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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in golden light (4)


Coastal Brown Bear Cubs Jousting

Coastal Brown Bear Cubs JOUSTING (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 G Master OSS Lens  with Sony FE 2X Teleconverter @800mm ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/2,000s Manual exposure.

I'm just home from my Coastal Brown Bear boat photo tour in Alaska. We had amazing weather, epic opportunities with mothers and cubs, and one fantastic group of repeat clients who have all become great friends over the years!

We spent about an hour with these two siblings jousting in the golden last light at about 10:30PM. Shooting at 20FPS when the action was hot and heavy left us with more images than some knew what to do with. To quickly cull the images down to a manageable portfolio, I always look for captivating expressions, at least one eye visible on each bear & preferably a catch-light in both visible eyes.


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.


Snowy Owl TOTEM

Snowy Owl GOLDEN TOTEM Bubo scandiacus (Harfang des neiges) Quebec. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D MKII, 500mm F4 L IS and 2X II Teleconverter (1,000mm). ISO 450, F8 @ 1/1000s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.


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

Learn more about my Snowy Winter Owl Workshops HERE.


Better than Bosque and Workshop Woes

Sandhill Crane SUNSET FLIGHT  A Sanhill Crane lands against the pink, snow covered Sandia Mountains in golden fields (Grus canadenis, Grue du Canada, SACR) NOT from Bosque del Apache, New Mexico ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 600mm f/4 L IS USM II & 2X III Extender with Jobu L-Bracket and Jobu Jr. 3 Deluxe  ISO 2,000, f/8 @ 1/1,600s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Better than Bosque?

Is Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge over-rated? Perhaps it's just me, but I feel the offerings there for Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes are far surpassed elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, there are still some awesome opportunities for raptors, ducks and other birds, it's just I feel the hype about Bosque is no longer justified. I'm just back from a nine day trip in the area and only visited Bosque for three sessions, the remainder of our time was spend exploring the surrounding opportunities…. and we hit the pot of gold! I'm in the process of listing a "Better than Bosque" workshop for Dec. 1-5, 2014 so please email me if interested ASAP(chris(at); there's loads of interest and this will fill very fast. Group size limited to six and we will be based in Socorro, NM. We'll be visiting Bosque when the conditions are right, but our mission is to make the very best images possible; and we'll be visiting several over-the-top spots to do it!

Workshop Leader Woes

While in Bosque, I encountered a few workshops that I just plain need to vent about. Group size varied from 8 to 18 and the lack of fieldcraft and/or knowledge was blatantly evident! Perhaps the participants wanted to go and hang-out for the lowest possible price, or perhaps they signed-up for the first workshop they saw on-line, I dunno; I was simply shocked. I saw workshop leaders prance around like they were royalty, pull-up in front of other photographers and spook fields full of Cranes without even realizing it and I overheard so much gossip and belittlement of other leaders, yet no useful photographic information about composition, exposure or anything else that the participants joined the workshop for. All of the groups went to the same locations to shoot and none of them showed any sense of doing anything different. There were workshops that advertised small groups (they were 18 people - just imagine how much time is wasted with logistics) and leaders who I overheard say "exposure and technical ability is over-rated, just follow your heart and vision" while this sounds romantic, it was clearly a new leader in way over his head when asked how to reliably make well exposed images.

If you would like to experience a small group (max. 6) workshop focused on teaching you how to make better images without the nonsense, then please do check-out my WORKSHOPS and read some TESTIMONIALS. I truly feel I haven't succeeded unless my clients make images that I would be proud to call my own, and work tirelessly to that end! Do join a workshop for the right reason; join because you like my images and want to learn how I make them - if you don't like my images (and that's alright), then email me and I will send you a list of other workshops by other people to consider (many are much cheaper, but expect what you pay for).

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