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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in Sony a9 (10)

Thursday
Aug232018

Parakeet Auklet PORTRAIT

Parakeet Auklet PORTRAIT (Aethia psittacula, Starique perroquet, PAAU).  Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska, USA. Image Copyright ©Christopher DoddsSony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS with 2X Tele-extender @ 800mm. Full frame image. ISO 2,000, f/11 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode.

Thursday
Jul262018

Brown Bear Cub

Coastal Brown Bear Spring Cub (Ursus arctos) Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher DoddsSony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS with 2X Tele-extender @ 800mm. Full frame vertical image cropped to square. ISO 2,000, f/13 @ 1/640s Manual exposure mode.

KUDOS

I am writing to express my gratitude for the great help with my photography that I have received participating in Chris Dodds’ photographic workshops, which are enjoyable and in interesting places. Most of the workshops are places to which Chris has been going for many years so he is intimately familiar with the details and best opportunities of each location.  He goes out of his way in an attempt for participants to get images that are the best they can possibly get to take home with them. His knowledge of photographic technique translates into suggestions that are tailored to each participant’s needs.  He encourages attendees to ask any question and is patient in answering to try to make sure the questioner understands the answer thoroughly.  His knowledge of the technical aspect of photographic equipment and the computer equipment and programs needed in post-processing has always amazed me, and he is eager and willing to share this knowledge with all of the participants. In the first workshop I learned that the manual setting was preferable for photographing nature and as I have mastered this technique, I am forever grateful.  Chris is excellent at teaching the best light angle and reminding the participants to watch the light angle when they are repositioning themselves for a better composition.

The biggest benefit to me personally of Chris’ photographic experience was the purchase of my own Sony A9 camera after he made the switch form Canon to Sony in August 2017. This new camera and lens combination enables me to hand-hold 400mm, 560 mm, and 800 mm, and the camera focuses with both teleconverters. Because I no longer need such heavy photo equipment, I can use a smaller camera bag that fits in any airline overhead bin and allows quicker and more comfortable travel through the airport.  The Sony has improved my photography and made it easier and more enjoyable.

I would encourage you to consider one of Chris’ workshops, because they are fun and in such diverse locations.  I have never failed to come home with better images than I had imagined prior to the experience.  I have found the other participants to be interesting and nice people, and because the workshops are so excellent, there are a lot of repeat customers who have been in previous workshops.  Each workshop is a highlight of my year. Chris is a positive person who makes the experience as enjoyable as possible even with early morning and late afternoon hours to take advantage of the best light of the day.  Thanks Chris for helping me become a better photographer.

Dennis Stone Indiana, USA

 

Friday
Apr272018

Black-footed Albatross PORTRAIT

Black-footed Albatross PORTRAIT (Phoebastria nigripes, Albatros à pieds noirs, BFAB) Monterey Bay, California ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Lens @ 400mm. ISO 2,000 f/9 @ 1/3,2000s Manual mode.

Special thanks to my friend Brad for taking me out in his boat on Monterey Bay. We got to see some incredible whale action and interaction, but the highlight for me was the Black-footed Albatross feeding on the slick above a baby Humpback Whale carcase that a pod of Killer Whales had killed. Brad got us close enough for portraits! Nature can be brutal, and it really was emotional being right there between the victorious Killer Whales and the grieving Humpback Whale parents who kept a tight vigil over the remains. The circle of life was short for that baby whale... Stay tuned for a couple of Whale images.

Thursday
Apr262018

Brandt's Cormorant Portrait a la Sony a9 100-400 and 2X Extender

Brandt's Cormorant Portrait (Phalacrocorax penicillatus, Cormoran de Brandt, BRAC) La Jolla, California ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Lens with Sony 2X tele-extender @ 800mm Full Frame image. ISO 800 f/11 @ 1/640s Manual mode.

