Underwater Photo Trips - Comments
Diving Raja Ampat for Photos!
Learn Underwater Photography in Raja Ampat
Photographers' comments from previous Raja Ampat trips
with City Seahorse, Deb Fugitt & Don Silcock:
"The Raja Ampat trip with City Seahorse was great, but having Don Silcock's photography expertise on board was like the icing on the cake! Don is funny and kind and extremely knowledgeable about all kinds of photography. I am a beginner underwater photographer, but he didn't make me feel at all shy about it. He was kind enough to spend over an hour helping me prepare my camera housing and lighting for the first dive (I was SO afraid of flooding it!) and coached me along over the course of the trip to help me improve my photography skills. By the end of the trip, I rarely used the dreaded "Auto" button... and I am very proud of that =). I took over 3000 photos on this trip, and thanks to Don, I actually have some "keepers"! Don continues to assist me even though the trip is months behind us. He has helped me make some critical decisions about which camera and lenses to buy for my next underwater system and has given me heaps of other photography advice as well. Oh, and Don is an amazing photographer and a MANTA MAGNET. =D Thanks Don!!
Gabrielle, beginning uw photography from USA/WA - Nov 2013
"I spent two weeks with Don on a City Seahorse trip to Raja Ampat in November 2013. I found Don's lectures to be hugely informative, and very appropriate for the level of ability of the photographers on the trip. The earlier lectures were great for those starting out with underwater photography or learning new equipment, and the later ones covered more advanced topics. Don was also always available throughout the trip to answer questions and give advice when required, and had seemingly limitless patience for answering the same questions over and over again from different people. Add to that his excellent knowledge of the natural history of the region and you have an endless source of knowledge. I'd be very keen to go on another trip with him and learn more! "
Matt, uw photographer from Canada - Nov 2013 (creator of Fishbuttopedia!)
"Doug and I took a dive trip last year to Raja Ampat [with City Seahorse]. The reason we picked that particular dive trip is that we both enjoy taking underwater photos and were told a professional photographer would be on the trip to help. We have been on many trips with professional photographers and they have all been wonderful. That said, we really liked Don's style the best. The first day he arranged a class. We thought great. Then every day after that he was there to help. He helped everyone with camera problems, analyzed our photos with us. Don also spent countless hours educating all of us on the different types of cameras and their functions. He was knowledgable of all the cameras on board and talked about new equipment on the market. No problem or question was invalidated and his teaching style was understandable. It really made the trip worth while. Our photos turned out fantastic."
Kim (& Doug), uw photographers from USA/WI - Nov 2013
" I had the pleasure of spending two weeks following Don Silcock around Raja Ampat on a City Seahorse trip observing his photo techniques and getting invaluable insights into his thought process as he evaluates and sets up for an UW photo opportunity. I came home with, by far, the best UW pics that I had taken in ten + years of dragging various cameras underwater.
Don was easily approachable with all questions, even the most minor and obvious. He freely shared his extensive experience, but did so in a manner that made all who interacted with him very comfortable.
Don is a natural teacher and conveys his knowledge and enthusiasm in a comfortable manner. He handles everything from basic setup questions to helping with complex lighting challenges with ease.
To get the maximum benefit from working with Don, I'd suggest that you become familiar with using all settings on your camera and strobes, plus spend some time reading on basic UW photo technique from the many sources available. That way, you'll receive maximum benefit from your time with Don.
Harry, intermediate uw photographer from USA/VA -Nov 2012
Susan, Mike, Mitch, Norberto,
1 Bintang and 3 laptops!
A comment Don made after his first trip as a guest in 2005:
"I just wanted to thank you for a really great trip - one of the very best I have ever done and from a photographic viewpoint, the most productive ever!"
Don, expert uw photographer from Australia
"I've been on two of Deb's trips - one to St. Vincent and one the past few weeks with her in Raja Ampat. I organize charters myself, and the reason I've gone with her (and expect to again in the future) is that she simply constructs and runs outstanding uw photo trips. She goes out of her way to think of every detail, and directs the dive operators she uses so as to maximize photo opportunities for her groups. For example, I saw far more critters in St. Vincent in a week with her than I did in more than two weeks on a private charter I did in that area with my own group. Likewise, I had far more and better photo opp's in Raja Ampat on this trip last week than on a charter of the same length there that I organized earlier this year. I realize that this makes it sound like the trips I organize are crappy, and that's really not the case; it's just that Deb's trips are really a cut above.
BTW, Deb is not only a great organizer, she has a great photographic eye and is an extremely accomplished uw photographer in her own right. Unless you are a troublemaker who doesn't play well with others (in which case Deb reserves the right to send you home), I wholeheartedly recommend her trips. You'll get more than your money's worth."
Bruce, Intermediate uw photographer from USA