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9:00 AM Dive Orientation
10:00 AM
Gear Prep Session (photo classroom) or jump off the dock and go for a dive
12:00 PM
Lunch Buffet
2:30 PM Photo Seminars: Photography Techniques (White) & Composition (Fleetham)
Video Seminars: Core Concepts & Shoot to Edit

5:00 PM
Dinner Break
7:00 PM
Official Welcome Party - Flamingo’s Nest (opening presentation 7:30 PM)

Open Arrival Day - Some attendees on Boats. Check back tomorrow for the first official day of Diigital Shootout Boat Dives.

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©2009 The Digitial Shootout
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Shore diving. Boat diving. Imaging workshops. The 2009 Digital Shootout has officially begun! Attendees from all over the globe - United States, Netherlands, Belize and Dubai - have arrived at the Divi Flamingo Dive Resort, this year's home of the Shootout. After a morning of diving either the Calabas Reef, Divi Flamingo's house reef, or various sites from the boats, guests attended workshops presented by Berkley White, David Fleetham and Dan Baldocchi. Berkley and David's presentations, geared for photographers, spotlighted the essential techniques of focus and exposure and composition for more pleasing images. Their approachable, hands-on style and wealth of knowledge and experience provided the class with motivational instruction to keep diving and keep shooting! For videographers, Dan's dual-focused workshop covered equipment features and set-up, as well as proper in-water shooting techniques needed to capture the highest quality image. Whether a refresher course or a new topic of learning, all of today's workshops provided our attendees valuable, useful information for capturing better images.

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Berkley White: David Fleetham and I launched the first day of photo presentations with the topics of focus, exposure, and composition. Top FAQ: Where the heck do these strobes go? I discussed easy to remember strobe placement rules and when to make a better image by turning one strobe off. I covered my top 15 photo tips including my simple rules for manual exposure, fast focus, and how to use camera feedback to make a perfect exposure. It was great to see most heads were nodding in interest rather than nodding off to sleep. Many homework assignments were handed out for tomorrows dives.

It's exciting to see such a large mix of skill levels and gear. We have first time point & shooters, new gear SLR owners, and a few seasoned shooters. I love working with groups like this as a new green shooter always ends up popping out with one of the best images of the week with a simple system. Ahhh.. fresh eyes!

The technical side of photography can seem intimidating. These cameras have so many buttons, but we only need to master a few of them to create exception results. In the next few days, these guys will get comfortable with technique and then be able to explore the most rewarding part of photography... composition.

Daniel Brown:Before we even touch or talk about cameras, one minor "fail" avoided - be careful when using your fancy phone as an alarm clock abroad. The network may set your clock to, say, 10:38 pm on Saturday even though it's 8:46 am on Sunday.

Near faux-pas - almost mistaking O-ring grease for lip salve... (no, it wasn't me; this time.)

This marks my 8th anniversary of being around (and, later, BECOMING) an underwater photographer and, for the 8th year in a row, I learned something.

And it's not a tip on refraction differences when using a diopter, it's that my strobe arms can be shorter for Macro shooting. Even last night, as I assembled the relatively modest pairs of 8" arms on my housing, they felt a bit gangly; looking something like me playing basketball in my early teens. Berkeley wandered over, saw the combination of arms and flat port, and said "you can use shorter arms with macro."

Obvious, perhaps, in retrospect, but to hear a seasoned pro confirm your suspicions AND have a set of shorter arms on-hand for us to try? Awesome.

Mary Lynn Price: One of the best parts for me of returning to the Bonaire Digital Shootout (for the third time!) is visiting with people I haven't seen since last year, and hearing of their digital imaging adventures since our last visit. And what is also so cool is having people take part who are doing their first ever video! I just find myself thinking how much I would have loved an event like this when I was getting started. What a great group!



Dan Baldocchi:The first day of school is supposed to be easy, right? Not in the video class at the Digital Shootout. We got right to work with an in-depth seminar on what I like to call the "core" underwater video techniques. By the end of the session we all had a handle on the use of manual white balance and the color correction filter, AF and focus lock, shooting with the sun at your back, getting close and holding still! We also covered a pre-dive set up checklist and talked about the "gotchas" that tend to bite us in the butt, like bubbles on your lens or smudges on your filter.

There were quite a few people with brand new rigs this year trying them out for the very first time. It was cool to see the latest and greatest UW video gear on the market and spend some time working out camera settings, and housing control sets. The Shootout is a great place to go if you have new gear. We have such a great staff of experts here to help you along the learning curve. You go from 0 to 60 in one short week!

Ok, so I ran a little long today... So long that I took up all of Mary Lynn's time. She didn't even get to start her seminar. Sorry Mary Lynn!!! But we were having so much fun geeking out on the camera settings and shooting technique that the next thing we knew it was 5 o'clock. I promise to let Mary Lynn start tomorrow's session because she has a lot of great info on planning your video and how to shoot to edit. She'll make sure you're shooting smart so that when you get to the editing room you'll have all the right pieces to put together a fun video that you're proud to show to your friends and that they're happy to watch.

If she lets me, I'm going to talk again tomorrow about wide angle vs. macro shooting techniques, lens selection and using video lights, exposure control, and ambient light vs. artificial light. Uh oh, I'm gonna go long again!

David Fleetham: Out shooting today. Will write more tomorrow!


Lenny Bucko:Well, everyone is here and we did another briefing about the beautiful Marine Park, the local rules, and how to fall into the water off the boat - see today's video of the day. The local kids played Marco Polo in the pool as we attended class and got ready for tomorrow. Wow, are we ready to get into the water and apply all that we already learned today! Tomorrows report will be full of great pictures of fish, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, submarines and sunken pirate ships. OK, maybe a rock or two or our buddy but stay tuned for amazing things to come.


Jim Decker: We were testing the scooters today. More gear talk nuts and bolts tomorrow.


Russ Sanoian: Out testing cameras mounted to the scooters.


Jean Bruneau:Well, itís good to be here, sunny and friendly, my kind of combination, got my first dive yesterday evening, nice shore dive, all set up for a macro galore, bang not 5 minutes in the dive huge school of fish being bullied by a half dozen tarpon, tremendous action going on and there I am with the wrong kit, just to prove the point that no matter how on top of things you think you are as far as controlling your gear and all that technical stuff, you still need to have the right subject! Still it was a great dive and Iíll try to catch up to them guyís this afternoon.

Meanwhile, you couldnít find a friendlier bunch of people, both the staff of the resort and the participants. It put a face on many names for me, regular Wetpixel members and all.

"Wish you were here" just doesnít cut it now, itís more "You need to be here!" Tomorrow the wheels are set in motion and I canít wait! I have a feeling I will be sitting in a plane way too soon wondering where the time went ...