Red Sea Workshop with Alex Mustard – Part II Thistlegorm and Co

After the first day of fish portraits it was time to go and dive the Thistlegorm, this can be an amazing dive site but also very challenging as the wreck is not sheltered by any reef formation.

We got there early in the morning and attached to the wreck using the classic 3 point method: anchor, line on the bow and line on the stern we were all ready to go.

I have to say Dr Mustard prepared this very well and had a wealth of information on the wreck and the specific features.

The first dive was suggested to be a guide tour of the wreck from the outside with a limited penetration, the second would have been a penetration and the third dive a play with remote strobes (that I did not have).

As I had dived the wreck a number of times I decided to change the order so on dive number one went for a penetration of hold 2 and played a bit with the motorbikes.

There were already some others surrounding the bike as I went down so I played a bit with the divers themselves before being able to get in position.

Wreck Diving
It is amazing how much more interesting is a picture once you have a person in it. Eventually I got hold of the Bike in hold 2 also known as Elle’s bike. I looked around and there were some hatchet fish that I thought would have made the picture more interesting compared to the usual single fish in front of the bike.

Motorbike in Hold 2
I love the reflection on the fish that the strobe produced.

On dive 2 it was time to take some ambient light shots and I was expecting some divers to be around the stern that I could capture. Unfortunately the day boats had gone and the Thistlegorm was pretty empty so dive 2 was a bit of a waste as the boat itself says very little without a diver or a school of fish.

Thistlegorm Stern
Thistlegorm Stern

It could be the size of a RIB but you could not tell from here the massive size of the boat. It is quite dark at the 28 meters I took the picture so there is not a lot of color.

On dive 3 people that had them were playing with remote strobe. I fired a few shots when my cabin mate was placing his strobe, funny enough his remote strobe fired and I blackened him in lightroom so he is actually still there!

The remote strobe creates the blue in the truck glass that would not be there otherwise.

Next trip I will take my third Z240 and the gorillapod, I have to get a remote trigger but I think this is relatively straightforward.

The briefing from Dr Mustard included map of all the bikes and trucks and suggestion for shots and strobe positioning really impressive detail there.

After 3 dives on the wreck we moved to Beacon Rock where the Dunraven rests not to dive the wreck but to experiment with dapple light.

This was a very productive dive for me I had some of the best shots in relatively poor conditions.

The surface was not flat but this made it even more dramatic as the waves were breaking through.

There were also barracuda and goat fish shoals. The barracuda were not really cooperating so I focused on the goat fish

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I also had a 26º snoot this time so I played a bit with an octopus
Waiting in the dark

The good thing about the Inon snoot is that you can remove it and take normal shots with two strobes
This is the same octopus as before just to give you an idea

Side Shot

I was very happy with the performance of my RX100 Mark II one of the only two compact on the trip especially comparing to micro 4:3 that did not really look that much better.

Part 3 will be out soon with the first shots from Ras Mohammed


3 thoughts on “Red Sea Workshop with Alex Mustard – Part II Thistlegorm and Co”

  1. Hi Interceptor121,

    first of all: Thanks for your amazing work, explanations and advices!

    I follow your blog since a couple of months and probably am responsible for half of the page hits during the last three weeks since I’m planning to buy either a RX100M2 or Lumix LX7 for UW recording (approx. split will be 70/30 for video/photo) and think about the setup. I’ve been using a Canon Ixus 220 HS in Ikelite housing without any strobe/lights/lenses for over three years now and am quite sure it’s now about time to advance to the next level.

    My current plan is to go with the RX100M2 and order the following items:
    – Acquapazza housing with native LD port
    – 1 x UCL-165 LD
    – 1 x Inon Z-240
    – 1 x FIT LED 2400 (120° flood)
    Including delivery, customs, etc. this will be around $2200 (w/o camera) and I unfortunately cannot spend (much) more right now.

    I’d be happy to hear your remarks and advices on those open questions:
    – Are a single strobe and single video light good to start with? Another option would be to buy two weaker strobes instead of the Z-240, e.g. two S-2000, but if I got some of your posts right, the RX100 needs a strobe as strong as the Z-240, is that true? Same question for the video lights: Is there any advantage in taking two smaller FIT LED 1200 lights instead?
    – Would you change something to my proposed setup, given the budget?
    – What would be the next things to add and in which order? UWL-H100 LD, second Z-240, second FIT LED 2400, UWL-H100 dome?

    Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Christoph and thanks for following my blog. With limited budget you should be looking at a limited scope so focus on doing few things right but not everything. I don’t really know the aquapazza housing in detail though I know people that know it. I receive many messages almost daily of people that like you want to do things right but it takes too long to go into details over and above of what i already write so I have introduced an advisory service at the price of £30 that then gives you a fully spec’d rig for your budget as I do have to spend time myself to deal one to one and ends up being quite time consuming. If you are interested let me know

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