We have just finished our 4th Annual Underwater Tribe/NAD Lembeh Resort Photo Fun Week and it was a resounding success! Along with the Underwater Tribe’s Mike and Luca as instructors, we also welcomed Doug and Lorenza Sloss of UW Lightroom to the teaching team to add a vast knowledge of Lightroom and Photoshop to this year’s event.
The event started on the 30th of July with a few people arriving in the afternoon joining those who arrived early with a relaxed day of diving and gear prep before the evening “Welcome Session” and introduction after dinner. We welcomed 15 folks from around the world on the first day with another 3 joining a few days late for a total of 18 participants along with our 3 underwater instructors. Joining us this year was a great mix of participants from Singapore, Belgium, Australia, the USA, the UK, and Italy. During this session the instructors were able to give a run down of what to expect throughout the week as well as an opportunity for the participants to introduce themselves and give a short statement about what they were hoping to learn during the week. As many people traveled a long distance to get to Lembeh, we had a short night so that everyone could get their rest for the first day of diving on the 31st.
Our daily schedule consisted of an early breakfast before heading out on NAD’s large, fast, and comfortable boats for two dives before heading back to the resort for a tasty buffet style lunch. After lunch each day, one of the instructional team presented a short discussion about photography followed by an afternoon dive and then an open discussion forum at 5pm which focused on Lightroom as well as an opportunity to spend time 1:1 with the instructors for photo critiquing and general discussion about photography tips. For most evenings, we followed dinner with another Instructional presentation, however, this year we organized the opportunity for our participants to join a Black Water Night Dive for a truly extraordinary photo opportunity.
One of the hallmarks of an Underwater Tribe Photography Event is that the instructors do not bring cameras during the dives, this allows the participants to maximize their learning time not just in the classroom but also underwater. Armed with slates in hand, Mike, Doug, and Luca accompanied the guests on 17 dives throughout the week offering immediate suggestions on strobe positioning and exposure as well as helping with snooting and backlighting options. This technique proved to be of paramount importance during the critiquing and personal sessions in the afternoons as it allowed the instructors to personally suggest improvements and ideas to further everyone’s development.
As is the case with most of our workshops, the participants ranged from brand new photographers to experienced ones with 100s of dives with a camera. To be sure that everyone was on the same page, we started the week off with the basics of Exposure and Lighting along with what we term “normal” strobe positioning. Also during the first day of presentations, Doug delved into the Lightroom workflow to get everyone on the right track with image management. Throughout the week we then discussed other underwater photography topics such as: Blue and Black Macro Backgrounds, Creative Strobe Positioning, Composition, Shooting Wide in Lembeh, Constant Light, Limited Depth of Field, Snooting, and Backlighting. We also presented Lightroom tips and tricks during the Developing stage with examples of the Radial Overlay and Adjustment Brush tools to get everyone’s images popping.
Of course our report wouldn’t be complete without mention of the amazing critters that we encountered in Lembeh. Hairy octopus, mating blue ring octopus, mimic octopus, coconut octopus, rhinopias, oodles of nudibranchs, shaun the sheep nudibranch, bumblebee shrimp, harlequin shrimp, frogfish galore, three different species of pygmy seahorse, and everything else that a trip to the Lembeh Strait can offer. With the fantastic 2:1 dive guide to guest ratio that NAD offers their guests, it seemed that we were finding a new and exotic critter every few minutes. One of the best advantages of being able to dive with an operator offering such a low guide to guest ratio is the fact that photographers don’t feel rushed by others and can take their time to set up a photograph correctly. (except in the case of pygmy seahorses where photographers are limited to the number of photos they can take)
During the last night of our event we collected everyone’s best photos of the week and presented a beautiful 20 minute slideshow which showcased some amazing images from everyone. We can say that everyone was very impressed by the fantastic photographs that everyone presented and it was very exciting to see photographs which were inspired by many of the tips and tricks presented during the week. Sooner than expected the final dives were made and the computers and cameras were packed up to signal the end of this years event. All in all, it was another fantastic experience at NAD Lembeh Resort this year and we are busy making plans for 2017. The entire week ran very smoothly due to the hard work of the friendly staff and a fun atmosphere on the boats and at the resort from morning and often late into the night. We would like to thank Simon, Zee, Serge and the entire staff of NAD Lembeh Resort for helping us host this years Photo Fun Week. We would also like to thank Doug and Lorenza Sloss for joining us this year to help expand the event and create a fun atmosphere for everyone. Last but not least, a special thank you for all of this year’s participants, we hope you had as much fun as we did and also learned some exciting new tricks to improve your photography!