Warning: str_repeat(): Second argument has to be greater than or equal to 0 in /home/africam9/public_html/wp-content/plugins/testimonials-showcase/ttshowcase.php on line 792
Fiona is very knowledgeable, professional and has the patience of an angel. She genuinely wants you to excel as a student and takes your personal level and goals into consideration. I came as an amateur photographer and an amateur diver and can confidently say that I left better at both crafts. We were a group of 6 and Fiona observed and evaluated everyone individually, giving each of us personal assignments and advice. The program is well thought out and has a good balance between theory and practice. The first week covers the theory of photography with several fun assignments to put the theory to practice on land. After that some time in the pool with some toy animals! The first few dives are focused on macro photography and after that we moved on to wide angle, both with several assignments. The dives concluded with crit sessions to discuss the photos and what we learned from them. Aside from the general assignments, everybody got individual challenges based on what they can improve on. I was worried about accidentally destroying part of the reef or smushing small animals so my challenge was to get closer. I got good advice, many great tips, lots of practice and by the end I was poking my head into crevices and becoming part of schools of fish! Feeling more comfortable as a diver, I could concentrate more on composition and the story behind my photography and I loved those dives the most. We also learned a little bit about free diving which was a really cool experience. It has a completely different feel than scuba diving and I am definitely looking forward to doing more free diving in the future. Aside from diving and photography, Fiona touches on the business aspects of the trade and discussed several options to make underwater photography a profession. I honestly cannot praise this internship enough and could write a book about my experiences in these four weeks, but let’s move on to other aspects of the organisation 🙂
I registered for the internship last minute-ish but received very quick responses from the organisation and had all of the information I needed before I left. The information provided is clear and any questions were answered promptly and adequately. Transport from and to the airport is included so as long as you provide your travel details you don’t need to be worried about getting lost in the middle of nowhere.
The accommodation was great, we had the house to ourselves with all of the amenities you need. There are shared dorms available with two bathrooms and for a little extra you can opt for a private room with an en-suite bathroom. There is a fully equipped kitchen so you can always make your own coffee, tea, hot chocolate or the odd banana pancakes when you feel like something else for breakfast! Plenty of space in the fridge to store anything that needs to stay cooled. You don’t need to do any cleaning or washing up and the lovely staff members will even open up a coconut for you! At a small additional cost you can even have your laundry done.
The internship includes full-board so no need to worry about meals. The staff at The Safety Stop was very flexible and accommodated my vegan lifestyle with loads of fruit (I miss the mangoes so much!), veg, grains and the occasional home made spring rolls. When I indicated I’m not a huge fan of french fries, they happily served rice instead. Portions are more than adequate so you will not go hungry here!
The dive centre is lovely and everyone is very friendly. The owners and dive masters/instructors are very passionate about the ocean and are excited to find and show you all of the cool animals that live there. Every dive is briefed well and tweaked to fit the goals in terms of photography. The skippers are amazing and know how to handle your camera gear. There is a high level of involvement and interest and everyone is excited to see your photographs.
If you want to improve your skills as an underwater photographer or you are a complete newb like me and want to see if this is your cup of tea, join this internship! You will not regret it!
Huge thank you to everyone at Africa Media Academy and Guinjata Dive Centre, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it was EPIC!!