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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

Christopher Dodds Nature Photographer | Promote Your Page Too

Monday
May272013

Chris Dodds photographic knowledge was immense and his instruction was never intimidating

My wife Marla and I attended Chris Dodds' Gannets Galore photo workshop on Bonaventure Island, Quebec in August. We both found it a tremendous advancement for our photographic skills and vision. We felt Chris’ knowledge of both the wildlife and the area was supreme, always looking for the perfect spot and technique to make better images. His photographic knowledge was immense and his instruction was never intimidating.
 Always cheerful, Chris kept a constant vigil to satisfy the group as well as providing personal attention along the way. I don’t believe anyone felt shorted either way. He put us in front of so many unique situations. As a result, my wife (even with an awkward arm cast) and I shot the most remarkable nature photos of our lives.
 The workshop was intense but the atmosphere was always kind, low-key and generous. At the end of the last day, we felt we had witnessed one of the great places on earth, accomplished something remarkable photographically and gained a friend in the process. Well done, Chris.

Jeff Moore Arlington Heights, Illinois , USA

Monday
May272013

The best photographic event that any of us had ever experienced

Thank you for a magnificent workshop on Bonaventure Island. Your efforts on our behalf were nothing short of heroic. I don't know where you get your energy, from Sun up to long after it set, you were working to make this the best photographic event that any of us had ever experienced, and you succeeded. Bonaventure Island is a photographers paradise, I have never returned from a workshop with so many 'Portfolio shots. If all your endeavors as fruitful, can't wait to get my lens on those Snowy Owls this winter.............

I had a heck of a good time doing what I love, thanks to you.

Malcolm MacKenzie West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Monday
May272013

An experience I will never forget

In June, I decided to sign up for a photo workshop with Christopher Dodds, one of the best photographers according to a friend of mine who met Chris a few months earlier.
I'm a Software Engineer and photography is my passion. This is how I spend all of my spare time. Over the years, I have learned a lot about wildlife photography but I wanted to improve my techniques, especially with flying birds with different and changing backgrounds. Also, my skills were not growing at a fast enough pace.
This workshop held on beautiful Bonaventure Island in August 2007, was my first, and will remain an experience I will never forget. Chris was such a kind person, an amazing teacher with great photo skills. The other students were also amazingly friendly. This workshop offered me more than I expected. I learned how to shoot birds in flight with, or without, sunlight. I learned all about the camera settings to get the most out of my shooting and the techniques that will make my photos look better.
A highlight was learning all about using an incident light meter and shooting in manual mode to greatly increase my keeper rate. Chris is a superb teacher, who knows how to explain complex techniques to regular people. I realized how serious he was about photography and how much he wanted us to improve the quality of our photographs. He taught us about bird behaviour and how to use it to make the best photos possible. Overall, this workshop was a well-organized trip, and a successful photographic experience. Chris answered all my questions and I feel I have achieved a level of experience I had never expected in my life. What an awesome experience!


Gilles Archambault Québec City, Quebec, Canada

Monday
May272013

Great presentation last night

Dear Chris, Just a few words to warmly thank you again for a great presentation last night. Your images are simply the best bird photography around these days and we thank you for sharing them. You are really taking bird action photography to another level. Yes, digital technology has helped us photographers shoot better action imagery but your images are simply exceptional.

I spend a lot of time myself trying and I was blown away by the quality of your material. I was particularly impressed by the breadth and depth of your collection but also by the luminosity of your images which always look bright but also always perfectly exposed, even in bad weather....

While I have just recently met you, I can also commend you for being a very good teacher and for being a real gentleman. I am sure that you are very successful with your workshops because you seem to bring the right skills: no arrogance, engaging personality, solid knowledge and an emphasis on hard work. On behalf of the Lakeshore Camera Club, Looking forward to meet you again, in the field or at the Guggenheim!


