Coral Spawning at Saint Lucia's Anse Chastanet Resort – An Annual Spectacle
Each year for more than a decade, guest scuba divers at Saint Lucia's Anse Chastanet Resort have been treated to one of nature's most spectacular performances, coral spawning. The staff at Anse Chastanet's in-house scuba operation, Scuba St. Lucia, has become quite adept at predicting when the nights spawning will occur which allows enthusiastic underwater spectators to be ready and waiting for the event to commence. This year, our prognosticators suggest that this enjoyable natural phenomenon will begin on the night of August 26, continuing on the 27th and 28th.
Corals spawn by releasing millions of packets of egg and sperm cells that appear underwater as massive pink and white clouds that slowly drift to the surface where fertilization occurs. The next day the sea will be partially covered by pink slicks of coral larvae which represents the next generation of one of the ocean's most vital organisms. Within a few weeks the larvae will settle on the bottom and begin the process of reef building. Of course, this reproductive process takes on added significance at this time as the world's coral reefs are being decimated by the effects of global warming and other environmental factors.
While much of the coral spawning process remains a mystery to science, it is known that somehow each species of coral on a reef synchronizes the timing of its spawning, which takes place only once each year. The key controlling factors seem to be the water temperature, the lunar cycle, length of daylight hours and the tides. The development of the eggs and sperms are triggered by rising water temperatures during the summer leading to the spawning in late summer or early fall. The ideal time for the release of the reproductive cells seems to be a week or so after a full moon when tides and currents are diminishing which provides more hospitable conditions for the fertilization process. The process begins an hour or two after sunset providing the cover of darkness as well.
This mass spawning process increases the chances of survival for the larvae as most will be eaten by fish and other sea organisms; but the huge numbers overwhelm the predators insuring that many will live to propagate the species.
As always, Scuba St. Lucia is offering special night dives during the predicted period to allow guests to witness this magnificent spectacle. Diving is done on the Anse Chastanet reef, which is located just off the resort's beach. Snorkelers can also participate as well. Scuba St. Lucia also has available underwater cameras to capture the beauty and awe of this special event.
A weekly dive package at Anse Chastanet starts at US 1949 per person in double occupancy, including 7 nights run of house accommodation, airport transfers, breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, all tax/service, welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, 12 beach or boat dives incl of tank, weights, belt, mask, snorkel, fins (other equipment at a charge if needed, marine park fee to be paid locally) comp non motorized watersport
Photographers have an opportunity to learn lighting, story telling, and camera techniques from two of the world's leading photographers and educators at St. Lucia's ANSE CHASTANET and JADE MOUNTAIN Resorts from August 25 – 30, 2013. Joe McNally, internationally acclaimed American photographer and long-time photojournalist, will conduct a week of education about light and its possibilities. The week will be about the language of light, and how to use small flash well and fast, travel with a minimum of gear, and make beautiful pictures and portraits.
Monday ProgramMorning Session: 9am. Class meets in air-conditioned conference room equipped with digital projector. Morning is devoted to assessing participant portfolios and determining objectives for the week. Each participant to bring no more than 10 images for review and discussion. They can be the participant's images, or images not their own that they admire and wish to know more about, or emulate in some way.
Joe will do a slide show based on lighting strategies that emphasizes the use of all manner and color of light to create effective portraiture and story telling pictures. The key this week is to explore techniques for excellent small flash use, find a photograph, shooting it well, and then, given RC's amazing post production expertise, finishing that photo well.
Break from 12:00 - 3:00 pm.
Special Short Lecture: Capturing video with your DSLR!
Your DSLR camera can be used as an instrument to produce wonderful video that can complement your images. In this short workshop, RC talks about how to setup your camera for quick video capture, what are some of the tools of the trade for capturing great video, and quick workflows for capturing footage while making great still images.
This short, informative presentation from RC will enable the participants to shoot quick simple video clips throughout the week of their St. Lucia adventure. After RC's quick talk, there is an afternoon shooting session consists of small teams with a model assigned to each team. Basic assignment: Use one light well.
Part of the morning is spent in class, discussing yesterday's efforts, critiquing and evaluating results. The class then goes outside in the predictably, bright, harsh sun of the tropics nearing the noon hour, and strategies for using bad light well are discussed and shown. Bounce boards, hand held diffusers, raw flash, hi-speed sync, and large silks are all brought to bear to tame the raging sun. One of the most important skills any shooter needs is the ability to use bad light well, and to overcome situations where they encounter tremendous disparity of light.
Break from 12:00 - 3:00 pm.
Afternoon demo and on location discussion of shooting interior/exterior environments effectively, with emphasis on using flash to balance exposure zones encountered in the open air rooms of Jade Mountain. Each team disperses with models to a selection of rooms to shoot for the afternoon. Assignment is to create mood and ambiance, while effectively using small flash techniques to blend interior and exterior environments.
