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Hello all!


I am searching for a destination that has crystal clear water beaches. I'm planning to do a set of underwater photoshoots, and need some beautiful scenery, but most importantly, very clear water with a good vertical and horizontal visibility (sample photo).


I've tried in Bali, but the beaches there disappointed. Due to the high activity the water churned up stuff from below so the water was murky, pretty much all the time. It was impossible to get some good shots.


I've seen some beautiful footage from the Bahamas - water appears to be very clear with amazing visibility. Unfortunately, I can't find any reasonably priced tickets, so Bahamas is not an option for me.


I've been looking at

  • Cape Verde (n/a)
  • the Azores (n/a)
  • Jamaica (Negril)
  • Dominican Republic (n/a)
  • Thailand (Krabi)
  • Canary Islands (Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Gran Canaria)
  • Mexico (Cancun)
  • Any other suggestions are much welcomed!

Do you have any recommendations for me based on these criteria? Maybe I'm looking at the wrong locations, for all I know? I am not a diver, I have never even gone snorkeling, so I do not plan to go to deep depths, just enough to get good shots of the model.


Likes: crystal clear water, beautiful photgenic beaches, jungles, beautiful scenery, lush green forests.

Edited by noahnoah

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Little Cayman?

 

Turks and Caicos (Grand Turk)

 

No lush green forests admittedly!

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Thanks Tim! This is the 2nd tip on Turks and Caicos I've received. I'm traveling from the Arctic and I couldn't find any travel agency that offers flights to Grand Turk, so my question is is the conditions a lot different in Turks and Caicos compared to lets say Jamaica and Dominican Republic?

 

I've done some googling but all photos are photoshopped so theres no point in relying on those :mocking:

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Turks and Caicos has great beaches on Provinciales as well. The beach at Grace Bay is often at the top of Trip Advisor beach destinations. I hate sand in my thong, so avoid the stuff like the plague, but I have walked it following liveaboards there, and it is nice.

 

Having said that, I wouldn't normally put "beach" and "great vis" in the same sentence. The slightest wave and it will get kicked up.

 

My home base of Tobermory is very rocky so shoreline vis there can be great, but having been involved in shooting a naked lady there once, your model may well freeze to death. The water is very cold...

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Thank you Stoo! Seems like Turks and Caicos is a popular destination. It's a bit weird out travel agencies here don't offer any flights to Turks and Caicos. The closest I can get is Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Curacao, Aruba, Barbados, Puerto Rico & Florida. Tobermory seems cold indeed! We will do model shots so water temperature is also a factor I must take into consideration. That's also why I can't do the shoot at my home base, water here has now even frozen to ice :mocking:

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Where are you flying from?

Odd that the Bahamas are too expensive to get to, but you've listed a bunch of places that would seem to be even more expensive!

Have you thought about just flying to Florida (like Fort Lauderdale) and going to the Bahamas from there? Your flights don't have to be on the same ticket/reservation.

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You fly to Providenciales (known as Provo) in the Turks and Caicos Islands and then a local hopper to Grand Turk.

 

Delta fly to Provo from Miami.

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Where are you flying from?

Odd that the Bahamas are too expensive to get to, but you've listed a bunch of places that would seem to be even more expensive!

Have you thought about just flying to Florida (like Fort Lauderdale) and going to the Bahamas from there? Your flights don't have to be on the same ticket/reservation.

 

Why would for example Jamaica be more expensive than the Bahamas? I'm not familiar with the Carribean, so there might be something I'm missing completely?

 

If I was to go to Bahamas or Turks and Caicos I would have to, just like you said, fly to another destination and make an additional reservation for a flight to Bahamas with a different agency. Requires extensive planning, scheduling, researching and a significantly larger budget. I might have to spend a night or two in the connecting city. I can get a direct flight to Dominican Rep. for 600 USD. As for Bahamas, it costs 2600 USD, with 2 intermediate landings in London and Miami (British Airways + Iberia + Bahamas Air). I'm flying from any major destination in the Nordics, whereever I can find tickets from (Trondheim originally). Yeah, it sucks to live here!

 

I'm fairly flexible with my destination (after all I am going only for the photoshoots), but unfortunately not completely flexible as I can't stretch my budget and I can't be away for too long either. That's why I inquiried on the listed destinations above, those are the ones I've found that are within my poor budget haha. But as I said, I'm open to suggestion because there might be something I've missed completely.

