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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


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Entries in photo tour (74)


Saint Paul Island Photo Tour Invitation



Saint Paul Island

Photo Tour Safari & Expedition

June 16-23, 2013 (8 Days/7 Nights)



Join me, Christiopher Dodds for the photographic adventure of a lifetime to Saint Paul Island in the Bering Sea between Alska and Russia.

St Paul is the largest of four volcanic islands which make up the Pribilof Islands in the middle of the Bering Sea (Otter, Walrus, St. George and St. Paul) between Alaska and Russia. It's one of the few places left in the world where you can sit quietly for hours and watch the birds fly past without hearing or seeing any human influence. Along with the small community of Aleut and the seasonal employees at the Trident seafood factory, St Paul is home to over 248 species of birds, the vast majority of the world's population of Northern Fur Seals, blue fox and reindeer.

Nestled amongst the island's vertical cliffs are many thousands of nesting Horned and Tufted Puffins, Least, Crested and Parakeet Auklets, Red-faced Cormorants, Red-legged and Black-legged Kittiwakes, Northern Fulmars, Thick-billed and Common Murres and Glaucous-winged Gulls. Winter Wrens, Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, Ruddy Turnstones, Rock Sandpipers and the Island's own race of the Grey-Crowned Rosy Finch all nest on Saint Paul Island.

Our small group of only six participants is the key to gaining access to the island's very best offerings, and our exclusive transportation and guide ensure we get where we want to when we want for the absolute best photography. This photographic adventure is all about being out there with our cameras; we have travelled too far to spend time indoor in front of a computer or projector! Our days will be long and rewarding with our time split between seabirds, songbirds and shorebirds, and safe access to the Northern Fur Seal blinds.

$4,995.00 includes return air transportation from Anchorage, Alaska, all ground transportation while on Saint Paul Island, profession photographic instruction, our own private guide and sightseeing services and shared accommodations (single supplement is $800.00). Price does not include food or drinks ($50.00 per person per day. payable in advance), gratuities for local guides ($10-$15 per day suggested), souvenirs or items of a personal nature.

Sign-up for the Saint Paul Island Photo Tour / Photographic Expedition of a lifetime HERE

Please scroll down the page to the sign-up form at the bottom.


Bald Eagle Photo Tour was EPIC - Full Nik Collection by Google for only $127

American Bald Eagle Fishing in light snow  (Hailiaeetus leucocephalus, Pygarge a tete blanche, BAEA) Kachemak Bay (near Homer), Alaska ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DX, 300mm F2.8 L IS USM with Jobu L-Bracket  Hand Held ISO 1,250, f/2.8 @ 1/3,200s Manual mode. Click HERE to order a print or license image for publication.

Bald Eagle Photo Tour / Workshop a huge success

I'm just back from my Bald Eagle Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari and the Bald Eagle photography was EPIC! We had hundreds of Eagles, a fantastic mix of weather and each hour on the water averaged hundreds of dives and gigabytes of images! The Canon 1DX continues to blow me away with it's amazing autofocus and low noise at high ISO settings. Accurate and fast autofocus in heavy snow simply blows me away! The gorgeous sunlight faded to cloud after three full days, and it finally snowed on our last morning out. The water was calm and we constantly stayed out on the water for much more time than was budgeted - we were often out for hours beyond the other boats running out of time, ammunition and budget. Simply put; it was over-the-top and mind blowing!

Learn more about my March, 2014 Bald Eagle Photo Tour HERE

Get the full Nik Collection by Google, now just $126.65

WOW!!! Nik Software by Google just announced an INSANE 70% OFF DEAL! You can purchase the entire NIK Collection suite of all 6 plugins for just $149. And use the code CDODDS for an additional 15% off, making it only $126.65. I could not get the results I do without Nik!

Advanced editing, simplified
Easily create the photos you've imagined with 6 award-winning plug-ins for Photoshop®, Lightroom®, or Aperture®.

Make precise edits quickly
Use U Point technology to selectively edit just the parts of your photos that need touching up, without losing time on complex masks and selections.

More affordable than ever
Now you can get all six plug-ins for 70% off of the original price.

Buy yours here: and be sure to add the code CDODDS at the checkout


How to photograph birds in flight in low light

Tufted Puffin In Flight #1 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Photographing birds in flight in low light is quite challenging; it's not easy. I love photographing seabirds, and that often means shooting small, and often erratically moving targets; fast and unpredictable little fliers from the top of coastal cliffs in bad weather. The biggest problem to overcome is our need to always grab our longest lens and our reluctance to shoot wide open at high ISO (for Canon users, anyway). I recently had a discussion with a photographer who told me he didn't need a camera capable of shooting 10 fps (frames per second); he timed the wingbeats and only took one frame at a time. Well, let's just say that was one photographer who had a couple of good birds in flight images in his portfolio, but Florida Great Blue Herons are tame, huge, fly slowly and do have predictable wingbeats. What I want to share today is how I succeed (more, or less) at shooting bullets that move at 55 MPH with 100-400 wing beats per minute; I'm talking, of course, about photographing Puffins in flight. I was fortunate to photograph all three North American species of Puffins this summer, on both the East, and west coast. In June I hosted my annual Puffins Galore (and so much more) workshop for the Atlantic Puffin, and then I photographed the Horned and Tufted Puffins of Saint Paul Island (more images to come soon).
Tufted Puffin In Flight #2 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

