2019 Roatán Underwater Photo Fest Trip Report

2019 Roatán Underwater Photo Fest Trip Report

(Cover Photo) Best of Show Photo in the photo contest was taken by Lou Marnell with this photo of a photographer taking a photo of a photographer taking a photo of a scorpionfish.

The 2019 Roatan Underwater Photo Fest took place November 2-9th, 2019 marking five years of the workshop being hosted at Turquoise Bay Resort and Subway Watersports. Underwater photographers of all levels, from new shooters with gear still in boxes to experienced semi-professionals joined hosts and Ikelite Ambassadors Brandi Mueller (@brandi_underwater) and Andrew Raak (@raakbottomimaging) for a week of shooting, talks, and one-on-one help and support. The end of the week concluded with a photo competition sponsored by Ikelite and other dive and photo industry businesses.

Roatan Underwater Photo Fest by Brandi Mueller Ikelite

Ambassador Brandi Mueller captures an intimate moment between a grouper and a cleaner wrasse. 

Roatan’s beautiful diving provides a great learning environment with plenty of macro and wide angle opportunities in calm conditions. Participants furthered their skills in night diving, wreck diving, shark diving and reef diving with three dives each day and several talks and plenty of one-on-one time with the hosts.

Roatan Underwater Photo Fest by Andrew Raak Ikelite

Ambassador Andrew Raak focuses in on a well camouflaged shrimp. This striking technique of shooting macro with a black background is fairly simple to achieve; check out the Cheat Sheets portion of our photo school to learn how.

Talks included topics such as macro photography, wide-angle, split shots, manual settings, lighting, video, editing, capturing behaviors and telling stories. Roatan resident Mickey Charteris (@caribbeanreeflife) presented a talk on the amazing creatures of Roatan, inspiring participants to break out their macro lenses (and magnifying glasses) and look for the little stuff as well as pay attention to behavioral relationships in the ocean. Subway Watersports photo pro Bob Herb (@bobh_h2o) also presented on his favorite dive sites to photograph and helped participants on the boat, underwater, and in the classroom.

Roatan Underwater Photo Fest by Andrew Raak Ikelite

Fluorescence or "fluoro" photographer is a great way to try something new on a night dive. Filters on your lights, strobes, and dive mask bring out a psychedelic glow in a variety of corals and sea life.

At the end of the week during our friendly photo competition, Lou Marnell took Best of Show with his wide-angle image of a photographer taking a photo of a photographer taking a photo of a scorpionfish. Competition categories included Wide-angle, Macro, Night dive, Conservation Image, and Compact Camera, with one image winning the Best of Show grand prize. The results of all the categories can be seen on the social media links @ruwpf and

Next year's event will be held November 14-21, 2020.



Brandi Mueller ProfileAmbassador Brandi Mueller has been nursing an addiction to WWII wrecks for years now. She fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a Marine Biologist, then set off to travel the world exploring and teaching underwater photography.  She published The Airplane Graveyard in 2018 documenting the history of wrecks photographed during her years in Kwajalein Atoll. She moved on to captain the MV Truk Odyssey in 2019 and we're never quite sure where she'll turn up next. Read more...


Andrew Raak Ikelite AmbasasdorAmbassador Andrew Raak always dreamed about making a life on the water, and he has made it a reality. Andrew has a degree in Marine Science, a Captain's license, and is a certified dive instructor. At the moment he spends his days on the boat in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, when he's not traveling the world and teaching underwater photography. Read more...




Additional Reading

Macro with Black Background Underwater Camera Settings

Fluorescence and Luminance Underwater Photography

An Insider's Guide to Diving Roatan, Bay Islands

The Airplane Graveyard by Ambassador Brandi Mueller

Creature Feature: Scaly Tailed Mantis Shrimp


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