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Photoworkshop and Blackwater Delights

By Dan Pinto

As every year Insider Divers picked a top macro location to conduct it's yearly underwater photography workshop. This year it was the famous Anilao Photo Academy, brain-child of award-winning photographer Tim Ho.

Once again we had a great mix of people from all over the world including Mexico, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, India and Germany. With our three bancas we explored all areas of the macro haven that is Anilao.

Anilao Photo Academy

In-between the dives we spent a lot of time working on our photography skills. There were two to three sessions a day ranging from the basics of photography, to special lighting techniques and tips on how to win awards by seasoned award-winner Tim Ho.

Tim showing strobe basics
Pauline showing the variations of natural light
Tim talks about the essence of winning awards.

Another exciting aspect of diving in Anilao is blackwater diving which can be done just in front of the resort. Under the guidance of Wayne Jones, who has won several awards for his Blackwater Photography, we went out into the pitch black almost every night.

Aside from all the diving, photographing and learning we still had a lot of fun.

Daz also had his 500th dive while being on this trip. Congratulations!


All participants made a lot of progress during the week. But the final proof point would be the Photo Competition where all photographers would compete against each other.


Dannie Cheung with his yawning yellow Goby.


Shrikant Patnaik with the snooted blenny.


Daniel Pinto has been to all Insider Diver workshops and usually brings home a trophy or two. This time he outdid himself on this photo of a Hairy Frogfish combining various techniques into one.

By Dan Pinto


Daniel also took home this category winner.


Phil Robinson-Welsh took home the award for best Blackwater photo.


Daryll "Daz" Rivett scored with his amazing blackwater photo of the jellyfish - like an Alien in the Sky.

Before we come to the final winner of the competition we would like to give a big shout out to Iris Hong, who came to the workshop having never touched a camera underwater before. Her photo made second place in the compact category. Impressive how multiple lighting skills were used creatively after only a few sessions in the water. Congratulations!!


The big prize was heavily contended with lots of amazing photographs in there. But in the end the setting, mood and framing won Matt Nethaway (also a regular at our workshops) the well deserved first prize. Congratulations!

As every year we were thrilled to see how much progress was made by the participants during one week. We had several inexperienced shooters, some diers with new cameras and everyone managed to create memorable photography that we hope to see in international competitions.

Join us on our next workshop in February 2020.

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