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The Value of Underwater Photo Workshops?

workshops value photography underwater opinion

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#1 xcetra

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 12:00 AM

Hi,

 

I'm thinking about enrolling myself into my first underwater photo workshop (instructor well known pro underwater photographer).  I would consider myself intermediate level underwater photographer but quite knowledgable about above water photography but not professional.  I would like to take my underwater photography to the next level of creativity.

 

How useful have non-beginner people found these workshops?  Worth the money?  Have you've discovered things you wouldn't have thought of by just reading books/forums?

 

Thanks for your opinions.

 

 

 

 



#2 frank70

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:00 AM

I'm just back from a workshop in Anilao and i would definatly do it again.

For me one of the reasons to participate was the price  that good and the number of dives i would do , small number off divers to guide ratio etc.

One of the things that surprised me was that this was the first time i had a group wich truly dove very relaxed , so i had the time for a subject.

As for techniek its a constant flow of info , some i could find on the internet some not.

I thought it was worth it.

Frank



#3 Markosixty6

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 02:30 AM

INVALUABLE and well worth it if you "re open to learing. I'm sure each and every person has his/her own way of shearing the knowledge on a work shop. Do your homework to find out what sort of work shop you want to go on as they are all different in that respect.

 

The big + is that you will most likely be diving with people with a similar mind set.

 

You wont be herded by some DM upstart and pulled out after an hour on the money.

 

More than likely the diving will be suited to what you maybe looking or hoping to find. That can be hit or miss its a big ocean at times, but if the person running the show has done there homework that can be narrowed down but no garantee.

 

Not only will you learn directly from the person running the shop iám sure you will meet some great divers and some very good photographers that are willing to share the love "thanks Jullian for all your help hope your well".

 

Don't miss the boat or the early dive when the sun breaks the horizen while they are all sleeping, when the light is just right "Goose will tell you".

 

Sorry had to put in a few plugs in you never know you might make a friend or two or get Mustersized along the way which is not such a bad thing but remember to put your own style on things and most of all LIVE for the diving.

 

Hope this helps

SD Marko



#4 divengolf

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 03:18 AM

I've done a number of these type of trips, mostly to get great deals and access to situations where the total focus is diving for photos with people who have a similar mind set. The instruction part is heavily dependent on the quality of the photo pros and their ability to communicate. Most are pretty good or they don't stay in business too long. As you prepare for your first trip, I'd offer the following suggestions:

 

1. Know your camera. All settings, features, options. I take a digital copy of my users manual along on my iPad.

2. Know your housing. Be able to quiickly access all camera functions almost blindfolded.

3. Know all of the UW photo basics plus some. I'd suggest studying a book like The Underwater Photographer by Martin Edge. There are others, but many consider this to be the "bible".

4. Identify the critters that you are most likely to see or those on your most desirable list. Then spend some time with the fish/creature ID books so you will instantly recognize what is being pointed out to you. This is most important in the macro or super-macro world. I've seen too many divers pass up great pygmy seahorse pics because they didn't know what they were being shown.

 

Finally realize that there is usually no one right way to do any of this. Most photogs will approach opportunities differently, use different settings and set ups, etc. You may learn as much from those around you as you do from the pro. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

 

Most take a laptop with Lightroom or equivalent. Be familiar with whatever editing program that you use.

 

I did the Anilao trip with Bluewater a few years ago and found it to be excellent. I've also done a couple WP trips and found them to be excellent as well.


Edited by divengolf, 18 May 2014 - 03:20 AM.


#5 Aquapaul

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 06:58 AM

I haven't done this yet though I have taken a few land based workshops. If you just pick up one thing that you will use, I feel for me anyway, it's worth it.


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#6 xcetra

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Posted 18 May 2014 - 10:05 PM

Thanks everyone for your tips, opinions, and insights.  It all helps.

Frank,

Those are all great reasons for sure.

SD Marko,

Yes, I'm very open to ideas and learning now.  I would imagine people will be bouncing ideas off of each other and learning not solely from the instructor.  I tend to learn better by example and so this would benefit me a lot.

Divengolf,

Thanks for the tips. I generally have a firm understanding of your bullet points. I could probably learn my camera and controls better (I would like to be faster and more fluid).  I'll also take a look at the Martin Edge book again.

Paul,

That's good to know.  Sounds like generally people find value in workshops.



#7 goose

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Posted 19 May 2014 - 11:22 AM

Sharing the love on the workshop is key.

 

Well worth the money and always go with an open mind and don't forget to look up.

 

 

Goose

 

 

Hey Marko you big wanger when are we off to Sudan to get our shark on.!!!!!!!


