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What makes a great Photo Destination ?

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I have travelled to a fair few places to go diving and the diving has varied between sublime and the not very good. However in terms of taking pictures and the ease of doing this the places have varied enormously.


For example, Cocos Island is a fantastic place to dive, however on a photographic basis it is one of the most challenging places in the world (a nd the diving is pretty challenging too).


What makes it so hard ?


Strong currents

thermoclines (can reduce viz to virtually nothing)

variable visibility

Skittish Subjects (unless on a rebreather)


Other locations the diving may not be so spectacular but they are brilliant for taking the best photos that you can eg. Bonaire.


So why is this ?


Unlimited Shore Diving

unchallenging dive conditions

No one telling you what to do (dive times, locations etc)


There are a host of other things that make a location either great or disappointing and these relate to both the operator and the location itself.


Personally I think things like dunk tanks, camera tables, luxury accomodation, someone to carry my kit etc are luxuries that aren't neccessary.


For me the most important factors that make a place great are as follows:


Great Subjects

Dive 4 or more times a day

No limit on dive times (other than computer and air)

No limit to dive profiles (other than computer and air)

Solo diving not a problem

Solo travel not a problem (no prohibitive single rates)



The best places for relaxed picture taking that I have been are:


Bonaire (all of the above - except not great solo)

St Vincent (only two dives a day but no limits on those dives and great subjects picked out by great guides)

MV Hurricane (Southern Marine Parks - red sea) with Grant & Sonia (great DM's with a grown up approach to their guests)


So what does everyone else think about what makes a great destination and where are these destinations ?

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I agree with all of your points. I would also add dive sites that are conducive to multi-level profiles. One of the great things about both Bonaire and the Red Sea (I havn't been to St. Vincent) is the ability to end a dive in shallow water and still have plenty of potential subjects rather than just hanging on a line or floating off in the blue.

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What is important to me is a lot of what you said, but I like to find uniqueness underwater and then blend in a nice side trip with some interesting cultures. I always like to see the social and historic aspect of places I travel to, and the food ;)


One destination usually has a uniqueness, such as Sipadan Island in Malaysia, where if you are (or were) fortunate you got a tour of the serpintine underwater tombs. This shot is why it is unique. Cocos is different that COCO VIEW for example, two totally separate desires. Just pick your poison and maximize your trip based on realistic needs and expectations.



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Besides the things you've already discussed, I enjoy a dive location where you can lead your own dive. So many places you are put on a "cattle boat" and asked to follow the dive master. This is terrible for shooting pictures. Not only are you bombarted with divers kicking and banging into you with every photo subject,but you are also forced to move on too quickly. That's why I love live a boards. You control your dive.


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