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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds

 

Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in snow (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.

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. 

Monday
Nov122018

Bald Eagle Photography Workshop

American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Pygargue à tête blanche, BAEA) from my Bald Eagle Workshop in Kachemak Bay, Alaska ©Christopher Dodds  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS @ 271mm ISO 2,500, F5.6 1/5,000s Manual mode.

Here's another one from my Bald Eagle Photo Tour in Alaska last March. Both workshops in March 2019 were sold out, but I have just had a couple cancel, leaving two spots open. Learn more about my March 10-14 Bald Eagle Photo Tour HERE.

Wednesday
Mar142018

Bald Eagle SNOWDRIFT

American Bald Eagle SNOWDRIFT (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. ISO2,500, f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Eagles Galore

This is the very last image I made during my Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska. I decided to travel light, and took only two Sony a9 camera bodies, my Sony 100-400mm G Master lens with both the 1.4X & 2X Tele-converters.

We had some great sessions with the Eagles, despite the small craft advisory interrupting our photography on the second to last day (best to stay safe, and heed the warnings from the Coast Guard, Weather Office and our Captain; High winds and big seas are not to be messed with).

The last day was a real treat, with the forecast snow delivering a beautiful canvas and backdrop for my group. I love the "Snow as fill" that reflects the ambient light and illuminates the underside of the dark wings, revealing all of the wonderful rich details in the Eagles feathers.

Remarkably, this is the third workshop in a row where Sony photographers outnumbered both Canon and Nikon shooters. Do note that all brands are welcome on my workshops; I can teach in any language - smile! 

Join me for my March 5-9, 2019 Eagles Galore Workshop. Read more and sign-up HERE.
Monday
Dec252017

Thank You Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


Great Grey Owl SOLITUDE (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Gatineau, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. 244mm ISO 3,200s, f/5.6 @ 1/2,500s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace, Joy & Love

To everyone who visited this blog or my Facebook page, attended a workshop, safari, seminar or lecture, purchased a print or licensed an image: Thank you for making 2017 my best year yet. I am so very lucky and grateful!

Wednesday
Nov162016

Snowy Owl Warm and Fuzzy

Snowy Owl WARM & FLUFFY  (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm f/4 L IS II USM and 2X III. ISO 1,600, f/8 @ 1/1,250s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

A Snowy Owl basking in the very last drops of sweet light on a very cold winter's night.

Kudos:

I just wanted to thank you for the time we spent with you on your Snowy Winter Owl Workshop. I felt that I really learned a great deal that will be of benefit to me in the future. I was extremely pleased with my photographs and look forward to seeing you again. You pushed me outside my comfort zone in exposure and that elevated my images to a higher level!

James Whittle Great Falls, Montana, USA

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Saturday
Nov122016

Great Gray Owl OLD MAN WINTER

Great Grey Owl OLD MAN WINTER (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 400mm f/4L Is USM. ISO 640, F9 1/1,000s Manual Exposure. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

KUDOS:

I was impressed on how much Chris cared about making sure everyone was learning, engaged, and getting the most out of the trip. I look forward to my next workshop with Chris!

Michael Lyncheski Gladstone, New Jersey, USA

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Friday
Nov112016

Great Gray Owl BLIZZARD of WHITE

Great Grey Owl Blizzard in White (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 100-400mm @ 105mm. ISO 800, F8 1/640s Manual Exposure. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

More Kudos:

I found Chris via the strong images on his web site.
 
Having now taken two of his photo workshops, I have seen a significant improvement in my images due to improved capture and post processing techniques.  Having taken many other wildlife photo workshops, Chris stands out for his top notch instruction. His workshops provide many excellent photo opportunities.
 
If you are serious about your photography and want to get better, Chris can help you in many ways.  He is willing and able to explain what he is doing and why he is doing it.  He emphasizes not only the vision but also the execution in the field and the post processing.  
 
It was fun shooting with and learning from Chris.  I give a hearty recommendation to anyone considering a photo workshop with Chris, a recommendation I plan to follow.

Carl Zanoni Connecticut, USA

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Friday
Jan102014

Canon announces new pro camera body

Juvenile American Bald Eagle WINTER'S FLIGHT (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm F2.8 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 2,000, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Here's a juvenile Bald Eagle from last year's epic Bald Eagle workshop. There are still a couple of spots available for this trip of a lifetime from March 7-11, 2014. Both March 12-16 and 17-21 trips are sold-out. Learn more and sign-up for my Bald Eagles of Homer, Alaska Workshop HERE.


