You must be a certified diver with good diving skills to attend this workshop.

The coral reefs are very fragile, so we want to be assured that you have your buoyancy under control before you decide to dive with a camera. If you are comfortable with your buoyancy but haven't dived in a while and would like a refresher, a course in buoyancy control will be available through the dive shop on Saturday and/or Sunday before the workshop begins. There is an extra fee for this refresher course. It is highly recommended if you're not comfortable with your buoyancy while carrying a camera.

Preparing for the workshop

Here are some additional suggestions that will help you get the most out of this course. We invite all levels of underwater photographer to this workshop.

1. Know how to use your camera. You should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • what your camera can and can't do
  • what ISO is and how it affects your images
  • camera shooting modes (Auto, Program, Shutter, Aperture, Manual)
  • shutter speeds and apertures
  • camera file formats (RAW, Basic, Normal, etc.). Different manufacturers give them different names.
  • the different menus (familiarize yourself with important ones)
  • navigation of the menu structure
  • familiarize yourself with the camera manual and online instructions

If you do not understand how to use your camera above the water we recommend you look into classes locally or online before attending this workshop. You should know how to make the adjustments needed to change modes, file formats, etc.

2. Know how to use your camera inside your housing. Every camera/housing combination is different. Especially if you have a new camera make sure you've run it through its paces. Put your camera into your housing, attach the strobes, and get it in the water before you come to Cozumel. If you can't get in the water, practice on land. Call the people that sold you the system to get any issues resolved before you make the trip.

2. Bring all your parts, pieces, cables, and cards with you, expecially the camera user manual. If you don't have it, Google it to get an electronic version online.

3. Know how to use your laptop and get comfortable with the application you use to process images. You should already know how to move images from your camera or media card to your laptop. 

4. Make sure you have downloaded the software necessary to process your images or video. Make sure you can open the RAW file your camera shoots in what ever application you use. This is critically important! If you don't know how, take a basic computer class for photographers.

The more preparation you do before you come, the more you'll get out of the classes. If you have a question about something...GOOGLE! You'll find lots of help online just by asking a question. is also very helpful.

Suggested Websites


Nikon Lens Simulator





Explore the Wrecks of Truk Lagoon Aboard the Truk Odyssey - SOLD OUT


March 25-April 1, 2018

7 nights - 5-1/2 days of diving

$3295 per person/double occupancy
$4995 guaranteed single occupancy

Explore the WWII wrecks of Truk Lagoon aboard one of the world's favorite liveaboards, the Truk Odyssey. There is no better way to see Truk Lagoon! Odyssey is one of the world's finest live-aboard dive boats and they are typically booked up many years in advance. One trip aboard this boat and you'll understand why. THIS TRIP IS OPEN TO NON-PHOTOGRAPHERS TOO!!


March 21-March 25, 2018: 4 nights accommodation at the Truk Stop Hotel, 3 days of diving

Ocean View - $897 single occupancy
Standard View - $857 single occupancy
Ocean View - $657 per person/double occupancy
Standard View - $637 per person/double occupancy

Read more about diving in Truk Lagoon...

We will also offer several underwater photography related presentations on several of the evenings which include topics like photo composition, wreck photography, and image processing. This photo tour will be tailored to your needs and requests!


  • Accommodations on board Odyssey for 7 nights
  • 5 1/2 days of diving
  • All diving while on board
  • All meals while on board
  • Nitrox fills for Nitrox certified divers
  • round-trip airport transfers
  • Photography workshop and assistance


Does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Meals while in transit
  • Hotels before or after the charter
  • Crew gratuity
  • Personal purchases
  • Camera rentals
  • $50 dive permit fee
  • 5% VAT tax

Non-photographers or those who would like to learn are also invited!



The Odyssey is a 132 foot live-aboard located in Weno, Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia. On board the Odyssey you’ll find amenities consistent with the world’s top liveaboards. There is a total of nine staterooms. Six staterooms are 14’ x 8’ with either king size or 2 twin beds. Yes, this is big enough to do a cartwheel in! Two private single staterooms are 11’ x 6’. One stateroom is 10’ x 9’ with a double/twin bunk. ALL staterooms have private ensuite facilities, air-conditioning controls, DVD player, and are carpeted. There is air-conditioned throughout the vessel.

There is also a large dining area with full commercial galley. The food aboard Odyssey is outstanding! A separate entertainment lounge with TV, VCR (PAL & NTSC), DVD, stereo, library, large slide table, and bar is located on the A deck. This is a great place to hang out and work on your laptop. Odyssey has all kinds of room, so there are places where you can group to socialize and just as many areas to curl up and read a book in privacy.

