Location: Mana Island, Fiji

Sometimes it is good to get away and focus on photography for a few days. Especially when the lineup of instructors is stellar and the workshop is in Fiji.


Packing Light Flight Path

Fiji is relatively close to Australia (five hours non-stop), but the ferry schedule (and frequent flyer tickets) necessitated a layover night in Nadi in both directions. We’re not big resort people, but it was close to the port, and we earned frequent stay points, so we could deal with big resort annoyances for a few nights.

  • On the way there we stayed at the Hilton Port Denarau. We had a beach view suite, which had a GIANT bathroom (including washer/dryer), a king bed, and a living area with a small kitchen. While the room was nice, it backed to a path that had a lot of golf cart traffic. There was an adults only pool, and one of the restaurants was designated adults only, so if you wanted quiet, you could find it. The beach was really quite sad though. The hotel began renovations the day after we left, so hopefully some imported white sand is part of the new design.

    Hilton Port Denarau Hilton Port Denarau

  • On the way back we stayed at the Sofitel Port Denarau. The property was MUCH nicer than the Hilton, but we had a standard room (it did have a view). The pool area was nice, but loud despite a designated children’s area. The beach here was better than the Hilton, but still not as nice as you’d expect. The only meal we ate at the hotel was quite good (lunch at Salt). For dinner we walked into the marina and ate at Nadinas (traditional Fijian food).

    Sofitel Port Denarau Dining at Nadinas

The workshop took place at Mana Island Resort, which is an hour and a half ferry ride from Port Denarau. The ferry was pretty big and even had wifi.


Baggage Tags Getting some sun on the front deck

In front of Mana Island Ferry to Mana Island

The resort was just finishing renovations, and though it was still a little rough around the edges, it definitely delivered what you expect in a Fiji Island resort. They have a wide range of room types – we went with the beachfront bure and it was fabulous. Ours was #201, which was the closest to the adult pool (and beyond that, the main restaurant), so you probably want to request a higher number for less noise at night.

(P.S. – check the prices before drinking wine from the room fridge !)


Bath with outdoor shower Sun deck

Our Beach Beach Bure #201

The three day workshop was divided into six sessions, plus a nightly gathering.

  • Benjamin Vong Wong – 4 hours to teach, set, shoot, and edit a portrait.

    Portrait workshop with Ben Vong Wong
  • Michael Fletcher – Time lapse, slow motion, and heaps of Premiere tips.


    Fiji – in 30 seconds from Jennifer Martin on Vimeo.

    He also gave us a lesson on drone piloting !


    Fly - be free !
  • Colby Brown – Up at 5am to capture the feel of Mana Island.

    Adult pool Mana Island Resort, Fiji Gentle waves
    Urchin PalmsFlora
  • Varina and Jay Patel – An afternoon of learning about histograms and Gestalt psychology. No shooting in this workshop, but here’s an example of Gestalt in action.

    Leading lines, contrast, patterns, textures, oh my !

  • Nick Rains – A documentary point of view, and useful lessons on Lightroom catalog management. No shooting in this workshop, so here are some pics from the fire dancer show.


    Fijian Fire Dancers Fijian Fire Dancers

    Fijian Fire Dancers Fijian Fire Dancers

  • Elia Locardi – Travel photography, with Lightroom and Photoshop processing tips. No shooting in this workshop, so here’s a shot of sunset that evening.

    810_1668

  • Tony Hewitt – Led the nightly activities, which ranged from inspirational slide shows to question and answers to 60-second quiz-show-like behind the scenes descriptions of images.


    Instructors

In summary:
Fiji – love it, will be back
#FStopLoungeWorkshops – count us in for next year


Fiji