Q&A

Hi Chris,

I'm a huge fan of your work and have been following your transition to the Sony mirrorless system since your first post about it from your Puffin Workshop last August. It seems that you have sold all of your Canon equipment and I am interested to hear what you are using for your long lens? I don't imagine the Sony 100-400 lens with their 2X could come anywhere near the quality of a Canon super telephoto. I imagine that you will need to manually adjust the focus with the combined maximum aperture of f/11? Even if it produces sharp images, I just don't see f/11 producing those wonderful out of focus backgrounds which seem to be part of a signature Dodds image. Please help a guy see....

Thank you, J.D. from New York

Hey J.D.,

Thank you for your great questions. This image is a portrait of a Brandt's Cormorant on the cliffs of La Jolla, California. I suspect you can see from the image that the Sony a9 with the Sony 100-400 G Master lens AND the Sony 2X tele-extender produce the same amazing quality as the lens alone. The Sony a9 does autofocus with a maximum lens and extender combination of f/11. All in all, the system continues to impress me. As for those out of focus backgrounds, there are two ways to improve your results while using smaller apertures which traditionally produce larger depth of field and more distracting backgrounds:

1. Work closer to your subject. The closer you are to your subject, the smaller the depth of field.

2. Choose a more distant background. In the case of the image above, I used the beach below the cliff as my background.

I used both techniques to produce the portrait of the Brandt's Cormorant yawning with it's spectacular blue gular skin on full display. It is so easy to get close to birds with the silent shutter of the a9!

 

Tuesday
Apr032018

Speed culling Sony a9 Images Best Software

American Bald Eagle SNOWY PORTRAIT (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 @ 164mm Full Frame image. ISO 4,000 f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

Another Eagle :)

Here's yet another Eagle from my recent Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska; it's a full frame portrait from the Sony a9 mirrorless camera in silent mode at 164mm.

Sony a9 Fastest way to cull images

After returning from Alaska, and realizing that my trusted PhotoMechanic software was getting sluggish and buggy, I decided to try every software that I could find to quickly sort out which images I will keep or throw away. The process can be overwhelming after a day of action photography with the Sony a9 @ 20FPS!

I discovered www.FastRawViewer.com, and love how easy it is to customize and how fast it is to generate previews from the RAW files. It is inexpensive and offers great value. Like many things today, there are almost too many ways to configure and set-up the software, so I kept looking while continuing to learn Fast Raw Viewer.

I use Adobe Bridge (which comes with Creative Cloud Photoshop subscriptions) to ensure a properly colour calibrated output for my slide shows and accidentally realized that Adobe Bridge churns through the Sony a9 images blazingly fast.

So, my new culling workflow is:

When I return from a long day in the field, I copy the contents of my memory card to a folder on my laptop's hard drive, then I open that folder in Adobe Bridge. Adobe Bridge immediately generates a thumbnail of all of the images. I start at the beginning, and view the full screen preview of the first image; {Command & Delete} to delete, or {Command & 6) to tag as a "Select". I don't go to bed until I have narrowed down the folder of thousands of images to the few "Selects" that I will keep.
Sunday
Apr012018

Bald Eagle FRESH CATCH How to freeze birds in flight

American Bald Eagle FRESH CATCH (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. ISO 1,000 f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

1/5,000 of a second to freeze action

Here's another Eagle from my recent Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska; it's a full frame image from the Sony a9 mirrorless camera captured at 1/5,000 of a second to ensure a critically sharp image from wingtip to wingtip. I can't stress enough how important it is to use enough shutter speed to freeze the motion of your subject, but there is more to it than just that! The resolving power of todays cameras and lenses require high shutter speeds to freeze YOUR MOVEMENT. I can't tell you how many times I have people approach me to tell me that there is something wrong with their camera, that it won’t produce sharp images. It usually doesn’t take long to realize the failing had nothing to do with the camera, rather the users unwillingness to use a high enough ISO to allow a fast enough shutter speed.

