Contributed by Brandi Mueller
2018 was the fourth annual Roatán Underwater Photo Fest with new and returning guests meeting at Turquoise Bay Resort on the island of Roatán for a week of diving, learning, fun, and a crack at the yearly photo competition sponsored by Ikelite and other dive industry and photography businesses.
In addition to diving the best sites Roatán has to offer, participants were treated to daily talks on all things underwater photography. Local marine life guru, Mickey Charteris, started the week off sharing his images of the macro critters of Roatán, making everyone jealous of his spectacular finds and inspiring some macro shooting. Tripp Funderburk gave a presentation on the Roatán Marine Park Reef Restoration project, and he took participants to the project to plant coral and take photos. Underwater videographers and documenters Julie Ouimet and Michel Labrecque gave tips on underwater video. Hosts Brandi Mueller and Andrew Raak talked throughout the week on why documenting the ocean is important to spread awareness and help conservation efforts, photo editing, macro photography techniques, creative compositions, and other topics.
Diving included opportunities to shoot caves, wrecks, reefs, turtles, sharks, and more. At the end of the week participants showed off the images they took in a friendly photo competition. Michelle Scamahorn took home Best of Show with a macro image of a solitary gorgonian hydroid and shrimp. The full results of the photo competition can be seen on the website.
The next event will be November 2-9th, 2019. It will be held once again at Turquoise Bay Resort on the island of Roatán. Two or three dives are offered each day including wall dives, caverns, wrecks, a trip to the Roatán Shark Dive and a night dive. Optional trips to visit the coral replanting site are available.
Dive guides at Subway Watersports are great with handling delicate camera equipment and are trained to help point out photo-worthy subjects and go slow, allowing for plenty of time to take photos. Throughout the week will be talks on underwater photography techniques, some of which are catered to the skill levels of the participants. The hosts and on-site photo pro will be available throughout the week both on the boat and on land to give advice, help troubleshoot problems, and talk about all things underwater photography. The photo contest will also be returning to show off the photos from the week and to win great prizes from sponsors such as Ikelite. More information can be found at www.Roatánunderwaterphotofest.com.