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Festival Celebrities

Neville Coleman

Neville Coleman

Underwater Festival Ambassador

Neville Coleman is a multi-award winning photographer, naturalist and author of over 50 books on marine natural history and diving. We are proud to have this underwater pioneer and one of the most passionate diver you will ever meet as one of the major supporters of the Underwater Festival since its inception in 2007. Neville is the judge of his own 'Neville Coleman' critter category as part of the Underwater Festival and with any luck he will also do book signings during ODEX.


Mathieu Meur

Mathieu Meur

Underwater Photography Workshop - Matava, Fiji

Mathieu Meur is an underwater photographer based in Singapore. He authored a PADI Underwater Digital Photographer Distinctive Specialty in 2001, co-authored An Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography in 2004, as well as its sequel An Advanced Guide to Digital Underwater Photography in 2007. Mathieu is a regular contributor to international diving publications, and has been a speaker or judge at numerous international underwater photography events. Mathieu is always happy in the water, be it capturing the beauty of large reef denizens, majestic wrecks, or the tiniest of subjects. Mathieu is also one of the judges of the 2011 Underwater Festival.


Stephen Wong - Takako Uno

Stephen Wong & Takako Uno

Underwater Photography Workshop - Cocos and Christmas Islands

Full time husband and wife marine photojournalists, Stephen & Takako’s works have been published in over 20 countries and 100 individual journals & publications, including National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Nature’s Best, Unterwasser & GEO. Their works have appeared in more than 40 photo exhibitions, including Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History & Monterey Bay Aquarium. In 2009, both of them have been inducted as members of the prestigious “Ocean Artists Society”. Their images have received dozens of awards in international photo competitions, including four times in the renowned BBC Wildlife Photo Contests. Takako has discovered four new species of Nudibranchs. Stephen and Takako’s images have appeared in over 70 books, including co-authorship of “Sipadan-Mabul Islands”, “Celebrate the Sea” & “Gorontalo Hidden Paradise”. The couple’s signature publication, “An Ocean Odyssey” - a 240-page wide blue pictorial anthology, has received broad international acclaims. Stepen and Takako are also official judges of the 2011 Underwater Festival.


William Tan

William Tan

Underwater Photography Workshop - The Arenui Liveaboard, Komodo, Indonesia

William Tan has been fascinated with the creatures of the sea since childhood. While studying at the Johns Hopkins University (USA), much of his spare time was spent gazing at the extensive marine collection of the National Aquarium in Baltimore. A violinist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, William earned his scuba diving certification in 1994. Thereafter, without his prized antique Italian violin, he travels extensively between concert seasons throughout the Pacific region photographing marine life for tourism organizations, scientific research groups, dive magazines, camera manufacturers, and resorts. His most recent book, Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise, published under the commission of the Indonesian government, sees him collaborating with Hong Kong's leading underwater photographers Stephen Wong and Takako Uno.


Tim Rock

Tim Rock

Underwater Photography Workshop - Manta Fest - Manta Ray Ray Resort, Yap

Tim Rock attended the journalism program at the University of Nebraska - Omaha and has been a professional broadcast and print photojournalist for 30 years. The majority of those years have been spent in the Western and Indo Pacific reporting on environmental and conservation issues. He has won the prestigious Excellence in the Use of Photography from the Society of Publisher's in Asia. His TV show was an ACE award finalsit. He also lists many other awards for documentaries, television shows, photography and writing. He works as a correspondent for numerous Pacific Rim magazines. He is the author and contributor to ten Lonely Planet/Pisces series guides including The Diving and Snorkeling Guides to Thailand, Belize, Cayman Islands, South Africa & Mozambique, Bonaire, Chuuk-Pohnpei-Kosrae, Palau, Bali & Lombok, Guam & Yap, Papua New Guinea and The Philippines. He currently owns a gallery in Guam at the Fish Eye Marine Park. Rock's photographic work is represented by his own Guam-based agency and by top photographic agents worldwide.


