with before the 1DX.

Will it replace my 1D Mark IV? No, not unless Canon releases a firmware version that allows autofocus at f/8 so I can continue to shoot birds in flight with my 500 f/4 and 2X extender. This camera will, however, replace my Canon 1Ds Mark III

Expect more about the 1Dx in future posts.

Monday
Nov212011

Social Media for Photographers

Fallow Deer BREATH (Dama dama, Daim) Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DsMKIII, 500mm F4 L IS ,Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 with Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600 ISO 400, f/7.1 @ 1/200s Manual mode. Full Frame. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Fallow Deer WINTER'S CHILD (Dama dama, Daim) Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DsMKIII, 500mm F4 L IS ,Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3 with Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600 ISO 200, f/5.6 @ 1/200s Manual mode. Full Frame. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Social Media for Photographers

 It's no secret; the key to many photographer's success has been social networking. Even long before the internet, it wasn't necessarily how good your photography was; your success depended on how well connected you were. There are a few lingering professional photographers who's work rarely comes close to the plethora of simply breathtaking images from hard working amateurs seen every day on the web; they were widely published because they were among an elite circle of people who knew about some amazing locations which consistently produced amazing opportunity - and they were connected to the image buyers.
Today, thanks to the internet, those locations are widely known and image buyers are easy to find. Many argue the merits and the shortcomings of social media, and I don't want to write a book about it, but I've pretty much come to the conclusion that any effort I invest into any one of a number of social outlets I use is rewarded handsomely. Print sales and workshop bookings are up every time I am active online. Why not join the fun and connect with me:

Facebook Fan Page

Google+

Twitter

500px

 

Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party

More prizes have arrived from these great sponsors! Jobu Designs (makers of my favorite Gimbal Head - the Jobu Jr. 3), FirstPass Image downloader & Editor, Think-Tank Photo, Cotton Carrier, DigiMarc for Images and Tiffen have all jumped on-board and offered tons of prizes to show their suppoort for my Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party.

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

Friday
Jul152011

Puffins Galore and so much more

Atlantic Puffin SOLITUDE (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 800mm f/5.6 L IS Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 800, f/6.3 @1/3200s Manual mode. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Atlantic Puffin FLIGHT ON WHITE  (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) île aux Perroquets, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 800mm f/5.6 L IS Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 800, f/5.6 @1/2000s Manual mode. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

I'm just back from two fun and exciting, back-to-back PUFFINS GALORE AND SO MUCH MORE workshops. What a trip! We had tons of fun photographing tiny Atlantic Puffins that fly at 55 mph. Here's just two of the more than 1,200 keepers from the trip that I still have to edit and cut down by a great deal. I've just announced two trips back there next July. Be sure to book early!: PUFFINS GALORE AND SO MUCH MORE

Jobu Jr. 3 Does it again!

My tried and trusted Jobu Jr. 3 Gimbal head proved itself yet again! This time we noticed that it also is the right choice for getting down low. It's smaller size means that you are closer to the ground when your tripod is at it's lowest; not only offering a lower perspective, but also putting less strain on your back and neck as you look through the viewfinder. The lock-down of both the vertical and horizontal adjustment knobs are still holding strong, and second to none! Be sure to check out my mini-review of the Jobu JR. 3 and find a discount code HERE.

Sunday
Jan302011

Nature Photography Workshop Safari update

Coastal Brown Bear Big Boys Play in the Rain (Ursus arctos or Grizzly Bear) Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1000, F4 @1/320s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION. All Rights Reserved.

Workshop update

2011 workshops / safaris are filling fast! It only took three weeks to sell-out the entire winter Owl Prowls and now the July Bears Galore Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai and the July 5-7 Puffins Galore are sold out. Here's a list of what's still available:

May 9-13, 2011 Songbirds of Pelee An event not to be missed!

June 15-17, 2011 Gannets Galore Action packed daily Zodiac voyage under the colony! Guaranteed Gannets!

July 1-3, 2011 Puffins Galore Puffin Paradise!

September 26-30, 2011 Moose and fall colors of Maine Baxter State Park at it's finest!

