Search Nature Photography Blog

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format



Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Workshop (96)


Bald Eagle Fishing a la Sony 400mm f/2.8

American Bald Eagle FISHING (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) from my BALD EAGLE WORKSHOP in Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 G Master OSS Lens Full Frame image. ISO 640, f/2.8 @ 1/5,000s Manual mode.

Here's a Bald Eagle fishing in golden light from my recent sold-out back to back Bald Eagle photo tours on the beautiful Kachemak Bay near Homer, Alaska. This is a full frame image made with the new and much lusted after Sony 400mm f/2.8 G Master prime lens. I worked wide open at f/2.8 for most of the trip and was blown away by the incredible speed at which the Sony a9 achieves accurate auto-focus while using this lens (Learn more about why it can focus so quickly with its linear movement HERE).

I continue to be blown away by the Sony a9 since switching from Canon in August 2017;  there is no better system for flying birds out there!


Happy New Year

American Bald Eagle SNOWDRIFT (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) from my BALD EAGLE WORKSHOP in 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.

Happy New Year!

This image of a Bald Eagle from my Bald Eagle workshop in Homer, Alaska might be my favorite image from 2018. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year ahead to all! 


Merry Christmas


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 2018 my best year yet. I am so very lucky and grateful!


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.


Great Grey Owl LAUNCH

Great Grey Owl LAUNCH (Strix nebulosa, Chouette Lapone, GGOW) ©Christopher Dodds  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS ISO 5,000, F5.6 @ 1/5,000s Manual Exposure mode and Sony's eye AF. Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.

Another example of how well the Sony Eye AF works! I am loving the new Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS, early start to winter (did I really say that) and having this beauty all to myself :)

In case you missed it, I wrote a mini-review of the new Sony FE 400 f/2.8 GM OSS in a recent blog post HERE

Join me for my winter owl workshops this January/February to learn More CLICK HERE.


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. 


911 Tribute Lest We Forget



American Bald Eagle MOURNING SONG (Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Pygargue à tête blanche, BAEA) from my Bald Eagle Workshop in Kachemak Bay, Alaska ©Christopher Dodds ISO 400, F4 1/250s Manual mode.

My tribute to September 11, 2001 Let us never forget.


Razorbill and Puffin Silhouette

Atlantic Puffin & Razorbill SILHOUETTE (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU, Alca torda, Petit Pingouin, RAZO). From my DELUXE PUFFIN WORKSHOP in Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve of Canada, Réserve de parc national du Canada de l'Archipel-de-Mingan, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher DoddsSony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS with 1.4X Tele-extender @ 560mm. Full frame image. ISO 1,600, f/8 @ 1/2,500s Manual exposure mode.

As I was carefully tracking the Razorbill with my camera vertically, when I got photobombed by an Atlantic Puffin :) 


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.


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



Parakeet Auklet THE FOOT

Parakeet Auklet THE FOOT (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds.  Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS with 1.4X Tele-extender @ 560mm. Full frame image. ISO 2,000, f/8 @ 1/4,000s Manual exposure mode.