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Photography in an Underwater Paradise

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Underwater Photography – September 2016

From amazing macro, mantas, turtles, schools of devil rays, to close encounters with everything from humpback whales to whale sharks – this is what theUnderwater Photography Internship in the paradise of Mozambique delivered in September 2016.

The last two weeks of this program have been more than amazing. The ocean gave us gifts that we will never forget. The wide-angle lessons started and everybody had this good energy and vibe. All the interns were excited to try these new settings for the first time, so they put in a lot of effort and paid attention to understand how to take good wide-angle shots. The first lesson was at the swimming pool and they practiced with models. Some of the interns were very creative and came up with artistic interpretations and ideas for their pictures.

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After the pool session, they understood strobe positioning: how close you have to be to the subject and how to shoot objects in movement. So, they were ready to jump to the ocean to find some amazing megafauna!

We all agreed that life on this underwater photography program in paradise at Guinjata was like the best dream ever, for us all. Whenever we are not diving, we exercise, play beach volleyball, climb the sand dunes, surf, go swimming, watch movies on the big outside screen, bake birthday cakes, organise card games on the weekends (like Mexican Kings) and learn photography at the same time. For me, this is the best way to live life: surrounded with the perfect life of adventure and amazing people.

We dove all week at Manta Point, Extasy reef, Green Tree and Pandaine Express. All these reefs are deep and we were lucky to find amazing marine life like friendly potato bass, loggerhead turtles, devil rays at our safety stops, beautiful schools of fish, huge stingrays. And all this with great visibility. We also had the chance to do a night dive which was a lot of fun. We found many weird creatures, a green turtle sleeping on a cave and the best part is that we danced with our lights off surrounded by the bioluminescence of the plankton.

The best part of the Underwater Photography Internship was yet to come when we got ready to do our first ocean safari. We asked the skipper, Armando, to go wherever he wanted to go because we trusted him. He said, “OK, I will find something nice for you.” We were sailing for about 20 minutes when, in the distance, I saw a couple of whales breaching. We went there to watch the show but when we arrived, they were gone. Two minutes later we saw a huge whale with her baby. We could tell that it was newly born, as the colour of the skin was white and clean. We approached slowly and we saw that they were not moving a lot, so Armando kept his distance but told us to get slowly into the water without making any noise, to see if the whales would move towards us at all.

We couldn’t see anything because we had been dropped far away from the pair, but then we saw that they were coming directly towards us. We started swimming away from them, but they were still pretty close and some were able to take a shot before we got out of the water.

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The next day, we were even happier when we came back from our dive and we heard on the radio that the skipper saw a whale shark. We jumped on board and went to find it. It was about 10 meters long and really beautiful, we had to swim hard to keep up with it but it was worth it! We couldn’t believe how lucky we were to have seen two such charismatic animals in such a short time – and all after they had brushed up on their wide-angle skills. It was perfect timing.

On our last ocean safari, we went to Coral Gardens. It’s a beautiful shallow area full of life, perfect to play with the natural sunlight and some free diving models. On the way to the dive shop, we swam with about 20 dolphins that were playing in the waves and we were thinking that this was one of the best weeks of our lives! The last days of the program we spent celebrating life and friendship, sharing the best pictures of the month and making plans to meet again somewhere else in the world.

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