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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds


Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too


He genuinely wants his participants to go home with the best and most varied images possible

Since I first met Chris he has been telling me I should go with him and photograph the Northern Gannets on Bonaventure Island.  He knows I love to capture behavior and there, you are surrounded by the many behaviors of the gannets as they go about their daily lives.
 Chris is super organized and extremely well prepared!  He knows what lenses and flash combinations are needed to maximize your opportunities.  He genuinely wants his participants to go home with the best and most varied images possible. His early morning zodiac trips aren’t available through anyone else. 
Lots of people, me included, dislike bad weather but Chris relishes it!  The more dramatic the better for photography!  Gannets in rain, fog, drizzle and sun, too.  Eagles at Homer in the rain!  Snowy Owls in white snowy haze!  Hey, there’s going to be a big snowstorm!  Why don’t you leave now and meet us for some great photo ops!  He is ever enthusiastic and helpful. He inspires everyone to do their best and he knows the greatest places to eat, too!
 Thanks, Chris!!!!

Eleanor Kee Wellman  Balla, Ontario, Canada


Believe me, if you took such a workshop with Chris you wouldn't regret it!

I just returned from attending my first workshop, my first time in “the Gaspé” and my first experience with shooting birds in flight and I thought I’d share a bit about the experience…
The Gannets Galore workshop was given by Christopher Dodds who is often referred to as one of the very best nature photographers in Canada. We were going to spend three days shooting Gannets on L’Ile Bonaventure, Québec (about 30 minutes off the Percé harbour and close to the famous Percé Rock). The Island is a protected habitat for Gannets and access to the Island is only allowed when the Parks Canada staff are there from about 9am to 5pm.
 It’s a long uphill climb from the wharf to the top where the birds are, and Park staff say most people take about 45 minutes to an hour. Chris and I made it in about 30 minutes the first day (and got it down to about 25 minutes the following days but if he wanted to, I’m sure Chris could do it in 15!). We could hear the Gannets long before we got to the top and the first view of them – literally thousands and thousands of them – was breathtaking. The unofficial current estimate is at over 500,000 Gannets, now making this the largest colony in the world!
 I can't speak highly enough about the experience of shooting with Chris Dodds. Chris is absolutely amazing. He's got tremendous experience and a great eye. The whole experience was way better than my expectations. He’s a far better photographer and workshop leader than I expected. Not only does he produce incredible work, he has the technical knowledge and experience to make this a really worthwhile learning experience. And he gives what is truly a “workshop”, in that he gives constant tips and coaching to make sure all participants are learning (no matter what their experience is or how stubborn and set in their ways they might be – like myself). He doesn’t just lead you to a subject (as many other workshops do), but he gives all the technical support and training you could wish for; he makes sure you are learning the photo techniques needed to improve.

Chris and I knocked heads quite a bit those first days (he was right – I was wrong) as he stuck with trying to get me to improve and get out of my comfortable rut. 
I liked those three days (and the one pre-workshop day) so much that I decided to stay for a second three-day workshop and luckily Chris still had a spot available. Not only that, but I’m certainly going to return to shoot those Gannets again, hopefully with Chris. In fact I’d love to take any workshop Chris was leading.
 We were shooting ALL day... from the time we got to the top until we had to leave. There was absolutely no shortage of birds or birds in flight and that's unlike any other avian photography venue in the world from what everyone was saying. Elsewhere you only have a few hours to shoot and then the birds are gone. We were always the first ones on the Island (with the Park staff) and the last ones to leave (again with the staff).
 Chris is so well known there (and so highly regarded) that he and his group were certainly given privileges and access that someone on their own wouldn't get. If (I should say when) I do this again, I'm going to do it with Chris on one of his workshops.
 And with Chris, everything was organized for us including lunches; access and transportation to the island, accommodations and of course the great training. I wouldn't do it any other way.

 Believe me, if you took such a workshop with Chris you wouldn't regret it! And his repeat clients (of which there were many in both the 3-day workshops I attended) had nothing but raves for him.

 An absolutely fabulous time!

