No I’ve not decided to move into property development this blog is a few bit’s and pieces about my last trip.

And one of the things  I’d like to refer in my remit as a trip escort is to co-ordinate with the skipper, guides and crew about the boats location.
Not just the dive site, thats a given,but sometimes the actual physical positioning of the boat itself at the dive site, so that you the trip goer get the very best experience out of your holiday.

In earlier blogs which I have linked to at the bottom I have looked at what it takes to be a photo pro and trip leader so I will let you look at them at your leisure, but for now in short, you need to wear a lot of hats, apart from just being able to take passable underwater photographs.
More importantly you need to be able to facilitate others in helping them take good underwater photographs.


A chequered past

My history as a dive guide in the past, I think, is possibly the most useful of my skillset.
As it enables me to have a grasp on what is going on around me with regards to the boat, its skipper and crew.
I know if it’s feasible to easily dive the Ulysses by rib, or if it’s practical to moor directly to the Kingston or Ghiannis D as examples.
Sometimes it might be difficult but possible to moor directly to the Kingston, preventing what feels like the longest rib journey in the Northern Red Sea.
I have built up and maintained great relationships with skippers, guides and crews over the years, which is very valuable.
And as the example above outlines when I know when to push things a little to get the best experience for the guests onboard.
I’ve found that underwater photographers and a lot of regular divers too, hate getting on and off a rib so being able to plop in directly from the back of the boat is a godsend.


Abu Nuhas Memories

However even if we are at Abu Nuhas where the wrecks of the Ghiannis, Carnatic and Chrisoula K lie, and we can’t moor directly opposite the wrecks themselves, I know that there are better moorings than average much closer to the corner allowing shorter rib rides and a great back of the boat night dive than the usual mooring positions at this popular location, of course this also allows people to do their day dives directly from the back of the boat too, so those really rib phobic have a great alternative if we are staying there for a while, this then allows me to please all comers.

This freedom and good working relationship was very evident on my last Winter Warmer trip and I conferred with the skipper of Cyclone, Mahmoud to try and place the boat directly atop the Barge, where we spent over two days, and to use a position that helped direct the guests straight to the lagoon at Gubal.
Of course this isn’t always possible, but knowing when it is and asking for it, really reaps dividends, as sometimes the current at Gubal can pick up and being able to go directly to the wreck from the ladders is a far easier option.



Put the boat where?

Of course you may well have had this luxury afforded you before, but if another boat is in situ, did your skipper move the boat to the better position when that boat left?
Probably not, because it’s a hassle.

Anyway having the boat directly above has another benefit photographically, in that you  can include the boat as part of your composition as is the case with this Stonefish shot below.



This shot of this well camouflaged Stonefish at the Barge is linked to the surface by the underside of the boat we were on MV Cyclone, giving us a compositional element to place into the negative space.



Ok, to wrap up for now as one of our guests from the first Winter Warmer is doing us a blog about her experiences on the trip, I will leave you a shot by another of the guests onboard Dave Elphick
Which I am titling Perseverance



Perseverance in abundance shown here by Dave as the conditions within which he took this shot were less than ideal, shooting with a Sealife Camera with a wet lens, he was up against it as the water floods out from between the wide angle lens and the housing. Something not experienced by those shooting with regular domes.




This is a sunset split shot at the Barge, which is a great spot for doing these, and I usually teach these at the Barge or up at Gordon Reef in Tiran.
Below is a competition winner from Nik Wills who was on my Red Sea Relaxed trips in August and November last and is joining me on another Winter Warmer in a few weeks time. Nik’s prize winning picture I’m also calling Perseverance  for the purposes of this blog 😉




Nik Wills was also up against it with his prize winning photo from Gordon Reef in Tiran. To keep his cool and keep shooting as the sun was rapidly disappearing whilst trying to keep the water between the lens and the camera housing of his Canon compact.



MV Perseverance

In both cases after a short lesson by me, these two followed my tips and got their pictures.
However I am calling them both Perseverance because in each instance they’ve realised that to take a winning shot you need to work at it.


Neither of them were shooting with an expensive DSLR and super sized dome port, which in some respects makes this type of shot much easier to achieve.
They were both using much less expensive compact cameras with wet lenses, this meant that the meniscus across the split had to be captured quickly as the water flooded out between the gap between lens and housing, the positioning had to be more accurately placed as the distance across the lens in each case was a paltry 2 or 3 inches at the most, so they had to act quickly as the sun was going down, and keep taking shots not really knowing if they had got the shot in the bag until they were back on the boat.
Now I’m not belittling anyone elses sunset splits shot with large domes and using DSLR cameras in any shape or form these aren’t ever easy shots to pull off, however I think despite the technology and equipment working against them to a degree, these two have shown great perseverance in getting these pictures.
So very well done Dave and Nik.
A special mention should also go to Cat Briggs who did the same thing on last years Winter Warmers and you can hear her feedback about the overall experience here.

A collection of older blogs referred to in this post


Why we love the Barge


What it takes to be an UW Photo Pro Pt 1


What it takes to be an UW Photo Pro Pt2


Stonefish Love


Bottom Dwelling


Sunset Splits