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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in Ursus arctos (6)

Monday
Aug082011

Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Alaska 

Coastal Brown Bear OVERLOOK  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/4 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Coastal Brown Bear FISH ON!  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Extender III, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/5.6 @1/1,000s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Here's a couple of images from my recent Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari. It is always quite remarkable to watch and see just how much patience a hungry bear has; they know that the salmon will eventually swim up the creek, all they have to do is wait for it. Seeing a 1,000 pounds, or more, of sleeping muscles pounce into action and catch a salmon at a close distance is an exhilarating experience!

There's quite a good lesson to be learned from the bears; wait along a salmon creek, and as sure as the Salmon will show, so will the bears ;) I have heard myself (more than once) explaining to workshop participants that being patient is far more productive than chasing around after every bear seen. We watched (more than once) as other groups chased off the very bears they wanted to photograph; against park rules and a somewhat foolish approach to photographing wild bears.

Be sure to check-out my new and improved Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari July/August 2012. New and improved 100 foot boat for stability and a calmer ride, better, and more consistent cuisine (90% seafood with a gourmet chef interested in satisfying your special diet), all the snacks and drinks (non-alchoholic) you could want and lots of hot water for daily showers and lots of good, clean fun, clean quarters and a willing, happy crew there to help make this a trip of a lifetime!

Be sure to check out: Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska Photo Safari Workshop July 27th to August 3rd, 2012

KUDOS

"I recently went on the Gannets Galore workshop with Chris.... It has been 3 weeks now and I still can not come up the the words to describe this experience. The world Chris takes you to defies description. The colony is beyond words. Everything about your day on this workshop is special. This is a trip of a lifetime for anyone who loves birds. Chris runs his workshop so all you have to do is show up at the appointed time and shoot for 10 hours, every detail beyond that is taken care of. The Day is spent with no other care than to photograph beautiful gannets, whales, murres, razorbills, kittiwakes, seals, and he threw in 2 bald eagles for good measure. I had so many great shots when I returned home that I still can not believe it. My birds in flight technique improved 100 percent. Chris gives you as much or as little instruction as you want. He even let me shoot a couple of cards in his camera with his lens. All I can say is, if you love birds, and want to see gannets, I don't believe you can do any better than a Chris Dodds workshop." - Carole Wiley Torrington | CT | USA

There's still room for my Sept. 7-9, 2011 Gannets Galore photo safari workshop be sure to check it out HERE. This is, by far, the very best place in the world to learn bird photography flight technique. My years of experience there is the critical key to offering you the very best Bonaventure Island has to offer. This is such a magical place, it has drawn me back for more than 365 days (I stopped counting after reaching a year of days there).

Sunday
Nov072010

Wimberley Head II & Coastal Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) with Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) - Unlikely fishin' buddies

Coastal Brown Bear and Gray Wolf Unlikely FISHIN' BUDDIES (Ursus arctos or Grizzly Bear and Canis lupus) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS, 2X II Tele-converter, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 800, F8 @1/125s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

WH-200 Wimberley Head II review

If there is a single piece of photography equipment that I own and can't live without, but often abuse and take for granted, it's my Wimberley head. If it could tell a story, it would have many stories to tell; we've shared many adventures. From watching these unlikely fishin' buddies in Alaska, to the rainforest in Panama to photographing over the edge of a 5,000 foot cliff in Iceland, it's been my constant travel companion. I owned and loved my first version of the Wimberley Head for years, and now rely on my Version II to support my equipment while in the field. Simply put: The Wimberley Head II (WH-200) is the sum of a great idea, brilliant design & engineering, stellar customer service & support, product evolution and a small company that cares about their customers, their product; They care and they consistently prove that they care.

"The Wimberley Head is a specialized tripod head for telephoto lenses. Its gimbal-type design allows you to rotate your lens around its center of gravity and thus easily manipulate very large lenses. Since its introduction in 1991, the Wimberley Head has become the industry standard for serious nature photographers.