 

I've thought about doing that, but I haven't researched it. Do you have any recommendations for travel agencies that fly to the Bahamas from Florida? Tickets to Fort Laudersdale are about 735 USD, just checked.

 

Lovely avatar you have there! Did you take that picture? I love dolphins, where is it taken?

 

 

 

 

You fly to Providenciales (known as Provo) in the Turks and Caicos Islands and then a local hopper to Grand Turk.

 

Delta fly to Provo from Miami.

 

Lovely, I'll search for flights to Provo from Miami with Delta. On it now! I've never ever been to the States, so if I choose a connecting flight in Miami I'd probably want to hang around for a few days and explore Florida. Any good underwater locations there as well? I heard waters are rather murky though.

Edited by noahnoah

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I am not a diver, I have never even gone snorkeling

I guess I am confused. You intend to do some underwater photography, and you neither dive nor snorkel? You may find the pictures you want to take are really going to be difficult for you.....and make your trip not so good an investment.

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You dont need to scuba dive to do underwater photography though. The type of photos we are shooting are editorial underwater photos. We're not going to extreme depths. I wouldn't mind diving or snorkeling though, because it would certainly facilitate the process, alas I dont have a diving certificate but I'm not going to let it stop me. I just need help on finding the right spot.

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You dont need to scuba dive to do underwater photography though. The type of photos we are shooting are editorial underwater photos. We're not going to extreme depths. I wouldn't mind diving or snorkeling though, because it would certainly facilitate the process, alas I dont have a diving certificate but I'm not going to let it stop me. I just need help on finding the right spot.

I think you misunderstand what is involved in the kind of photos you link to. Probably ALL of them were made by a photographer using scuba. Taking pictures near the surface is actually harder than down deeper, because one's buoyancy is harder to control when shallow. You may want to contact the two photographers in that link and discuss your ideas with them.

 

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF700T using Tapatalk

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I didn't say it would be easier, I only meant you don't need extremely expensive equpiment (strobes, artificial lighting, scuba gear). I've seen "kids" on Instagram doing underwater photography with no diving gear whatsoever. The photos are not like the ones I linked to , obviously, but it is a start to something that could grow to become a hobby. I do not expect to achieve such professional results, they were merely a reference so that you can get a rough idea of what type of UWP I'm interested in. As for discussion of ideas and such; one of the photographers says you "shouldn't let equipment stop you from experimenting and trying out new ideas". =)

 

Just to clarify, I would be happy with photos like these (quality-wise): http://bit.ly/1nLssGr & http://bit.ly/1X1ClLR

 

So this is a genuine question which I hope you can help me understand; why would the photographer need scuba equpiment if he/she is shooting close to the surface whilst the model is not wearing any equpiment? Is it to control your buoyancy, or is there any other reason? Sorry for this "noob" question.

Edited by noahnoah

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I didn't say it would be easier, I only meant you don't need extremely expensive equpiment (strobes, artificial lighting, scuba gear). I've seen "kids" on Instagram doing underwater photography with no diving gear whatsoever. The photos are not like the ones I linked to , obviously, but it is a start to something that could grow to become a hobby. I do not expect to achieve such professional results, they were merely a reference so that you can get a rough idea of what type of UWP I'm interested in. As for discussion of ideas and such; one of the photographers says you "shouldn't let equipment stop you from experimenting and trying out new ideas". =)

 

Just to clarify, I would be happy with photos like these (quality-wise): http://bit.ly/1nLssGr & http://bit.ly/1X1ClLR

 

So this is a genuine question which I hope you can help me understand; why would the photographer need scuba equpiment if he/she is shooting close to the surface whilst the model is not wearing any equpiment? Is it to control your buoyancy, or is there any other reason? Sorry for this "noob" question.

 

 

For one, it is a lot easier to take photos while breathing normally (on scuba) compared to taking pix while holding ones breath. It has been a while, like 20 years ago, when I was able to do 3 shots with my Nikonos RS on one breath while skin diving in the Fla. Keys. This included having to refocus and recompose between shots. Not sure if I could still do this being quite a bit older, but doing this on scuba is "a peace of cake".

 

If you are right on the surface and breathing on a snorkel and shooting your pix will most likely have that "pointed down look" without developing additional techniques (maybe a polecam??). As well snorkel breathing involves more work (work of breathing) and thus more fatiguing compared to scuba with a good regulator.

