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:

1 comment:

  1. I learn something on reading this blog. I think it will be nice to include sample photos. Anyways, I will take note of this as we are into diving the best dive destination in the world soon!