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I would like to hear people's honest opinion about workshops. I used to use this guy who would lead trips to Africa. I found it pretty much useless. There was no teaching or anything it just seemed I was paying for him to be able to go to Africa. Would love to hear other's opinions on these workshops I see advertise. Sometimes it seems to me that you are just paying for that person to be able to go on the trip.

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certainly there are underwater workshops where you are subsidizing photographers to pad their portfolio. There are others where the workshop leaders are in the water without cameras and teach and show how to set up shots. Ask questions before you go, any workshop where the leader is underwater with a camera should be a red flag. 

 

Bill

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Thanks..that is why I stopped using the guy who lead the trips to Africa. After 2x I was like wtf am I paying for here. You aren't giving me any insight . I just arranged with the camp to get my own pricing. Do you have any suggestions on which ones to use? 

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I've had really great workshops (I learned a LOT) on trips with Alex Mustard and with Erin Quigley.

Granted, they both had their cameras in the water, but I found both to be almost infinitely available and teaching non-stop.

 

 

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The Underwater Tribe workshops are great in that regard, Mike and Luca are very helpful in the water.  The workshops that Mike Bartick runs are very informative when you are topside, Mike teaches a ton about lighting particularly if you are into snoots and such. 

 

Bill

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The REEF Photo and Video workshops in West Palm Beach and Anilao are good. In-water instruction as requested, or they will leave you alone. Viewing photos and getting feedback is good. Some basic lectures on lighting, composition, etc.

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I can only really speak from the perspective of the workshops that we (Wetpixel) run.

We definitely feature and devote significant amounts of time and energy to formal learning, although I am personally unconvinced about the benefits of underwater coaching due to the inability to effectively communicate. Hence, the techniques can become formulaic, which is perhaps what we strive to avoid!

Describing and understanding complex techniques is hard enough at the surface! For a workshop venue, we tend to also chose locations where subjects and condition can be repeated-allowing for post capture image analysis and then attempting different ideas for improvement.

Perhaps more importantly, when you gather a group of image makers (and remove any element of competition), it results is an incredible cooperative creative energy. In many ways, much of the learning come through discussing, sharing, watching and emulating what others people on the workshop are doing. 

You can get a similar experience (without the formal learning element) when diving on imaging specific trips, where everyone is capturing images and devoted to it. You tend not to get it on trips when some of the group are not image makers!

 

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I second the Underwater Tribe comments.  I have dived with Mike many times and all he takes is an underwater pad and a sense of humour!  The instant feedback underwater reinforces the concepts given on the surface.

I did attend a workshop here in Australia to shoot cuttlefish, dragons and white sharks...whilst the trip was great the instruction was non-existent, won't dive with that well-known alleged "instructor" again...!

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Let me throw in additional support for Mike @ Underwater Tribe. Did a wide angle 1:1 course with him a few years ago... really helped my w/a shooting. Completely custom course (focused on where I needed help), dived a bunch of interesting sites in north Bali, shot a ton of images (even a few good ones). And it looks like they have it really dialed in now - when I dove w/Mike it felt pretty "seat of the pants" from a planning, etc. perspective, but I've heard from a few folks who have gone out with them over the last year+ that things are now even better. Highly recommended.

Also - Mike Bartik @Crystal Blue Divers (Anilao) is a true pro's pro. He's co-taught several of Blue Water Photo workshops that I've attended (and planning on returning this Dec.). He's excellent at providing feedback on images, technique, etc. (but you have to know that if you ask for feedback he will give it you ;) Worth mentioning that he's probably the single most qualified person to talk about black water diving on the planet  - they have this really dialed in at Crystal Blue.

 

 

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I now have a much better feeling for the difficulties of running workshops. Last week I was cajoled into leading a photo workshop for Blue Water Photo on a Rocio Del Mar trip to the Northern Sea of Cortez.  On the trip there were only 4 photographers (2 novices, two relatively accomplished ) and teaching this group was quite challenging.  After every dive I would go over the photos with each person and try to get them to change their approaches appropriately.  

The only thing that really worked was to leave my camera on the boat; give the group a set of extremely explicit instructions (shoot each of the 4 common bennies/gobies head on) and then set up the shot for each of them to get what I was saying.  That worked but nothing in the class lectures seemed to have a very big effect.  

Running such workshops is hard and in spite of the large amount of 1on1 instruction at the end of the week there was a lot less improvement than I would liked to have seen.  Of course it was probably my teaching style that was at fault but I have a lot more respect for the folks that run big workshops.

 

Bill

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The post from Bill made me giggle
I think having the in water instruction does not fit well with large groups maybe with 2 max 4 people
I have done the mustard workshop 3 times and it was worth it on a practical note unless you have no current and neat to perfect conditions it is impossible to teach wide angle in water
I guess there will be locations where this is possible but where I like to dive isn't
Am running my own boat next year and though is not a workshop the concept is to have a photo driven drive schedule and do briefing and debriefing ad a group share
Clearly there are no set objectives of learning but hopefully everybody will come back with some decent images

Sent from my SM-A505FN using Tapatalk

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Yes, in the water is fine for up to 3 folks, any more and it would be a nightmare. Fortunately for me we were only shooting macro things (head on portraits) with no wide angle. Me trying to teach wide angle? I would pay money to see that.

 

Glad I could supply giggles.

BVA

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