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For one, it is a lot easier to take photos while breathing normally (on scuba) compared to taking pix while holding ones breath. It has been a while, like 20 years ago, when I was able to do 3 shots with my Nikonos RS on one breath while skin diving in the Fla. Keys. This included having to refocus and recompose between shots. Not sure if I could still do this being quite a bit older, but doing this on scuba is "a peace of cake".

 

If you are right on the surface and breathing on a snorkel and shooting your pix will most likely have that "pointed down look" without developing additional techniques (maybe a polecam??). As well snorkel breathing involves more work (work of breathing) and thus more fatiguing compared to scuba with a good regulator.

 

I'm sorry for yet another stupid question, but speaking of snorkeling, I've seen people snorkeling submerging completely, how can they breathe?! Sample: http://bit.ly/1o4dQ4K & http://bit.ly/1Py1bkQ (by the way, were these shot with some special gear, or with scuba diving equipment?) When I was a kid and we were snorkeling we certainly weren't submerging the end of the snorkel like that. I always thought you had to keep your snorkel close to the surface?

 

Thanks for the help and reality check guys! =)

 

Edit: N/M the question. I read it on Wikihow, apparently there's a technique involved in which you forefully blast the water out of the tube once you resurface after having had your snorkel tube submerged. I have to learn how to do that, since I wont be having any diving certificate by anytime soon.

 

How come the models are not wearing any gear though? Wouldn't they have to re-pose constantly after having resurfaced to breathe?

Edited by noahnoah

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The closest tropical reefs that also tends to have very good water clarity, easy dive/snorkel/float/wade conditions and is also VERY easy on the budget is the Red Sea. Right now water is chilly at Northern destinations (around 20C) but if you go further south or wait a few months then it gets balmy, especially close to shore.

 

You will need to do some research on places that have the type of beach and reef structure you are looking for. I prefer places with a "Marsa" where there is a sandy beach for easy entry and the Northern side tends to be very calm as the reef breaks the waves coming from the North. If you stay close to the reef edge you get interesting and colorful fish and great lighting.

 

There are many choices ranging from 5* luxury to pretty basic huts or tents. Just to give an idea of budget: a 7-night all-inclusive stay including flight from Amsterdam starts from 520 Euros to Abu Dabbab Diving Lodge (not luxury but quite nice rooms with Airco and private bathroom). It has also a long sandy beach, a very nice healthy and gently sloping reef along the North of the bay, and a more vertical and rougher wall along the South. More luxury digs at the same Abu Dabbab Marsa and elsewhere cost around 700 Euros. Prices go up later in the year but stay very reasonable.

 

Of course some are concerned about security but based on my experience I'm not concerned. There are also options to dive the Red Sea from Jordan.

 

Cheers, Bart

 

Example of a common fish along the edge of the reef.

post-5225-0-67432100-1454460886_thumb.jpg

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I'm sorry for yet another stupid question, but speaking of snorkeling, I've seen people snorkeling submerging completely, how can they breathe?! Sample: http://bit.ly/1o4dQ4K & http://bit.ly/1Py1bkQ (by the way, were these shot with some special gear, or with scuba diving equipment?) When I was a kid and we were snorkeling we certainly weren't submerging the end of the snorkel like that. I always thought you had to keep your snorkel close to the surface?

 

Thanks for the help and reality check guys! =)

 

Edit: N/M the question. I read it on Wikihow, apparently there's a technique involved in which you forefully blast the water out of the tube once you resurface after having had your snorkel tube submerged. I have to learn how to do that.

 

 

When skin diving one breathes on the surface through a snorkel then one holds ones breath for a dive. I would suggest learning how to do this before taking a scuba class. Even a whimp like me was able to go down to 10 meters or so on one breath and take the snaps mentioned above. I was wearing fins too - mask, fins and snorkel being the basic skin diving outfit.

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Just to clarify, I would be happy with photos like these (quality-wise): http://bit.ly/1nLssGr & http://bit.ly/1X1ClLR

 

So this is a genuine question which I hope you can help me understand; why would the photographer need scuba equpiment if he/she is shooting close to the surface whilst the model is not wearing any equpiment? Is it to control your buoyancy, or is there any other reason? Sorry for this "noob" question.

You can probably get photos like the first example; the second example is much more challenging.

What kids post on Instagram is hardly worth a trip half-way round the world.

 

Close to the surface you easily get bubbles on your lens; ruins the picture.

Close to the surface, in the kinds of places you are talking about going, you will have very strong shadows, thus probably needing a strobe to fill in the shadows. That is even more weight to carry around at the surface. underwater you can attach buoyancy to balance out the camera/strobe; not so at the surface.

