Yes, I'm back from the underwater photo workshop organized on M/V Oktavia around Similan, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock (7-12 April 2011).
Over the 5-day-trip several divers and even a snorkeler participated in this new project of mine.
This has been a Test Run for the next season, I'm planning to make it a regular (monthly?) thing for all the enthusiasts and passionate about under water photography.
Here's the group picture of all the participants of the trip.
|Oktavia Liveaboard and Photo Workshop Participants|
All of them were on the boat for the cruise while Andy and Martin (fist 2 from left, back row), Mary (first from right with black tanktop), Soren (second from right with green T-shirt), Lanna (happy mother holding her baby), and Guido (he's the one taking this picture, oops!) joined the workshop in order to improve or build from scratch their Diving and UW photography skills.
A part from Guido who was using a 6 years old Sony Cybershot, everyone was using a Canon camera, including (OBVIOUSLY) myself.
First day of the workshop is generally to asses the divers and to allow them to make as many mistakes as possible so that during the review session in the evening everybody can discuss and learn from the results. Of course a brief introduction to basic rules of UW photography is given, YET without going into specific details.
|Adriano and Bernie (Tour Leader) giving briefing|
One important aspect of UW photography is buoyancy (too often overlooked, YET crucial) together with knowing your camera inside and out (which was a challenge for those who rented it for this event).
|Honorable Mention to Lanna with her picture of a diver using white balance|
Over 5 days of briefings, slideshows, chatting, tips and tricks, assignments and evening reviews, even those who were not participating in the workshop started being "experts" in composition, light, and subjects' behavior...
Due to the stormy days that preceded the trip, visibility hasn't always been the usual good one (10-15m as opposed to 20-30m). This little draw back made me focus on macro subjects and techniques which are by far my favorites! Here's an example:
|Soft Coral detail: 1/500 f 8.0 dual Sea&Sea external strobe + UN x6 MACRO wet lens|
Similan National Park offers a wide range of dive sites from gently sloping sandy reefs to majestic boulders and channels with dramatic topography. Techniques explored during the trip ranged from use of flash versus evaluating white balance, macro, wide, silhouettes and much more...
|Flutemouth Fish Silhouette|
Post editing workshop were also provided in order to show that not all "bad pictures" are always bad... a bit of colour saturation enhancement, cropping or just rotating the photo by 90 degrees surprisingly made a difference and improvement.
|90 degrees rotation|
5 days and 19 dives later, every participant was asked to submit in a friendly contest 2 of their pictures in order to be evaluated by an independent jury (boat owner Mr. Kulan).
I must say that it hasn't been easy for the judge as the pictures taken and submitted were really good, not to mention that some of the participants improved dramatically during the length of the workshop.
Without further ado, let me present the 3 final winning pictures!
In third position, winning an M/V Oktavia polo shirt is this macro shot of Durban Dancing Shrimps from Martin who used a Canon Ixus 95 IS:
|Third place: Shrimps 1/60 f2.8, macro + internal flash|
In second position, Mr. Soren from Denmark who was using a Canon G10 and won 30% discount on his accommodation in one of the hotels of the Suwan Palm Group with his "Turtle with Diver"
|Second Place: Turtle w/diver 1/160 f2.8 internal flash|
|First Place: Nudi 1/500 f 4.0 internal flash|
Excellent Job everybody! Amazing diving, great pictures and lots of fun!
At the end of the trip, I was asked to do a slideshow of the pictures I took during this workshop.
Here a few of them...
|Partner Shrimp on Pin Cushion Sea Star|
|Oriental Sweetlips at cleaning station|
|Turtle and Diver - white balance|
|Western Clown Fish|
|Harlequin Shrimp Close Up|
|Harlequin Shrimp Couple having a snack!|
|Jelly against sun burst|
|Anemone Close Up|
That's all folks! See you next time for more pictures, diving, wetpixels and what not?