Eldor Gemst  Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Thanks so much for being such a great naturalist, photographer and trip leader

I wanted to thank you for a wonderful winter owling workshop last week.  It was great to be in the field with you and I learned a great deal about the birds, environment and my camera.  Thanks so much for being such a great naturalist, photographer and trip leader.  I will go on another trip with you in the future.

Lynda Goff
(Professor Emeritus Ecology & Evolutionary Biology UC Santa Cruz) Santa Cruz, California, USA


Thanks for a truly remarkable photographic experience on both land and water!

Thanks for a truly remarkable photographic experience on both land and water! The Zodiac rides were a wonderful way to spend the early mornings during your Gannets Galore Photo Tour. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the birds and the seals. The nonstop action at the Gannet colony provided countless photo opportunities every second. Now I can see how you can still find it interesting and challenging even after visiting the island over 350 times. Your extensive experience photographing at the colony meant that we always knew where the best opportunities were at any given time as the wind and weather constantly changed throughout the day. And your excellent tips on exposure, technique, composition, and use of flash allowed us to take advantage of those opportunities and capture some wonderful images.
 On a logistical note, your fluency in French also proved invaluable at many points during the trip when you came to the rescue of us dumbfounded English speakers. 
Hope to see you again soon, maybe even on a June trip back to Bonaventure!

Mike Milicia Boston | MA | USA


Your instruction is the best I've experience in taking these kinds of trips

Chris, Thanks for another great photo adventure to Alaska during your Eagles of Alaska photograpic Expedition!!!!!!
This is the third trip with you and they keep getting better. Always challenging. Always easy-going. Always taking my photography forward. (Take a look at my site for a few new pictures from Alaska.) Your instruction is the best I've experience in taking these kinds of trips. You always seem to know where to put us in the absolute best place. Top Notch!!!! Can't wait till the next one.....wherever that might be. Thanks again!!!!!!!  

Jeff Moore Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA


Your enthusiasm and joy of photography is contagious

Thank you for the wonderful time we had at your “Gannet Galore” Workshop! As always, we came away with some “awesome” pictures and expanded our knowledge not only about photography but the birds as well. We were fortunate to have a variation of the weather (fog, rain, sun, & cloudy), which presented us with a new learning experience daily also challenged us to think about what we had learned and apply it accordingly. The differences in the photos were a testimony to your ability to teach us how to use variation in shutter speed, exposure and composition. Even though we tried your patience on occasion, we swear we learned to "keep it to the right" and trust the histogram. Those “crazy birds on the rock” were so much fun to watch, it was easy to forget to take pictures. Your enthusiasm and joy of photography is contagious, making the workshop extremely fun. 
We look forward to spending time with you again at another workshop in the near future. Thanks for the great experience; it is one we will remember for a long time. 
Thanks again!!

The Texas Zoomers (aka Rick and Melody Curtis) Flower Mound, Texas, USA


You gave me confidence to explore new photography methods

Thank you for a great experience on your Gannets Galore Workshop. Even though I have been photographing birds and mammals seriously for the last 6 years and have had many photos published in national and regional magazines and calendars, I still picked up some valuable skills by photographing with you. You gave me confidence to explore new photography methods, which I have already put to use. As a result, I am able to get photos now that I would not have tried before. 
Bonaventure Island is a truly remarkable location for bird photography and observation. I thoroughly enjoyed the Gannets and other pelagic species. All three days were full of non-stop action, giving me plenty of opportunity to practice my skills; new and old. 
I also want to thank you for your hospitality. I had a great time in the Perce’ area and credit that to you. I admire the respect you give to the park service employees. As a result, they treated all of us very kindly. A trip to Bonaventure Island alone would not have yielded near the number of quality images that I was able to take while participating in your workshop. Thank you for your leadership, advice, tips, and hospitality.
 Best wishes and please stay in touch.

