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QCA Photo Camp 

March 17, 2010


I drove down to Lake Ainsworth last week to talk about underwater photography at Queensland College of Art's first year photo camp. 

My friend Heather, the school's lecturer of ePhotojournalism, invited me to come down and I wasn't really sure how many students would be there or how much interest they would have in underwater photography.

After dinner in the rec centre's cafeteria, which brought back memories of the dorm cafeteria from college in Florida, we got set up for the presentation and I was happy to see the room was pretty full. 

Since it was for first year students, I showed them some of the topside photos I used to take for my uni's student newspaper and my early underwater images I shot on slide film with my old Sea & Sea Motormarine EXII.

I tried to explain how I used to shoot with the film camera, having to dial in how far away the subject was from me to focus, and how happy I was to get one good photo per roll of film. 

Then I launched into my more recent work, talking about the light sources I used and the stories that were behind the images and the trips I went on to take them.

I finished with the kingfish images I just shot in South Australia and that I will be exhibiting in the Pineapple Press Club's exhibition next month.


I was so happy they had questions. One girl asked what my most interesting or scary encounter was with an animal and I told them about my sighting of a 4-meter great white shark in Moreton Bay; I probably should have said something else but I've honestly never had a frightening encounter with an animal, only other divers (haha).


I also hoped the fact that I saw a great white shark in open water and nothing bad happened to me would go a small ways towards countering their fears of large sharks and the stereotypes that are perpetuated in the media.



The best part of the visit was the following morning when we attempted to do a surf photography workshop at Broken Head. 

The waves were way too big and the tide was on its way out, so after a tiring attempt to swim out past the break we conceded defeat and headed back to the rec centre where I let the students have a play with my camera in its Ikelite housing with the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens and two Ikelite strobes (DS125 and DS160).


The students were in awe of the camera in its huge housing but once they figured out how to take a photo and how close they needed each other to be with the fisheye lens, they had no problems brainstorming and setting up shots.


After being on dive boats with so many "know it all" photographers it was great to see people get so excited about taking photos in the pool. All of the images on this page were taken by the students. I think they are so joyous. You can just see on their faces they were having fun messing around and seeing what the result was on the back of the camera.


The above/under shot I think is especially creative and goes to show you don't have to be on a far away atoll to take fun photos. You can do it in your backyard pool, literally.


The day has inspired me to start planning a series of images shot in the pool. 

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do yet but once I figure it out and start shooting it, you'll see it here on the blog.



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