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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds


Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too

Entries in Winter (17)


Happy Holidays

Red Deer WHITEOUT (Cervus elaphus, cerf élaphe). Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1DX, 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM @130mm ISO 400 f/5 @ 1/160s. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.


Happy Holidays, peace, love, good health, joy and laughter to you and your family throughout the New Year.

Please help me to give back by joining me and/or spreading the word about my annual Christmas fund raiser:


Join me, Canadian nature photographer Christopher Dodds, on March 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM at the Casgrain Theatre (CEGEP John Abbot College 21275 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec H9X 3L9, Canada) for an hour and a half long slideshow presentation to benefit Le Nichoire. 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 his images will be projected, many unseen.  Everyone is welcome!
Hurry! Only 280 seats. Tickets are only $18.00 each and are available for advance purchase only - every penny is collected by, and goes to Le Nichoir. Please call or email Le Nichoir ( 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. 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!

The door prizes were over the top last year, and thanks to my good friends and sponsors, we have secured an even better stash for this year.

If you would like to contribute door prizes for, or sponsor, this worthy cause, please email me ( to discuss. It's a great way to have your product or brand mentioned in every blog post until the main event while helping an awesome cause!

Last year we raised over $2,500.00 and I am asking for your help to at least double that!


Snowy Winter Owl Safari Workshop Kudos

Snowy Owl LEAN (Nyctea scandiaca, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV,  500mm F4 IS with Think-Tank Photo Hydrophobia 300-600 Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/1,600s Manual. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Snowy Owl Irruption

A Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca, Harfang des neiges, SNOW) takes flight from a snow covered farm field on an overcast day during the great Snowy Owl Irruption that occurred during the winter of 2011-2012. Abundant Lemmings and Voles at their nesting grounds high on the Arctic Tundra ensured large clutches of eggs and fledgling survival (The size of the clutch depends on prey availability; the more prey there is, the more eggs the female will lay). Once fledged, the now massive population of Snowy Owls ate all available food near their nests and started what has become the largest Southern Migration of Snowy Owls ever recorded.


"Hi Chris, Great trip, EH!!

Seriously, I want to thank you for a wonderful week. Great company, wonderful opportunities on the Snowy Owls and lots of fun.

I have been on quite a few photo workshops, and what sets yours apart (aside from the fun), is your knowledge of the natural history of the subjects, and your encyclopedic knowledge of nature photography and photography in general. You seemed to know what the Owls would do before they did, and thus we got great shots.

I profited as much from the down time between shots as from the shooting time.  What was so helpful to me was that I not only learned your recommendations for settings, but the why, in detail. You have a depth of knowledge such that when I challenged assumptions (which is natural for me as a physician), there was always a firm explanation leading back to a scientific or photographic principle. As a result I understand exactly why I am using that particular technique, and am completely comfortable with it. I learned a ton!!!

The focus was always on us getting the shots (after the welfare of the wildlife), on learning, and thirdly on fun.

I would go on another workshop with you in a minute, because no matter where it was I know I would learn something.

I really appreciate your scientific approach to photography, your having researched and tested your choices!

I feel fortunate to have had the experience of learning from one of THE BEST.  Thanks for a great week.

Until next outing,"

- Mike Gotthelf Fitchburg | MA | USA

2013 Winter Snowy Owl Safari Workshop announced

Be sure not to miss-out and register early for 2013 Winter Snowy Owl Safari/Workshop HERE 


Shooting birds in flight in snow and FirstPass New Version Released

 Great Grey Owl SNOWFLIGHT (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone) Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 100-400mm @ 250mm. ISO 640, f/9 @ 1/640s Manual Exposure and manual focus. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Tips for birds in-flight in the snow

  • Stop down, or close the aperture when shooting in snow to maximize the effect of the big snowflakes; use a larger depth-of-field to keep as many snowflakes as possible sharp. I find F/9 works well during heavy snowfalls with large snowflakes.
  • Place your subject against the dark background of coniferous trees  to help define the snowflakes.
  • Use manual focus for more precise results; Most Auto-focus systems focus on the nearest, large snowflakes.
  • Leave some breathing room for your subject - you have probably invested a lot of time to get out in that perfect storm; make sure you include it in the image and avoid shooting too tight.

