Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Juvenile Gray Angelfish USA, LLC

Juvenile Gray Angelfish, originally uploaded by Scubaben.

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IT'S CALLED THE "FANTASY DIVE." Budding and experienced shooters appreciate Cathy Church's custom photography tour, created to maximize learning opportunities. Church and her team of three photo pros dive the Sunset House reef--just two minutes from their classroom at Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Centre and Gallery--almost daily, so they know which blennies, mutton snapper, gray angelfish and Christmas tree worms cooperate best for posing sessions. Instructors swiftly guide students to guaranteed amiable subjects and then help them work all the angles, adjusting strobes or suggesting different camera settings to try. Freed from trying to keep up with a big dive group, the students set the pace.

Experiences like this make Grand Cayman and Sunset House an ideal setting for a weekend of mastering underwater photography while earning PADI's Digital Underwater Photographer specialty. The swimming-pool-like conditions off the island eliminate shot-ruining hurdles from surge that knocks the camera out of position to rough seas that stir up sand and create backscatter. In addition, the reef's proximity to shore means more time underwater behind a camera and less time sitting on a boat.

Much of the Sunset House reef lies g between 40 and 60 feet, so divers here gain abundant bottom time, increasing the odds of a serendipitous encounter with a southern stingray or green sea turtle. The sponges, each twisting and curling into its own distinct shape, can also produce frame-worthy images if captured with correct lighting. As much as the dependable subjects deliver for beginners, it's often the smaller, rarer finds--such as a sea hare, red clingfish or a green-banded goby--that inspire more-seasoned shooters. Experience aside, the one shot that every camera-toting Sunset House guest takes home is of Amphitrke, the bronze mermaid statue found at 55 feet.

But even the most stunning subjects won't wow unless the person behind the lens learns to capture the moment. The staff at Cathy Church excels at tailoring instruction, from knowing how much assistance to offer in the beginning to challenging students to solve problems on their own later in the session. Lessons vary from buoyancy control behind the camera to using strobes creatively, and adding texture and shadows to subjects. Aided by a concentrated style of teaching and the perks of the location, Church finds every student achieves better shots in just one afternoon. The half-day investment typically bumps a photographer's skills to the next level, which he can appreciate the rest of the weekend at sites such as Three Sisters on the East End or Stingray City in the North Sound.

But it might take that fantasy trip--to Grand Cayman or anywhere you love to dive--to truly appreciate the payoff from a weekend with Cathy Church and Sunset House.--Brooke Morton

Quick Guide CATHY CHURCH'S UNDERWATER PHOTO CENTRE AND GALLERY AND SUNSET DIVERS PADI Five-Star Resort * Boat: M/Y Photo Journey, three divers plus Cathy Church and captain * Nitrox * Gear and camera rental * On-site storage * Guided tours * Nearest airport Owen Roberts, Grand Cayman * Instruction in PAD1 underwater photo and video courses * Other amenities: Private boat charter includes Cathy Church instruction on boat and underwater, unlimited air or nitrox, free use of camera up to SLR Nikon with lenses and strobes, snacksand lunch. Gear washed and stored for multiday charters *,

The Eyes Have It: Photo tips from Cathy Church

Viewers are drawn to five aspects of a photo: 1) the brightest area; 2) the most colorful: 3) the area of highest contrast: 4) the area of sharpest focus: and 5) the eyes, if the subject in the photo has eyes. A great photo is often one where most or all of these aspects converge at the main point of interest; a distracting photo is one where these areas conflict or the viewer has to search for that main point of interest.

Source Citation
"Capture your dream." Sport Diver May 2010: 64+. Popular Magazines. Web. 28 Apr. 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A224522051

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