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Photography Workshops by Canon Northern Explorer of Light Christopher Dodds

 

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Entries in owl (14)

Thursday
Nov172016

An incredible leader and instructor

With health issues and possessing few skills in tracking birds in flight, I headed to Montreal with a good share of trepidation about having any success on the Winter Owl SafariChris Dodds is not only a master photographer, but I soon discovered that he is an incredible leader and instructor who is quick to give suggestions, share his vast knowledge and patiently answer any question.  As a result, I was successfully capturing more and more action shots each session as the days went by.  Chris went out of his way to make sure each one of his clients was safe and as comfortable as possible in the extreme conditions in which we were photographing.  Aware of my health issues, he was continually monitoring me to make sure that I wasn't over doing it.  Chris is fun to work with and is spoken very highly of by the landowners who he deals with, which in turn, makes many private tracts of land where the owls are located accessible to him and his groups.  He seemingly has an inexhaustible level of energy that ensures that his clients will have the most productive experience humanly possible.  Returning home with many stunning photographs and memories of such a delightful experience, I am looking forward to the time when I can do another one of Chris Dodd's workshops with great anticipation.

John Michael Fuller Duanesburg | NY

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.

Monday
Nov092015

Chris Dodds knows how to do a workshop

Chris Dodds knows how to do a workshop!


I had the pleasure of attending Chris' Snowy Owl Workshop this past January. To be honest, I did not know much about Chris before the trip. All I knew was the quality of his images on his website and that I wanted Snowy owl pictures. Needless to say, Chris met and exceeded my expectations. He goes over and above to get you in the right place at the right time to capture the best images possible. Having been on numerous workshops around the world with various leaders, I can say Chris worked harder than most..... He also made sure that we were in position to get a variety of images and not just 1000 photos of the same animal behavior. Chris knows his birds and what they are going to do next (as much as humanly possible). He teaches in a way that things make sense. I was getting frustrated with my photography before this trip. I was able to get great shots before the workshop but felt that the percentage of great shots to missed shots needed to be better. Chris explained ways to change a few of my bad habits in a way that no one else ever did. I have tried manual exposure in the past but never got comfortable with it but after a day or two with Chris it clicked in my mind and my images improved and percentage of keepers went up.
If you get a chance to go on a workshop with Chris I would highly recommend it. I know I will again.


Rick Susi  Orlando, FL, USA

Thursday
Oct292015

Chris is an amazing photographer who taught our group to use manual setting and fully explain the technical aspects of our cameras

I'm happy to say I survived  Africa and now I survived the bitter cold and wind of Ontario. Once I saw the movie the "Big Year"  the Snowy Owl went to the top of my bucket list. There was only one photographer who combined excellence and instruction that I wanted to help me achieve capturing the Snowy Owl; Chris Dodds. Chris is an amazing photographer who taught our group to use manual setting and fully explain the technical aspects of our cameras(we were all Nikon users & Chris is a Canon guy). Chris made sure we were all in the position to capture a great image and he constantly was helping us and reviewing our skill set and lack of skill set. I was able to get a lot of great images and fully understand photography at a professional level. I am now a better photographer.. His preparation for his workshop was the best I have been part of. The small group workshop allowed Chris to spend individual time with each of us and that was the real bonus. If you want to capture great images and learn from a master photographer there is no one better in my opinion. The workshop and the accommodations were great. I look forward to my next outing with Chris.


Carl Bilancione (Survivor Africa contestant) Winter Park, Florida

Monday
Mar312014

The model for a highly successful experience

Winter owl photography was near the top of my bucket list.  My research kept ending up with one name, Christopher Dodds.  I had participated in nine previous field instructional photo tours throughout the USA, Canada, Japan and the Falklands with six different professional photographers all of which were excellent but this one was a cut above.

The best field photography instructors are professionals, formally trained in photography and have extensive experience in studio work as well as other areas.  Chris Dodds comes with those credentials and 20 plus years as an outdoor photographer and is a sub specialist in winter owl photographyHe understands and teaches from the basics to the most advanced science and technical knowledge in the field.

Beyond the photography Chris’ Owl Prowl stands out as the model for a highly successful experience.  After 20 plus years of developing relationships and infrastructure his photo tours are characterized by superb organization, logistic, transportation, and communication.  We stayed on schedule at a relaxed pace and he was always mindful of our small group's personal safety during extreme weather conditions.

The return on my investment and expectations in Chris Dodds' Great Owl Prowl was excellent.  It's true! you get what you pay for.