Join us for a Photo Excursion
Diving the Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro Islands)
Aboard the Solmar V

April 14-22, 2017
10 days/9 nights* + one optional night in Cabo prior to departure.

$3699 Superior Cabin - only one spot left for female to share!

not including 16% Mexican tax, $15 chamber fee

Have you ever been face-to-face with a giant Pacific manta ray? Would you like to twirl with a dolphin? Have you ever heard the song of a whale?

Any one of these is a life-changing experience. To be able to find all three and more in one dive trip is even more amazing! That's why Socorro is often called the "Mexican Galapagos". March is the time of year when humpback whales migrate through this area. We'll see whale tails and breaches all day long and will hear their song underwater. If we get really lucky, we may even have an underwater encounter!

Join us for a magical trip aboard the 112' luxury live-aboard Solmar V. This vessel has been visiting the Socorro Islands for over 20 years and has more experience there than any other live-aboard. She's a gorgeous vessel with warm mahogany decor accented with etched glass and brass. There are 12 staterooms on board that can accommodate up to 22 divers. The cabins on this boat are small, but there's plenty of storage area. Each cabin has its own ensuite head and shower.

The food on the Solmar V is really good and plentiful! Each morning we'll be served a hot breakfast made to order. Of course they have coffee, tea, cereals and fruit for the early risers. Both Lunch and dinner are a sit-down three course meal. If we find any particular dive area especially active, they'll keep the dive deck open and serve up a simpler lunch, such as tacos or sandwiches, so we can eat quick and get back in the water. There is also plenty of snacking between meals too. On top of this, We'll will put in our order for extra chocolate for our charter and Margaritas for happy hour!

Read the trip report from a previous trip

Check out the photos from our April 2011 trip on Facebook

April 2012 trip photos on Facebook

DETAILED ITINERARY - Don't read this if you don't want to get sucked in!

We will fly into Cabo San Lucas the day before the boat leaves port. It is possible to fly in the same day, but its not recommended. If you missed a flight or lost your luggage, you would have no time to recover. That evening we'll stay at the Quinta Del Sol in Cabo San Lucas. You'll have some time to tour around Cabo, do some shopping or take in some of the other activites. On the 14th we'll board the Solmar V around 2:00 in the afternoon. Be sure to bring your C-card and NITROX card if you plan to dive NITROX. We'll get settled in, complete the trip paperwork, have some great snacks and Margaritas. The boat leaves the port around 3:30-4:00. Have your camera ready because we'll cruise right past El Arco for some good photo opportunities.

The trip to Socorro is about a 22 hour steam from the time we leave port, but the time goes quite fast on the way out. After happy hour margaritas and a sumptuous dinner we settle in for the night. The next morning we enjoy a late breakfast, have plenty of time to get our dive gear and camera put together, get to know the other passengers, get the boat and dive briefings out of the way, and maybe watch a movie if there's time. Of course there are way too many interruptions by the breeching whales we pass, the dolphins that ride the bow of the boat and the gorgeous sunset.

The first island we'll reach is San Benedicto around 2:00 the next day. Here we'll do a check-out dive and anchor the boat for the evening.

The next day is when the real diving begins. We typically visit The Boiler first. This is a pinnacle that rises to about 30' from the surface and drops down to 160'. The giant manta rays come here to be cleaned by the Clarion angelfish. Seems like the mantas thing us divers are a bunch of big cleaner fish too, since they come right to us. We've also seen large schools of jacks being bombarded by feeding dolphins. This is also were on a past trip we've come face to face with a humpback whale. Sorry, but I was do dumfounded I didn't get any good pictures!

Center photo by Marty Snyderman, bottom right photo by Bill Downey

Depending on the manta activity, weather, and wind we may also visit The Canyon on the other side of the island. This is a shallower area where mantas and dolphins are commonly seen. On the wall side the rocky slope is full of eels, octopus and cleaner fish. The wall attracts Galapagos sharks, black tips, silver tips, silky sharks and hammerheads. We've seen dolphins here several times in past trips too! Near the shoreline I found a huge old anchor that was so encrused with coral it was hardly recognizable.

The next stop is either Roca Partida or Socorro Island depending on weather and animal activity.

Roca Partida is a tiny pinnacle in the middle of nowhere that rises about 105' out of the water. Its about as long as a football field and is frosted with a thick layer of quano. Smells horrible, but underwater the steep wall of the rock drops down to the bottom at about 260'. Roca is a magnet to marine life. Here we commonly see mantas, white tip sharks, large schools of jacks and tuna, silver tips, Galapagos shark, dolphins and sometimes even whalesharks. Its possible to swim around this rock at least once during one dive. Inside the rock there are caves and crevases full of lobster, eels, cleaner fish and more. It is here that we are most likely to get close to schooling hammerheads also. On past trips the passengers voted to spend several days at Roca, but we always keep our options open to go where we'll find the best diving.

