Fiji on the Nai'a Photo Workshop 2018
Join Bluewater Photo's Mark Strickland at the soft coral capital of the world! Dive 10 nights on the Nai'a, the top liveaboard in Fiji! With awesome visibility and breathtaking soft corals, Fiji is a must visit for all scuba divers.
Trip Overview - In Fiji, it’s all about the corals. The colors are so incredibly vibrant and the anthias so plentiful that it’s hard to ever look away. Around every corner is the next world class image. Remember to get in the current. One of the main draws of diving Fiji are the reef scenes - they are quite spectacular!
The gorgeous, lush, color-splashed images of Fiji that you see in dive publications are courtesy of a soft coral called dendronephthya. Few other places in the world offer such an abundance of this coral, nor the wide spectrum of colos, ranging from pink, purple, orange, yellow and fiery red. Dendronephthya soft coral needs current. With little current present, the soft corals are muted, but as the current increases, they inflate with water and their color really begins to glow. As the current picks up, planktivores such as beautifully colored scalefin anthias spring up off the reef in polarized schools. Together, this forms a rich pageantry of color. Underwater photographers will want to shoot when some current is present, making a dramatic difference in the color of underwater imagery.
The best places for soft coral in Fiji are the Bligh Waters between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu where there are numerous reefs and pinnacles, the Somosomo Strait between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, and Namena Island and its marine protected area.
Fiji Marine Life to Photograph - Fiji is home to an amazing variety of fish life, including colorful angelfish, anemone fish, anthias, frogfish, hawkfish, moray eels, ghost pipefish, and countless other photogenic species.
Blue Ribbon Eels are also fantastic subjects. The yellow and blue males are full of personality and if you search hard, you can find the female (all yellow) and juvenile (black with a yellow stripe). The black juveniles are difficult to photograph.
Sharks do exist in Fiji though they are not found on every dive, with Beqa being the one exception. The most common species seen are grey reef, white tip reef, silvertip, and hammerhead. Sharks always make great subjects, but reef sharks are difficult to get close to. For real shark action, do the shark dive in Beqa Lagoon. Here’s you’ll see up to 8 different species of sharks numbering in the dozens, including very large bull sharks and a massive tiger shark that makes semi-regular appearances.
Other fun subjects include banded sea snakes, several species of turtles, and pelagics like tuna, barracuda, and occasionally manta rays
There are also plenty of macro opportunities. While diversity is not as great as Southeast Asia's coral triangle, there is still a wide range of species here, including mantis shrimp, decorator crabs, bobtail squid, and many different nudibranchs.
Camera and lens tips: You’ll definitely want two strobes to get full light coverage in your frame. Use as much strobe power as possible to illuminate the soft corals and really make them shine. Fortunately, soft corals don’t move so you can get as close as you want. Bracket and really work on your blue backgrounds. Get close to the soft coral with a fisheye lens. Fiji is a great place to get close to the coral and practice your wide-angle technique. Take your time, put your strobes on manual, and get your exposures right.
Inclusions - The charter cost includes tax, transfer from Nadi airport (NAN) and hotels within the Nadi area (starting at 1pm on the day the charter starts) to the boat and back to Nadi after the charter, all meals and accommodation onboard, all non alcoholic beverages, complimentary wine serve with dinner, tanks, weights, nitrox (only free on a full boat charter) and unlimited diving.
Exclusions - The charter cost does not include fuel surcharge or any other onboard purchases.
Here is the daily onboard routine:
Coffee, Tea, Juice, Toast, Cereal, and Fruit
* This schedule may vary at several locations where tighter coordination of dive times is required due to the site, tide and/or weather. Additional dives are generally available in between scheduled dives.
Experience level needed for this trip: Most of the divers that come onboard a very experienced diver but they do take all levels of experience. Their friendly and experienced Fijian crew will look after you if you’re a beginner.
Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as lifeguard, boat captain and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of liveaboards. Mark now resides in Ventura county, California.
An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is co-author and principle photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.
Mark's photos and articles have appeared in magazines and books around the world, including Action Asia, BBC Wildlife, National Geographic World, Natural History, Scuba Diving, Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Sportdiving, Unterwasser and many others. In addition to representation by several stock photo agencies, Mark operates his own photo library, Mark Strickland Photography, www.markstrickland.com.
"Over many decades of diving, I've gone on a number of photo workshops on liveaboard trips, but none come close to the standard set by Mark Strickland! Every day we had an hour or more discussion about some aspect of underwater photography, including some specialized topics that helped a lot, plus an image review of three or four shots each diver had taken that day. Mark's critiques were always constructive and our photos got steadily better. Mark is also a great guy, fun to travel with, fun to dive with. He never minded being asked for help, either! All in all one of the best trips ever! And we for sure will go on another of his trips soon!" - Tom Baker
"I'm a better shooter as a result of Mark's instruction" - Mark Hatter
"Mark was patient, knowledgeable, organized, and friendly. He had a concern for all of us--travel-wise and photography-wise. He was one of the best." and "Mark and Adam made me tremendous fan of Blue Water Travel and will absolutely guarantee that I will book another trip with them again. You guys more than rock." - Dr. Ray T.
About the Nai'a - Nai'a is setting a new standard in world-class liveaboard scuba diving expeditions. The ship is beautifully appointed, incredibly spacious and boasts a dive-savvy Fijian crew famous for their dedicated service. Nai'a has accommodation for 18 passengers in 9 air-conditioned staterooms with private ensuite heads. All the staterooms are larger than those on most dive vessels, with plenty of storage for gear, and they are bright, airy, and comfortable.
Read the reviews of the Nai'a here.
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