Search Nature Photography Blog

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format
SPONSORS

 

 - 

Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too

Entries in Workshop (81)

Friday
Apr132018

Speckled Perch and the Osprey

Osprey with fresh Speckled Perch (Crappie) (Pandion haliaetus, Balbuzard pêcheur, OSPR) Lake Blue Cypress, Florida ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE100-400mm F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS Lens with Sony 1.4X tele-extender @ 540mm Full Frame image. ISO 2,000 f/8 @ 1/2,000s Manual mode.

Just back from Florida after hosting two wonderful groups of photographers on Lake Blue Cypress for my Ospreys Galore workshop. There was no shortage of Ospreys returning to their nests with fish. The Speckled Perch (also known as a Crappie or Speck) were the prize catch for both the Ospreys and the photographers - smile! Ospreys often stop and eat the head of their catch before returning to the nest to feed the babies but I have so much experience on the lake, that I know which pairs are more successful gatherers and those more likely to return with whole fish.


Join me next April for my Ospreys Galore Workshop on Lake Blue Cypress in Florida. CLICK HERE to learn more and sign-up.

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.
Friday
Mar302018

Bald Eagle FLY FISHING a la Sony a9

American Bald Eagle FLY FISHING (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.

No matter what your level of experience you can learn from Chris!

I have been a registered NPS Nikon Pro for years and am now a registered Canon CPS pro photographer.  I have had the privilege of photographing wildlife and landscape for years.  When I found Chris’ web site I was super impressed with the quality of images so I signed up for his Homer Alaska eagle trip for early March 2017.

Chris has a wonderful warm personality whom cares about his fellow photographers on his trips.  I learned additional trips and traps from him and he assisted my conversion knowledge from Nikon to Canon gear.  His help was thoughtful, accurate and delivered in a manner that assists one getting the very best of images.  His approach to using manual exposure is brilliant and one that any bird photographer should embrace for improved outcomes.  He also very focused on the important light directions which can make or break your image outcomes.  If you travel the London England underground tube system you cannot get the safety message “mind the gap” off your mind – when you travel with Chris you will now have the message in your mind “mind the shadow direction”.  The techniques and tools Chris instills will serve you well in all your photographic moments.      

I came home from this trip with stunning images that are impressive!  Chris makes his duty that you obtain the type of images you hoped to achieve.  Wildlife is unpredictable but Chris will assist you going home with more than you thought possible.  His knowledge of the photo industry is very deep.  You will find you will enjoy the fireside chats, learn from every moment, and enjoy his company.  

Chris also spends considerable time on scene to ensure that his location he determines for his photo workshop choices provide the photo opportunities you want.   His pre-trip information is one of the best I have experienced for assisting your planning to the very smallest detail.  I have already booked my next trip with Chris which confirms he is truly a person that you should meet and create wonderful images together.

Wynne Powell - British Columbia, Canada

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
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.
Sunday
Jan282018

Northern Gannet a la Sony a9

Northern Gannet BOUQUET (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS  @176mm. ISO 640 f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Northern Gannet from a rare opportunity to photograph alone on Bonaventure Island while I was testing the new Sony a9 mirroless camera with the new Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS lens. I was blessed with a cloudy bright day, which is my absolute favorite lighting for my all-time favorite bird photography place where I have spent more than a year of my life since falling in love with the Gannets there! (If you were to add up all of the days spent teaching workshops there over the years).

I still have a couple of spots available for my June 5-7, 2018 Gannets Galore workshop there. Read more about the workshop I host there every year HERE.

Saturday
Jan272018

Bald Eagle a la Sony a9

Bald Eagle JUVINILE Landing on Lake Ontario Ice (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Lake Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS  @371mm. ISO 2,500 f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Juvinile Bald Eagle that we photographed while waiting for a ferry during last week's Winter Owl Workshop. We were trying for Mergansers in flight as they would congregate in the chanel that the ferry had carved through the ice. It looked like the Eagle would land on the dock beside us, but ended-up landing below the dock on a dead duck that it must have been snaking on before being scared away from by the previous ferry.

Bald Eagle Workshop update

It's not too late to join me for my Bald Eagle Workshop. I have just had another cancellation for the March 5-9, 2018 slot in Homer, Alaska due to illness. Find out more about my Eagles Galore Workshop HERE.

Thursday
Jan252018

Wood Duck Drake

Wood Duck Drake (Aix sponsa, Canard Bronchu, WODU) Tingley Ponds Albuquerque, NM, USA. 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 1,600 f/8 @ 1/1,600s Manual exposure mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Here's a Drake (Male) Wood Duck from my recent Better Than Bosque Workshop last December. Aside from the usual suspects (Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese), the variety and number of ducks were a huge hit with everyone on the trip. I spent a lot of time with the Sony a9 and the 1.4X and 2X on the 100-400mm G Master lens and love the results with incredible detail.

Q&A:

Hi Chris-  I am also a friend of Rob P living in Colorado.  Switching to Sony from Canon. Had most canon lenses from 16-35 to 500mm.  Shot with 1dMk4 and 7d2 for wildlife. Just getting used to settings on the Sony. Today was shooting with the a7riii, 100-400 sony with 1.4 converter. Photographing a soaring red tail hawk in manual settings,  auto iso, 25oo sec., 6.3 in zone focus mode.  I use back button focus and locked on to Hawk but all of the images were not sharp.  With my canon 7d2 and 100-400 II every image would have been sharp.  What am I doing wrong?  Can't believe some images were sharp and some soft in a continuous burst.  Rob said you may be able to help.  I have a couple photo trips coming up in January and February and am leery on the sony setup.  Have not sold my canon gear yet...Thanks, Bob K
Hey Bob,
A careful read of your question leads me to suspect a few reasons for your soft images:
1. Crop vs. Full Frame: You were using crop sensor cameras, but have switched to a full-frame camera with the 1.4X extender. Instead of the in camera crop with the shorter focal length, you are now hand-holding a longer lens on a full-frame camera to acheive the same "reach". This requires much more care.
2.  Shutter Speed: While I don't doubt that you got a lot of keepers with your crop sensor camera and 1/2,500s, I strive to work at 1/5,000s for flight photography. In the past, most would agree that 1/focal length to be sufficient shutter speed for sharp images (1/500s when using 500mm). In my experience, the resolving power of modern lenses and sensors requires around ten times that to ensure razor sharp images.
3. Focus Mode: I seem to be using Centre Spot Lock-on most of the time for birds in flight with my Sony Cameras.
4. Back Button Focus: There are some ergonomic differences between your old and new cameras; perhaps button size, placement and the amount of pressure it needs to be kept pressed continuously. I have never been a fan of Back Button Focus, because it is simply too easy to make a mistake and release a little pressure from your thumb. Back Button Focus is also near impossible in sub-zero temperatures. Consider assigning focus back to the old fashioned shutter button.
Hope this helps!
Chris