Anilao Photo Workshops 2022

Anilao Photo Workshops 2022


Anilao spring 2022 Photo Workshops

April/May 2022

Text by Erik Lukas

Images by Erik Lukas, Teresa Williams, Deborah Bennett, Keith Boll, Laurie Slawson, Taj Pacleb, and Virginia Worn-Ross.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

 

The world had come to a near standstill in March of 2020; things that were so common were now foreign to us…dining out, concerts and sporting events, grocery shopping, and family holidays. Not to mention the ability to get on an airplane, something we had taken for granted for so long. It had been over two years since the last Bluewater Travel photo workshop was able to visit Anilao in the Philippines. The hope had been that the Spring 2020 workshops would happen, then Spring 2021, and then the doubts started to sink in about whether the 2022 trips would even be able to proceed.

Then news broke in late January of 2022 that the government in the Philippines was reopening the borders to foreign travelers beginning in February. It was great news and a good sign, but do we start preparing for the workshops? Would the sudden influx of international travelers be too much too soon? I almost didn’t allow myself to get too excited about the news. As the days on the calendar ticked ever closer, what seemed just months earlier as a longshot, now became a reality. The Philippines was open and welcoming guests. We were returning to Anilao and Crystal Blue Resort for the annual Bluewater macro photo workshops.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

Images By: Erik Lukas

 

Everything we missed for so long proved to be worth the wait. Getting back to a place like Anilao, and more specifically, Crystal Blue provided a return to normalcy that went missing for so many of us for the past few years. All of the same people that have become friends in Anilao, from the front office staff, the kitchen crew, the dive shop team and each of the guides and boatmen of Anilao were still there. Any of the guests who were visiting Anilao for the first time were greeted with open arms. For those of us who had been there before, it felt like a family reunion.

With all of the guests comfortably situated at the resort, the diving and the workshop could begin. We wasted no time at all. On the first day, everyone was able to get two dives in. For some, it was their first dive in quite a long time, so these were a great way to get back into the routine…sorting out weights, buoyancy skills, and checking out the cameras. For all of us though, it was great to be back in the water.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

Images By (From Left to Right): Erik Lukas, Erik Lukas, Taj Pacleb.

 

As is the case with the Anilao macro workshops, when the action happens, it happens quickly. Early mornings start with a healthy breakfast followed by the daily image reviews and instructions on the day's assignment. Workshop co-instructors Mike Bartick and Erik Lukas teach by using a concept-and-example approach. A daily talk on a specific photographic technique followed by the guests getting in the water and putting that knowledge into practice. The results are shared and discussed the following morning at image review, and then on to the next day’s assignment. Rinse and repeat.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

Images By (From Left to Right): Erik Lukas, Laurie Slawson, Virginia Worn-Ross.

 

Over the course of both the seven and ten-day workshops, the information is presented at a furious pace. With four dives and two workshop sessions each day there is a natural progression in both the knowledge and skills of all of the workshop guests. By the middle of the workshop, participants are presented with ever more challenging techniques, and respond with ever more technically and creatively made images.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

Images By  (From Left to Right): Taj Pacleb, Virginia Worn-Ross, Laurie Slawson.

 

Dive sites are revisited multiple times, allowing the divers to return to specific subjects and apply newly learned techniques to create one strong image after another on the subjects that appeal to them the most. One of the many advantages of a location such as Anilao is the opportunity to revisit particular subjects over the course of the workshop. An example of this is the ability to follow the evolution of flamboyant cuttlefish in their eggshells, or frogfish which we can find over and over again, gobies living in discarded glass bottles, and the list goes on.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 

Images By  (From Left to Right): Teresa Willaims, Keith Boll, Deborah Bennett.

 

As it has become a tradition at the Anilao workshops, the week concludes with a friendly photo competition, a group “best of” photo slideshow, and a wrap party that includes cocktails and a special dinner for the guests on the final night. Never to be outdone, the kitchen staff pulled out all of the stops for us. This year the dessert tray was taken to a new level when we were presented with “critter cakes”, handmade versions of many of the most popular photo subjects turned into edible treats.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

 

As always, the entire staff at Crystal Blue took incredible care of all of our workshop guests and made this year's trip one of the best yet. Being back in Anilao, diving with friends in some of the most spectacular macro settings was a much-needed reprieve from the events of the past two years, for the staff and the guests alike. It was a return to normalcy that will be difficult to take for granted ever again.

 

Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022 Anilao Trip Report April/May 2022

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