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8:00 AM - Dive Boats Depart
12:00 PM -
Lunch Buffet
2:30 PM -
Photo Seminars: Lightroom (Brown)
Video Seminars:
Shooting Techniques & Planning Your Video
5:00 PM
Dinner Break
7:30 PM
Slide Show Bar Party


Alice H 1
Angel City
Corporal Miess
Sea Gypsy 1
Captain Don's Reef
Nearest Point
Sunshine 1
Nearest Point
Wind Sock
Sunburst 1
Petries Pillar
Small Wall

Erin said: " I came to the Digital Shootout in Bonaire last year and had a fabulous time. I love traveling with Backscatter because they always bring extra s**t in case my s**t is sh**ty! Besides that, it's always a great group of people. I love the operation at the Divi Flamingo, the water is beautiful and warm, unlike the water in California where I'm from. Good folks!"

Cindy said: "I'm just hoping to have fun! I'm on vacation and that's all I want to do!"

John said: "It's a whole new year. This is where you come to improve."

Paul said: "I'm hoping to find a seahorse, one big enough to ride! The first dive was great, like swimming in a big aquarium!"


©2009 The Digitial Shootout
Site by newmediasoup, lLC

With only one day of classroom instruction under their belts, the video gang took their homework assignments seriously and produced some amazing video shorts. Under the guidance of Dan Baldocchi and Mary Lynn Price, video students are expertly telling a story while mastering the fundamentals. The pros were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the produced shorts this early in the week. In the photography classroom, Daniel Brown gave an overview of the Essentials of Lightroom, photo software that helps you organize, manage and edit your photos once they've been transferred from the camera to the computer. Photo participants submitted captivating images of Bonairean sea life, also way above and beyond what was expected this early in the game. With this level of talent, competition looks to be fierce for the week-ending competition!

Speaking of the photo/video competition, this year's sponsors, Backscatter, Aquatica, Sea & Sea, Light & Motion just to name a few, have graciously and generously provided a multitude of fabulous prizes from gift certificates to UW photo/video gear and trips to exotic locales. To see the full list of sponsors, check out the sponsors section on the right.

The staff at the Divi Flamingo cannot go unmentioned. Year after year they welcome the Shootout with warmth, hospitality and professionalism. Behind-the-scenes, they all work very diligently to ensure that our week here in Bonaire is not only pleasurable, but educationally and artistically successful. A very big thank you to the entire staff at the Divi Flamingo!
  SCOOTER - Shot with a canon 5d mk ii in an aquatica housing

  featured VIDEO DAILIES - 1

  Featured VIDEO DAILIES - 2

  featured VIDEO DAILIES - 3


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Berkley White: Daniel Brown gave a great intro to Lightroom today. By the end of the session, first time digital shooters were tweaking raw files and batching out their own jpegs for the evening critique. We use Lightroom to organize the daily submissions from guests, display shooting data for the critiques, and batch out jpegs stamped with copyright info for the daily web updates. With a little guidance, the powerful tools in Lightroom are quick and easy to use.

We asked each shooter to submit 3 stills or a 1 minute video for the nightly critique. Today was our first critique and I was very impressed. With Mary Lynn's support, almost all of the video shooters submitted clean clips set to music. Ninety percent of the still shooters were able to submit images and all of the entries we very solid.

David and I reminded the guests not to take our critiques personally. Only by pointing out flaws (and most importantly the techniques to make improvements) can we help each individual get to the next level. Some of the images were simply perfect. The most common issues of the day were centered compositions due to reliance on the center auto focus zone. Also, the classic issue of not getting close enough to the subject was an area for improvement. We encouraged everyone to be background snobs and consider the background to be equally important as the subject. Over exposure on saturated colors was somewhat common and we reminded everyone to use the RGB histograms as a guide to perfect exposure.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. These guys are looking great and it's only day one of the critiques.

Daniel Brown: I forget how intense (in a good way) these weeks are. Up at 6:30 (staff meeting at 7:00 WITHOUT coffee, mind you), breakfast, camera prep, dive gear check, standing on the dock at 7:45 for an 8:00 departure. Quick boat runs to the dive sites, in the water, shoot shoot shoot, surface interval, in for the second dive, shoot shoot shoot, up, back for lunch by noon (usually). Class at 2:30 (for 2.5 hours or so), dinner, then the evening review. Dive, rinse, sleep, repeat.

Today’s only drama (which is unique to photo boats) was a camera that went into the water and, 30-seconds later, came back OUT. Other photographers still on the boat are on red alert, swooping in to ensure the dive guides are carrying the housing upright so that the water (if there isn’t quite enough to flood) is staying away from camera and lens. I rushed over, hovering over the housing checking for vital signs; the LCD display was displaying as usual, no moisture light was lit; the patient was stable until the diver can get out of the water to describe more symptoms. Turns out, his regulator was acting up. We resumed our normal dive schedule.



Dan Baldocchi:I'm so glad we brought the video section back to the Shootout. At the first two Shootouts in 2001 & 2002 we had a video category but it was way too hard back then with "turn of the century" technology. It was nearly impossible to shoot and edit video on a remote Caribbean island. That kind of thing had to be done at home on a clunky desktop computer with a zippy Pentium II 266 mhz processor. Remember those? I think we only had 3 people participate so we ended up dropping video and we were pretty much photo only until 2007.

