Looking to take an Underwater Photography Course in order to improve your photography skills on your next trip to Lembeh?
Divemaster in Training Tristan Stafford took Scott’s Digital Underwater Photography course this week, with amazing results! Here’s a wonderful account of his experience…
“The first time I came to Lembeh was nearly six years ago. I was mind blown even in the early days of my diving experience at the wealth and variety of creatures that inhabit the area.
Diving for me has always felt like a journey to another world – Lembeh is another world!
blown away by the weird and wonderful
Ironically, what appears to be the bleakest dive site is more often than not the most interesting – TK being the perfect example of this.
Cruising over the black sand, no reef, no wall, and no coral, the occasional fish, you find yourself questioning why you choose to dive in what appears to be a site devoid of life.
Then the little shakes and bangs from the exceptionally talented dive guides begin. It is a prelude to the performance. You know the show is about to begin and your mind is about to blown away by the weird and wonderful.
My excitement of returning to Lembeh was soon hampered by my own stupidity. Having completed a few dives and getting into the zone with my camera, I made the all time fatal error of rushing out to an afternoon dive and forgetting to fit the o-ring. After a solid 15 minutes in the water bucket and a few seconds in salt water, my trusty camera of six years was ruined.
The timing couldn’t have been worse as I was due to start a digital underwater photography course. I had come to the conclusion that switching to the Marine ID specialty may be the only path left.
dslr rig on the underwater photography course
As hope of taking any more photos at Lembeh dwindled, the situation made a sudden u-turn as Scott offered me use of his DSLR rig!
I had seen many divers over the years go down with these daunting setups and was excited if not somewhat apprehensive at attempting to use one. Armed with a 100m Macro Lens and +10 diopter, Scott and Robyn offered a wealth of advice and a host of techniques as well as explaining that I was in for a very rewarding and very challenging experience.
Very rewarding and very challenging is an understatement. The learning curve moving into the DSLR macro territory is incredibly steep. Buoyancy control must be precise and finding a subject through the viewfinder is insanely difficult – this was before I had even attempted to use the diopter.
However, when I managed not only to see my first Mantis Shrimp holding its eggs but also to take a good shot, I felt an incredible satisfaction. This satisfaction was compounded when I actually managed to find and shoot a tiny Inornate Gymnodoris Nudibranch with the +10 diopter.
Using a diopter with a macro lens is a test of patience, to say the least. Attempting to find the subject in the view finder is borderline impossible and once found it is another journey into madness attempting to keep it in view – this is before sharpness and composition have even been addressed!
Thank you Scott and Robyn
I have often in the past commented on how much better my shots would be and what an advantage underwater DSLR photographers have over those with compact systems. After my experience in the photography course, I find myself very humbled and with a profound respect for photographers using super-macro DSLR systems.
Thank you, Scott and Robyn, for all you help and advice, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Underwater Photography specialty. It has been an enlightening and rewarding experience and the apprehension I had for DSLRs underwater has transferred into an intense desire to get one.”
Blog and Photo credit – Tristan Stafford