Monday, April 27, 2015

Underwater Photography Workshop with Amanda Cotton Malapascua, Philippines August 2015

Photograph one of the world's most beautiful sharks with Amanda Cotton

Season: End of summer in the Philippines
Visibility: Good
Water Temperature: Mild
Dates: Monday 17th August - Thursday 27th August 2015 (11 days)
Group Size Limit: 8

Cave diving on Gato Island (Image by Amanda Cotton)

With a large upper lobe on their tail fins that weighs nearly 33 per cent of their overall weight, Thresher Sharks are perhaps one of the world’s most enigmatic, yet charismatic sharks. In contrast to their long tails, their small mouths are ideally suited to small prey. Thresher sharks evolved to hunt in a way that few other sharks do. They use their tail like a large sea rake to herd schools of bony fish together before they “whack” them with their tails to stun them. Then the Thresher returns with its mouth open to feed on its bounty of slow moving fish. Highly excitable, Thresher Sharks have been known to make aerial jumps in surprise if they feel threatened.

Malapascua Island is the only place in the world that you can reliably see Thresher Sharks in the wild. The island itself, which sits just off the northern tip of Cebu in the central Philippines, is a mere two kilometers long and a half kilometre at its widest point.

The dive sites around Malapascua begin off your front doorstep but the workshop will be conducted around the more biodiversity rich reefs of Gato Island and Calangaman. The Thresher dives will be done on the Monad Shoal. On other dives, the island offers a rich topography and biodiversity where long dives can be made on sandy “muck diving” areas, or drift dives along coral gardens, sloping reefs, walls, caves and even wrecks.


In August 2014, renowned Ocean Geographic photographer Amanda Cotton will be leading a small and very privileged group to dive the reefs of Malapascua in search of Thresher Sharks and other creatures that range from muck diving specialties like Mandarin Fish and Decorator Crabs and Blue-ringed Octopus to Manta Rays, Bamboo and White-tipped Reef sharks.

A professional Nikon photographer specializing in underwater imagery, Amanda is an avid scuba diver and ocean enthusiast. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Professional Photography while attending Brooks Institute of Photography, where she participated in the highly acclaimed Underseas Program established by Ernie Brooks.

Amanda currently works as a correspondent and field editor for Ocean Geographic magazine covering environmental and marine conservation issues. She has received numerous awards for her photography including several from the International Photographers Awards (IPA), Celebrate The Sea, Underwater Photography Annual Awards, and many others.

Amanda's imagery has been published in major publications and news sources worldwide including National Geographic, Discovery, Smithsonian Magazine, Times Publishing, CNN, Scuba Diving Magazine, Sport Diver Magazine, Natural History Magazine, Earthweek, and Science Daily; as well as many international dive industry advertising campaigns.

Working with organizations such as Scholastic Books, The Conservation Fund, Consortium For Ocean Leadership, Women Diver's Hall of Fame, Marine Life Protection Act, and Rourke Publishing has allowed her imagery to have a positive impact on the oceans through education and outreach programs designed to improve awareness toward the plight the oceans now face.


This is a rare opportunity to learn from one of the best. Taking only a small group of eight, Amanda will run four workshops during the expedition where you will hone your skills in the following areas:

Day 1

Camera set up-including:

Strobe/housing configurations.
Basic exposure and understanding.
White balancing.
Shooting modes/ etc.
Strobe use and function

Day 2:

Information on shooting large animals/ambient light shooting. Tips and secrets. Photoshop tutorials including workflow. Day 3: Information on shooting macro including strobe use.
Exposure and lighting techniques, etc.
Photoshop tutorials including workflow.

Day 4:

Information on shooting close up wide angle.
Exposure changes for different environments.
Strobe techniques.
Macro shooting information and techniques.
Photoshop tutorials including workflow.
Working in bridge and CS 6 and CC.
Backscatter removal.
Basic workflow for image cataloging.
Data collection.
Dodging and burning techniques.
Masking/adjustment layering techniques.
Copyright protection information.
Conversion to black and white.
Removal of unwanted items in image.
Printing techniques.
Cropping and transformation.
Other subjects of interest.


Monday 17 August – Arrive in Cebu and transfer to Tepanee Resort, Malapascua.

Tuesday 18 August to Wednesday 26 August – 10 nights at Tepanee Resort including 25 dives over 9 days.

Thursday 27 August – Depart from Malapascua for return international flight from Cebu.


Why not combine this amazing workshop with another exciting dive destination in the Philippines like the wreck diving mecca of Coron or muck diving in Anilao? For the ultimate dive experience, there are regular flights from Manila to Truk Lagoon, Palau or Yap in Micronesia.

If you would like to extend your stay and relax at the Tepanee Resort on either side of the workshop, please contact our office and we’d be happy to tailor an itinerary that suits your travel plans.