Canon announces new pro camera body

Well, not really a new pro camera body, but this firmware update sure will make the already awesome 1DX feel like a brand new camera - and it's a free upgrade!

Canon has released a firmware update for the EOS-1D X Digital SLR Camera.
Details
Firmware Version 2.0.3 incorporates the following functional improvements and fixes.

  • Auto focusing performance under low-light conditions has been enhanced when performing focusing before shooting in AI Servo AF mode. The enhancement comes from the improvement in tracking capability for the first image in the low-light conditions.
  • The number of release parameters settings for the “AI Servo AF 2nd image priority” AF function has been increased to enable improved AF tracking in low light or maintain consistent high frames rates during continuous shooting.
  • The number of parameters for acceleration/deceleration tracking in the AF Configuration Tool will has been increased.
  • Exposure compensation can be performed when using manual exposure and ISO Auto.
  • The minimum shutter speed limit for ISO Auto has been increased with shutter speeds up to 1/8000.
  • A new function to keep the exposure constant by altering the ISO or shutter speed in manual exposure, when the aperture value changes when zooming or changing lenses has been added. This is an awesome and very useful feature!
  • A new option has been added to orientation linked AF point to enable only the AF point to switch as you change orientation rather than both AF point/ AF area settings
  • A new option to continue to use the previously manually selected AF point as the initial starting AF point when switching to 61-point automatic selection has been added.
  • New customization of the Exposure metering and AF controls has been added for more flexibility.
  • The number of possibilities for controls to switch between one-shot AF and AI Servo AF using custom controls has been increased.
  • A function has been added to allow the playback and review of protected images only.
  • A phenomenon has been fixed in which the white balance may be disturbed by the timing of the shutter release when the drive mode is single shooting and a flash (E-TTL)is used.

This update truly makes an amazing camera even better. The update arrives at a time when many were expecting a new camera announcement and continues Canon's recent trend of offering substantial free firmware upgrades for current camera models and incorporating user feedback.

DOWNLOAD Firmware version 2.0.3 for the 1DX HERE

DOWNLOAD Updated users manual HERE Always a good idea to keep a PDF on your smartphone for reference

Read the Canon product advisory HERE

Tuesday
Jul022013

Snowy Owl from Saint Paul Island Workshop

 

Male Snowy Owl SAINT PAUL BLAST-OFF (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) 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 4,000s, f/9 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

We had an awesome time photographing the beautiful male Snowy Owl one morning during my Saint Paul Island workshop. The owl was much more tolerant of our presence than I expected, and kept taking-off to hunt Least Auklets along the shore, only to return to perch near us each time it failed. Finding this, and the Lesser White-fronted Goose the next day is a testament to the diverse and rare birds of Saint Paul Island.

It's not too late to learn bird photography!

If you want to learn bird photography at the very best place in the world for me to teach it, then it's not too late. I have just announced that I'll be returning to Bonaventure Island to teach another Gannet Galore workshop from August 21-23, 2013. This is the best time to photograph the babies and all of the usual Gannet behaviour. Do take the time to read one of the many testimonials from this workshop - if I could recommend a single workshop for you to learn the most, this is it! There is something to photograph from dawn to dusk and the birds in flight opportunities will not disappoint! Click the link for more information or to sign-up: Gannets Galore August 21-23, 2013

Testimonial

My very first birding workshop (Gannet Galore on Bonaventure Island) with a new lens AND camera was filled with much anxiety until the thorough briefing prior to our 1st shoot. After meeting Chris for the introduction to exposing to the right, the Sunny 16 rule and its variances, and the promise of capturing some bird images HE would be proud to call his own my mind was set to rest. I have only been in photography for 3 years and still struggle with exposure, composition, and sharp focusing(especially when bobbing in a Zodiac) but there I was actually able to come away with some great images of Razorbills on the fly! Chris is one of best teachers of photography and wildlife habits I have ever had the pleasure to be around, his knowledge of the Northern Gannets Colony and Bonaventure Island is exceptional. I have already signed on for my next workshop with him, his enthusiasm for wildlife is contagious!

Mel Geer Saint Simons Island, Georgia, USA