Everything you need to know about joining the underwater photography program with Africa Media
What will I get out of the program?
The underwater photography and video program is aimed at assisting in the development of students who are interested advancing their underwater photographic and video ability to a professional level whilst enjoying some of the most incredible SCUBA diving that Africa has to offer. Interns will be able to walk away with a professional level portfolio that will showcase their ability to photograph and film the marine world.
Am I eligible?
This course is open to all qualified SCUBA divers and those wanting to learn. For non-qualified divers, you must gain a minimum open-water dive qualification prior to arrival. Alternatively, you can arrive on program two weeks prior to gain qualification and practice in SCUBA diving.
What is included and excluded?
- 20 dive package (incl.of 1 ocean safari and two game reserve an/or aquarium trips)
- Practical and theoretical training instruction in underwater photography and videography
- Free-diving course
- Food and soft drinks ( juice )/ water for your entire stay
- Accommodation: the rooms will be shared with other students (genders will be separated) from the 1st (arrival day) to the 30th (departure day).
- Transfer from airport to your residence when you arrive, and again back to the Airport upon departure
- Hard and soft SCUBA equipment
- SCUBA airfills
- Recreational weekend SCUBA diving
- PADI Open water qualification course: $1000 – $1600 (includes accommodation, catering and certification)
- Internet fees
- Laundry service
- Non-course excursions
- Extra food and beverages and alcoholic beverages
- Staff Tips
- Private accommodation (please request if you require additional privacy)
- early arrival and late departure fees (R400/day)
What is the daily schedule?
As a student and guest your daily routine will vary between diving and photographing or videographing, being tutored in photography and video techniques and free diving, and processing and editing your photographs. Fiona and her hand picked team are passionate about conservation and any projects that are available to work on practically, we will certainly be doing so.
How long can I stay?
The program runs for a month in duration (from the 1st to the 28th), with catering and accommodation offered during the dates of the course advertised. Students requiring training in SCUBA should schedule to arrive at least two weeks before their photo program commences so that they can receive SCUBA training and some diving experience. Students arrival before the 1st or departing after the 28th will be charged R400/day for food and accommodation.
Where will I stay?
You will stay in Scottburgh, South Africa at the famed shark diving company – Blue Wilderness, and diving within Aliwal Shoal, Marine Protected Area.
I am not SCUBA certified. Can I still come?
This program requires that you are SCUBA qualified and have some experience SCUBA diving. If you are not yet qualified, you can join the program and arrive 2 weeks prior to the beginning to get qualified and participate in 10 recreational dives for experience. This additional training, board and accommodation costs $1600. If unable to attend for two additional weeks, we can consider a 1 week training package for $1000 that includes PADI open water, 5 recreational dives, board and accommodation.
Where must I fly to?
Scottburgh – South Africa
Arrange flights in and out of King Shaka Airport – Durban
My arrival process?
Pickups from the Airport will be organised for the 1st day of the month and dropoffs on the 28th of the month. Interns arriving or leaving outside this time could be asked to arrange transport between the Airport and our host at their own cost.
Can I dive recreationally?
Yes, weekend dives can be organised at your own cost.
Must I bring my own photographic equipment?
In terms of underwater photographic gear, soft diving gear, and underwater housings, interns can bring their own gear if desired. A minimum standard of photographic gear required is a DSLR or quality mirrorless system with two strobes. You would also be required to have a wide angle and a macro lens and the relevant ports. All dive gear and photographic gear is supplied. If you bring your own photographic equipment of the standard set out here then, a cost break of $250 is offered.
What equipment will I have access to?
All photographic, editing, and scuba equipment is supplied during the course this includes
- 7 x Underwater DSLR photographic kits with strobes
- 2 x Prosumer type cameras with housings and a strobe
- Go Pros
- 1 x Panasonic HVX200 video camera & housing
- Full scuba kits including a full range of wetsuit sizes.
- Rubber Duck RIB or dive boat
Camera’s – we use both Canon and Nikon cameras but you are welcome to bring your own gear.
Computers: Please bring your own laptop. It must be pre-loaded with Adobe Lightroom 6 or CC as we use this extensively on course. Please bring Adobe Premiere Pro OR if you don’t want to buy that then any other video editing software that you usually use and know.
Can I cancel a booking or change dates once booked onto program?