FirstPass Image Editing Software Evolves

I first told you about FirstPass image editing software for the Mac back in November and wanted to pass on the news that a new version is available with tons of new features:

✔ New image information panel 
✔ Image information panel now shows image histograms 
✔ Image information panel can be activated from image browser using right click menu 
✔ Ratings can be applied to multiple files at the same time using right click context menu 
✔ Improved memory management and performance 
✔ Fix for an issue related to caching optimization

This software has evolved into a fast, feature rich, must-have image editing dream for Mac using photographers! Be sure to purchase your copy before the scheduled price increase on February 1, 2012; it's going up to only $18.99, but you can get your copy for only $9.99 now:

Check out FirstPass in the CANADIAN APPLE STORE HERE

Check out FirstPass in the US APPLE STORE HERE


Merry Christams and Happy Holidays

American Bald Eagle SNOWFLIGHT (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Pygargue à tête blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay, Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS Canon EOS 1DsMKIII, 500mm F4 L IS  ISO 800, f/6.3 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Full Frame. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.



Merry Christams and Happy Holidays to all of my readers, followers, clients, friends, family and supporters. I wish you all a very Merry Holiday Season and a New Year filled with golden light, love, health and happiness.


Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) & POGOPLUG Review

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis, Buse a queue rousse, RTHA)  Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKIII, 500mm F4 IS, 1.4 X II Tele-converter, Tripod & Wimberley Head II.  ISO 1000, F5.6 1/500s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

 A red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis, Buse a queue rousse) was a surprise visitor during a winter owl prowl last year. If you want to make compelling winter owl images in Southern Ontario and Quebec, then these private, or semi-private owl excursions are the best way to escape the large and crowded workshops offered by others. Still some space available in January, 2011 - read more HERE.

Pogoplug Review

The Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device connects external hard drives to the internet so you can easily share and access your files from anywhere. It gives even novice computer users the chance to set up their own cloud server in less than five minutes.

Compatible with NTFS, FAT32, Mac OS Extended Journaled and non-Journaled (HFS+), and EXT-2/EXT-3 formats, the Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device covers most bases for nearly any hard drives. Connecting a drive is as simple as plugging it into the Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device after plugging the Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device to a router via Ethernet and a power socket. The whole system recognizes itself and is ready to go, as advertised, after logging in to Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device 's Web site and registering.

There are three ways of interfacing the drives connected to Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device : directly through a Web browser via the Web site; via a downloadable software client for Mac, PC, and Linux that shows the Pogoplug Multimedia Sharing Device -connected drives directly on the desktop; and via mobile phone apps. The downloadable client offers the greatest flexibility, allowing drag-and-drop uploading and downloading of files.

After getting over the initial shock of it’s brilliant pink case, I set-up my review unit; I connected three old, unused 1TB external drives and instantly had a 3TB personal server (with a spare USB port on the front). I installed the Mac client, and the three drives were instantly recognized and appear as three folders inside a Pogoplug folder on my desktop. The unit works perfectly for throwing a huge collection of images into a internet accessible drive, in the event I need an image, or document while on the road. Don’t confuse it with a premium on-line storage or back-up service with the security of multiple redundant off-site back-ups in multiple geographical areas that incurs, sometimes hefty, monthly charges. This is, however, a perfect device for a self-employed photographer who needs access to files while out of the office or to share with clients and/or friends. It is also another level of back-up if my laptop gets lost or stolen while on route to a presentation, lecture or workshop. Pogoplug is also a cheap and easy way to boost the limited storage of your MacBook Air or iPad.


Knowledge: The Single Best Way to Improve Your Wildlife Photography

Timber Wolves Alpha Pair in Fog (Grey Wolves, Canis lupus, Loup Gris) Quebec (C) ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 70-200mm F2.8 IS @ 200mm ISO 500, F5.6 1/200s Manual Mode. Hand Held. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO BUY A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Hearing Timber Wolves (Grey Wolves, Canis lupus, Loup Gris) howl while photographing them on a foggy January mourning was a hair raising experience; their reputation as ferocious enemies of man owes more to fiction and folklore than reality, in fact, they go out of their way to avoid contact with humans. Grey Wolves vary in colour from white on the arctic tundra (Arctic Wolves) to grey (Timber Wolves) or black in the forested regions of Northern wilderness regions. They  travel in packs, working co-operatively to bring down their prey; big game like deer, caribou and moose. Most regard wolves as unbeatable hunters, but they often fail to catch their intended prey. 

If I had to name a single way for anyone to improve their skill at wildlife photography, it would be to know your subject inside and out. I love to read, and I love books, so I was recently thrilled to get my hands on two simply outstanding books. I've caught myself getting lost in the pages of these marvels of the wild world far too often. Essential for the library of any nature photographer (or nature lover), The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds and The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals have become the go to resource when I'm researching a specific species; or simply sitting here daydreaming of my next big adventure to some far corner of the world. Of all the natural history books in my collection, these two stand out amongst the best! ... and they are a bargain!



