NC Wide-Angle Workshop - Blue Elements Imaging
  • NC Wide-Angle Workshop

Wide-Angle Underwater Photography Workshop

Morehead City, NC July 10-17, 2016

Thank you for your interest in the Wide Angle Underwater Photography Workshop that I will be hosting in Morehead City, NC! I am very excited about the opportunity to share my knowledge of underwater photography at one of my favorite dive locations in the world, which is a wide-angle photographer’s dream! Typical wide-angle subjects found off of NC include shipwrecks, sharks (usually sand tigers, but there are several other species that often make appearances!), barracuda, bait balls, southern stingrays, and many species of fish. We will be diving with Olympus Dive Center, which is the premier dive operator of North Carolina's Crystal Coast. If after reading this information sheet you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me at

What Will Be Covered In The Workshop

Although photographers of all experience levels are welcome to attend, this workshop will be geared toward those at the beginning-to-intermediate experience level. We will be covering topics such as:

− Basic Underwater Photography Principles

− Subject/Composition (what makes an interesting image, and why)

− Lenses used in wide-angle photography

− Lighting (ambient light vs. artificial light, how to determine a correct exposure, how to darken/lighten a background, etc.)

− Strobes (power settings, positioning, etc.)

− Camera Settings (how to determine the optimal camera settings for your subject matter)

− Shooting Large Animals

− Close-Focus Wide Angle

− Post-Processing Techniques (we will be looking specifically at Lightroom and Photoshop)

− Tricks of the Trade (taking care of your gear and preventing common problems such as dust spots/bubbles on the dome port, scratches on the dome, etc.)

− I will also meet one-on-one with every workshop guest to answer questions, offer photo critiques, and address any concerns you may have about your images.

There will not be a photo competition associated with this workshop. My hope is that cooperation and interaction between guests without the pressure of a competition will enhance the leaning process.

Prior Photography Experience

You do not need prior underwater photography experience to attend this workshop, although it would be helpful. I do ask, however, that you be familiar with how to operate your camera. Please be comfortable with being able to do the following (note: some of these will not apply if you are using a compact camera):

− Shoot in RAW mode

− Adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO

− Adjust flash power/output

− Adjust focus settings (setting the focus mode, focal point, etc.)

− Read and understand the light meter

Also, if you are a new underwater photographer, I HIGHLY recommend that you practice becoming comfortable with adjusting your camera settings with the camera inside the housing if you have not already done so. Some of our dives will be below 100ft, so please don’t use up precious bottom time figuring out how to change your camera settings.

Dive Conditions Off Of North Carolina

North Carolina is known for its world-class wreck diving and it abundance of large marine animals. We will be diving with Olympus Dive Center ( on their boat The Midnight Express, which is a large, comfortable 48ft dive boat that holds 18 passengers. She is equipped with a spacious cabin with A/C and heat, a microwave, TV/VCR, fridge, drinking fountain, and toaster oven. She also has a sundeck, gear storage lockers, hot/cold freshwater shower, marine head, and dive platform with fins-on ladders. We will be on full-day charters, for which Olympus has the following rules that we will adhere to:

Minimum Diver Requirements for a Full Day Charter

- A minimum of 20 logged dives. Advanced Open Water Certification preferred. Experienced divers with Open Water Certification and required dives are accepted. At least 1 dive in the ocean to 70 feet or greater.

- At least 2 logged boat dives.

- At least 2 dives in the last 12 months. Minimum age for Full Day Charter is 15 years of age.

- In addition to the basic equipment that all divers are aware of, Olympus strongly recommends that each diver dive with a computer, and KNOWS HOW TO USE IT. 

- Minimum safety equipment recommendation is a surface marker buoy suitable for diving in the ocean. Neon yellow is best for this area.

In addition, it is highly recommended that you are Nitrox-certified. Most divers use Nitrox in order to extend their bottom time when diving NC because of the depths involved. We will be doing two dives each day, with a 1-2 hour surface interval between the dives. Depending on the wreck site and the animals we find there, you can expect to be at depths between 50-120 feet. Please be comfortable doing deeper dives, and also pay close attention to your air consumption and no-decompression time limits. We will NOT be doing any decompression diving. Do not become so engrossed in your photography that you neglect safety!

In the July/Aug timeframe off of NC, water temps tend to be warm (with bottom temps around 80°F), with visibility often reaching 80-100+ feet. However, NC is also notorious for its ever-changing conditions. Sometimes the water is smooth as glass, and other times the seas are very choppy. The boat rides are long, often 1.5–2 hours to reach the dive sites. Even if you are not typically susceptible to seasickness, please take precautions to try to prevent the onset of seasickness.