Bob Halstead

Bob Halstead

Underwater Photography Workshops at Heron Island Dive Fest

A celebrated underwater photographer, Bob Halstead has won many awards including the Australasian Underwater Photographer of the year award in 1983. In 1986, he started the first PNG live-aboard dive boat operation, Telita Cruises with the 20 meter dive charter vessel, Telita, a boat built in PNG to his specifications and under Bob’s personal supervision. This pioneering vessel, with Bob as Captain, was the first to explore and promote many of the diving sites now popular with diving visitors to PNG. “Muck Diving”, now a diving genre, is a phrase coined by Bob to describe dives he led in less attractive environments searching for exotic creatures. Bob has published 8 books on diving and marine life, chapters in several other books, and hundreds of magazine stories on diving safety, marine life and PNG dive sites, characterized by fine photography, thoughtful messages and a sense of humor. His best known articles extol the difference between “Risk” and “Danger” and emphasize the importance of self-sufficiency in diving skills, knowledge and equipment. In 2008 Bob was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.


Gary Bell

Gary Bell

Underwater Photography Workshop at Heron Island Dive Fest

Gary Bell is an award winning nature and wildlife photographer and was one of the judges for the Australasian Underwater Photographer of the Year competition. His underwater images have featured in major magazines and books throughout the world, limited edition coins, postage stamps, newspapers, advertisements and signage. Gary's latest coffee table book, The Great Barrier Reef - A World Heritage National Park, contains more than 250 vibrant portraits of the Great Barrier Reef. He has worked on assignment for National Geographic magazine and Television division, Australia's CSIRO Division of Fisheries, Australian Geographic magazine, Travelling in Australia magazine and other nature related journals. In 2003, Gary and his wife, Meri, launched OceanwideImages.com - one of the world's most comprehensive collections of marine life pictures.


Lawrence Alex Wu

Lawrence Alex Wu

Underwater Photography Workshops in Byron Bay

As one of the world’s leading internationally acclaimed underwater photographers with compact cameras, Alex has gained over 18 international awards and recognition from prestigious underwater film festivals and photo contests around the world. His work has been broadcasted, published in magazines and exhibited in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chicago, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland at major cities such as London, Bangkok, Athens, Prague, Cape Town and Chicago. All his underwater photography has been produced only from digital compact cameras. Understanding the potential for shooting underwater with compact cameras, he has translated his experiences, expertise and know-how of shooting with digital compacts into workshops which he teaches mainly throughout Asia in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. As well, he continues to strive for the well being of our oceans and to help preserve and improve its conditions.


Dave Harasti

Dave Harasti

Presentations at Heron Island Dive Fest

Dave Harasti is a marine scientist in Australia who has been working on threatened marine species (sharks, seahorses and fish) for the past 10 years. He currently works as Research Scientist for the Port Stephens-Great Lake Marine Park and in his spare time he’s finishing his PhD on the conservation of seahorses and is examining the role that marine protected areas could provide in their protection. He has been diving for 15 years and in that time he has developed a passion for marine life and underwater photography. He likes to focus on photography of unusual and rare marine species which has resulted in hundreds of his images being used in various fish and nudibranch identification guides. His photography has been internationally recognised as he won several major photography competitions.


John Lippmann

John Lippmann

Presentations at Heron Island Dive Fest

John Lippmann began diving some 38 years ago and developed an avid interest in diver rescue and first aid, decompression, deeper diving and marine animal injuries. He has been involved in researching, teaching, writing and consulting on safe diving, decompression and accident management for more than 30 years. John has authored, or co-authored, many books that have been published and distributed worldwide. John’s articles and research on dive safety, decompression and accident management have been published in medical, technical and recreational diving journals throughout the world. John is currently the Executive Director and Director of Training of the Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific (DAN Asia-Pacific), which he founded in 1994 in an effort to improve the safety of scuba diving within the Asia-Pacific. In 2007 he received an Order of Australia award for services to scuba diving safety, resuscitation and first aid.