The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals

 (David W. Macdonald ISBN13: 978-0-691-14069-8) is the most comprehensive and accessible reference book on mammals available. Unsurpassed in scope and stunningly illustrated, this book covers every known living species, from aardvarks to zorros. The informative and lively text is written by acclaimed researchers from around the world and features a concise general introduction to mammals followed by detailed accounts of species and groups that systematically describe form, distribution, behavior, status, conservation, and more. There are superb full-color photos and illustrations on virtually every page that show the animals in their natural settings and highlight their typical behaviors. And throughout the book, numerous "Factfile" panels with color distribution maps and scale drawings provide at-a-glance overviews of key data. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals is the definitive one-volume resource--a must-have reference book for naturalists and a delight for general readers.

  • Covers every living mammal
  • Describes form, distribution, behavior, status, conservation, and more
  • Features spectacular full-color photos and illustrations on virtually every page
  • Includes "Factfile" panels with color distribution maps and scale drawings for at-a-glance reference
  • Written by an international team of experts

David W. Macdonald is director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit and a fellow of Lady Margaret Hall at the University of Oxford. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the author of several books, including Mammals of Europe (Princeton).

The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds

 (Christopher Perrins ISBN13: 978-0-691-14070-4) is a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated reference to the world's birds. Accessibly written by renowned biologists and conservationists, and illustrated in color throughout, the book provides authoritative and systematic accounts of every bird family, covering form and function, distribution, diet, social behavior, breeding biology, and conservation and status. More than 1,000 superb color photos reveal the enormous diversity of birds in their natural habitats, from arctic tundra to tropical rain forest, and a wealth of beautifully detailed color and line illustrations depict representative species from each family and highlight characteristic behaviors. The main articles are complemented by detailed coverage of special topics, such as how ibises and spoonbills feed by touch, how pigeons find their way home, and how crows store food. And throughout the book, numerous "Factfile" panels with color distribution maps and scale drawings provide at-a-glance overviews of key data. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Birds is the definitive one-volume reference--an essential guide for amateur bird enthusiasts and professional ornithologists alike.

  • Covers all the bird families of the world
  • Describes form and function, distribution, diet, social behavior, breeding biology, and conservation and status
  • Features more than 1,000 spectacular color photos and illustrations
  • Includes "Factfile" panels with color distribution maps and scale drawings for at-a-glance reference
  • Explores special topics in depth
  • Written by leading biologists and conservationists

Christopher Perrins is a distinguished ornithologist, the author of many popular and scholarly books on birds, and a fellow of the Royal Society. A former professor of ornithology at the University of Oxford and former director of the Edward Grey Institute of Field Ornithology, he is currently a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

Comments welcome & appreciated.


Social Media Sites Strip Embedded metadata; Another Reason for Bold Watermarks!

 Great Grey Owl Blizzard in White (Strix nebulosa Chouette Lapone) January 2005 Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 100-400mm @ 100mm. ISO 400, F6.3 1/800s Manual Exposure. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

Technology & Art; get it out of the middle

Modern digital cameras are tools jam packed with not-so-often used features; remember to use focus selection points other than the centre - it makes for much more pleasing photographs. As amazing as it was for photography, the Great Grey Owl invasion during the winter of 2004-2005 was an amazing time for friendships. I had a great time in Bracebridge, Ontario with a great friend who continues to inspire me today.

The American Society of Media Photographers has released a report called "Best Practice Recommendations for Social Networking Sites" by Christopher J. Reese, Esq. Well written, this is must read for anyone posting images to the internet (amateur or professional): READ HERE

Great Grey Owl WIngs Wide Open (Strix nebulosa Chouette Lapone) December 2004 L'Île-Bizard, Quebec, Canada ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D Mark II, 100-400mm @ 300mm. ISO 400, F6.3 1/640s Manual Exposure. Full Frame.

Recent infringements:

I am actively monitoring my image use, abuse and copyright infringements in an effort to keep you up-to date with infringements and resolutions. Here's an image of mine, stripped of it's metadata, and the copyright watermark was removed. While I'm flattered that they used my image, they should have asked & given credit! While the communications officer had agreed to replace the image with one that I provided with metadata and copyright watermark, they decided to remove the content instead.  From his last email to me: "I did some further digging to determine who looked after the site, and to put them in contact with you for other photos. That particular page and  site were run by a museum housed on campus but that museum is no longer at the university. We've removed the content, so your photo will no longer be on the BU website. I was unable to find a contact for the current curator of the museum, so I'm unable to pass along your information. Once again, sorry for the obtrusion."

I'm not against my images being used in high profile educational environments, but come on: It's about time that Universities and the Minister of Education audits image use on University websites! For crying out loud, these are the very institutions that educate our next generation of lawyers & scholars and they should set the example! I'm curious about Brandon University's view on plagiarism.

If anyone does know how to get in touch with the museum, please send me an email.

Comments welcome & appreciated.


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