Sunday, July 10

      − Arrive to Morehead City, check in at Olympus Dive Center Dive Lodge or the Bask Hotel

Monday, July 11

      − 8:00am - Meet at Olympus Dive Center for orientation and to fill out waivers

      − 9:00am - 12 noon - Meet for instruction

      − 12 noon - 1:30pm - Break for lunch

      − 1:30pm - 5:30pm - Meet for instruction

      − 5:30pm - 6:30pm - Pick up tanks, set up dive gear aboard the Midnight Express

Tuesday, July 1 - Friday, July 15

      − 6:00am - Meet at Olympus Dive Center, pick up boarding passes     

      − 7:00am - Depart dock

      − 3:00pm - Arrive back at dock

      − 5:00pm - 6:30pm - Review of the day’s dives, photography discussions

Saturday, July 16

      − 8:00am - 4:00pm - Meet individually for questions / photo critiques

      − 6:00pm - Dinner at Clawson’s 1905 in Beaufort

Sunday, July 17

       − Depart Morehead City

Travel To/From Morehead City, NC

You have several options if you will be traveling by air to Morehead City. The closest airport is Coastal Carolina Regional Airport (airport code: EWN) in New Bern, NC, located 39 miles from Morehead City. The next closest airport is Albert J. Ellis Airport (airport code: OAJ) in Jacksonville, NC, located 58 miles away. The closest major airport is Raleigh-Durham International Airport (airport code: RDU), which is 163 miles away.

I highly recommend renting a car while in Morehead City. Olympus Dive Center, the Dive Lodge, the Bask Hotel, and many restaurants are all within easy walking distance to each other; however, you will need transportation to/from whichever airport you arrive at, and also it is much more convenient to go to the local grocery stores if you have a car. In the event that there are any days we are unable to dive due to weather, there are plenty of things to see and do in coastal NC that are easily reachable by car.


You have a choice as to whether you would like to stay in the Olympus Dive Lodge or The Bask Hotel. Both are located in close proximity to Olympus Dive Center, which is also where we will embark and return from our diving each day. The Dive Lodge contains 32 bunk beds in 5 separate rooms. There are separate male and female restrooms and shower facilities, along with a kitchen area and spacious living room. As of this time, the Dive Lodge does not have Wi-Fi, although there are plenty of outlets for any electrical devices you may have. Here is a link for more details on the Dive Lodge:

The Bask Hotel is located across the street from Olympus Dive Center. Guests have the option of staying in one of the 1-bedroom suites, which contains a queen-size bed, living room, and fully-equipped kitchen. Complimentary Wi-Fi is included. For more information, please go to:

Prices and Payment

The price for the workshop is $1300pp if you choose to stay at the Dive Lodge, or $1580pp if you choose to stay at The Bask Hotel. If you would prefer to have a room to yourself at the hotel, there is a single-occupancy supplement of $515. There is no single-occupancy supplement for the Dive Lodge. The price includes:

− All instruction

− 8 dives consisting of four 2-tank full day charters, plus dive weights

− Accommodations at the Olympus Dive Center Dive Lodge or The Bask Hotel

− Dinner on Saturday night at Clawson’s 1905 (Appetizer, Entrée, Dessert, and Non-Alcoholic Beverages)

− Workshop t-shirt (men's and women's cuts)

The price does NOT include the following:

− Tank rentals: The reason for this is that you will have the choice as to which size tank you want to use (80s or 100s) and which gas mix (air or Nitrox 30). The price varies depending on the tank size and gas mixture. For tank rental/fill prices, please click here:

− Any additional gear besides dive weights

− Meals: The only meal included is the Sunday night dinner at Clawson’s 1905. There are several restaurants of varying cuisines and prices within easy walking distance of both the Dive Lodge and Bask Hotel. There are also several grocery stores in Morehead City. The Dive Lodge is equipped with a microwave and full-size refrigerator. Each suite at The Bask Hotel contains a kitchen equipped with stove, full size refrigerator, full-size microwave, and plenty of cooking and dining utensils. I will provide coolers to store your food and drinks while on the boat. Water is always available on the boat.

− Transportation to/from Morehead City

− Crew gratuities

A deposit of 50% is due at the time your reservation is made. If you cancel your reservation, the deposit is refundable up until 90 days prior to the first day of the workshop. The remaining balance is due 90 days from the first date of the workshop. After this, no refunds will be made regardless of the reason for cancellation. Payments may be made by check or PayPal (note: there will be an additional 3% fee for payments made through PayPal). If you would like to pay by check, please contact me at for the mailing address to send the check to. Travel insurance is recommended to recoup your costs in the event that you must cancel. If any dive days are canceled due to weather or mechanical issues, you will receive a refund for that day (equal to the price of one full day charter, currently $130), and the amount of any tanks/fills/gear you have rented for that day.

What You Will Need To Bring

− Dive certification cards

− All photography gear (don’t forget batteries, chargers, and extra o-rings!)

− Laptop or tablet to edit your photos

− All scuba gear except tanks and weights. Most people are comfortable in a 3mm wetsuit this time of year. If you do not want to bring your own gear, you can rent scuba gear through Olympus Dive Center. The prices for gear rentals can be found here:

− If you are staying in the Dive Lodge, please bring a pillow and blankets and/or sleeping bag. The Dive Lodge contains bunk-style beds with mattresses, but no linens.

− Towels, both for use on the boat and for personal use if you are staying at the Dive Lodge.


Since the final payment is nonrefundable, it is highly recommended that you have travel insurance for this trip. I also encourage everyone to have their photography equipment insured. If you would like any recommendations for travel or photography insurance providers, please feel free to contact me.

If you have any questions, or if you are ready to make your reservation, please contact me at Hope to see you next July!