The Wimberley Head Version II offers the same stiffness, capacity, and fluid movement of the old version in a more compact and lightweight package (it is one pound lighter and about two inches shorter). The head’s redesigned panning base has zero play, and the pan locking knob has been moved to the side of the head, thus allowing the user to easily operate both knobs with the same hand. New lobed “soft-touch” knobs provide a more comfortable grip and perform better when using gloves.

In addition to the above improvements, Wimberley has examined all aspects of the head, tightening tolerances, improving friction materials and so forth. Our goal has been to make this head functionally and aesthetically better in every way than the old version and competing products." - Wimberley website

Speaking of competing products, there is a growing number of copies and knock-offs appearing on the market; some cheaper than, and others comparable in price to, the original Wimberley Head (and the new Wimberley Head II). Before saving a couple of bucks, simply ask yourself if your expensive camera equipment deserves anything less than a Wimberley brand product, and all that the Wimberley name stands for. Knock-offs are being mass produced with second rate, low grade, un-tested materials, and try speaking to a "customer care" agent in the Orient where they are made - these companies are more interested in producing profit than quality and are best avoided.

See more from Wimberley HERE.

I like my Wimberley Head so much that I'm giving one away on December 15th, 2011. Thanks to the fine folks at Wimberley, we are giving away a brand new Wimberley Head II (WH-200); simply sign-up for my newsletter in the column to the right of this post and your name will automatically be entered to win.

Coastal Brown Bear and Gray Wolf Waiting for leftovers (Ursus arctos or Grizzly Bear and Canis lupus) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1600, F4 @1/320s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Daylight Savings Time Ends

Whether it's the start, or end, of daylight savings time, I always use the occasion to change out the batteries in my smoke detectors and to make sure all of my clocks, watches and cameras are set to the right time. I typically set everything to match THIS SITE.

Great FREE Gear Giveaway Continues

Sign-up for my newsletter before Dec. 15th, 2010 and you will automatically be entered to win an amazing prize. Simply fill-in your name and email address in the form in the column to the right of this post and you are entered automatically (only sign-up once please). Tweet, Like or Share this blog entry on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a meaningful comment here for additional chances to win. Don't forget to tell your friends or fellow camera club members about the prizes.

  • WH-200 Wimberley Head version II (retail value of US$595.00)
  • Think-Tank Photo Urban Disguise 50 (retail value US$169.00)
  • Nik Software Viveza 2 (retail value US$199.95)
  • Digimarc for Images Professional Edition 1 year subscription (US$99.00)
  • One of eight Canon Long Lens Rain Covers (US$125.00 each)
  • More to come

Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Photo Safari / Photography Workshop

Both of the images in this blog entry were from my July 2010 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop / Safari. Do consider joining me from July 24 to July 30, 2011 for the adventure of a lifetime. Only three spots remain. MORE INFORMATION HERE.

Friday
Aug202010

ADRENALINE Coastal Brown Bear (Ursus arctos or grizzly bear) & The Hazards of Nature Photography.

Coastal Brown Bear Fishing ADRENALINE (Ursus arctos or Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 400, F5.6 @1/1600s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

The Hazards of Nature Photography: DEHYDRATION

I have been meaning to write a bit about the importance of hydration all summer and autumn is quickly approaching. No matter, hydration is just as important in the cold winter as it is in the hot summer months. Water makes up 75% of the body weight - about 50 liters (11 gallons) for the average man. Survival is unlikely if more than one fifth of this is lost. The first signs of dehydration are thirst, vague discomfort, lack of appetite, flushed skin, impatience, sleepiness and nausea. Once fluid loss reaches 6-10%, symptoms include dizziness, headache, labored breathing, no salivation, indistinct speech and you may loose your ability to walk. By the time fluid loss reached 11-20% symptoms now include delirium, swollen tongue, unable to swallow, dim vision, numb and shriveled skin. In it's latter stages: There is gross muscular weakness and mental capacity is impaired. You must make your survival plans at the start when you can think clearly and then stick to them. Best to remember to bring along some water and avoid the headache ;)

