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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


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Entries in Hallo Bay (4)


Coastal Brown Bear Spring Cubs

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

We had so many encounters with mothers and cubs during my bear boat trip, but this set of triplets stole the show. These are spring cubs that were born in the den sometime between December and March after a gestation period of 180-270 days; likely while the mother was still hibernating. They were toothless and only weighed about a pound when they were born.


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.


Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai Alaska 

Coastal Brown Bear OVERLOOK  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/4 @1/800s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Coastal Brown Bear FISH ON!  (Ursus arctos, Grizzly Bear) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon 1D MK IV, 500mm F4 L IS, 1.4X Extender III, Jobu Jr. 3 gimbal head & tripod. ISO 800, f/5.6 @1/1,000s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION

Here's a couple of images from my recent Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari. It is always quite remarkable to watch and see just how much patience a hungry bear has; they know that the salmon will eventually swim up the creek, all they have to do is wait for it. Seeing a 1,000 pounds, or more, of sleeping muscles pounce into action and catch a salmon at a close distance is an exhilarating experience!

There's quite a good lesson to be learned from the bears; wait along a salmon creek, and as sure as the Salmon will show, so will the bears ;) I have heard myself (more than once) explaining to workshop participants that being patient is far more productive than chasing around after every bear seen. We watched (more than once) as other groups chased off the very bears they wanted to photograph; against park rules and a somewhat foolish approach to photographing wild bears.

Be sure to check-out my new and improved Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska photo safari July/August 2012. New and improved 100 foot boat for stability and a calmer ride, better, and more consistent cuisine (90% seafood with a gourmet chef interested in satisfying your special diet), all the snacks and drinks (non-alchoholic) you could want and lots of hot water for daily showers and lots of good, clean fun, clean quarters and a willing, happy crew there to help make this a trip of a lifetime!

Be sure to check out: Coastal Brown Bears of Katmai, Alaska Photo Safari Workshop July 27th to August 3rd, 2012


"I recently went on the Gannets Galore workshop with Chris.... It has been 3 weeks now and I still can not come up the the words to describe this experience. The world Chris takes you to defies description. The colony is beyond words. Everything about your day on this workshop is special. This is a trip of a lifetime for anyone who loves birds. Chris runs his workshop so all you have to do is show up at the appointed time and shoot for 10 hours, every detail beyond that is taken care of. The Day is spent with no other care than to photograph beautiful gannets, whales, murres, razorbills, kittiwakes, seals, and he threw in 2 bald eagles for good measure. I had so many great shots when I returned home that I still can not believe it. My birds in flight technique improved 100 percent. Chris gives you as much or as little instruction as you want. He even let me shoot a couple of cards in his camera with his lens. All I can say is, if you love birds, and want to see gannets, I don't believe you can do any better than a Chris Dodds workshop." - Carole Wiley Torrington | CT | USA

There's still room for my Sept. 7-9, 2011 Gannets Galore photo safari workshop be sure to check it out HERE. This is, by far, the very best place in the world to learn bird photography flight technique. My years of experience there is the critical key to offering you the very best Bonaventure Island has to offer. This is such a magical place, it has drawn me back for more than 365 days (I stopped counting after reaching a year of days there).


Coastal Brown Bears Trip Report Part I

Coastal Brown Bear Female (Sow) Fishing in Last Light (Ursus arctos) Hallo Bay, Katmai National Park, AK ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 500mm F4 L IS with 1.4 Teleconverter II, Tripod & Wimberley Head II. ISO 1600, F5.6 @1/1250s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

I'm just in the door from one of the very best photographic trips of my lifetime. I left home on July 8th and arrived at Kodiak airport later that day without event. I had planned a few extra days before the workshop started to allow for the fog that delayed me last year, and forced me to sleep in ANC airport. Steve Metildi and Darren Charles Holloway arrived early for the workshop and we had an absolute blast photographing Red Fox, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Bald Eagle, Wilson's Warbler and more around Kodiak Island. On July 12, Rolan Ruoss of Sea Hawk Air flew us out to Kukak Bay for our rendezvous with Chuck Keim on the Coastal Explorer for what became the trip of a lifetime for all.

We had been on the look-out for this female (sow) that had been reported to have two spring cubs, but were saddened to learn that she had lost them. Cubs remain with their mother from two to four years, during which time they learn survival techniques, such as which foods have the highest nutritional values and where to obtain them; how to hunt, fish, and defend themselves; and where to den. The cubs learn by following and imitating their mother's actions during the period they are with her. Brown bears practice infanticide. An adult male bear may kill the cubs of another bear either to make the female sexually receptive or simply for consumption. A close look at her right paw reveals an open wound, just above her claws, that most probably occured while she desperatly tried to defend her cubs.

I returned to a staggering amount of emails, and brought back a ton of images to edit, so stay tuned for more in the coming days.


My thanks Chris for introducing me to the tremendous experience (both visual and olfactory) offered by not only the Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island but also by the Gaspe peninsula.  Your low key approach and readily available technical knowledge really helped me to focus on what it was I wanted to do and maximize my chance of getting the pictures that I wanted.  Standing in a zodiac on the rolling ocean watching you photograph flying seabirds using a hand held 800mm lens pushed me to believe I could actually do the same using a 420mm lens......and the resulting photos show that it can be done!  My 6 and 3 year old children cannot thank you enough for the endless slide shows I now make them endure.- Ron Kellner | Toronto, Ontario

Pat and I had a great time on your recent Gannets Galore photo tour.  We have been on many photo tours and yours was one of the best.  We have never seen so many excellent photo opportunities.  Even the 5 AM Zodiac trip around the island offered great opportunities.  The small size of the group, 6 photographers, added to our enjoyment since you were able to spend considerable time with each of us.  Your tips on using manual camera settings were excellent.  I now use manual settings for virtually every photograph, flight or static. Thanks again for a truly outstanding photographic experience. Stokes Fishburne Chapel Hill | North Carolina