Our last island is Socorro Island. Here we'll stop by the Mexican Navy Station to clear customs around breakfast time, then move the boat to The Aquarium or to Cabo Pearce, where we have been greeted by many dolphins both on the surface and underwater. On one trip several years ago, we dived with dolphins for the entire dive.

After our amazing trip we head back to Cabo San Lucas to arrive the evening of April 21. We usually have enough time to go into town to play. Dinner is served on the boat for those who want to stay, or guests can go into town on their own. The food is so good on the boat, guests usually stay onboard. The last night is spent on the boat while she sits at the dock and passengers disembark early the next morning, right after breakfast. If your flight out isn't until later, we'll arrange a day room at the Solmar Hotel to hang out. Transports will take you back to the airport for your trip home. :(

Diving here is not for beginners. California divers do quite well because the water is warmer and clearer than what we're used to, but before you decide to join this trip you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you comfortable diving to 100+ feet in at least a 5mm wetsuit and the appropriate weight?
  • Are you comfortable diving in bottomless water? This means you have the skills to control your depth and buoyancy at all times, even when you're distracted by pesky dolphins, mantas and sharks.
  • Will you make the right decisions in the event of an emergency?
  • Are you comfortable diving in a current or surge? Current can pick up at some of the dive sites.
  • If you are afraid of sharks, dolphins, mantas or whales we recommend you stay home, because here you're going to get really, really close to them!

Socorro is about 22 hours away from reality, so if you screw up, the whole boat suffers the consequences. We don't want do discourage you. We just want to make sure that you are comforable enough with your skills to fully enjoy what this amazing destination has to offer.

As with all my workshops we recommend that if you don't consider your buoyancy to be perfect, you should think about leaving your camera behind. Your safety is most important and we need models.

Because the dive, eat, sleep schedule on live-aboards is already really intense, we'll keep the presentations to a minimum. I will offer one presentation about how to photograph mantas on the way out and will be available to assist through the entire trip. I'll also be doing Photoshop mini-sessions with those who are interested in learning the best way to process blue water images. There is a nice wide screen TV in the lounge of the Solmar V that I can hook my laptop to, so this makes it possible for several people to join in on these sessions. I have many other presentations available about topics such as photo composition, digital workflow, image size & resolution, and file formats. Let me know what you need and we'll tailor the schedule for you.

Camera Recommendations - Bring a still or video camera with a wide-angle or fisheye lens. The mantas are big and they do get very close IF you don't chase them. At least one external strobe with an extra long arm is recommended. Two would be even better. There are some macro opportunities, but you know that as soon as you put that macro lens on, the big animals will show up. If you need help getting your camera set up for this trip, please contact me ahead of time.

Of course you may just want to come to enjoy the experience also and leave your camera at home. That's OK too!

Price includes:

  • RT airport transfers
  • 9 nights aboard the Solmar V
  • All diving
  • All meals while on board
  • Photography assistance and instruction
  • All beverages

Does not include:

  • 16% Mexican taxes
  • Air fare
  • Chamber fee - $15 cash
  • Crew gratuity
  • Extra nights in Cabo
  • Camera rentals
  • Post trip shenanigans at Cabo Wabo and/or El Squid Roe
  • Bail bonds

For more information or to sign up contact Bonnie

Please remember that this area is very remote. Mother Nature has the final say about where we go and what we see. Visibility, water temperatures, currents, surface conditions can change quickly and as the organizers of this trip we have no control over this. These animals are wild and are in their own habitat. Big animal encounters are totally random and are at the choice of the animal.

*It takes one full day to get there and one full day to get back from Cabo. The boat leaves around 3:00 on day 1 and arrives back around 6:00 p.m. on day 8. You'll depart the boat the morning of day 9. Do not book a return flight before the morning of day 9. We'll likely get 1 dive in on day 2 and have five full days of diving the rest of the trip.


19th Annual Underwater Photo Workshop and Contest
7 Nights at Scuba Club Cozumel
July 10-17, 2021

Moral Eel and Banded Coral ShrimpThis workshop is designed for the underwater photographer who wants to take better pictures of macro subjects. No camera is too big or too small and all skill levels are invited. This year's itinerary is for the macro shooter!

