Byron Bay

Byron’s over $20,000 rich Photo Shoot-Out draws international interest

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International media correspondents from prestigious dive magazine Scuba Diver Australasia are flying out a team from Singapore to cover the 2009 Byron Underwater Festival to be held in Byron Bay from Monday 27th April to Sunday 3rd May. With nearly $25,000 in prizes up for grabs, the Byron Underwater Photo and Video Shoot-Out is now the richest event of it’s type in Australia and offers one of the richest prize pools internationally. This year’s Underwater Shoot-out promises to be the best yet as organisers extend the festival by adding an extra 2 days.

Tim Hochgrebe, event organiser, says “Extending the festival in 2009, has allowed us to provide underwater photographers and videographers greater flexibility and time to capture that elusive award winning shot and video footage.” Tim also added “To help contestants in the 2009 shoot-out, once again we are bringing back to Australia renowned international underwater photographer Mr. Matthieu Meur to conduct beginners and advanced photo clinics early during the festival. This will allow photographers the opportunity to utilise their newly acquired skills during the competition.” Mr. Meur is a co-author of 2 books – An Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography and An Advanced Guide to Digital Underwater Photography and has his own underwater photography bible on the verge of being published in early 2009. Pre-release copies will be available at the festival. Inductee to the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Neville Coleman of Queensland, has also confirmed a third appearance at the 2009 Underwater Festival.

Organisers of the festival are proud to have Neville Coleman back next year. Neville is the author of over 50 books – his latest the massive Nudibranchs Encyclopedia – and well known for his passion for the underwater world and the small and unusual critters it contains.

As an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, Neville has once again been invited as a guest judge in the 2009 Underwater Photo and Video Shoot-out and he will also be conducting a full Underwater Naturalist course over the first two days of the festival. We all know, Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most popular holiday destinations and everyone knows about its beautiful beaches, the great surf and famous festivals. However, not many realise what beauty lies beneath the water’s surface or that Julian Rocks, located only 3 kms off the beach, and is one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites. This is where tropical and temperate currents meet, resulting in a unique mixture and incredible abundance of marine life including 3 species of turtles various rays, friendly sharks and over 500 other species of fish. Macro life is abundant with nudibranchs, crabs and snails, various coral and sponge species as well as sea stars, feather stars and urchins. In May water temperatures are still up (21 to 24C) and it is a quieter time of the year in Byron Bay, a great time to visit! The Byron Underwater Festival is aimed at everyone wanting to experience, for themselves, the wonderful marine environment of Cape Byron Marine Park – whether it be to learn more about it, dive it, snorkel it, kayak it, photograph it … or even paint it. Other activities and events include marine wildlife presentations by a number of reputable speakers, snorkeling, introductory dives, kayaking with dolphins and an Underwater Art competition. The Marine Visions art competition & exhibition, held in association with Retrospect Galleries, is a celebrated forum open to photographers, painters and sculptures of all ages.

This is a fantastic opportunity to display and sell their work over the course of the festival and be in the running to win over $5000 of great prizes including cash, a full PADI Open Water Course, framing and printing and much more.

There will be something for everyone and fun for the whole family with many FREE events and activities. For more info and bookings go to www.underwaterfestival.com.au

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