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8:00 AM - Dive Boats Depart
12:00 PM - Lunch Buffet
2:30 PM - Photo Seminars: Macro Techniques (White), Wide-Angle (Fleetham)
Video Seminars: Tackling the Timeline, Audio & Sharing Your Video
5:00 PM - Dinner Break
7:30 PM - Slide Show Bar Party


Alice H 1
Hilma Hooker
Sharon's Serenity
Sea Gypsy 1
Hilma Hooker
Sunshine 1
Angel City
Bachelor's Beach
Sunburst 1
Leonora's Reef

Pam said:"It's been 12 years since I've been to Bonaire. I'm very excited to be here! I'm very excited about learning stuff! I'm very excited about the camera I just got to use!"

Gary said: "The Shootout is a very friendly crowd. Lots of educational things going on, and I can bring 4 suitcases as long as I bring my daughter!"


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Videography isn't just about telling a story... so much goes into the final production! Todays video seminars: Tackling the Timeline, Audio and Sharing Your Video (YouTube), and Advanced Video Techniques showed students how to take their video story to its completed stage where it can be shared with friends/family on the web. On the photo side, Berkley White discussed in detail Macro Essentials, spotlighting focus and exposure, strobe power and placement and composition. He even gave some learned tips for using the increasingly popular Macro-Mate. David Fleetham covered the other end of the spectrum with a comprehensive discussion about wide angle photography and it's techniques. Attendees are soaking up all of this knowledge, and it really shows in their photo and video submissions that are viewed nightly by all!

The Hilma Hooker is a premier wreck dive in the Bonairean waters and our dive boats have started the rotation for all to view her in her splendor. We can look forward to some stunning images from those dives soon!
  featured VIDEO DAILIES - 1

  Featured VIDEO DAILIES - 2


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Berkley White:Another great day! We pushed the Photoshop seminar back and spent another afternoon discussing shooting techniques. It was great to hear "Now I get it" coming from the entire group. I reviewed top tips for shooting macro such as locking auto focus and moving the camera back and forth, aligning 2-3 key subject elements with the focal plane before setting final composition, proper strobe placement to create subject defining shadows, and how to best use TTL or manual list a few.

Guests photos for the nightly critique were very strong and once again the video team impressed us by editing clips to music on a tight schedule. Tonights photos had improved exposure and it was great to see more wide angle submissions. We discussed details on working with models, when to rotate horizontals to verticals, making shadows by getting away from the "default" strobe position, and watching the "near wall" strobe for burn out in vertical images. It was a very impressive group of images so early in the week!

I spent my dives testing out the Sigma 12-24 (full frame) lens behind the Subal FE4, Zen, and a Backscatter customized Sea & Sea dome port for Subal. I'll follow up with results as soon as I get time critically analyze the data.

The demo crew was busy handing out gear all day. Tomorrow is scooter school and a field trip for split images... time to round up some models and polish our dome ports!

Daniel Brown:I think there’s a “life-improving ideas” calendar that lists, among its suggestions, “Go take a class in something you know nothing about.” It’s both helpful (and humbling) to throw yourself into something you don’t know at all (or, in my case, THINK you know pretty well only to find I know less than I thought).

I know a thing or two about underwater photography (i.e. Always dive with a housing for your camera, don’t forget to monitor your air, get close, then get closer, shoot upward when possible, etc.) but on the first dive of this trip, I felt rewound to rookie status. Concepts I thought I understood fall apart when tested more thoroughly. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent guy, but sometimes the process of shooting underwater utterly baffles me. I keep quiet for a while, assuming the answer will just pop into my head from somewhere. It usually doesn’t. It’s at that moment that I must do what most people (especially guys) hate to do the most – ask someone smarter than me. I usually confide in Berkley and, often in a single sentence, he’ll deliver that forehead-smackingly-obvious answer.

We don’t need to go far to put that advice to use (In our case, it’s down stairs, around a corner, and out the end of a dock.). While the classroom time is immensely helpful (I hear people on the boats every day reminding each other the tips-and-tricks learned the day before), but it is the combination of classroom time, as well as practicing in-water what we’ve learned, that makes this so valuable.

Only talking about underwater photography and the techniques involved has an equivalent in the music world – it’s called “air guitar”; here, it’s like we get to tour with The Stones.



Dan Baldocchi: It was just another day in paradise... After two great dives this morning, Mary Lynn gave a real eye opening seminar on video editing concepts. She talked about tackling the timeline, working with audio, and output & sharing.

A lot of people are intimidated by a blank page and sometimes video editors don't know where to start with an empty timeline. Sure, you may have a lot of great footage but how do you get it from raw clips to a finished masterpiece? Mary Lynn showed us how to organize ourselves and come up with a plan to make a video that hit our target audience. It was great!

Audio is often an afterthought when making a video but really it's one of the most important editing decisions you'll make. Think about it. Your choice of music will set the tone for the video and influence the viewers mood while they're watching. Mary Lynn gave us some great examples of this and talked about different sources of royalty free music and even ways to make it ourselves. When we were done with that we learned how easy it is to post our videos up on YouTube. I couldn't believe how simple it was! What a great way to share your video with friends and family. Upload to YouTube, send out a link and before you know it, people around the world can see all the cool stuff you shot. Isn't technology amazing??

