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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Parc National de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé (5)


Red Fox of Bonaventure Island

Red Fox (Vulpes vulpus, Renard Roux) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless camera & Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 G Master OSS Lens  with Sony FE 1.4X Teleconverter @560mm ISO 6,400, f/9 @ 1/5,000s Manual exposure.

We had a few really great encounters with the resident Red Fox during my Gannets Galore workshop last June. Traditional symbols of cunning and craftiness, foxes are, in fact, agile, intelligent, and above all, adaptable creatures. Bushy-tailed, long-snouted members of the dog family, they are quick and skilful hunters that eat a broad range of wild fare, including insects, rabbits, berries, and all sorts of rodents, birds and their eggs.

The predatory behaviour of red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in relation to a large multi-species seabird community was studied on Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland, from 1983-1986. Fox diet was assessed by examining the faecal composition, avian prey remains and larder hoarded prey. Leach’s Storm-Petrels (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) made up of 75% of scat by wet weight, 89% of remains and 95% of prey items in and scattered about larders. Black-Legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla), Atlantic Puffins (Fratercula arctica), Common Murres (Uria aalge) Northern Gannets (Sula bassanus) and Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) formed 19% of scat by wet weight and 11% of remains.

"An excxellent 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"

Andy will be joining me this August for my Deluxe Puffins Galore Workshop in Quebec. Learn more about my Puffin workshop HERE.


Common Murre FROZEN

Common Murre FROZEN (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU) From a Zodiac Hurricane 733 during my Gannets Galore Workshop on Bonaventure Island at Parc National de l'île Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS with 1.4X Tele-extender @ 560mm. Full frame image. ISO 6400, f/8 @ 1/5,000s Manual exposure mode.


Black and White Portrait of a Northern Gannet

Northern Gannet B&W PORTRAIT (Morus bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) From my Gannets Galore Workshop on Bonaventure Island at Parc National de l'île Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Quebec, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Sony Alpha a9 Mirrorless Camera & Sony FE100-400 F4.5-5.6 G Master OSS @ 400mm and minimum focusing distance. Full frame image. ISO 800, f/5.6 @ 1/4,000s Manual exposure mode.

Common Murre Kudos & Gear for Sale

Common Murre or Common Guillemot Vertical (Uria aalge, guillemot marmette, COMU) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé (Bonaventure Island and Percé Rock National Park) Bonaventure Island, Quebec. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS-1D MKIV, 800mm F5.6 L IS. ISO 800, 1/1,600s f/5.6 Manual. Hand held from Zodiac Hurricane 733. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.


"In September 2011, I attended Christopher Dodds’ “Gannets Galore” workshop in Perce, Quebec, Canada. I have attended many wildlife photo workshops over the years and this workshop was a 10+ without a doubt. The trip was exactly as he described on his web site; no overpromising and under delivering.

Chris provided access to a colony of 63,000 nesting pairs of Northern Gannets (and at least as many non-breeding birds) and his relationships with the local park staff allowed us to get to locations in the park that were closed to the public.  Throughout the trip he was cheerful, very well organized and took care of all  those details (and this was a complicated location) that can ruin an experience..  I was able to concentrate on what I came to do…  

As a professional photographer I know my field, but it is a major bonus to find someone who can provide instruction to me.  My flight shots improved dramatically!  Chris has an uncanny understanding of composition and light and presented me with many opportunities to test my skills.  He understands creativity in photography as well as being a technical master. This trip was perfect for a beginner or a professional and he gives as much instruction and guidance as you need without arrogance, attitude or making you feel too shy to ask.  I would encourage any photographer, no matter what level,  to sign up for Chris' workshops."

- Terry Turrentine San Francisco | CA | USA


Equipment for sale

I have a Canon 1.4X II & Canon 2X II Extender for sale. Both items are in excellent working codition, but have slight signs of wear as expected when used professionally. Both have brand new caps (front & back) and are available to the first person who agrees to send US$250.00 or CAD$250.00 each via PayPal (Post Office shipping to Canada or USA and PayPal fees included). Visa, MasterCard or check are fine if I know you. Contact me

I have a friend who is selling the following mint gear (email me for details):

Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L USM Version I - US$1,150.00

Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 IS L - US$1,300.00

Canon 600mm f/4 IS L USM (includes LensCoat Cover, Really Right Stuff replacement foot and case.) - US$8,000.00

Includes PayPal fees and shipping.


National Geographic Traveller rates Gaspé #3 Best-Rated Travel Destination in the world

Northern Gannets LOVE, Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan Bonaventure Island, Quebec ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 300mm F2.8 and 1.4XII Tele-converter  ISO 250, F8 1/800s Manual. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE AN IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine rates Gaspé number 3 destination in the world:

Subject to development, mass tourism, pollution, globalization - are the world's great places still...great? Jay Walljasper writes on page 50 of the November / December 2009 edition of National Geographic Traveler Magazine, Gaspé ranks # 3 in the world - Congratulations Gaspé!
jutting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the colorful Gaspé Peninsula  offers "oceanfront, islands, and inland mountains" within "excellent parks and reserves," along with "authentic Francophone" villages. A big part of the area's appeal is "tourism development largely on a human scale." READ MORE HERE

Click HERE for more information on the Gannets of Bonaventure Island Photo Safari at The Parc National de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé and my very favorite bird photography location on planet Earth!


"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 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 | QC | Canada

Comments welcome & appreciated.