Testimonial

The trip with Chris on the Coastal Explorer along the Katmai coast was fantastic.  Without a doubt it was one of the top photo trips I have taken over the last several years due to the amazing variety and density of wildlife in such completely unspoiled and uninhabited wilderness.  Unlike land based lodges, with the Coastal Explorer you have the opportunity to photograph in several of Katmai's secluded bays versus being limited to an area adjacent to a land-based lodge.  What helped make the trip so successful was Chris's work ethic where he is always ready to shoot in any weather conditions and will stay in the field as long as there is any possibility for high quality photography.  This is essential in a place like coastal Alaska where it can go from direct sunny conditions to heavy overcast to rain in the blink of an eye and where the sun doesn't set until the late evening.  If the best time to photograph Brown Bears chasing down salmon was after 10:00PM, you bet we'd be on the river bank waiting on the massive Brown Bear boars to make their spectacular runs--photography is top priority after safety of course.  The daily great fresh seafood didn't exactly hurt the trip either.

As I write this I've only a little over two weeks removed from returning from Katmai and I'm still having serious withdrawals--right now I really want to be on the Coastal Explorer's skiff heading to shore to photograph more bears, eagles, and wolves. - Steve Metildi Southern California | USA

BE SURE TO CHECK-OUT STEVE'S KATMAI 2010 ALBUM HERE to see images he made during the workshop.

2011 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop/Safari Announced

Join me, Christopher Dodds, and some of the more than 2,000 Coastal Brown Bears at the best place in the world to photograph Coastal Brown Bears. Claiming the world’s highest concentration of Coastal Brown Bears, Katmai National Park in Alaska also has to be the most beautiful setting on the planet to photograph them. Truly the adventure of a lifetime, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see, study and photograph Coastal Brown Bears in their undisturbed, natural environment without the influence or pressure that large groups and camps often cause. I have secured the much coveted dates of July 24-30, 2011; timed to coincide with the annual Salmon run. With a limit of only six participants, there will be plenty of time for instruction and personal attention from Chris. MORE INFORMATION & REGISTRATION FORM HERE.

Disclaimer

The author is not a physician. This article is for informational purposes only and it is not intended to identify, diagnose, or treat any medical condition.

Wednesday
Jul282010

Coastal Brown Bear (Ursus arctos or grizzly) wrestling. HYDROPHOBIA; the Ultimate Rain Cover & Trip Report Part III

Coastal Brown Bear males (boars) Wrestling in rain (Ursus arctos) Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 2X Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 1250, F8 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Bear Fight

Though struggles between two juvenile bears might seem mortal, it is in fact just playful combat, designed to hone the animals skills. In later life, however, in teritorial disputes between two males, real fights can result in serious injury to the combatants, or even have a fatal outcome. Brown bears also fight to establish hierarchy and rights to prime fishing spots.

Trip Report

We had a blast watching, and photographing, four males (boar) fighting and wrestling with each other for what seemed like hours during the second afternoon of the Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai workshop/Safari. We carefully added out 2X tele-extenders to our 500mm Lenses for maximum reach, to fill the frame and to keep a safe distance between us and the battling giants. It rained much of the day, and we all put our Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia rain covers to good use.

Do consider joining me next year, for the ultimate Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Nature Photography Workshop / Photo Safari from July 24 to 30, 2011. MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION FORM HERE.

Think-Tank Photo HYDROPHOBIA Ultimate Camera Rain Cover

I promised a review of the Think Tank Photo Hydrophobia when I got back from Bonaventure Island in June; Turns out, there's no better way to get hot, sunny and dry weather, than bringing along the very best rain gear to protect your valuable camera gear. We had day, after day, of glorious and hot, sunny weather; In fact, I only recall breaking out the rain covers once. There are now tons of reviews out there that include all of the technical specifications and videos of people spraying garden hoses onto expensive cameras sporting these covers. What I wanted to do here is give you a short, sweet, real world review of these covers when used in the very toughest conditions.