Saturday
Mar312018

Bald Eagle SNOWY PORTRAIT a la Sony a9 Silent Shutter

American Bald Eagle SNOWY PORTRAIT (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 @ 218mm Full Frame image. ISO 5,000 f/16 @ 1/400s Manual mode.

Sony a9 Mirrorless silent mode

Here's another Eagle from my recent Eagles Galore workshop in Alaska; it's a full frame portrait from the Sony a9 mirrorless camera in silent mode at 218mm. After all these years of learning how to approach wildlife without spooking away my subjects, it is incredible to be sitting just a couple of feet from wildlife and enjoying the peace of the silent shutter without concern that the shutter noise from my next image might scare my subject away! While I have used shutter noise to spark curiosity in tolerant subject just to try to get them to move their head to a better angel in the past, shutter noise usually scares away the very best and rarest wild subjects.
Wednesday
Mar282018

Bald Eagle Deadliest Catch a la Sony a9

American Bald Eagle DEADLIEST CATCH (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. ISO 1,250, f/5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

Centre spot & Lock-on a la Sony a9

The light was perfect during my recent Bald Eagle Photo Tour; we just needed an Eagle and a fish to collide - smile. If you would like the chance to make many images like this, then do join me next March 5-9, 2019 near Homer, Alaska for Eagles Galore! CLICK HERE to learn more.
Wednesday
Nov152017

They are back Snowy Owl a la Sony a9

Snowy Owl GEAR DOWN (Bubo scandiacus, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Southwestern Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS and Sony 1.4X 560mm. Almost full frame image. ISO 1,000 f/8 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

They are back!

There have been numerous reports of Snowy Owls arriving over the past week. I was out running errands with my wife, Julie, on Monday and we saw three without trying. I went out with my New Sony gear this morning and quickly found one perched on a stop sign. I think we are headed into a great owl season this winter!

There are still a few spots available for my Winter Owl Workshops. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE about my WINTER OWL WORKSHOPS.

The Sony a9 and Sony 100-400 G Master lens continue to impress! I grabbed this image out the passenger window of my truck as it took off when I approached (I removed the top of the Stop sign from the image). The autofocus immediately locked-on, and every frame in the sequence of 12 images I took was razor sharp; Gone are the days of quickly eliminating 30-35% of images captured in a burst because they were not razor sharp!

Thursday
Sep212017

Fall Fawn Portrait a la Sony a9

Eastern White-tailed Deer Fall Fawn Portrait (Odocoileus virginianus, Cerf de Verginie) Alt Island, Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS and Sony 1.4X 560mm. Full frame image. ISO 2,000 f/8 @ 1/160s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Another image from my recent outings testing my Sony a9. This time, I was ready with my 100-400 G master lens and the Sony 1.4X Tele-extender while wandering around looking for fall birds when I noticed a pair of White-tailed Deer fawns. I am still blown away by the Sony a9 phase detect auto focus system! 

Here's wha't left of the massive Canon gear sale:


I’m cleaning out the gear closet, and looking for new homes for some great gear. Everything is in new to near new condition:

SOLD: Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x

SOLD: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II USM Telephoto Lens

SOLD: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Zoom Lens (Version I)

SOLD: Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM Lens

SOLD: Canon Speedlight 580EX II Flash

Feel free to email me for information, or to make an offer!

chris@chrisdoddsphoto.com

SOLD: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens

SOLD: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM Lens

SOLD: Canon EOS 1DX Mark II Body 36,000 actuations

SOLD: Canon EOS 1DX Mark II Body 56,000 actuations

SOLD: Canon Speedlight 600EX II-RT Flash

SOLD:Canon EF 600mm f/4.0L IS II USM Telephoto Lens

SOLD: Canon EOS 7D Mark II Body

SOLD:Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM Lens

SOLD: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

SOLD: Canon EF 8-15mm f/4.0L Fisheye Lens