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#8 Markosixty6

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Posted 20 May 2014 - 10:52 AM

Goose I have the booking today we are booked for two weeks in November I'll get in contact with you.
SD
MARKO

#9 dpaustex

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 02:24 PM

I, too, recently did one in Anilao.

 

I would offer a word of warning:  Don't go to a really big workshop, with tons of participants. I went to one (signed up for it 1.5 years ago), as it had a pretty prominent person teaching, and promised a 4:1 ratio in the water. Nothing was further from the truth.  While the teaching portion was excellent, the in-water stuff non-existent. First, of the in-water people touted, I saw 2 of  them on 2 of my 22 dives (1 on each of the two dives). It seemed the in-water "teachers" were simply there to build there own portfolios. Not one single tip or suggestion was offered on the boat, or in the water, before the dives, or during the surface interval. I had even called the group running the trip  to ensure what the ratio was, before I signed up. Basically, I'll never do another trip with them, EVER, as they simply oversold the trip, then were not forthcoming about their shenanigans. Not a way to do business. A true bait-and-switch.  Not to say the location and staff at the place where we had it were bad, because they weren't.  The main teacher was beyond excellent.

 

However, if you can get in a  SMALL workshop, I'd say go for it.  When I mean small, get in one with no more than 10-12 people. You'll get to know the people, and be able to swap tips/tricks, etc.  I definitely think such a format would be helpful.  Just know that noone is going to show you how to point your strobes, etc. actually in the water. They may show you how they do it, then let you follow suit. Mainly, I learn best from showing diagrams, with images of different strobe positions (i.e. if you set them up this way, here is an example of what you get), talking it through, then doing it.  As a way to see how big a workshop really is, look at the group you are thinking of going with, at their past workshop group photos. Large group? Stay away.   I put it akin to diving on a huge dive boat - don't.  After all, you're there to learn. Much like the large dive boat, a 10% cheaper price for a "large group price" is not worth the 100% aggravation level.


Edited by dpaustex, 22 May 2014 - 05:54 PM.


#10 MikeVeitch

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 10:37 PM

 Just know that noone is going to show you how to point your strobes, etc. actually in the water. They may show you how they do it, then let you follow suit. Mainly, I learn best from showing diagrams, with images of different strobe positions (i.e. if you set them up this way, here is an example of what you get), talking it through, then doing it. 

Hi David, sorry to hear that some of your trip was not up to your expectations but sounds like the photo opps and company were good.

 

Just wanted to point out that what I have quoted above is not necessarily true, the workshops that we run we don't dive with cameras, only slates.  We work one on one with folks and actually do show how to point the strobes while underwater, which I find does help a lot to support the theory classes as well.


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#11 AndyBarker

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:26 AM

Hi

Workshops are the best way to go, you dive with people who have the same interests. 

When you go away on normal dive trips you don't normally have type of diving, so you end 

up with that will do shots, rather than composed shots.Also the learning curve is a lot easier

as you meet lots of different photographers, with different levels of experience.

You also meet many new friends, in my experience well worth the money.

Regards,

Andy. :uwphotog:  :uwphotog:  


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#12 xcetra

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:53 PM

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the helpful tips and insights.  It for the most part seems beneficial to take a workshop as long as it's not too big and with a good reputable instructor.  I just signed up for a workshop with Aaron Wong in Anilao and couldn't be more excited.  Hoping to build on the craft and get creative with shooting underwater!



#13 jasdivr

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:31 PM

Hi David, sorry to hear that some of your trip was not up to your expectations but sounds like the photo opps and company were good.

 

Just wanted to point out that what I have quoted above is not necessarily true, the workshops that we run we don't dive with cameras, only slates.  We work one on one with folks and actually do show how to point the strobes while underwater, which I find does help a lot to support the theory classes as well.

I will attest to that. I did both their workshops in May for Macro and Wide Angle and they were swimming with all of us at multiple times. Mike even played the underwater model and had a snoot with him helping me get the right power and aim on a stone fish. All very helpful because sometimes when you are underwater you kinda forget about what they showed you on the surface.


Edited by jasdivr, 13 June 2014 - 08:36 PM.


#14 tdpriest

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 08:32 AM

There are workshops and there are workshops...

 

... they do different things: I've just come back from Truk, where we had great opportunities, but there wasn't any advanced teaching. I enjoyed a similar trip, where the focus was on the wildlife rather than the photography, in the Bahamas. Last year I was on a large workshop in Lembeh, which had excellent teaching, and another that was just an enjoyable dive trip, in Shetland. All good, but in different ways...







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