Coastal Brown Bear males (boars) Fighting in rain (Ursus arctos) Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 2X Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 1250, F8 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Think-Tank Photo HYDROPHOBIA 300-600

Rain protection for everything between the 300 F2.8 and the 600 F4 (this even works perfectly with the Canon 800 F5.6, as I discovered). It's designed to be pre-mounted around the lens hood for easy deployment, has a pocket to store the eyepiece (Eyepieces sold separately) and includes an extension for use with the longer glass. Simply put; it's the very best option I've found out there - and I’ve tried dozens. I would love a lower profile pocket at the lens hood end, so my line of sight is not disrupted while photographing birds in flight with the rain cover in the "stored" position and having more material between ends (one piece) would mean I could actually remove the cover in it's stowed position with the lens hood for packing; something I found impossible with my 500mm F4 IS Canon lens, when installed with enough room for my 2X Tele-converter and the Canon off-camera shoe cord slid into the hot shoe. Other improvements that I quickly wished for were more clear window around the eyepiece and a flap over the eyepiece to protect it from filling with raindrops when I wasn't shooting - both of which have been incorporated into the design of the newer Hydrophobia 70-200 & Hydrophobia 70-200 Flash. I do hope there is a re-design of this model, with an option for a removable rain cover for a flash with the Better Beamer Flash Extender attached. I was able to use this cover with the Wimberley tripod head (Version I or II), and I figured out how to use my flash bracket, flash and Better Beamer, but I feel there is more than enough nature photographers out there to warrant a special "nature" edition. In the mean time, this is, without doubt, the very best option on the market now.

Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 70-200

Essentially the 70-200 Flash, without the clear flash pocket - do yourself a favor and spend the extra $6.00 to get the Flash version (below)

Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 70-200 Flash

Oh, la-la, this is the newest addition to the Hyrophobia line, and Think-Tank Photo's rapid product evolution really shines here. The clear window has been re-designed with more clear space, there's a cover over the eyepiece that flips up and out of the way when shooting, a removable front lens cover, an ingenious built-in camera strap that keeps your camera securely attached to the cover, and horizontal when slung under your shoulder - fantastic for the long days a nature photographer carries a second, shorter lens / camera. This one is evolutionary perfection and I can't think of a single thing to make it better. The clear flash pouch stows out of the way when not used, and there's even room for flash modifiers.

PRO TIPS:

Real world shooting in the rain required me to frequently remove my hands from the cover, and I found that  my hands got wet and I transferred water inside the cover; this caused the clear windows to fog up. I simply wrapped a small towel around the barrel, where the lens meets the camera body, to dry my hands and absorb any excess moisture, preventing the condensation from forming.
Don’t just use it in the rain. I found the covers to be really useful to prevent saltwater from splashing my gear while photographing from a boat, they kept my gear free of sand while getting low on a beach and I even used them as sun protection for my hands during lengthy shoots in strong sunlight.
Maintenance: For a long life, be sure to rinse after use and hang to dry; I found it practical to leave my Hydrophobia covers hanging in my car to ensure they dried thoroughly before packing into the nylon mesh pouch for storage.

BE SURE TO ORDER YOUR THINK-TANK PHOTO HYDROPHOBIA BY CLICKING THIS LINK AND RECEIVE A FREE BAG WITH EVERY ORDER OVER $50.00

Coastal Brown Bear males (boars) BEAR HUG in rain (Ursus arctos) Kukak Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 2X Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600. ISO 1250, F8 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Sunday
Jul252010

Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop / Photo Safari July 24-30, 2011 Announced

Coastal Brown Bear Female (Sow) Fishing in Last Light Vertical (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 1.4 Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1600, F5.6 @1/2000s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

2011 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Workshop/Safari Announced

Join me, Christopher Dodds, and some of the more than 2,000 Coastal Brown Bears at the best place in the world to photograph Coastal Brown Bears. Claiming the world’s highest concentration of Coastal Brown Bears, Katmai National Park in Alaska also has to be the most beautiful setting on the planet to photograph them. Truly the adventure of a lifetime, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see, study and photograph Coastal Brown Bears in their undisturbed, natural environment without the influence or pressure that large groups and camps often cause. I have secured the much coveted dates of July 24-30, 2011; timed to coincide with the annual Salmon run. With a limit of only six participants, there will be plenty of time for instruction and personal attention from Chris. MORE INFORMATION & REGISTRATION FORM HERE.

