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Photography Workshops by Christopher Dodds


Nature Photography Blog Journal Index

Entries in Red Fox (3)


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.


FROSTY FOXY and Canon Service Advisory

Red Fox FROSTY FOXY (vulpes vulpes, renard) Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds. Canon 1D MK III, 500mm F4 L IS. ISO 500 f/5.6 @ 1/125s Manual Mode. PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION HERE.

Service Advisory: Firmware Update for EOS 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm f2.8L II USM, EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM

Canon has released a firmware update for EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF400mm F2.8L IS II USM, EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lenses. This firmware update will be performed by the Canon Service Centre. Please contact us using the contact information listed at the bottom of this page.

Firmware changes:

Firmware Version 1.1.1 incorporates the following enhancement:

Changes the control algorithm of the focus drive, and enhances the drive’s responsiveness for more precise focus and adjustments. In particular, the new firmware enhances the AI servo AF capability of the lenses to track objects that move irregularly in sports events, such as soccer or rugby. (or birds in flight - Chris)

Affected Products:
Firmware Version 1.1.1 is for lenses with Firmware Version 1.0.0. If the lens’ firmware is already Version 1.1.1, it is not necessary to update the firmware. The serial numbers (10 digits) of the lenses equipped with Firmware Version 1.0.0 are as follows:

EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx,   xx1xxxxxxx,   xx2xxxxxxx,   xx3xxxxxxx).

EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx,   xx1xxxxxxx,   xx2xxxxxxx,   xx3xxxxxxx).

EF500mm f/4L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).

EF600mm f/4L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).

Lenses with serial numbers other than those listed above are equipped with Firmware Version 1.1.1 or later.

This information is for residents of Canada only. If you do not reside in Canada, please contact the Canon Customer Support Centre in your region.

Thank you,
Customer Information Centre
Canon Canada Inc
Contact Information for Inquiries
Canon Customer Support Centre
Phone:     1-800-OK-CANON
See the Canon Canada Service Advisory HERE:

Contact Information for United States Inquiries:
Canon Customer Support Center
Phone: 1-800-OK-CANON
TDD: 1-866-251-3752
For additional support options:

See the Canon USA Service Advisory HERE:


The Business of Photography: The Business Plan

Red Fox Vulpes vulvas (renard roux). Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 70-200mm F2.8 IS @ 70mm Hand-held. ISO 500, F3.2 @ 1/125s Manual mode. Ambient exposure using  Sekonic L-358 Flash Master Light Meter. Full Frame. CLICK HERE TO BUY A PRINT OR LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.

The Business Plan

One of the biggest mistakes many people starting a business make is not having a business plan. A business plan can be as simple as a Mission Statement and as complicated as you feel necessary. Think of a business plan as a roadmap; Where are you going?, How are you getting there? Are you headed in the right direction? and what to do if you make a wrong turn. A well written business plan is also a great tool to measure your successes and failures as a business person if reviewed periodically.

I don’t want to deceive you, so I’ll make it clear to you now that I don’t know any other photographers that actually have a business plan. I am asked, quite often, how to get into Nature or Wildlife Photography as a profession. I also have regular conversations with other successful photographer friends (Jewelry and studio photographers) about how they plan on getting to the next level; both as a photographer and as a business person. A well written business plan will help you see where you want to go, and how to get there.

I’m sure you all have a plan and have though about where you want to be in five or ten years. All I’m suggesting is putting it in writing and making it an annual event to review and modify things. How often have you had a great plan or idea, only to forget it within a short period of time?

Here’s some simple steps to a successful Business Plan:

Define who you are as a photographer and identify key strengths and weaknesses. Review your photography and identify a specialty and or passion. What makes your clients choose you and why are you different than a stock agency or other photographer? Create an executive summary, or mission statement, that will become the first part of your business plan. This need only be a few sentences long and it is essentially a summary of your findings.

Define your market as a photographer. In what area of photography do you see yourself fitting best? Who are your potential clients? Do you want to sell image rights for publication? or sell fine art prints to collectors? or both? What age group and gender are those clients. If you want to sell images to magazines for publication, who works for the magazines, and who buys those magazines? This section is a summary of your product, your service and your target clients.

Define your Competition. Now you know who you are, what product, or service you offer and who is your likely client. It’s time to think about who else is out there doing the same thing as you, and why you are a better, more logical choice for your client. What do you offer that your competitors don’t?

The last section deals with finances. Identify how much money you need to make to keep your head above water without falling into debt. Essentially a spreadsheet with a list of your expenses that should include: Living expenses like food, clothing, housing (mortgage, insurance, taxes and repairs), Utilities (heat, air conditioning, electricity, gas, water, etc) Transportation (Car payment, Insurance, fuel and repair) and health / disability insurance. Don't forget contributions to an emergency fund; you never know when you have to replace a roof or have a sudden financial crisis. Make a list of the monthly costs and multiply by 12 to figure out just how much money you need (after taxes) to survive a year without falling into debt.

Once you establish how much you need, it’s time to figure out how, or if, you can get there. How much do you sell your product, or service for?, and how much does it cost to produce? If you are a wildlife photographer, then you should make a list of your overhead expenses like photography equipment (cameras, lens, etc.), Office, or production, equipment (computers, printers, etc.), travel (transportation, lodging and food) expenses, professional services (like accounting), business liability & equipment insurance, equipment repair and rental, advertising and promotion costs, office supplies and communications (telephone, internet and mobile phone). You get the picture.

Now add your annual personal expenses (plus income tax) to your annual professional expenses. Do you think it is feasible to sell enough product or service to cover these expenses? Let’s say you sell fine art prints for $100.00 each. You determine your material cost to be $32.00 (ink and paper). You have a gross profit of $68.00. How many prints (think $68.00) do you need to keep yourself afloat? how many do you need to sell to put some savings aside for a bad year (or two) or a catastrophic medical or mental event? (laugh, but most business people suffer one, or the other, at some point in their career) oh, did you think about retirement savings? ... Perhaps a few more than you initially thought - but you knew that, right? (smile).

Now that you have a plan in writing, it's much easier to stay on track. If you make the small effort to review and ammend your plan from time to time, you have a much better understanding of where you have come from, where you are and where you are going.