David Fleetham:Two more great dives this morning. As I was photographing a pair of the most cooperative French angelfish I have ever encountered, two of my camera toting cohorts were lighting up a similarly accommodating octopus in only 17 feet of water. All of us spent 3/4 of the dive with our subjects. I don’t need any more French angelfish shots. On to the frogfish, turtles and squid!

Lenny Bucko:Taco Tuesday at the bar tonight before the slide show and we all need the energy after a great day of shooting, class, and more coaching. An adult beverage or two may help wash the nitrogen level from my body and get me ready for tomorrow.

Two of the boats, went to the Hilma Hooker today and both of them had great dives at the 100 foot deep, 300 foot long ship. The second dive for my boat went to the end of the town airport runway and it is called Windsock. Lots of small critters in the rubble piles up at 15 feet but right under our boat as we hit the bottom Orlando our guide, casually points out a brillant orange frog fish who is feeding. Hard to see at first but these guides are amazing.My new policy now is to try to be in his BC pocket when he hits the reef because he is the man. Just another day in paradise as I am shooting the 45th picture of the frog fish, I look up and I am face to face with a Spotted Eagle Ray . Not sure who was more startled but he was definitely a lot better looking than me. The days keep getting better and I am losing sleep planning my next days shots in my head.

Manana mi amigos, Lenny ( Uncle Buck)


Jim Decker: Russ and I combined some of our 5D Mark II video and made a short clip that was posted on Day 3. These shots would have been impossible with traditional underwater video camera systems. The lens selection you have available on DSLR cameras is mind blowing. The point of view scooter shots are impossible to do with anything other than a fisheye lens. Also, with the sensor being so large, it does really well with detail and sunballs as you can see towards the end of the clip looking up at the silhouetted divers. There was no color correction or other modification of these clips. They are straight from the camera and put together in iMovie. As the week goes on we'll try to have more video clips to post.

I shot the Olympus 1030SW today. I used a Sea&Sea YS-110 alpha strobe and a fisheye conversion lens. I love this lens. It goes to 165 degrees wide so you can be super close to your subject and still maintain a very wide field of view. While the 1030 does not have manual mode, it does have exposure compensation which can go up or down 2 stops. This works well for trying to darken the blues for the background. I also shot the strobe in TTL mode. This worked well about 80% of the time. The other times it had trouble getting the right exposure in tricky lighting conditions. For these I switched the mode over to manual and adjusted as needed.

One thing to note about shooting in TTL is that while the strobe exposure is automatic, the strobe positioning is not! I think the hardest challenge of underwater wide angle photography is strobe positioning to properly light the subject. It sometimes takes many shots just to get the strobe positioning just right. You just can't make everything automatic. That wouldn't be any fun anyway.

Russ Sanoian: Our ship, the Alice H with Captain Jenne and Divemaster Susan, assured our mission would go without any surprises. We launched from the dock at 07:40 and engaged warp drives to ensure we would be the first to arrive at the wreckage of the Hilma Hooker. She was a cargo ship that was loaded with Mary Jane, yes thats right wacky tabacky! When her cargo was discovered she was scuttled(the cargo went up in smoke:) and she settled into a section of the reef with a nice sand channel and came to rest on her port side. My plan was to scooter the wreck in search of any remaining cargo. While looking for the treasure I would document the wreck and try to discover why so many divers want to dive the wreck of the Hilma Hooker.

I was shooting the Canon 5D mkII yet again, I had to make sure this camera was really as good as everything I had shot. I mean come on, I have shot underwater with HD rigs that cost $$$. This camera is running a close second to many of the high end prosumer cameras with its wide range of lenses. The scooter I was using proved invaluable for capturing long steady pans of the wreck, I was unable to locate any cargo but did find treasure. As with so many wrecks she had become a home to thousands of creatures and was serving a much more useful purpose than her previous life. Once back on board the Alice H I was able to review my footage and was very happy with the quality. I will post some on the website tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did filming it!


Jean Bruneau:We did the Hilma Hooker this morning. She might be an old hooker, but she is still pretty as sin! A participant got a chance to try out our new Aquatica D90 housing. Well, from the look she gave me underwater, she was pretty thrilled about it! Next step is to get her to shoot HD video with it, not an obvious thing to think about in the beginning. We are so used to segregating still photo from HD video and BOOM! all of a sudden you have a HD camera in your hands as well. As I said yesterday, old habits die hard!

Today, I committed myself to a 100% vertical format, rigged up my strobes and float to have the optimal vertical trim. I liked the experience a lot and will definitely commit to it more often, as it forces you to find a novel approach to your composing. To add to the challenge, I filtered both the strobes with a green filter (30cc to be precise) and the lens with a FLD filter (30cc of Magenta). What that did is first the lens filter got rid of that ever present residual greenish cast in the water column. Why the green filter one might ask? Well, if the strobes were not filtered to mimic the green of the water, then they would throw out a white light that would be processed by the lens filter into magenta light. So a green filter on light is thwarted by a magenta lens filter, background greenish water column is filtered by magenta filter but unaffected by green strobe lights. Yeah I know, mumbo jumbo, but hey it works! End result, me happy, very blue background and vertical shot.