Stan Buman Carroll, Iowa USA


learned a great deal

Thank you for all of your assistance prior to, during and after the workshop. I can safely say that both Nick and I enjoyed it, learned a great deal and continued to use the lessons in our photographic journeys (most recently to Grand Manan Island where we meet up with Roger Burrows, author of several books on birding). Our next trip is to Newfoundland where we hope to use the lessons to improve our bird photography. After that we may have to take it easy for a while but with us, it is pretty spontaneous and Bonaventure may or may not happen this year. 
Again, thank you for introducing us to the wonderful world of photographing warblers

Tuma Young & Nicolaas Honig Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


My workshop experience was better that I had anticipated (and I had expected it to be a great experience)

...I am a reasonably good nature photographer, and have always been interested in macro photography (especially flowers). I enrolled in this workshop to learn bird photography because many of my previous attempts at bird photography have been less than satisfactory. I found Chris to be extremely knowledgeable about the area, the birds, and photography techniques but also enthusiastic about photography and about helping the workshop participants to improve their individual photographic skills. I needed help with using flash, and Chris was able to make suggestions which are helping me to use flash with much more confidence. He was always offering suggestions to help me with my photography. He knew what I needed, because he asked what I wanted to get from the workshop. After this workshop, I also have much greater confidence in using the histogram in the field to evaluate my exposures. This area of improvement in addition to the improvement with using flash will help my photography going forward.
 I was amazed at the non-stop action of the birds flying all day and the endless possibilities of photographing birds flying, landing, and taking off. Chris recognized changes in the direction of the wind and he was able to have us move to a better vantage point for better photo possibilities. There were some vantage points on the ground where the nesting birds were no more than 10-12 feet from the board walk (and sometimes much closer). Because of this, there was ample opportunity to photograph the birds with moderate telephoto lenses. 
Chris has been to this area many times and the people know him well. The people of the area like him and as members of his group, the people were very friendly to the workshop participants. Chris has arranged nice accommodations and was able to suggest good restaurants for our evening meals. The day started early but Chris was able to offer a variety of photo opportunities from daylight to sundown. I was very pleased with the images I was able to make on the second day when it was cloudy with a light rain for much of the day. I will have more confidence in the future about the possibility of photographing on rainy days.
 Above all, I had fun at this workshop. I enjoyed talking to Chris about all sorts of his previous experiences, and he was interested in the experiences of the workshop participants. I would recommend Chris as a workshop leader and look forward to being a "student" in one or more of his future workshops. My workshop experience was better that I had anticipated (and I had expected it to be a great experience).

Dennis Stone Columbus, Indiana, USA


Stan Buman Top 10 reasons to join Chris Dodds Workshop

I joined Chris for the Gannets Galore Workshop in June. It was a great learning experience and a wonderful three days. Here are the top ten reasons why I would recommend attending a workshop with Chris.

1. Chris knows the workshop locations and subjects. He has been to the Northern Gannet colony over 375 times, giving him intimate knowledge of the island and bird behavior. All professional wildlife photographers will tell you that knowledge of the subject is crucial for obtaining quality images.

2. With this knowledge, he works hard to put you in the right place by constantly monitoring weather conditions (such as wind direction) and bird activity.

3. Chris is respectful of, and well respected by, the Park Service employees. He treats them well and they treat him well.

4. The Gannets Galore Workshop is more than just photographing on the island. Photography from the Zodiac boat adds a whole new dimension to the diversity of images and bird species.

5. While birds are his primary focus, he is willing to photograph other subjects; Gray Seals come to mind.

6. He is a good birder. It isn’t just all about Gannets.

7. Being a top-notch photographer, Chris knows what it takes to get great images. He is willing to share his knowledge with his participants.

8. I am a better bird photographer because of Chris. Leading by example, he challenged me to work harder on my skills and work outside my comfort zone.

9. For those of you who live to eat, Chris will make sure you are well fed (quality and quantity). I eat to live but think I gained weight on this trip.

10. His ability to speak French comes in handy for us ignorant Americans who never learned to speak anything but English.

Stan Buman Carroll, Iowa, USA


I was totally blown away

On the morning of June 14, my 62nd birthday, we took the ferry to Bonaventure Island and made the 1.8 mile walk up the big hill. I had been a bit worried about making that walk up and down for five straight days, but Chris was right: “Take it slow and it is an easy walk.” When we arrived at the gannetry, I was totally blown away. So so many birds at arms length. Dozens, even hundreds of gannets in the air at all times, many carrying huge loads of nesting material, many landing just yards away. That day, the photographic action was nonstop, but it was not a birthday present, for the succeeding four days were equally exciting. And as each day came and went, I visualized and created many new and different images. I felt like a painter locked in a huge warehouse with hundreds of blank canvases and an unlimited supply of paints. I was in bird photographer’s heaven.
That evening Chris and I met the five remaining members of the group. Weather permitting, we planned to spend four hours in a large Zodiac photographing the gannetry and the cliffs from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Though it was rough on the two mornings that we went out very early, we had some great flight and scenic opportunities. Then the skipper of the Zodiac, would drop us of on the island and we would make the climb to the birds.