You need to focus and compose with your head underwater, unless you are shooting down. Breathing is hard that way!

The models cannot stay down long either, and their positioning is 'correct" for just a moment. You need to be there, ready to push the button, at that moment.

So, summarizing, the issues are angle at which you are taking the picture, lighting, breathing, timing.

 

Hey, try it out in a pool at home, before you fly halfway round the world to be disappointed.

 

And I don't understand the prices you are quoting; I looked (from Trondheim) and the prices were much lower.

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Hi

 

I live and dive in DR for the last 25 years . We do have plenty of locations with clear water and white sand , water temp at this time is 26-27 celsius.

 

I can give you some guidance based on what you want to do exactly and your budget. Island is quite big so i suggest to plan ahead first and then choose to fly to the airport here that is closer to your chosen location . Airports options could be La Romana, Punta Cana , Santo Domingo , Puerto Plata and El Catey ( close to Samana ) , all international airports with daily flights from USA except El Catey which i'm not sure if only receive charter flights . All of them are close to white sand beaches with clear water.

 

Any additional info let me know

 

Regards

 

JA

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Dude, seriously, its time for a reality check. You identify as someone afraid of the sea and life within it, you don't know how to get your head below the surface, you don't know what equipment is required to take the kind of images you like, you haven't even tried in a pool, and you're shopping for exotic destinations?

 

Start with some basics in your local pool and see if this is for you. People here are a wealth of info but you really need a starting point, which is not yet evident.

 

EDIT: Re-reading this, it sounds harsher than I intended. What I should have said is that you can easily try out what you want to accomplish in your local pool, determine if you want to develop the skills to get better and if your equipment will do what you want. After you get some practice, your chances of a rewarding time when you finally get to that perfect destination will be a lot higher and you won't be as likely to be frustrated or burn up your vacation time learning what you can do at home first.

Edited by troporobo
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Glasseye Snapper - Thanks for the tip on the Red Sea. Just like you said I'd have to wait a few months due to water temperatures. Abu Dabab Diving Lodge is located in Egypt. I'm quite familiar with prices within Europe. For example, I can fly to Marsa Alam for only 70 USD. If I go charter, I can get plane tickets + 7 nights at a 4-star hotel in Makadi Bay for 240 USD (prices will go up later this year) That's a lot cheaper than going to Bahamas, or the Caribbean. To be honest the only reason I have not considered this is because I did not know I could get those water conditions in Egypt. I thought I had to travel outside of Europe. I guess I have to revise this assumption? Did you take that photo in Marsa Alam? What type of camera did you use? Photo quality is excellent :) My underwater camera is probably not that good but it will suffice for now.
tursiops - You can probably get photos like the first example; the second example is much more challenging. What kids post on Instagram is hardly worth a trip half-way round the world.
That's weird cause all those pics were taken with a point-and-shoot gopro. No strobe. Thanks for the tip about trying it out at home, I will do that prior to going abroad. Also thanks for the detailed explanation on the technical side of it.
lutfu - How is Side, Antalya and Alanya?
Tom_Kline - So when you go down for a dive the snorkel fills with water which you then blast out of the tube? Can I get any snorkel or does it have to be some special kind of snorkel? I remember those snorkels we used as kids, they didn't seem advanced in any kind of way.
troporobo - That's correct. Trial and error :) Plus I love to travel. If my photos turn out to be a flop, I can go on a new trip in a couple of months. But I do agree with that preparation is the key. I never said I didn't plan on doing any practice though. :dancing:

 

Hi

I live and dive in DR for the last 25 years . We do have plenty of locations with clear water and white sand , water temp at this time is 26-27 celsius.

I can give you some guidance based on what you want to do exactly and your budget. Island is quite big so i suggest to plan ahead first and then choose to fly to the airport here that is closer to your chosen location . Airports options could be La Romana, Punta Cana , Santo Domingo , Puerto Plata and El Catey ( close to Samana ) , all international airports with daily flights from USA except El Catey which i'm not sure if only receive charter flights . All of them are close to white sand beaches with clear water.

Any additional info let me know

Regards

JA

 

elbuzo - I'd love some more info on the DR! :) Can I PM you? The direct flights from here are to Puerto Plata but I read that local transport is affordable (for example Guaguas charge 100-150 pesos for 1-2h ride and I could get from city to city with Caribe Tours for only 250 pesos, is this correct?).