But the world changed a few years ago with easy to shoot digital video cameras and powerful laptops with great editing software. All of a sudden video editors were free to travel and take the editing room with them, wherever they wanted to go. And a bunch of them came to Bonaire this week for the Digital Shootout. It's amazing really, everyone in the video track can edit video on their laptops so we're getting these really cool "video dailies" each night at the evening slide show. Check em out! The first night we had 5 entries, I can't wait to see what we get tonight.

I'm really impressed with the effort. We're diving in the morning, capturing and editing in the afternoon and watching some great edited videos each night with titles and music and everything! And they look great! Great job everyone!

David Fleetham: We did our second dive right under the end of the runway for the airport here in Bonaire. Susan gave us the heads up on two sea horses in 40 feet of water and sure enough there they were. I found a third one on my own down at 80 feet and had him all to myself for a little while. From the other boats I heard reports of more sea horses, turtles and a striking orange frogfish. Bonaire rocks!

Lenny Bucko: Yeah!!!!!!!!!! First two boat dives today with Capt.Pepito at the helm. Our group of only 10 divers made the short 10 minute ride to Klein Bonaire and dove on two beautiful mini walls that were right under the boat. I helped get the group into the water, handed out cameras and let the games begin. Very easy, non current diving for 60 minutes with all types of subjects on both dives. I spent 15 minutes at a safety stop shooting 40 images of a sea horse right under the boat when I realized that 12 minutes ago my stop was over. Great images in class in the afternoon showed that everyone had a great day. THESE GUYS ARE GOOD!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to tomorrow. Lenny (Uncle Buck)

Mary Lynn Price:What a fantastic group of filmmakers! We have people editing on Macs, people editing on PCs, some shooting standard definition, some shooting various forms of high definition. Some folks are using the new tapeless camcorders. Most of us, though, are still recording to tape. (But this will no doubt be changing as the video world continues to go tapeless!) Like last year, we have editors using at least five different video editing programs to produce their videos, which can make for pretty wild times when we're all scrambling to get the daily videos together for projection at the evening presentations!

Some of the filmmakers have been editing video for a while and are working to take their storytelling and editing skills to the next level. And some are creating their very first video productions, which is something I just love to see! It's a great mix. One of the best parts for me is seeing how the filmmakers are also helping each other when questions come up with the different editing programs. This kind of video buddy system is so important for those of us doing video editing!

Last night we had five different filmmakers submit short edited videos for the first of our series of "Video Dailies" presentations at the evening gathering. Some of those dailies will be put up on this special Bonaire Digital Shootout website as YouTube videos, which is very cool. (Thank you Joel and Jen for making this possible!) We're off to a great start, and I can't wait to see more of the short video creations from the filmmakers here!


Jim Decker: The demo gear has been popular already this year. We have 3 DSLR and 3 compact camera systems with us for demo, along with an assortment of strobes, focus lights, macro lenses and other bits and pieces of gear you didn't even know you needed.

I shot the Canon 5D Mark II in the Aquatica housing again, this time with a Magic Filter on the 15mm fisheye lens. For the bright tropical waters of Bonaire, this proved to be the solution for shooting this lens in video mode. The white balance procedure is a little funky when compared to a HD camcorder, but once you have the procedure down, it can be executed rather quickly.

Also shot the new Canon HFS10 camcorder in a prototype Light & Motion housing today. It's pretty cool to be able to shoot in 24P underwater. The colors looked great and the control set lets you control focus, exposure, and white balance without having to go through pages and pages of camcorder menus.


Russ Sanoian: Today was our first day on the boats at Divi and I spent my dives scootering the beautiful reefs here in Bonaire. It was most of our guests' first time to get in the water and check their buoyancy and cameras out. Everyone on my boat for the day (Sunburst) had a great time and Rufino our captain and Ruud our divemaster were great! I had my rebreather and Dive Xtras Sierra scooter and was shooting some video with unique views. Be sure to check the website as there should be some clips posted later today. All the video was shot with the new Canon 5D MKII camera in HD video mode with a Canon 15 mm fisheye lens. This camera has opened many doors for both still and video shooters in that you can utilize Canon DSLR lenses which can provide a huge field of view or extreme macro possibilities.

Tomorrow I am diving the wreck of the Hilma Hooker and will be using the scooter again to obtain some cool high speed fly by shots and POV with an unusual sure to check out the video.


Jean Bruneau: Old habits die hard, I did a night dive yesterday with my roommate Georges, shallow under the pier type of affair. Shooting in a surge no matter how gentle is never easy. When you insist on old fashion methods it is downright difficult! The focus mechanism tends to hunt most of the time, the reason being that you are never in the same distance for long, so the lens goes through its range from 1:1 to infinity in the quest to hook something to focus on. This is made even more difficult if working in a backscatter laden surrounding. But hey, no need to throw in the towel!

Most DSLR housings (at least all of ours) nowadays will offer some kind of control over the focusing feature of the camera, this is either the AF-LOCK or in some cases the AF-ON function, the first one actually locks the focus when you depress the lever, great in situations like last night. You let the lens focus and bang, you lock the focus and shoot! You just need to get out of the old habit of relying on your AF or manual focus and realize this useful tool is there to help. The AF-ON actually disengages the focusing from the shutter release list of things to do and if you want to auto focus, you depress the lever and the camera will activate the auto focus. This also can be a very useful tool to help in a situation where your lens focusing tends to hunt. Press lever, acquire focusing, let go of lever shoot.