I have been to Antarctica. I have been to Kenya. I have been to Tanzania. And I have been going to Bosque for the past 13 years. All of those places offer great photographic opportunities. But no place that I have been has ever offered as consistent and spectacular action as Bonaventure during Chris Dodds' Gannets Galore Workshop

Chris is an excellent photographer and a skilled teacher. Chris is a passionate and caring leader as well as an excellent leader and an all around nice man.

Arthur Morris Indian Lake Estates, Florida, USA


Chris Dodds cared about making sure everyone was learning engaged and getting the most out of the trip

I was impressed on how much Chris cared about making sure everyone was learning, engaged, and getting the most out of the trip. I look forward to my next workshop with Chris!

Michael Lyncheski Gladstone, New Jersey, USA


Chris Dodds has an engaging presentation style

At our April monthly meeting we invited Christopher Dodds to gave a presentation on bird photography. There were about 60 people in attendance including numerous of our membership interested in bird photography. 
It was evident very quickly that Chris has a complete command of his profession. He is clearly a gifted photographer, with an artistic eye, and considerable knowledge and interest in birds. He used his superb photography, detailed discussion of his photographic technques in obtaining his shots, and his engaging presentation style to gain the attention of all the audience, photographer and non-photographer alike. The crowd that gathered around him to ask questions after his presentation is testament as to how well it was received. I even had two people email me after about how much they liked his presentation, which is an unusual occurance. I heartily recommend Chris Dodds to other organizations looking for a speaker on photography or nature photography.

Jeff Harrison (Vice-President, Bird Protection Quebec) Montreal, Quebec, Canada


We had a phenomenal time

Thank you so much for wonderful time we had in Homer, AK during your Eagles of Homer Workshop. Both Rick and I are so excited about learning "M" (manual). We have attended several other photo workshops lead by others but did not learn as much as we did in the 6 days under your guidance in Homer. We came home with some outstanding photos, so many more than we thought possible. We had a phenomenal time and hope to do another workshop with you in the near future.

Melody & Rick Curtis Flower Mound, Texas, USA


The instruction was top notch

Chris Dodds' Nothern Gannet Workshop on Bonaventure Island was a trip of a lifetime. The workshop was amazing. The scenery was awesome and the people were fabulous. Chris Dodds knowledge of our subjects was expansive. The instruction was top notch, We were given so many opportunities to explore and learn the aspects of shooting pictures under conditions that allowed us to work with light, speed and movement.
 There were so many aspects of photography I had never paid much attention too but Chris incorporated them in my experience effortlessly, patiently and with the understanding what is necessary to accomplish beautiful and professional photographs. Chris is thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and very personable.

Marla Moore Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA


Chris Dodds is everything I could ask for in a workshop leader

Chris is everything I could ask for in a workshop leader. He is patient, accommodating, and knowledgeable, both about photography and birds. I learned a lot and took hundreds of great pictures that would not have been possible without Chris' instruction and experience. Aside from being a great teacher and leader, Chris is an all-around great guy and a pleasure to spend time with.
 Bonaventure Island itself is spectacular, and the Zodiac trips around the island in the morning are incredible experiences, both photographically and visually, in part because this is the only way to see and photograph gannets in morning light, since the island is inaccessible until 9AM. Chris knows the place backwards and forwards, and always knew where the best photography experiences would be under a variety of conditions - an important resource to have on an island containing several large colonies. 
In short, if you're on the fence about going, do it! Chris' Gannets Galore Workshop truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Matthew Barr Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA


You are an excellent professor of the art

Now in September, with the images of our Northern Gannet workshop processed and filed, I want to thank you for your outstanding planning and execution of the our adventure/trek/shoot on Bonaventure Island this summer. It was a pleasure to be your customer/client.
 Your execution provided an experience to make it one of the two best that I have been a part of in my many years of summer shoots. Given the uncertainties of rain, tides, winds, and clouds, you exploited so well every opportunity that came our way. On these trips the purpose is to get good looks at the birds. The some 3,100 exposures that I came home with were solid evidence that I got the looks at this magnificent gannet I was hoping for ---I netted many quality images. Good stuff now in the files. 
Our housing was just what we want: accessible, comfortable, clean and a good buy. The schedule was chock full, we did not have avoidable down minutes, and we squeezed all of the looks available to us out of the time and conditions available. The access to an ATV to tote our gear from the dock to the colony, for a guy of my age, was a real plus and that comes about only with your obvious advance work and solid relationships with the park folks.
 The trip on the water to the far side of the island was a highlight for me and shows best your foresight and planning to get us in not otherwise available, shooting positions. That was unique time, extraordinary. 
But most of all, Chris, your ever-present availability to be immediately responsive to our technical photographic and logistical questions makes this trip so exceptional. So many of the shoot producers put themselves above and before the client-photographer and are spending more time getting their own shots or just not being around when you need their advice. You stay available to provide professional guidance to the guys and gals paying for the experience. I observed that no question is too mundane; you patiently helped the rookies, just as you did the most advanced. Personally, I improved my techniques and banked a good range of knowledge, thanks to you. 

My summary: You are an excellent professor of the art, a solid expedition planner, a constant steward of the details, and a good guy with whom to spend days on a trek. 
I'm very interested in getting some Spring/nesting shots of that Atlantic Puffin. If you put together such a trip, please let me know. 
I look forward to another shoot with the unique Dodds' touch. 
Continued success to you, with all best wishes,

Andy Hays Chicago, Illinois, USA


You always had us in the best spots regardless of the weather

I really enjoyed the Bonaventure Island Workshop. You always had us in the best spots regardless of the weather. Your tips on flash for high key shots and postprocessing of the shots were really helpful. The Zodiac trips before going onto the island were very interesting and fun. Diving Gannets are definately a challenge to capture! .......... I look forward to doing more trips with you to further improve my skills and add to my portfolio.

John Dupps Middletown, Ohio, USA


Chris Dodds is a terrific teacher

If you want a really fun adventure as well as a great learning opportunity, you must visit Bonaventure Island with Chris Dodds and sign-up for his Bonaventure Island Photographic Expedition. Perce, the island and its surroundings are beautiful; every day was a wonderful surprise. It’s amazing how different everything looks with the changes in the weather and that’s something that’s guaranteed; the weather will vary, sometimes from one minute to the next. Gannets are amazing birds to watch and photograph. They can go from looking really graceful to really goofy and everything in between. The time spent in the Zodiac was fabulous, a real challenge photographically speaking. Lastly, Chris Dodds is a terrific teacher. He was patient, informative and really concerned with the participants’ well being. He made sure everyone’s questions were answered and that we were all having a good time. He’s a true gentleman and lots of fun to be with. I learned a lot from him in a very short time by asking lots of questions and simply watching what he does. L’Isle de la Bon Aventure is just that, a truly magical place and seeing it with someone who is truly at home there was a plus. A word of warning: if you go make sure you schedule vacation time for after the vacation, Chris packs a lot of activity into a very short time-you’ll be exhausted, but it will be a happy exhausted.

Jacqueline Leader Miami Lake, Florida, USA


I found the workshop very educational

I want to thank you for the photography workshop you led to Ile Bonaventure, an area of Canada I probably would have never visited and for the opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of the other photographers that attended. I found the workshop very educational. It catered to all levels of photographers. You managed to spend quality time with everyone helping us learn from your experiences as a bird photographer. I learned how to properly use my handheld light meter, how to improve my flash photography and that you can shoot in rain and fog with excellent results. Once we got inside you had a very interesting guest speaker and on the other nights during the Photoshop tutorials, you changed me from a lazy user to a more skilled user without taking up much more time on the computer. The accommodations you arranged and your dining suggestions were wonderful. Overall I would say that I would be happy to attend your workshops whenever I get a chance to do so.
Keep up the good work. 

John Zimmerman (President Montreal Camera Club) Montreal, Quebec, Canada