Vincent Lamoureux Montreal, QC, Canada

Monday
May272013

Extremely good teacher extremely patient and an outstanding photographer

Since I do bird photography, I was always fascinated with pictures of birds in flight! I looked at the Internet very often for tips and tricks on how to perform this and have good decent results. I visited lots of different web sites to inquire about this and tried to practice it in the field. Obviously the results were not in my range of satisfaction, as I’m very picky about the pictures that I take and show to other people; I then talk to Chris about a workshop that he would do in Quebec at Bonaventure Island, the paradise of Northern Gannets; Gannets Galore Photo Workshop on Bonaventure Island. In fact, the colony there is the second biggest colony of Northern Gannet on the planet! So, lots of opportunity to learn about birds in flight! So, after some discussion with Chris, I did register for the workshop! In the meantime, I personally continued to try to shoot all kind of birds in flight (Gulls, Ducks) without ANY success! Pictures were out of focus and it was very easy to cut wings, half of the bird and so on.

As close as we were to the workshop date, I was getting excited that I would FINALLY learn HOW TO PERFORM BIRDS IN FLIGHT pictures! Then the date arrived! We did travel the whole day my partner and me to get there; what a magnificent place it is! On the first evening, Chris introduced all of us and showed us which type of pictures we could take on site. Of course, I looked at those thrilled that I would be able, only after 3 days, to get out of there with such a work!

Then, we met the first morning at 4:45am for a 4 hours tour on a Zodiac boat! We were 7 photographers plus Chris and the Captain! Full of space on the boat! The first lesson was one that I already knew but stopped practicing when I switched to digital: manual reading of the incident light with a manual light meter! I was a little bit confused as I thought that digital would do it well for me! I was obviously wrong because, since then, I’m only shooting in manual mode; come back to my old slide film days and my pictures gained in light quality and colors! Manual light meter measurement is THE KEY for details in the shadows and clean and not peaked whites!

The first day was a FREE FOR ALL SHOOTING! Chris told us to shoot whatever we saw flying in front and above us! The boat tour was scheduled every morning of the workshop so I didn’t really stress with this, as I’m not a shooter that will trigger the shutter for nothing. I’m patient and I waited for opportunities in sight. I really enjoyed this boat trip and it was better day after day for my shooting!

When we got on the island, we then climbed the 2.8km trail with our heavy load! I was so excited to get there that I was one of the first on site all morning! Didn’t want to miss ANY opportunities! I started to shoot the Gannets with my 70-200 and my D200 and was getting poor results as expected. So Chris took us all together and started to explain the theory of shooting birds in flight. Not only this, he also teaches us the behavior of that particular bird, as it was probably his 100th visit there! So, Chris knows very well the Gannet’s behavior. And, after listening his speech and looking at the birds in my camera, it started to make more sense and I was taking picture in a complete different way now! Knowing and predicting what the bird will do is the KEY for birds in flight!

I then started to get decent results on my sensor and some keepers were registered on the memory card the first day! In the evening, it was time to show our results after a nice dinner all together, discussing again photography! We also had some Photoshop tips and a critique of our work! It was a full day, from 4:00am to 10:30pm! How tired we were? Extremely tired but so happy about what we’ve just learned!

The other 2 days were much more productive for keepers as I was gaining experience with predicting the bird’s flying direction and better also following those in the camera! Practice and practice, that’s the goal of bird in flight photography. I did follow Chris’ advices about following the birds without taking any picture at all. That’s the SECRET! You can’t succeed without knowing how the bird flies, how the bird make a sharp turn and when, how the bird looks in the sky before take off, when is searching for his mate and so on.

Flash photography was also one of the topics well covered in the workshop. Chris spent time with each and every one of us teaching his knowledge about outside flash photography. He was patient, always expressed his needs to know if we were satisfied about what was covered, if we did miss something, if there was another topic that we’d like to talk about. That was the MOST marvelous and productive 3 days of shooting that I’ve ever had in my 30 years of experience in photography! Since the workshop, I did try Gulls in flight on the St-Lawrence River in Quebec and I got SUPERB results that I’m proud of! I would recommend Chris’ workshop to ANYBODY that is involved with bird photography; He’s an extremely good teacher, extremely patient and an outstanding photographer! Thanks Chris and see you soon!


Marc Martineau Rock Forest, Quebec, Canada

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