CJ Hockett Vermont USA www.cjhockett.com

Monday
May272013

What a great trip! I was able to dramatically improve my flight shooting skills on the trip

Hi Chris,

Just a note to thank you for a great Bonaventure Island workshop. There certainly were Gannets Galore as promised.

 What a fun trip!   I really enjoyed shooting from the Zodiac on the water. The diving Northern Gannets with the amazing chocolate coloured reflections, the beautiful golden cliffs with nesting birds…. all breathtaking.

 The best part for me however was on the island, where I had the opportunity to shoot Gannet after Gannet in flight, taking off, landing and showing so many behaviours. I was able to dramatically improve my flight shooting skills on the trip. I would recommend this trip to anyone who would like to improve their flight shooting skills. 

Of course I came back with wonderful photographs.  Thanks for all you taught including the proper use of balanced and fill flash.

 What a great trip! Thanks again. I'm sure I will be traveling with you in the future.

Michael Gotthelf Fithburg, Massachusetts, USA

Monday
May272013

I felt that I really learned a great deal

I just wanted to thank you for the time we spent with you on your Snowy Winter Owl Workshop. I felt that I really learned a great deal that will be of benefit to me in the future. I was extremely pleased with my photographs and look forward to seeing you again. You pushed me outside my comfort zone in exposure and that elevated my images to a higher level!

James Whittle Great Falls, Montana, USA

Monday
May272013

Now I finally have the answers to so many questions

Talking to Chris before I signed-up for his famous owl workshop safari, he mentioned he has had many customers attend more than one workshop.  Now I understand why.  We had a small group, so there was plenty of time to really talk about many things and make sure everyone understood everything.  I’ve spent so much money and time on gear, books and “camera user guides”, but I still didn’t really understand the basic fundamental of exposure theory.  Before I left, I anticipated learning how to properly expose for snow, etc.  If you had dropped me off in front of one of the owls, I would not have been able to get the shots I wanted exposed properly.  What I didn’t realize was that I would finally learn how to evaluate the scene and determine the correct exposure, whatever the subject, situation, scene or light level.  Now I finally have the answers to so many questions ... I finally understand exposure theory!   I’m from Alabama, so an unexpected treat was to learn how to deal with the cold temperatures.  It got down to -9° F while we were there.  

As a testimonial, I most definitely plan to attend another workshop with Chris.  Now I’ve just got to decide where I want to go.

Rhett Gibson Auburn, Alabama, USA

Monday
May272013

The Shoot of a Lifetime!

This was our fourth Owl Safari with Chris Dodds and as usual he exceeded all our expectations! We know that nature photography is dependent on the presence of birds and over the years we’ve had a varied diet of owls. This year the great greys were epic! As usual Chris controlled the site (made sure we didn’t stress the birds, trample all over the snow), made sure we all had great vantage points and by his continual checking of our techniques and gentle suggestions we got the best pictures we’ve ever taken. Each time we go out with him (and this was our 13th trip) we learn something new and eliminate some of the not-so-good habits we have picked up on the way.
 
However the greatest advantage his trips have for us is that he customizes them to our physical abilities. We are getting pretty long in the tooth and are not as nimble as we were at 65, slower in walking, carrying our equipment and setting up. We have suffered on other workshops with other leaders by being the last to arrive at the shoot, the last to set up and subsequently the worst spot for photographing the birds. Chris scouts ahead but when at last we get there he makes sure the other photographers change positions and wait until we have got our pictures before moving on. Chris also knows how strenuous these workshops are and insists that we take time out to rest or nap. If we miss anything, and it does not happen often on a 5 day trip, he will do his utmost to ensure we have the same opportunity again.
 
And finally, if we tell him we would like to photograph a specific bird, he will find the best places to photograph it, bearing in mind that we don’t do long boat trips or hot weather, customize a special trip for us maybe with one other person, and then offer this trip as workshop the next year.
 
We both think he is the best bird photographer we have been out with, the best teacher, the most fun, and the most patient at dealing with all our quirks! We will continue going on his safaris until our health gives out.

Gill Arden & Bob Zarnke Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Monday
May272013

The experience and the results were more that I could have asked for

I recently attended the snowy owls workshop with Christopher Dodds and had an amazing experience.  Not only was I extremely impressed with Chris' knowledge and expertise in photography but also how he really cared about the shots we got.  He made sure that everyone in the groups had the shots they wanted and that we all experienced success. His knowledge of cameras and photography is phenomenal.  I have never met anyone who is a knowledgeable in photography as he is.  He was able to answer any and every question and always explained the reasons behind his recommendations to make sure we learned as much as possible.  The instruction didn't stop after shooting in the field.  I learned so much in the Photoshop and Nik Software post-processing session that took my photography to a whole other level.  The small group atmosphere was great as we were able to blend in with nature ensuring that the owls and other wildlife were not disturbed resulting in great shots every time.  Chris made sure each of us were able to develop our skills at our own pace.  The experience and the results were more that I could have asked for.  I would definitely recommend Christopher Dodds workshops to anyone who is looking to improve their photography skills and learn from a real pro.

