I work very closely with the guides from Tornado Marine, Reda Mohammed, Adel Belaily and Mohammed Mousa, not to mention Yasser and Dickon
They appreciate exactly what I want from my photo workshops and it’s a real collaborative effort making these trips work, and their input and suggestions are always taken very seriously.
Reda in particular has been coming up with new and different dive sites for me to use photographically in the last couple of years, and I would like to share one with you now that is proving to be a huge hit on my trips.
Starting at the bottom of the pinnacle there are lots of opportunities to frame your pictures with a diver in frame, pretty much all around the pinnacle.
I won’t tell you exactly it’s location, as whilst it’s within a very popular area near the Ras Mohammed National Park in the South Sinai, it’s not shown on any of the dive site guides.
There are a lucky few though that dive with Tornado Marine that know of this very precious and beautiful spot, and to be honest I rely on Reda and our skippers to put me there and even though I know the area quite well, without their complicity it would be very difficult to pinpoint. I would hate to think that thousands of divers descended on this place and inevitably spoilt it, so I don’t mind keeping it’s position from being widely known.
Worth looking up and getting some of the gorgeous soft corals, as the pinnacle rises to the surface. Careful though to avoid getting an ugly sun ball in the frame.
It’s also quite small, and a regular dive itinerary wouldn’t suit it, as it can really only support a small group of photographers at any one time, around 4 is ideal with 6 at a max.
This means that you have to stagger the diving with around half an hour between groups to let everyone get a good chance to get their shots.
This of course messes with the logistics of a regular itinerary, and to be honest it’s only really practical on a dedicated photo or Relaxed itinerary.
I always try and include it when I can and luckily this year I got two bites of the cherry with my Winter Warmer photo workshop trips (click here for upcoming trips where I will try and include this site)
As you get shallower your choices just increase, and the main problem is excluding elements from your picture, which is a great problem to have.
It’s a small pinnacle around 15 to 20m across, rising from the bottom at around 17m to about 3 or 4m from the surface.
Try moving back a little and shooting down with both available light shots which you can white balance later, and some strobe lit. With the goal of showing as much of the pinnacle as possible.
How we suggest diving it is to start at depth and circle it getting shallower and shallower until your time slot is up, and when the second group drop in at the 30min mark, we ask that you move away and explore the surrounding pinnacles to let the next group get an uncluttered dive site.
Photographically I would always suggest wide angle, and very often close focus wide angle.
So although you could jump in set up for macro, I would personally recommend using your fisheye or wide angle lenses. If you need persuading try checking this blog out and click here.
When shooting into the sun, and if the sun is high, be careful not to get the sun itself in shot, and try and capture the beams washing over the top. Again with a little strobe light to fill in the darker foreground.
All I will say is that you will fill your memory cards with a lot of shots, and the shots I’ve included in this blog post were all taken on the one short dive.
In the last 5 or 6 metres circle the pinnacle and try shooting with available light, and maybe introduce a little strobe to brighten up the colours, especially if you’re shooting towards the sun.
I have noticed that the soft corals in the Red Sea in general have been particularly colourful and abundant in the last two years, but this place is exceptional, with corals of all colours hard and soft hanging down from the sides of the pinnacle like the hanging gardens of Babylon.
As you get to the glorious top of the pinnacle then you’re treat to the sight of thousands of Anthies peppering the corals hard and soft.
Nearing the end of the dive, and getting towards the surface, it’s worth looking up as our rib made a great obstruction to the sun, with the gorgeous and very photogenic beams spilling either side of our ride home.
Just before I got back on the rib for the short trip back to the mothership. I looked down to see this picture opportunity with a diver from the group after us making my composition of the entire site, giving a sense of scale.
This last trip was my own favourite encounter with this site, and the light was right with the sun high in the sky.
For future trips I’m going to suggest that we stay for a couple of dives so we can dive her with the sun low at either end of the day so we can shoot it with dappled and early morning light. This of course will stretch the logistics but with the team at Tornado Marine in my corner I’m sure we can do this without the crew mutinying.
If you’re interested in upcoming photo trips please check out my trips page and click here.
And if you’d like to find out what happens on a typical photo trip please click here.
In all I can honestly say that this is the one of the most photographically productive dive sites I have ever encountered, with most of it being able to fit within the space of a tennis court.
So why not join one of our photo or Relaxed itineraries sometime and I will share this marvellous spot with you if possible.
Egypt has never looked so good.
This post first appeared on Scuba Travel Blog: Photography News | Scuba Travel's Photo Diving Blog Keeps You Bubbling From Your Desk, please read the originial post: here