We have just returned, tired but satisfied, from this year's premier underwater photography event, the Sodwana Bay Shootout.
BITTENBYSHARKS had a total of 21 entrants (out of 100+) missing the prize for the most entrants by just one entrant! Not only did our BITTENBYSHARKS entrants carry off 13 of the 33 prizes, but two of the 13 prizes were the OVERALL SHOOTOUT WINNER for STILLS and the OVERALL SHOOTOUT WINNER for VIDEO! A fantastic result!
Well done to ALL of you! We are so proud of you! We are particularly proud of the comfortable camaraderie that naturally developed between all of you during the contest (under the Reefteach banner) it was good to see you giving your best, yet still enjoying yourselves tremendously in the process! We received wonderful compliments from Neville and Brian, who could not believe how calm you were, they have seen their share of bun fights in previous years!
We certainly witnessed a huge improvement in your imagery before and after the BITTENBYSHARKS pre-shootout workshop, and we know that the coaching, learning and endless laughter was certainly not in vain! We plan to make this workshop accessible to a much larger group of people next year, covering everything from basic & advanced photoshop skills, to creating incredible stills and video!
It was a huge learning curve for BITTENBYSHARKS too, having been our first Sodwana Bay Shootout. We wore many hats at this one: we ran an intensive workshop pre-shootout, we were the second biggest sponsor, we had the second largest amount of entrants, one of us was a judge in the stills category, and one of us entered the video category!
What we learnt overall, is that underwater photography in South Africa, is in a transition phase right now, as divers slowly begin to take the digital learning curve seriously. Having been involved in the judging process actually highlighted exactly where the short-falls are, as regards still photography in South Africa today, and makes it so much easier for us to fill those gaps, run the right workshops, and teach aspiring photographers what is needed to produce world-class imagery and win contests like these!
When BITTENBYSHARKS decided to enter the video category, we decided to do it merely to give Neville & Wendy a farewell gift (they are leaving SA to run a resort for Papua-Diving in the Raja Ampat), and it won the overall video category, much to our delight! However it also highlighted the fact that there is a lot to be learnt by the aspiring videographers in South Africa, and we intend filling this gap also, through teaching the right workshops and helping videographers to refine their videos and take their footage to the next level.
The BITTENBYSHARKS video " Neville Ayliffe: Farewell to a legend" had the audience in tears, it was touching, real, and captured the very essence of the 'Nev' that we all know and love.
We certainly look forward to the next event, and we encourage all aspiring underwater photographers and videographers, all the way from novice through to advanced ,to join the BITTENBYSHARKS workshops and trips, in preparation for next year's event .Together we can ensure the growth of Underwater Photography in Southern Africa, and make this event bigger and better than ever before!
A BIG thank-you for supporting the BITTENBYSHARKS team!
Claudia and Leon
Overall Winner (STILLS) of Sodwana Bay Shootout 2008, SAREL COETZER
Overall Winner(STILLS) of the Sodwana Bay Shootout 2008, Sarel Coetzer of Durban, South Africa
Leon and Claudia with Sarel
Overall Runner-up (STILLS), Sodwana Bay Shootout 2008, DEBRA WESTCOTT
Overall (stills) Runner-up, Debra Westcott of Gauteng, South Africa
Leon and Claudia give Debbie the sought after Raja Ampat trip prize
Debra wins an all inclusive photographic expedition with Bittenbysharks to Raja Ampat in Dec 08 for one week, sponsored by Claudia and Leon of Bittenbysharks.com!
Overall Winner (VIDEO), Sodwana Bay Shootout 2008, LEON JOUBERT