We've been running workshops for many years and they keep getting better every year, with lots of fun, prizes, and surprises! Here's your chance to get all your questions answered and improve your underwater photography and/or video skills. Not only is this workshop a lot of fun, but you'll learn all about how to improve your underwater photography by shooting better and improving on what you've captured by using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Bonnie has made over 40 trips to Cozumel and she knows where and how to find the best Cozumel has to offer and can show you how to capture it with your camera.

In addition to the presentations, slide shows and seminars Bonnie will dive with you each day. We arrange special photographer's boats, so we don't hold up the other divers. We go nice and slow! If your non-shooting spouses wish to dive with the rest of the shooters, they are welcome to come along.

We also do one-on-one image review sessions with all the workshop participants, giving you a private critique of your images, as well as tips on how to improve your shooting techniques.

The evening before departure we wind things up with a wonderful awards ceremony, where we present the contest winners and distribute prizes to all.

Sign up early. This workshop will be limited to 20 participants!

If your would like to attend please contact Bonnie to reserve your spot. A $200 deposit is required. We can not accept walk-ins that have not contacted Bonnie in advance.

$1120 per person, double occupancy
$1320 per diver, single occupancy



  • 7 nights accommodations
  • 5 days 2 tank boat diving
  • unlimited shore diving
  • breakfast & lunch daily
  • photo workshop & contest
  • tanks, weights & weight belt
  • private locker to store your
    gear (bring your own lock)

Not included:

  • 19% VAT tax
  • environmental sanitation tax (about $1.46 daily)
  • airfare
  • Covid-19 test*
  • gratuities
  • marine park fees
  • additional scuba instruction
  • dinner
  • beverages
  • rental gear if needed

Extra nights (includes meals):
$130 per person in a single room
$105 per person double occupancy

Extra dives:
two tank boat dive: $75 per person
one tank night boat dive: $55 per person
two tank twilight boat dive: $80 per person
one tank wreck dive: $55 per person

*Cost per person is $32-$43 per person. SCC offers Covid-19 testing on-site. This is required by the airline, not by the government or resort. Check with your airline for their individual requirements are and how they apply to you.

Past Workshop Contest Winners

Course prerequisites: You must be a certified diver with good diving skills to attend this workshop. The coral reefs are very fragile, so we want to be assured that you have your buoyancy under control before you decide to dive with a camera. If you are comfortable with your buoyancy but haven't dived in a while and would like a refresher, a course in buoyancy control will be available through the dive shop on Saturday and/or Sunday before the workshop begins. There is an extra fee for this refresher course. It is highly recommended if you're not comfortable with your buoyancy while carrying a camera. 


Theories of Image Composition and Ideas on How to Make Your Images More Interesting

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."

Leonardo da Vinci

We humans are naturally drawn to things that are beautiful. We avoid what is ugly, scattered and disorganized. Our visual brains want to complete a broken circle, keep moving in the visual direction it's already going, remove elements that don't belong, and fix what is visually broken. We all have a natural sense of composition called perception.

Our visual intelligence training started as early as preschool with coloring books and learning toys. We were tested for it many times throughout our education (remember Iowa Tests in grade school and SAT tests in high school?). Mensa applicants are tested for superior visual intelligence. Perhaps this is what is meant by "an eye for photography". Hopefully we all have it!

As photographers, we are always looking for a better composition. Theories of composition have been taught to us for years...the rule of thirds, negative space, framing, etc. How can we all use the same theories and still create a photograph different than everyone else, especially when we're all taking pictures of the same critters? We're inspired by other artists' work, but what can we do to take those ideas to the next level - to recreate something different and call it our own? How do we create an image that nobody else has already captured?

In this presentation I'll be taking you beyond the static and boring rules of composition we already know by introducing theories and ideas you may not have considered for underwater photography. Those of you who already know me know that I've never been much for "rules". I'm usually the one looking for ways to break them! However, before you can do this you need to understand all the rules, know what your audience is looking for, and get their attention by breaking the rules properly.

This is an inspirational presentation for photographers of all skill levels, both underwater and topside because it doesn't focus on how big your camera rig is, how much you paid for it, or how much experience you have. The ideas in this presentation will benefit everybody interested in learning.

I'll show you lots of examples of how you might typically shoot a particular subject, then offers ideas on new perspectives and techniques you might want to try next time. I'll share some inside tips on how to compete in an underwater photography contest (as seen from the eyes of the judges), show you some winning photos, and explain why those photos won the big prizes for the photographer that shot them.

This presentation is one that I have been developing for a long time. I love sharing the theories and ideas and I continue to learn from it every time I present. It's a combination of what I was taught in art school, learned from mistakes I've made, researched in books and online, and picked up from other pro photographers I've known.

I hope you decide to join us for the presentation. I'm really looking forward to coming to Florida to see many of my old dive buddies and to meet new ones.