Be sure to email me if you are interested in being the first to receive details for the 2012 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai trip chris@chrisdoddsphoto.com

Sunday
Oct102010

Snowy Owl Silhouette & The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly

 Snowy Owl DAWN SILHOUETTE Bubo scandiacus (Harfang des neiges) Quebec. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 500mm F4 IS ISO 250, F7.1 1/1600s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Private Winter Owl Prowls

The private winter owl safari/workshop series has proven to be a huge success with people from around the world booking days, or weeks. There are still some dates available, so do consider joining me for a private winter owl prowl. Find out more HERE.

Testimonial

"Hi Chris. The September 2010 Moose and Fall Colors Photo Workshop has been a fantastic experience for me in many aspects. I want to thank you warmly for everything you have done for me, not only with respect to photography but in every respect, such as wildlife and nature, the English language, travel tips, etc. You never hesitated to share your knowledge with the group in general and with me in particular. You amazed me more than one time with your wide array of knowledge. Furthermore, you have been a very pleasant companion all along. I would not hesitate to book another workshop with you, which I intend to do later, depending on my budget and schedule possibilities. I already told you that you are a real gentleman, and I just want to tell you again." Serge Gagné L’Île-Bizard (QC) Canada

Q & A

How do I activate auto focus (AF), when using 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverters with f/5.6 or slower lenses with Canon cameras other than the EOS 1D series? Serge Gagné L’Île-Bizard (QC) Canada.

It is simple. Just place a small transparent piece of tape on the last 3 pins of the converter. The tape should be placed on the left hand side of the converter when looking at it from the lens connection side with the electrical contacts on top. With these three left pins covered, the auto-focus continues to operate on the Rebel and D series Canon cameras with the AF activated. It also works great with the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS.

The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly

The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly is a new book written and photographed by wildlife photographer and trial attorney Windle Turley. In the book, Turley captures amazing images in the rarely photographed wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly, in the Transverse Neovolcanic Mountains in Mexico. Granted almost-unprecedented access, Turley documents the final destination of this migration that only takes place every four to five generations with vivid, full-colour photographs.

It's easier than ever to publish your own book full of your amazing images, but it's no secret that a book full of only images will end-up on the discount table at your local book store. If you have ever thought of publishing your own book, and wondered how to tell your story, then this is a must have; no only for the story of the Monarch, but because the story is well presented and well told. Turley supplements the images with scientific-based text detailing the migration with complimentary quotations and poems that make a multifaceted book about one of the most engaging and mysterious species know to man.

LEAVE A COMMENT - WIN A BOOK: Leave a meaningful comment and I will randomly choose three lucky folks to receive one of three copies of The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly that I have to give away. The enterprising photographer will also include a link to a photo of a Monarch, or a blog entry about the Monarch. I'll randomly choose the winners and I'll even pay for surface mail anywhere in the world. I won't pay customs, brokerage, taxes or duties, though there shouldn't be any payable.

Tuesday
May252010

Gannets Galore Bird Photography Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari June 10-12 & August 13-15, 2010

Northern Gannet landing with sea weed (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D MKIII, 70-200mm F2.8 IS, (@200mm). ISO 400, F5.6 1/2500s Manual. Canon 580 EXII Flash in Manual - full power. Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Gannets Galore Bird Photography Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari June 10-12 & August 13-15, 2010

I still have limited space available for my June 10-12 and August 13-15, 2010 Gannets Galore Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari (June 14-16 & 18-20 are SOLD OUT; Thanks to those who registered). This is THE best place on earth to learn the art of avian photography. There is non-stop action and a plethora of artistic models at close range. Sure to be the photographic adventure of your lifetime, the daily (weather permitting) four hour Zodiac cruise under the largest Northern Gannet colony in the world offers close views of thousands of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, Razorbills, grey seals & whales and, of course, diving Gannets.