£1551 $2354 EUR2678 per person ex Cebu


£268 $407 EUR 357


10 nights in a standard room on a twin share basis
Breakfast daily
Lunch on diving days
25 dives including tanks, weights and dive tenders
Return airport transfers


Diving in the region around Malapascua can sometimes incur small marine park fees, boat costs and night dive surcharges which are payable locally including:

Marine park fee per day: PHP150

Monad Shoal fee: PHP50

Night dive surcharge: PHP250

Calangaman trip: PHP850

Phone: +44 1254 826322 Email:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Behind The Lens: Amanda Cotton

© 2015 Lee Burghard - Wild Shutter Imaging. All rights reserved. Please contact us for required license/permission for use in any medium :

"Photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them." Elliot Erwitt.

"Amanda Cotton is one of the rare underwater photographers that possess that ability. Her images are not only stunning, but the creativity that goes behind each shot and how it engages her audience is what makes her so unique...

This was a short promotional film I created for A Cotton Photo, focusing on Amanda as an underwater photographer, and what she strives to accomplish with her photography. It was both a fun and exciting project as it presented some new challenges for me as an underwater filmmaker, including free-diving and working w/ a dive model. Overall the shoot was a real success thanks to a great team and the very talented Autumn Panlilio who was our underwater model for the day."


You can find more on Amanda and A Cotton Photo here:

Interested in seeing more..
Homepage -

Facebook -

Instagram -

Blog - Underwater Model:

Autumn Panlilio

Music licensed by: A.Taylor - Treeline at Night

Friday, December 19, 2014

KORU Teaser Two

KORU: a water project by Amanda Cotton and Cristina Zenato

A water project showcasing the connection between the feminine spirit and water; and the need to protect and nurture both.

Official release date: April 2015

KORU Teaser 2 from A COTTON PHOTO Creative Works on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Women Divers Hall of Fame Class of 2015

The Women Divers Hall of Fame announced the selection of six new Members who will constitute the Class of 2015:

Wendy Benchley: Marine Conservation Leader, Ocean Conservation Governmental Policy Advocate, Shark Conservation Spokesperson

Cecilie Benjamin: Pioneer Scuba Instructor, Ocean Conservation Leader, Marine Environment Education Program Advocate

Amanda Cotton: Underwater Photographer, Cave/Tech Diver, Educational Outreach Program Creator

Meg Donat: Pioneer Scuba Instructor, Hyperbaric Chamber Instructor, Diver Medical Technician, Ocean Advocate

Lieutenant Grace Landers, USN: Diving Medical Officer, Submarine Medical Officer, Medical Pioneer and Innovator

Amy Slate: Scuba Instructor, Ocean and Environmental Conservation Leader, Educational Outreach Advocate

During their annual meeting at DEMA this year in Las Vegas, some members of WDHOF met to discuss upcoming projects and events.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sun Na Anti-Shark Finning Campaign

Sun Na Anti-Shark Finning Campaign from A COTTON PHOTO Creative Works on Vimeo.

Sun Na's life changed when she came across a finned hammerhead while diving on vacation. Since that encounter Sun Na has dedicated her time and energy to promote anti shark finning campaigns throughout China. She single handedly raised over twenty thousand dollars to help support educational programs focused on spreading awareness of shark conservation. Sun Na is an ocean warrior in the truest sense of the word.

Filmed & Edited by Amanda Cotton

Monday, January 13, 2014

Amanda Cotton presenting "Big Animal Photography: What is our impact?"at SFUPS

Amanda Cotton will be presenting "Big Animal Photography: What is our impact?" at the South Florida Underwater Photography Society meeting Tuesday January 14th, 2014 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. If you'll be in the area come join the fun!

*Tuesday, January 14th; 7:00pm Social, 7:30pm Meeting at the Courtyard Marriott Ft. Lauderdale North, 2440 W. Cypress Creek Road, Ft. Lauderdale

Friday, November 1, 2013

Among Giants

"Risking injury and incarceration, an environmental activist disrupts the clear-cutting of an ancient redwood grove by sitting on a tiny platform a hundred feet up in the tree canopy. Already three years into the tree-sit when filming begins, AMONG GIANTS blends vérité cinematography with intimate personal reflection to create a vivid picture of life in the trees and the unwavering dedication of the activists.

This film was shot and edited in 2011, and a year later, the tree-sit ended as a victory for the tree-sitters ( As of 2013, negotiations are still underway for the sale of the land, and the exact acreage is still being determined.

Huge thanks to "Farmer," "Bingmouse," "Amanita," and the rest of the tree-sitters for allowing us to live with them and film their story. Learn more about their work, donate, and see what they're up to now: for further requests about the film, please contact Thanks for watching!

- Chris, Ben, Sam // Rainhouse Cinema"

Among Giants from Rainhouse Cinema on Vimeo.