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Learning Underwater Photography in the Red Sea

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The month of June was all about gaining even more diving experience and learning underwater photography.

And luckily, I was going to be Learning Underwater Photography on the stunning coral reefs of the Red Sea – and just to give you an idea of what an intensive start into photography underwater it was, I logged around 60 dives in 24 diving days, out of which I maybe spent five without a camera in my hands!

Learning Underwater Photography

But as I had expected it to be like, I very much enjoyed combining my hobby of photography on land with scuba diving. Although I must admit I was terribly scared of flooding the camera housing, which Reef Photo and Video and Light and Motion support me with, right away!

For this reason, I was very happy that Red Sea Diving Safari invited me to join their Photocamp in Marsa Shagra, which was led by Paul ‘Duxy’ Duxfield and Phil and Anne Medcalf. Although the official workshop consists of four different presentations on Lighting, Composition, Marine Life Behaviours and Workflow and Editing, which were really informative, I was lucky that Duxy, Paul and Anne really took their time to guide me through the basics in underwater photography in general.

Learning Underwater Photography

From setting up and caring for the equipment, to the specifics in settings when taking pictures underwater, to the cataloguing and editing of RAW files afterwards. The opportunity at RSDS to go diving on the house reef as much as you want, really helped me to get confident with the camera and a variety of subjects, which I could revisit as often as needed. Duxy, Phil and Anne also jumped in the water with me many times, and it really was helpful to be able to observe what they were doing, as well as being able to seek advice in strobe positioning and settings.

Furthermore, I got certified as a Dugong Survey Diver through the Egyptian Dugong Team and Dr Ahmed Shawky from HEPCA during my stay at RSDS. Although I measured feeding trails width for determining a dugong’s muzzles size, identified different seagrass species and used a laser measurement tool for dugong’s body size on turtle carcasses, I unfortunately wasn’t lucky enough to see a dugong itself. I guess that means I have to come back…

Learning Underwater Photography

After the introduction to photography on the RSDS Photocamp, I felt ready to join two weeks on the Red Sea Photo Workshop with Alex Mustard, which Scuba Travel invited me to. I got to learn about photographing a big variety of subjects, from wrecks, to schooling fish, to fish portraits, and it was an incredible experience to learn from not only Alex Mustard himself, but also all the other participants, who were all very happy to share their knowledge and skills.

We dived the Thistlegorm as well as four other wrecks, and got to spend many dives in the National Park of Ras Mohammed, which was thriving with life. As I went onto two weekly workshops, I again was able to return to the subjects that I struggled with on the first trip, and it really helped me improve, as well as encouraging me to get more creative in my photography.

Learning Underwater Photography

Alex is a brilliant teacher and the Red Sea was definitely the perfect location to start. The abundance of marine life on the healthy and colourful coral reefs there make for great subjects, and as a megafauna fanatic, I was even lucky enough to encounter dolphins, many turtles, a hammerhead shark, and even a whaleshark!

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Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.

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