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Tom_Kline - So when you go down for a dive the snorkel fills with water which you then blast out of the tube? Can I get any snorkel or does it have to be some special kind of snorkel? I remember those snorkels we used as kids, they didn't seem advanced in any kind of way.

 

 

Yup, once one returns to the surface one just does a quick exhalation and the water squirts out, much easier to do than write down!

There are a huge number of snorkel models - some have do-dads to make clearing a bit easier. Each of the major scuba manufacturers has a range of models. Here is an example of one from Scubapro:

http://www.scubapro.com/en-US/USA/snorkeling/products/escape-snorkel.aspx

You can read the description. You will typically be taught how to use a snorkel during the first pool session of a scuba. The instructor might have different models for you to try out or they may require you to buy one first. I would avoid a super cheap one as you may find yourself replacing it it sooner than later.

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Have you considered one of the Cayman Islands? If you want good beach with clear water, 7 Mile Beach is ideal. There is good snorkeling I hear at the north end at Cemetery Beach. There is also Stingray Bar/City but not always guarrentied clear conditions.

 

Not sure where in the Artic you are but I know one lady who regularly visits Grand Cayman from Alaska.

Edited by DS256

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Glasseye Snapper - Thanks for the tip on the Red Sea. Just like you said I'd have to wait a few months due to water temperatures. Abu Dabab Diving Lodge is located in Egypt. I'm quite familiar with prices within Europe. For example, I can fly to Marsa Alam for only 70 USD. If I go charter, I can get plane tickets + 7 nights at a 4-star hotel in Makadi Bay for 240 USD (prices will go up later this year) That's a lot cheaper than going to Bahamas, or the Caribbean. To be honest the only reason I have not considered this is because I did not know I could get those water conditions in Egypt. I thought I had to travel outside of Europe. I guess I have to revise this assumption? Did you take that photo in Marsa Alam? What type of camera did you use? Photo quality is excellent :) My underwater camera is probably not that good but it will suffice for now.

 

The photo was taken in Sharm El Naga, a small resort between Hurghada and Safaga, but you can take similar images all along the coast. Since there are no rivers emptying in the Red Sea and no run-off of fertilizer and other pollutants water clarity tends to be excellent. Wind and waves can be an issue, especially when snorkeling because if you are tossed around by waves it is going to be hard to take good images. That is something to take into account in many places. Winds in Egypt are less during Spring and Summer and as I mentioned, in a Marsa the Northern side tends to be well-protected from the waves. Another advantage of a Marsa, especially since you are not an experience snorkeler yet, is that you can start taking pictures in water that is shallow enough to still stand and then work your way to deeper water. It is also useful to remember that in many places, including Egypt, conditions are often best early in the day before wind picks up as a result of solar heating.

 

Here are some images from a 6-7am dive along the North side of Marsa Abu Dabbab. Most are quite shallow and could be done while snorkeling. Images were taken with an Olympus OMD EM-5 in Nauticam housing. I haven't really used a GoPro to take UW images but based on what it can do with video I wouldn't be surprised if it did a decent job. Make sure you bring an image viewing device so you can check images as you take them. You will learn much quicker what works and what doesn't that way and can also be instructive for your model.

 

Bart

 

post-5225-0-44002100-1454814469_thumb.jpg

 

post-5225-0-90421500-1454814501_thumb.jpg

 

post-5225-0-98438500-1454814537_thumb.jpg

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Some thoughts on this. First, finding clear underwater conditions seem to me to be non-conducive to being near almost any beach. Sand gets churned up by currents. If you are looking for clear water right offshore you'll have better luck off rocky beaches than sandy ones. Being near a harbor or channel also tends to put you in areas where silt and sand gets stirred up.

 

Second, some of the places suggested earlier (Red Sea, Canary Islands) are nice dive sites, but I consider them somewhat cold. (Same with Hawaii). Once the temps get under 82F or so, I'm into a 5-mil wet suit, and snorkeling isn't a lot of fun for me. Then again I live in the Arizona desert, so I'm a wimp when it comes to cold.

 

Most of my experience has been in the Caribbean, though I have been to Canary Islands and Fiji. (Only place my wife and I aborted a dive early because we were too cold). Some beautiful places I've been with warm water include Fiji, Cancun, Cozumel, Roatan, Aruba and Jamaica. Bahamas were great during the summer (up to 90F in the water), cold in February (high 70's). My web site (www.cjcphoto.net) has a number of pages where I show diving on various vacations (mostly with point-n-shoots) so you can get some idea of conditions there.

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