Anilao Workshop Photo Essay

Guest Photos, Workshop Report, Critters of the Season and More
By Brent Durand (text), Various (photos)

As the sun rose out of view behind us, the softly thick pink of Batangas dawn evaporated into the golden light of a calm morning. Bluewater Photo's spring 2015 back-to-back underwater photo workshops were now underway. Or actually... they started the afternoon before!

These workshops pack 4 long dives per day, three great meals, a daily image review, daily photo seminar and one-on-one instruction on everything from gear to settings to post-processing. And it starts the afternoon you arrive at the resort, presenting some incredible value for your hard-earned cash.

Each dive of each day was filled with critters presented by Crystal Blue's incredible guides: Edgar, Glenn, Pong, Jhomel, Jhomer and Paul. These guys had every guest on critters throughout their 60 or even 90 minute dives.



The Anilao Workshop

Led by Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel and UWPG owner Scott Gietler and pro photographer / Anilao resident, Mike Bartick, along with assistance from UWPG editor Brent Durand, each workshop was 7 or 10 days in length.

Anilao, Philippines is a beautiful place for a macro-focused workshop. The muck diving is world-class and the reef diving features colorful sponges, corals bursting with anthias, crinoids, walls and pinnacles to keep wide-angle shooters engaged.



Join us for our Anilao underwater photo workshops!

April 21 - May 1, 2016

May 1 - May 11, 2016

Learn more




Bluewater Photo's Anilao workshops use a 4 divers to 1 guide ratio, leaving ample space on the traditional bangka boats. The resort has one of the best photography setups in the world, with a large air-con camera room, camera rinse and dry stations on the dive deck and boat crews who carry guest cameras everyday and know the gear well enough to spot whether you forgot to plug in a cable or to put that focus light back on after swapping batteries.

Our schedule is action packed, with breakfast served just after 6am, a fun group image review at 7, the first two dives at 8am, lunch, a 2pm photo technique seminar, 3pm afternoon/evening dives and then dinner and time for a massage, editing or one-on-one instruction.

Dive sites are about 10 minutes away, and we visited about 20 different sites, including muck sites, rubble sites, rich reefs, wrecks, pinnacles, and walls.

Scott Gietler tried out the new Nikon D810 camera on the trip, you can read his full Nikon D810 underwater review.


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop Seminar

Scott presents during a mid-day seminar. We had seminars and image reviews each day.


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop Seminar

Mike presents during a mid-day seminar.



Join us in December '15 or Spring 2016

Our upcoming trips

We have workshops in Anilao in December of 2015, April of 2016 and May of 2016 - full details are here, we hope you can join one.


Anilao December 2015 Photo Workshop

  • December 6 - 13, 2015 (with option to add 3 more days)
  • $1,599 for 7-night workshop with 24 dives (including daily night dives)
  • Hosted by Bluewater Photo's Vijay Raman


Anilao Spring 2016 Workshops

  • April 21 - May 1, 2016 and May 1 - 11, 2016
  • $2,299 for 10-night workshop with 36 dives (including daily night dives)
  • Hosted by Scott Gietler and Mike Bartick



Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

A great crew for workshop 1! This crew was a great mix of new shooters, experienced shooters, and "spotters".


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

And another great crew for workshop 2! These guys and gals were ready to dive each day faster than you could say "Blue Ring"



Guest Underwater Photos

(selected at random from both workshops)


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Cuttlefish - Photo: Aaron Halstead. Most guests saw pygmy cuttlefish, larger cuttlefish, and a few flamboyants.


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Tiger Cardinal fish with eggs - Photo: Dan Kurz. There were lots of cardinal fish with eggs on this trip, at lesat 3 different species.


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Photo: Pam Murph


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Colmani Shrimp - Photo: Wojciech Meczynski


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Crinoid shrimp - Photo: Tam Sorayanawuttiwong


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Photo: John Berschied


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Nudibranch Gills - Photo: Deb Devers


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Photo: Chris Fry


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Photo: Judith Crews


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Mantis Shrimp with eggs - Photo: Joe Ly


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Yawning Frogfish - Photo: Jared Klein


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Photo: Donna Ebert


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Magnificent Goby - Photo: Dan Blum


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Lizardfish - Photo: Kerry Kiene


Anilao Underwater Photo Workshop

Hairy Frogfish -Photo:  Amy Zamurut. We saw at least 4 hairy frogfish on this trip.



Additional Workshop Photos


Ribbon Eel - Photo: Scott Gietler


Cuttlefish - Photo: Scott Gietler


Photo: Scott Gietler


Photo: Scott Gietler


Eubranchus Nudibranch - Photo: Scott Gietler

Anilao underwater photo workshop report
Blue-ring Octopus. We also saw many Mimic & Coconut Octopus, and an Algae Octopus. Photo by Scott Gietler



Photo: Brent Durand


Photo: Brent Durand


Photo: Brent Durand


Other Anilao Critters

We saw hordes of amazing critters on the trip, including many ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, thorny seahorses, lots of squid, cuttlefish, and octopus. Many jawfish, cardinal fish, mantis shrimp, and clownfish with eggs, probably 20 - 30 different frogfish including 4 hairy frogfish, a few flamboyant cuttlefish although not as many as other years, a healthy assortment of nudibranchs, hairy gobies, lemon gobies, pink-eyed gobies, mandarin fish, every shrimp and crab imaginable, sea snake, bobbit worms, sand-divers, and much much more. The rhinopias were elusive this year, I think we had a wonderpus sighting but they were quite rare this year, for the first time.




Further Reading


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips


Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.