Underwater Photography News from DIVE 2016, Part 4: Talks

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One of the highlights of the Dive Show for us is the variety of talks that you can attend for free. Some of the top underwater photographers from around the UK, and further afield, give 30 minute presentations about their work, experiences & techniques, making this a great place to pick up some underwater photography tips from the experts.  This year we were asked to speak about our new book Deadly Oceans, and it was a great privilege to be able to speak to a packed Centre Stage on both days.

The talks this year covered a wide range of topics and whilst many of the speakers were there for both days, some could only be available for a single day, so it is always worth attending both days of the show if you wish to ensure that you see all the talks that you want to.  Alas Jane Morgan was ill with the “lurgy” and so could not attend the show and give her presentation. We were very much looking forward to listening to Jane and we hope she has recovered. At a busy show, we were not able to attend every talk on the Centre Stage but here is the list of what went on:

09.50-10.20
Richard Cullen
THE IMPOSSIBLE MADE POSSIBLE
The man who runs Deptherapy will be joined on the stage by some of the injured troops who have benefited from the programme that helps veterans through scuba.

10.30-11.00 (Sat only)
Emma Hewitt & Matt Clements
PADI’s DIGITAL IMAGING ADVENTURE DIVE
Replacing the separate Underwater Photography and Videography Adventure Dives, PADI now combines two in one. The dive can be standalone or part of an AOWD or Adventure Diver course.

10.30-11.00 (Sun only)
Steve Jones
WINGS, FINS, TEETH & TAILS
Steve’s talk is about the blend of technique, location and behavioural knowledge needed to photograph big animals successfully – you don’t have to be a zoologist but it helps!

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11.10-11.40
Nick & Caroline Robertson-Brown
DEADLY OCEANS
The biologist couple tour the world to photograph the most toxic, venomous and predatory creatures and explain some of the science behind their strategies.

11.50-12.30
Saeed Rashid & Nigel Wade
TOP TIPS ON COMPOSITION
The Vic ‘n Bob of the Dive Shows are back in action, and their topic is the framing of a shot – dedicated to everyone who relies that bit too much on the Photoshop cropping tool!

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12.40-1.10 (Sat only)
Stuart Philpott
CONFESSIONS OF A DIVING JOURNALIST
Stuart discusses writing about diving for publication – and some of the funny, and serious, situations in which he has found himself over 20 years in journalism.

12.40-1.10 (Sun only)
Marcus Greatwood
EXTREME LOCATION FREEDIVING
Marcus’s elite “phreatic” freediving team, which has been setting itself challenging but rewarding missions, mainly in overhead environments such as Welsh mountain caves or lava-tubes in the Arctic Circle. In wetsuits. Whether you fancy emulating them or not, it should be good value!

2.00-2.30
Martin Edge
THE ART OF INWARD LIGHTING
Passionate about teaching up-and-coming underwater photographers, martin looks at a topic “which will transform your underwater photography” using techniques that can be adopted by anyone who uses a strobe under water.

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2.40-3.10
John Boyle
CASTRO’S SECRET REEF
We’re pleased to see noted underwater film-maker John Boyle back at the show with the first preview of his latest documentary film, shot in Cuba’s outstanding (for sharks and much else) Jardines de la Reina.

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3.20-3.50
Alex Tattersall
NO MORE FIDDLESTICKS
Concerned about the degree of critter-manipulation sometimes employed by guides and photographers seeking a perfect shot at all costs, Alex offers techniques to minimise our impact on the animals we shoot.

4.00-4.30
Richard Smith
PYGMY SEAHORSES: THE BIG PICTURE
The marine biologist is a leading authority on the fish so beloved of macro photographers – he began his research into them nine years ago and was the first person to gain a doctorate through the subject. Spot the link with the previous talk!

We did get to a few of the talks and were very impressed with the quality of the photographs and the information within all the talks. If you wanted tips on underwater photography techniques then the dynamic duo of Saeed Rashid and Nigel Wade was a great place to start. This year they focused on composition and their top tips to take better images. Later in the day, Martin Edge gave a packed audience an insight into underwater lighting.

Alex Tattersall got into the touchy subject of critter manipulation, championing the cause that underwater photographers should be leading the way in marine life protection and not be the ones encouraging guides to move critters to get a better image. Alex, as a leading macro photographer, also offered great tips on how to take wonderful macro shots, without interfering with the wildlife.

We also managed to catch most of John Boyle’s talk on Jardines de la Reina. A place that we have visited in the past and loved. It is where we got many images for our books on sharks and crocodiles, and this made his astonishing video all the more engaging. Having filmed a truly amazing encounter, we now know for sure that the crocodiles of these waters do hunt the cute rodents, called Hutias, who inhabit the mangroves of the Gardens of the Queen.

It was really particularly rewarding to see all the talks were well attended, with most seeing all the seats taken and people standing at the back. Whilst we did not get to all the talks we wanted to, every time we walked past, it was great to see large audiences engaged in all things underwater photography at the Dive Show.

To find out more about the Dive Shows, visit www.diveshows.co.uk.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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