Manta Fest 2014

Happy Monday and first official day of Manta Fest. Things started from a distance as the players got closer along the way to Yap. There was some hugs in Manila and an unofficial welcome reception in the Guam departure lounge on Saturday night. With our pro presenters finally off the road with the no-drama-with-luggage-please breath hold over with and barefoot for the next two weeks, Manta Fest begins.

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Things kicked off just as they do for everyone that stays at Manta Ray Bay. First they meet the family behind the family-owned and operated part.

This was the easiest welcome party there’s ever been.

90% of the group are return guests from Sweden, New Orleans, Japan and Germany… and it’s the third or fourth party in Yap for most of them.

Things look a lot like they did last year.

Diving, pool time, workshops, presentations and plenty of time in the open air bar talking shop with other divers and photographers until awards night.

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Each day there’s something being offered to up your photography game, for both dSLR and non-dSLR shooters.

Training starts off with care and maintenance and covers everything through composition, using natural light, exposure scenarios, histograms, post capture tips and shooting silhouettes to name a few.

Hanging out at the bar enough photographic information drips off of it that you learn something just sitting there.

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There’s a few years of scuba diving history on both sides of the lens here. Bill is booked for the Carribbean in a couple of months to be inducted into the International Diving Hall of Fame being recognized as a dive pioneer and for putting Yap on the map.

Today’s dive plan was a custom Bill Acker full day on his big boat, Popou. Circumnavigating the island around Rumung for a spiced up hour at Vertigo, followed by a cuttlefish hunt at Buenavista along the southern walls and finally a third tank at the Caverns.

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Tomorrow some boats will be rolling out to manta cleaning stations and a couple to the reef for more wide angle.

As the photos start to get developed my USB will be tossed around to keep everyone hot on what things are looking like coming of the dive dock and I’ll show you what it looks like from my angle here and on facebook.

The categories this year are:

• Big Animals

• Reef Scenic

• Macro

• Island / Culture

As the week develops, more people arrive and things grow I’ll leak what everyone’s shooting for in the end.

These weeks are the ones to be at for a unique Yap trip. There’s going to be some interesting dive requests, fancy shots setup and demonstrated for whoever wants to learn about advanced skills, some land tours and flying grass skirts coming up for everyone… oh, and don’t forget about the fresh beer.

Stay tuned…

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