Final Thoughts Ambon Photo Workshop 2015
Here is the delayed final blog post from our recently completed First Underwater Tribe / Maluku Divers Photography Workshop which was held from the 18-25th of March 2015. Although we have visited Ambon many times over the years and knew that Maluku Divers ran a fantastic operation, it was our first time holding a group event at the resort and we are happy to say that the entire thing went off without a hitch. The resort itself is well designed with 10 individual bungalows along with 4 spacious Garden Rooms, a dedicated camera room, a well appointed outdoor seating area for our presentations, numerous camera tanks and a well laid out dive gear area, and of course a restaurant that sat all of us in one big table along with fantastic food! We can’t say enough great things about how well Maluku Divers runs the resort fro the seamless reservations ahead of time to the wonderful and friendly on site staff and management, the team really bent over backwards to provide us with everything we needed and then some. We will most definitely be back next year to enjoy the great macro diving and photo opportunities that we enjoyed with long bottom times and fantastic critter spotters.
All of our guests arrived were on site by the morning of the 18th (a few had arrived ahead of time to get in a few extra dives) and we were able to split the groups and get out diving right away. Each of our boats had a dive guide as well as a photo instructor aboard (neither myself or Luca carry cameras during the workshops, we only use our slates) so everyone was well looked after when it came time to finding critters and setting up the right way underwater. Our schedule consisted of 3 (very long!) day dives per day, 2 before lunch and one after, as well as the opportunity to do an extra night dive if desired. During the dives Luca and myself would help the photographers underwater in many different ways including but not limited to: snoot holding, help with strobe placement, critter finding, backlighting, reassurance on camera settings, ideas about composition and lighting techniques.
Each day we would present at least two different talks: one after lunch and one after dinner. After the third dive of the day we would meet in the common area to either go over the days dives, critique photos, or help with Lightroom in a “mini” workshop setting for those interested in learning more about that powerful program. Our talks at the beginning of the week concentrated on the basics of photography such as f-stops and shutter speeds and then became more “macro” specific by discussing macro composition, backgrounds, shallow depth of field, snooting, backlighting, and more! Feedback from the participants was fantastic as everyone felt they learned a lot from our presentations as well as the one to one underwater work.
However, nothing spells success better than seeing the results of our students work and on the night of the 24th everyone had to opportunity to show off their best work of the week. After a fantastic BBQ dinner put on by the Maluku Divers restaurant team we sat down (along with the other guests in attendance who weren’t a part of the workshop) to see the results of a week of diving in Ambon! The resulting slideshow of images I have to say is possibly the best set of images I have seen in any of our previous workshops throughout the world as everyone provided at least 15 fantastic images toward the show. As a special treat, we were also shown a beautiful video from our video shooting attendee Nannette, stunning imagery all around. We would like to thank all of the attendees who came from all parts of the world to dive and learn with us! We had attendees from Australia, the USA, Malaysia, and the UK and we really enjoyed the camaraderie that was felt by all. The relaxed tone and fun atmosphere was a great setting for learning photography, making new friends, and enjoying world class critter dives with a plethora of incredible subjects! Thanks to all of our participants and the wonderful team at Maluku Divers, we will be back again soon!
The Underwater Tribe
Here are a selection of images from the participants