Special Tuesday Evening Presentation:
After a break and dinner, the class gathers for a start to finish workflow seminar. RC will go over his workflow for importing and organizing images into Lightroom. Once completed, RC will go over key things to keep in mind during the post processing of your images – focusing on making the most of your raw files in the Develop module in Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW in Photoshop. Finally, RC will take selected images from RAW and arm you with solid Photoshop techniques to make the most of your images- covering things from sharpening, post processing effects, masking, layer blending, and image recovery.
Wednesday ProgramMeet in conference room at 9:30 for image review and critique. Time in class available to select and edit images for max of 3 per student to project.
Break from 12:00 - 3:00 pm.
Thursday Program in ClassSpecial Session! The HDR Bootcamp
The above is followed by quick critiques of the firehouse adventure.
Break from 12:00 - 3:00 pm.
RC is also there in the jungle, leading an HDR walkabout, and students can participate in the "flash and blur," and or the HDR field trip.
Friday ProgramBoth Joe and RC run the critique session, and field questions from the week in a lively Q&A and review. All techniques, strategies for going forward to take the next step in your photography, are up for discussion, including business strategies for the photographer. Given RC's expertise on the web, he'll offer excellent strategies for building a website and projecting a visual experience.
Break from 12:00 - 4:00 pm.
Final Afternoon session: Meet in class to for final Q&A session and review of techniques learned. Last session late on Friday, class gathers on beach for spectacular "flambo" sunset session, with fires on the beach, models and flash lighting with gels. The famous Junior of the Anse Chastanet staff creates a wondrous environment on the fire lit beach, and individual sets are created, running off of Pocket Wizard flashes, that each participant can rotate through to create their own flash at sunset tropical masterpiece.
Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose career has spanned 30 years and included assignments in over 50 countries. He has shot cover stories for TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, New York, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and Men's Journal. He has been at various times in his career a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated, a staff photographer at LIFE, and, currently, an ongoing 25-year contributor to the National Geographic, shooting numerous cover stories for those publications. His advertising and commercial clients include FedEx, Sony, Nikon, Land's End, General Electric, MetLife, Adidas, American Ballet Theater, Epson, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Whether he is capturing individuals or large-scale assignments, McNally's photographs inform the viewer with their artistry and compassion, telling us stories elicited by his great communicative skills and captured through his lens.
Joe was listed by American Photo as one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography and described by the magazine as "perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today". He has been honored as a member of Kodak-PDN Legends Online, as well as being a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens.
In 2010, he was voted as one of the 30 most influential photographers of the decade in an industry wide Photo District News survey. McNally won the first Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalist Impact for a LIFE coverage titled, "The Panorama of War." He has also been honored numerous times by Communication Arts, PDN, Graphis, American Photo, POY, and The World Press Photo Foundation. His fine art work is represented by the Monroe Gallery of Santa Fe, and his prints are in numerous collections, most significantly the National Portrait Gallery of the United States.
Two of McNally's books, The Moment It Clicks and The Hot Shoe Diaries, both cracked Amazon's top ten lists of best sellers. Other books include Guide to Digital Photography, and Sketching Light. In addition to these books, McNally's work is also featured in several 9/11 books, Faces of Ground Zero – Giant Polaroid Collection; One Nation; The American Spirit; and One Nation – America Remembers September 11, 2001, Ten Years Later. In addition to books, Joe has his own instructional DVD, The Language of Light. McNally is known internationally for his ability to produce technically and logistically complex assignments with expert use of color and light. As part of his teaching activities, he conducts numerous workshops around the world. McNally continues to hold wide acclaim for his international workshops and seminars. Besides many U.S. venues, including those in New Mexico and Hawaii, Joe teaches in locations that include Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, St. Lucia, and Canada.
To see more of Joe’s work, as well as a schedule of his workshops, please go to: www.joemcnally.com.
Rafael Concepcion (RC) is the author of the bestselling book "Get Your Photography on the Web" a step by step book for photographers looking to develop their own websites without code, and "The HDR Book – Unlocking the Pro's Hottest Post-Processing Techniques" by Peachpit Press.
As as Education & Curriculum developer for the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and an Instructor for Kelby Training, RC spends his day working on Photography, Photoshop, and how to get users onto the web. RC is also one of The Photoshop Guys. and the host of DTownTV.
An Adobe Certified Instructor in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom, RC has over 10 years in the I.T. and ecommerce industries and spends his days developing content for all applications in the Adobe Creative Suite. RC has held training seminars in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and recently combined his photographic and web experience to teach with famed wildlife photographer Moose Peterson at the "You Can Do It Too" workshops in Mammoth, CA, The Digital Landscape Workshop Series, and at the Voices That Matter Web Conference in San Francisco, CA. RC is also a columnist for Photoshop User Magazine and Light It magazine.