EARLY REGISTRATION DISCOUNT & CANON RAIN COVER BONUS

Register for the 2011 Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Nature Photography Workshop/Safari early and you save $380.00 per person AND receive a limited edition (rare) Canon rain cover for your camera. Choose between the large (400/2.8, 500/f,600/4 or 800/5.6) or medium (200/2, 300/2.8 or 400/4) versions. Supplies are limited; offer valid only while supplies last. Special thanks to Canon Canada Professional Services for the rain covers. REGISTER HERE.

N-Rain Cover E2-M (medium) or E2-L (Large): Keeps your professional camera clean and dry when shooting in a wet environment. Compatible with current profesional Canon EOS Cameras. Transparent window enables clear visibility of the top and rear LCD panels and LC monitor. Front fastener enables easy attachment and removal of all lenses. Displays a large printed "Canon" logo and includes a soft case for compact packing.

CANON EOS 7D and CANON EOS-1D Mark IV firmware updates
Find out more about the latest firmware updates for the EOS 7D (Version 1.2.2) and EOS-1D Mark IV (Version 1.0.8) DSLRs that include a fix to ensure set apertures stay in place when shooting EOS Movies in manual.


Updates available for download HERE

Wednesday
Jul212010

Coastal Brown Bears Trip Report Part I

Coastal Brown Bear Female (Sow) Fishing in Last Light (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 1.4 Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1600, F5.6 @1/1250s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

I'm just in the door from one of the very best photographic trips of my lifetime. I left home on July 8th and arrived at Kodiak airport later that day without event. I had planned a few extra days before the workshop started to allow for the fog that delayed me last year, and forced me to sleep in ANC airport. Steve Metildi and Darren Charles Holloway arrived early for the workshop and we had an absolute blast photographing Red Fox, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Bald Eagle, Wilson's Warbler and more around Kodiak Island. On July 12, Rolan Ruoss of Sea Hawk Air flew us out to Kukak Bay for our rendezvous with Chuck Keim on the Coastal Explorer for what became the trip of a lifetime for all.

We had been on the look-out for this female (sow) that had been reported to have two spring cubs, but were saddened to learn that she had lost them. Cubs remain with their mother from two to four years, during which time they learn survival techniques, such as which foods have the highest nutritional values and where to obtain them; how to hunt, fish, and defend themselves; and where to den. The cubs learn by following and imitating their mother's actions during the period they are with her. Brown bears practice infanticide. An adult male bear may kill the cubs of another bear either to make the female sexually receptive or simply for consumption. A close look at her right paw reveals an open wound, just above her claws, that most probably occured while she desperatly tried to defend her cubs.

I returned to a staggering amount of emails, and brought back a ton of images to edit, so stay tuned for more in the coming days.

Testimonials

My thanks Chris for introducing me to the tremendous experience (both visual and olfactory) offered by not only the Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island but also by the Gaspe peninsula.  Your low key approach and readily available technical knowledge really helped me to focus on what it was I wanted to do and maximize my chance of getting the pictures that I wanted.  Standing in a zodiac on the rolling ocean watching you photograph flying seabirds using a hand held 800mm lens pushed me to believe I could actually do the same using a 420mm lens......and the resulting photos show that it can be done!  My 6 and 3 year old children cannot thank you enough for the endless slide shows I now make them endure.- Ron Kellner | Toronto, Ontario

Pat and I had a great time on your recent Gannets Galore photo tour.  We have been on many photo tours and yours was one of the best.  We have never seen so many excellent photo opportunities.  Even the 5 AM Zodiac trip around the island offered great opportunities.  The small size of the group, 6 photographers, added to our enjoyment since you were able to spend considerable time with each of us.  Your tips on using manual camera settings were excellent.  I now use manual settings for virtually every photograph, flight or static. Thanks again for a truly outstanding photographic experience. Stokes Fishburne Chapel Hill | North Carolina