Razorbill at sea in The Gulf of Saint Lawrence (Alca troda, petit pingouin, RAZO) Bonaventure Island, Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS-1D MKIV, 800mm F5.6 L IS, Tripod & Jobu Jr. 3. ISO 500, f/5.6 @1/2,000s Manual mode. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION. This one from my Gannets Galore and so much more workshop CHECK IT OUT HERE.
How to choose a workshop leader
Making decisions about photographic travel is no easy matter; there are more, and more, photographers offering photographic workshops, photo safaris, instructional photo tours and photo tours than ever before. As a consumer, you need to be sure that you are signing-on with a photographer that can create amazing images and has the ability to help YOU learn how to!
I recently spent time reviewing offerings from other photographers. One had two average images, had written a book about how good he and his images were and felt the need to emphasize that he had been leading the same trip for over five years. His testimonials all looked similar and were all written by people who had only first names. I was shocked to see the trip listed as sold-out!
Another said he didn't take a single image during a workshop, instead he made sure that his clients got all of the shots. A quick visit to his blog left me quite puzzled after seeing all of his image from a recent workshop! I find it quite hard to imagine a photographer who could lead you to making extraordinary images without a camera in his or her hand. In my opinion, it's about balance; leading and inspiring by example.
When choosing where to go and who to go with, please be sure to spend some time reviewing the tour leader's images; are they world class, impressive and filled with visual impact? Are they the images you dream of making? Invest the time to read client testimonials (be sure they are written by real people with real names and are from real places) and try to get a flavour for the type of personality you will sign-on with; does the leader have a huge ego? Do they feel the need to constantly tell you how bad other leaders are? or why you shouldn't sign-up with anyone but them or their "friends" who pay them for advertising or "certification"? I'm not going to write a sermon here about why to choose my safari/workshops - I never have and I never will; instead, I'll let others tell you all about it on my testimonial page.
From my Moose and Fall Colors Workshop Safari: "I recently participated in the Moose and Fall Colors of Maine workshop/safari led by Chris Dodds. The photo safari was in Baxter State Park, Maine. Throughout my time with Chris during the workshop I came to appreciate several things.
Chris has been doing this workshop for years. He has developed a rapport with local business owners. This rapport makes the stay for participants much easier. Whether it was topping off the ice in our coolers at night just before closing, making sandwiches for the next day’s lunch, or allowing for a late checkout, the people at our hotel were very helpful and accommodating.
The second thing that struck me was how much Chris new about the area. Baxter State Park is a 200,000 acre wilderness area. Chris has come to know the area like a local guide or woodsman would. He takes people to different locations to provide them with the very best photo opportunities.
Another thing I appreciated about the workshop was Chris’ instructional ability. I have taken workshops from different people over the last few years and I found Chris to be very approachable and easy to talk with. He has an ability to explain complex subjects in an easy and understandable way. He also is sincerely interested that people understand his instruction and feel comfortable implementing the newfound knowledge in the field.
I look forward to my next photo workshop/safari with Chris."
From my second annual Photo Geek Christmas Party: "Your talk yesterday evening in Hudson was amazing! I belong to the MCC and I often do photography for le Nichoir and volunteer my time and artwork for the wild birds whenever I can. I was truly, greatly inspired and motivated by your images. (As were others judging by all the ooooohs and ahhhhs!) I have been to many photography conferences and workshops and I have never seen a crowd so awed and moved! It was beautiful to see.... You have a great handle on the technical aspects as well as offering creative and unique ways of looking at animals. Some of my favorite shots yesterday were ones of the more common birds and animals posed in unique ways that we are not used to seeing them: like the v shaped wings goose shot, or even the Gannet looking straight up (very different.) These are why a talk like that is great. I recognized two shots from National Geographic: one of the snowy owl and one of the puffin shots, but seeing some of your more abstract framing and images was really a treat. The ultra sharp close up of the Gannet eye was also incredibly striking."