Dumaguete Underwater Photography Workshop – Atlantis resort – with Martyn Guess
30th April to 11th May 2017
The group arrived in the resort mid morning on the 30th April in glorious sunshine. The weather was fantastic virtually the whole time we were in the resort apart from one very rainy evening.
Having set up the cameras we started diving on the excellent house reef after lunch and then the following day onto one of the many dive sites within 10 minutes of the resort. Very quickly we got into the usual dive, dive, eat, dive, dive, eat, sleep routine! All apart from one guest who managed to get in a 5th dive most days!!
From the first dive the critter count was truly amazing – everything seemed to have eggs or babies, Cardinal and Jaw fish mouth brooding, anemone fish nursing their eggs, even the mandarin fish performed and we got shots of the female ejecting her eggs ready for the male to do his stuff. From tiny weeny frogfish that seemed to grow as you looked at them to slightly bigger frogfish of every type to Giant Froggies – this place is a true Frogfish heaven. We saw amazing sea horses, Ornate ghost pipefish of every colour as well as cuttlefish of every size and colour including the rare flamboyant.
The group went on a day trip to Apo Island a 45-minute boat ride and in the sanctuary there spent the dives photographing green turtles. The crew cooked us a BBQ on board which was delicious and then back in the water for another dive.
After an initial welcome to Dumaguete presentation showing what the group could expect from the time we were to be in the resort, I made short slide presentations most evenings highlighting different techniques such as lighting or camera settings etc. These were interspersed with some very friendly and sometimes amusing image reviews where I processed some of the guests images live on the screen. We also spent time with our laptops at the bar before dinner so that everyone could see what others were taking and learning new Lightroom techniques. Being on hand in the water to help guests get the best shot seemed to work very well too.
The Resort is really well run and the dive operation ran like clockwork. The restaurant staffs were so friendly and efficient and the food – well it was truly excellent! We enjoyed a dive guide to guest ratio of on average 1 to 3, which meant everyone got to see the critters they wanted to. We were left alone to do our photography stuff and not once did we get pressure to move on.
Everyone seemed to have fun and a relaxed time, albeit that we did a lot of diving. The banter was amazing and despite this I think all the guests came home with a much-improved portfolio of images to show off to their friends and family. All in all a very good and fun trip.