Be sure to read client TESTIMONIALS HERE

JUNE 10-12, 2010 GANNETS GALORE INFORMATION HERE

AUGUST 13-15, 2010 GANNETS GALORE INFORMATION HERE

 

Tuesday
Dec152009

Free Site Guide: Photographing the Snow Geese of Victoriaville, Quebec

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens, Oie des neiges) Réservoir Beaudet, Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds http://www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark III, 500mm F4 IS, 2X II Tele-converter, Gitzo tripod and Wimberley Head II. ISO 320, 1/1250s F8 Manual Exposure. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO BUY A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Réservoir Beaudet is immediately adjacent to the city of Victoriaville, in the Eastern Townships of southern Québec. During migration, this site harbours significant numbers of gulls and geese. Since 1996, high numbers of Greater Snow Geese have been recorded here. So far, 224 species of birds have been recorded at this site. The high concentration of waterbirds using the reservoir is probably linked to the absence of hunters. At peak times in October, ducks, geese, and gulls numbers exceed 1000,000 individuals. Several species of land birds also use the reservoir in high numbers for roosting in the fall. The following are some of the peak counts for certain species: 4,000 American Crows (1989), 17,251 European Starlings (1989), 2,500 Red-winged Blackbirds (1988), 1,000 Common Grackles (1988) and 700 Brown-headed Cowbirds (1988).

Photography is relatively easy here; only a short walk from the parking lot is a boat ramp (GPS co-ordinates: 46° 4'6.37"N , 71°58'35.94"W) that is about the best place to be when the wind is from the west in the afternoon. April-May and October-November are the best times of year for photography.


View Larger Map The green arrow indicates the exact location that I like to be in the afternoon when the wind is from the west. GPS co-ordinates are: 46° 4'6.37"N , 71°58'35.94"W

Vested Interest Photo Vests

John Storrie of The Vested Interest (a division of Storrie Parachute Works Inc.) sent me a Khumbu Photography vest and I am thrilled. True to his solid background in building safe, strong and rugged parachutes, John's The Vested Interest produces top quality photo vests. I wanted a vest, but had very specific needs that only John could address. I wanted a way to transport my camera equipment like a backpack, but allow access to camera bodies and lenses while I hiked without removing a backpack, having to lay it down and unzip it, etc.. I chose the Kumbu model because of the large padded pocket on the back that holds either my 500mm F4 IS or my 300 F2.8 IS Canon lenses. I spend a lot of time photographing from a Zodiac, and that large rear "drop-in" lens pouch on the back is perfect even if I were to take the whole kit off; I simply wrap the whole vest around the mast of the flying bridge and secure with the zipper. Unlike a photo-backpack, where the whole contents are at risk of a spill when open, this vest protects all of my gear and still allows access to each component while protecting the rest. I recently took the vest to photograph Snow Geese in Quebec where there are simply too many people to lay equipment down and not worry about it. The vest held everything I needed and still had plenty of room to spare. It's simply a study in astounding build quality, and design genius; there are even brilliantly designed padded shoulders which not only cushion the weight of your shouldered camera, lens and tripod, but they also disperse it. Built of military grade (just about bomb-proof) parachute nylon, this vest will easily outlast me; it's easy to see why the military buy these for their photographers. Be sure to visit The Vested Interest and check out the various vest designs - most of which can be customized to your specific needs.

That's me, Christopher Dodds, with my Vested Interest Khumbu Photo Vest. Notice just how many pockets there are and that it fits over my down winter jacket. Image copyright & courtesy of Bruce Lapointe.

Pro Tip: GET A GRIP!

I often have many thousands of dollars of equipment set-up on my tripod and carry it around on my shoulder while following my subjects around the wilds. From the moment I leave my car, I risk slipping on packed snow or ice. I keep a pair of MICROspikes with me at all times in the winter. It's like having the very best winter tires with studs and chains and is a relatively small investment to protect both myself and my gear. Wether I'm looking for owls in Owl Woods where it is often icy, or just walking my dog, T-Bone; MICROspikes is the product I use. A less expensive product is offered by Yak-Trax, which I used to use until I discovered MICROspikes - both are good, but MICROspikes are more aggressive, robust, long lasting and less likely to get stuck on something and lost.

                           

Comments welcome & appreciated.

 

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