First of all, get over your phobia of shooting wide open and using a high ISO. You are going to need a shutter speed of at least 1/2,500 of a second, but I prefer 1/3,200 of a second to freeze the fast action; this usually means using an ISO of at least 1,600 and an aperture of at least f/5.6 (always in manual mode). I try to get as close as possible in low light and low contrast conditions; I try to use the shortest lens possible, while trying to fill the frame. Using only the centre auto-focus point only usually helps the autofocus system lock onto your subject, but it's going to take more than relying on your camera to acquire focus. I generally try to pick-up repetitive flight patterns; I try to predict where the bird I am trying to shoot will fly and pre-focus on something near there so the auto-focus system doesn't have to spin the lens much to acquire sharp focus. Once locked-on to my subject, it's all up to me to keep the focus point on the subject and hit the stutter button at 10 fps; the best way to be able to do that is practice; over, and over again.
Tufted Puffin In Flight #3 (Fratercula cirrhata, Macareux huppé, TUPU) Saint Paul Island, The Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon EOS 1DMKIV, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM @300mm. ISO 1,600, f/5.6 @ 1/3,200s Manual Mode Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

I decided to post three sequential, full frame images of Tufted Puffins from a recent trip to Saint Paul Island (The Pribilof Islands), Alaska to demonstrate that it is possible to pull off what seems like the impossible. I left my tried, tested and true Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Lens at home, instead opting for my favorite new 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS USM and threw it on my Canon EOS 1DMKIV. I set-up my exposure in manual mode and checked the histogram to make sure the blacks from the wet rocks below the cliffs I was standing on weren't blocked-up against the left edge to minimize noise, and carefully made sure I had no over-exposed whites on the right edge to ensure the most detail in the whites. Once sure of my exposure, I watched for the Puffins flight path and pre-focused on a rock where I thought the bird would fill the frame. Now pre-focused on the rock, I saw the bird fly in and followed it until it started to fill the frame, partially depressed the shutter button to activate the auto-focus system and hit the trigger at its maximum capture rate of 10 fps. Truth be told; I waited a fraction of a second too long for this sequence, and ran the risk of clipping the Puffin's wing-tips, but it worked-out fine with three action shots that I liked enough to keep (No, I won't teach you how to reconstruct the wingtips if you clip them, but I will teach you how to capture the image right, in the camera - smile).

Which of the three images here is your favorite & why? Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of the new Mac editing software FirstPass.

Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party

Great news! Jobu Designs (makers of my favorite Gimbal Head - the Jobu Jr. 3), Think-Tank Photo, Cotton Carrier, have all jumped on-board and offered tons of prizes to show their suppoort for my Second Annual Photo Geek Christmas Party. I expect other sponsors to make offerings and encourage contributions - email me if you would like to donate and promote your product chris(at)chrisdoddsphoto(dot)com

Join me, Canadian nature photographer Christopher Dodds, on November 30, 2011 at 7:30 PM at the Hudson Village Theatre (28 Wharf Road, Hudson, QC   J0P 1H0) for an hour and a half long slideshow presentation to benefit this great cause which is so close to my heart. The show is designed to be entertaining and informative to all; nature lovers and photographers alike. Stories of adventure, natural history facts and information are all on the menu and this show is designed to offer helpful tips & techniques sure to improve your photography efforts with everything from a camera phone, point & shoot camera or professional SLR camera system. Over one hundred of my images will be projected, many unseen.  Everyone is welcome!
Hurry! Only 148 seats. Tickets are only $15.00 each and are available for advance purchase only - every penny is collected by, and goes to Le Nichoir. Please call or email Le Nichoir ( 450-458-2809) to secure your tickets, or make a donation if you can't make it (be sure to tell them it's on behalf of Chris' Photo Geek Christmas Party) Major credit cards and cheques accepted. Finger food and hors d'oeuvres are included and there will be a cash bar (please drink responsibly).
There will be ample time to mingle, meet my friends and contacts and share some of your images with others, so feel free to bring prints, iPads or laptops with your favourite images to share. I hope to see you there and PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!

Read more about it HERE


Gannets Galore Bird Photography Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari June 10-12 & August 13-15, 2010

Northern Gannet landing with sea weed (Morus Bassanus, Fou de Bassan, NOGA) Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Bonaventure Island, Quebec Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1D MKIII, 70-200mm F2.8 IS, (@200mm). ISO 400, F5.6 1/2500s Manual. Canon 580 EXII Flash in Manual - full power. Full Frame. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Gannets Galore Bird Photography Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari June 10-12 & August 13-15, 2010

I still have limited space available for my June 10-12 and August 13-15, 2010 Gannets Galore Photo Tour / Workshop / Safari (June 14-16 & 18-20 are SOLD OUT; Thanks to those who registered). This is THE best place on earth to learn the art of avian photography. There is non-stop action and a plethora of artistic models at close range. Sure to be the photographic adventure of your lifetime, the daily (weather permitting) four hour Zodiac cruise under the largest Northern Gannet colony in the world offers close views of thousands of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common Murres, Razorbills, grey seals & whales and, of course, diving Gannets.

Be sure to read client TESTIMONIALS HERE




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