Fred Lemire Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada

Monday
May272013



I would go back out with Chris in a heartbeat

I just returned from the Winter Snowy Owls photo tour. I had a fantastic time, and came away with great images. Chris proved himself to be indefatigable trip leader; he worked above and beyond to give us the best experience possible. For example, one morning we had car trouble (frozen hand brake cable), and within minutes he had rented a replacement car, transferred our gear and we were on site right on time. It was clear that the extra expense of the rental was not the slightest concern, he was just focused on getting us on the birds. 

This being a nature trip, there are some things beyond his control. Despite concerted effort, we could not locate some of our target species. We more than made up for it with thousands of wonderful images of Great Gray Owls, which I will treasure forever. I would go back out with Chris in a heartbeat. If you have an interest in photography in the areas he covers, he is your man.

 

Jack Stephens Edmonds, Washington, USA

Monday
May272013

Chris Dodds is a patient & skilled teacher

Being a female on my first photo safari, I had some apprehensions before joining Chris on his acclaimed Winter Snowy Owl Safari.  I worried about safety, that I wasn't a good enough photographer for someone with Chris's acclaim, and that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the group on treks. My fears subsided on Day One, and I knew this would be a week I would never forget.  With the small group size, Chris was able to give each member the level of instruction they needed.  Beyond having great opportunities for owl pictures, I learned helpful things about owl behaviour, owl spotting techniques, operating the camera, processing images,  best clothing and gear for winter, and things like the "Dodds duffel toss" that help prevent injuries while putting my camera backpack on.
Chris has an extensive knowledge of exposure theory. He is a patient teacher, skilled in helping his participants gain a deep understanding of this critical element of photography. He demonstrated why it is important to capture as much detail as possible for the best possible print, then showed us how to accomplish it. During the week of ever changing light, he kept checking our work to make sure we were getting the best possible results.
I usually learn from books and enjoy photography as a solitary pursuit, but I enjoyed the camaraderie of this group experience and received many tips on world travel. The photo safari gave me time to immerse myself in photography and nature.  I'm already planning my next safari with Chris.

Karen Miller Pennsylvania, USA

Monday
May272013

Chris Dodds is an excellent photographer and patient tutor

Five days in temperatures between –5°C and –15°C plus a snow blizzard just to learn how to photograph Great Grey Owls in their own habitat in the snow! Was it worth crossing the Atlantic for? Yes, definitely – Chris Dodds is an excellent photographer and patient tutor.  From him I learnt lots about manual exposure, histograms, and composition with these owls as the subject.  I used a Canon 7D handheld with a Canon 100mm-400mm lens, and although this was not a pro-camera – like Chris’ and others in the group – I did not feel underpowered or even overwhelmed! Many thanks again Chris."

Jo Latham Norfolk, UK

Monday
May272013

I feel fortunate to have had the experience of learning from one of THE BEST. I learned a TON!

Hi Chris, Great trip, EH!!

 Seriously, I want to thank you for a wonderful week. Great company, wonderful opportunities on the Snowy Owls during the owl workshop and lots of fun.

 I have been on quite a few photo workshops, and what sets yours apart (aside from the fun), is your knowledge of the natural history of the subjects, and your encyclopedic knowledge of nature photography and photography in general. You seemed to know what the Owls would do before they did, and thus we got great shots. 

I profited as much from the down time between shots as from the shooting time.  What was so helpful to me was that I not only learned your recommendations for settings, but the why, in detail. You have a depth of knowledge such that when I challenged assumptions (which is natural for me as a physician), there was always a firm explanation leading back to a scientific or photographic principle. As a result I understand exactly why I am using that particular technique, and am completely comfortable with it. I learned a ton!!! The focus was always on us getting the shots (after the welfare of the wildlife), on learning, and thirdly on fun. 

I would go on another workshop with you in a minute, because no matter where it was I know I would learn something.

 I really appreciate your scientific approach to photography, your having researched and tested your choices! 


I feel fortunate to have had the experience of learning from one of THE BEST.  Thanks for a great week. 

Until the next workshop.

Mike Gotthelf Fitchburg, Massachusetts, USA

Monday
May272013

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