Due to the number of applications received and limited places, we unfortunately do not accept all applying interns. Therefore, we do not welcome cancellations or date changes after the final confirmation has been sent to us. Please, make sure that the dates you indicate in your application form suit your own schedule/budget before applying.
We request that a non-refundable deposit of $750 ( for the full month course ) is paid within 2 weeks of being accepted into the program as confirmation (foreign and local bank fees or paypal charges are also to be paid by you). The remaining fee must be paid at least 21 days prior to your arrival. We also ask, however, if you could let us know of any changes or cancellations in your plans as soon as you are aware of these, so that we are able to welcome another applicant.
Who owns the photos/video I collect?
All media (photographs, video etc.) collected by interns during an internship will belong exclusively to the author thereof. i.e you. All media collected can be used for portfolio and marketing purposes by Africa Media. Interns will be required to sign contracts on arrival at the program to this effect.
Do I require a VISA?
Most nationalities gain a free three month visitors VISA on arrival to South Africa. However a few nationalities (e.g. New Zealand, India, China) require that VISA’s are pre-arranged prior to arrival in South Africa. Please check with the nearest South African embassy on the status for your nationality. If you have further questions then mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need insurance?
Yes. When you are accepted into this program, you will have to sign liability documents, as well an agreement that you are knowingly partaking in potentially dangerous activities. You will not be covered for accidents, illnesses or loss of equipment, so please do organize your own medical and travel insurances. Chances that you will be injured by a marine predator are very little if you follow the safety guidelines, and do not try anything foolish of which we would not approve. It is important to be covered for SCUBA accidents in case of an emergency where you may require to be airlifted as the closest chamber is in South Africa.
Do I need malaria medication?
Not for South Africa.
What must I bring with me?
- Beach and lounging – Bring what you are comfortable in, but ensure that you have at least one warm tracksuit type outfit, a good sun hat with a wide brim and a warm hat/beanie. Gloves can be helpful for early mornings. The tracksuit or similar is for lounging around in during the evenings, which will get colder than the day.
- Please bring a beach towel and a minimum of one bath towel, but preferably two. Please bring one towel to work with your camera on.
- Social clothes – Scottburgh is a small town so social clothing should reflect a casual non-formal style.
- A swimming costume or two.
- Your own wetsuit and mask is always more comfortable and could be more hygienic, but not a necessity as gear hire is incl. in the course price
- Minimum of 1TB storage hard drive.
- your own camera if you want to do any land based photos. We often have fun with star trails and the moon and some students like to photograph at the game reserves in the area
- a GoPro if you have one ( not necessary to buy but bring if you have )
You are actually welcome to bring any personal videography or photographic equipment, however, this is totally optional as all underwater equipment that you will need is supplied.
- Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Adobe Lightroom CC ( classic )
- Toiletries & strong sunscreen (there are also plenty of shops to purchase from).
- Prescription medication.
- Passport & photocopy of passport.
- Bank cards (inform your bank of your travels).
- Spare cash.
- Phone & cables.
- Blue Wilderness address – 34 Egerton Road, Freeland Park, South Africa.
- Guinjata Dive Centre address – Praia de Jangamo, Mozambique
How much extra money should I bring?
The info provided in the costs section should give you a good foundation from which to work this out. If you need to do a SCUBA course then bring at least $400 to cater for this up to an advanced level – plus extra for off-course dives if you wish. It is probable that you may wish to do a weekend trip or two, and many activities are available on such trips including diving with sharks for example. We recommend you have around $100 extra per weekend trip you wish to go on. Please note you do not have to go on ANY of these extra trips. This is simply for your information should you wish to. Please do not bring dollars to spend if possible, rather exchange and bring Rands or pre-arrange with Fiona Ayerst (email@example.com) that rands are bought up for you and exchanged. Please bring $100 for tips. We do not insist that you tip but if you are happy with the service our partners have given you then it is customary to tip the staff. At the end of each month your course director will take a ‘tip’ payment from each intern and this will be pooled and divided fairly between the staff- who we promise will be looking after you very well!
How do I get more information?
On acceptance of your formal application, you will be asked (if you are not already) to be registered on Facebook (www.facebook.com). You will then be invited to join a communication group run by Africa Media. This forum will enable you to ask questions and seek out any additional information, meeting and networking with us and other interns. You can also email Fiona on firstname.lastname@example.org