La Paz Workshop 2011 - Participant Photos

We recently returned from Bluewater Photo/ UWPG La Paz Workshop, and the participants took some amazing underwater photos!
By Michael Zeigler

La Paz Workshop Participant Photos

La Paz workshop participants share their winning underwater photography from the trip

By Michael Zeigler



The 2011 La Paz workshop was awesome. We were greeted everyday with fantastic weather, and awesome diving conditions.  Thirty divers boarded two boats each day for some of the best easily-accessible wide-angle diving in the world.  Our primary subjects were whale sharks, sea lions, mobula rays, and baitballs. No one was disappointed in the diving or photo ops!


Group photo on the beach, just after viewing the photos from the trip.  See you next time!


Most people shot wide-angle on just about every one of the 18 dives, but there were a few macro photos taken. It's not that there weren't great underwater macro ops, it is just that no one wanted to miss out on the great wide-angle subjects and conditions!

The workshop was October 22nd - 29th. Although we unfortunately dealt with boat issues, and some bad air issues, everyone enjoyed the amazing weather, and diving conditions.  Water temperatures averaged 84°F, and visibility averaged 40-80'.

The whaleshark sightings were numerous, and one group experienced ten whalesharks at once!  One of our photo pros, Todd Winner, was able to capture a shot with three whalesharks in one frame!  The sea lions at Los Islotes did not disappoint, and we were greeted by playful pups and photogenic adults every time we jumped in.  The baitball at La Reina was amazing, and a few lucky people saw some hammerheads while diving El Bajo.

Many thanks to all the participants, the dive guides, Scott Gietler who organized and ran the workshop, and Todd Winner, who shared his extensive knowledge throughout the trip.


Participant feedback

"What a trip! I was very impressed by the teaching team, and the generosity of their time and knowledge without any restrictions.  Everything could have been crappy, it still would have been worth the trip - because of the dynamic, generous teaching team.  But everything was great! The staff, the food, the room.  And the diving: awesome - with the whale sharks,  the sea lions, etc…The workshops at night and the follow-up step by step from one dive to another, one-on-one with the teacher providing precious advice and tips.  It was greatly satisfying to be using my photo equipment towards its full potential...
Thanks, Pietro"

"In October 2011, I joined 29 other underwater photographers in La Paz on a six-day, spectacular photo clinic led by Scott Gietler.  Prior to this trip, I possessed what I thought was a solid knowledge of photography, both on land and underwater.  During the week I listened, learned, and gained so much from the “underwater pros” - Scott, Todd, and Zig.  They worked closely with me and all the divers, to really maximize our photographic abilities.  With the information I learned about my camera and its accessories, lighting, composition, style, editing and cataloging, my skills have taken a quantum leap forward.  All of my friends have commented on the vast improvement of my shots.  I truly walked away believing my money was very well spent." - Drew


Commentary from Photo Pro, Todd Winner:

"This year's workshop was filled with great diving and great people.  We had a diverse group of photographers from all over the states and few guests as far away as Canada, France, and Puerto Rico. Once again La Paz offered us some amazing opportunities for shooting sea lions with some very playful pups.  At one point I had so many tugging on my fins at the same time they were actually pulling me backwards. 

We had some incredible whale shark encounters, counting up to ten animals at one time. One of the highlights was a very small juvenile with a group of yellow pilot fish.  New for me this year was the chance to see the giant jawfish.  These guys are huge, about a foot long! Unfortunately they did not have eggs. La Paz continues to be a great destination for large marine animals with lots of excellent macro as well.  I hope you can join us on one of our future Underwater Photography Guide trips."


Some of the group gathered around in the Club Cantamar restaurant to see a few photos from the week.



Congrats to all the winning underwater photos from the Workshop Shootout!



Starfish, using the "super secret strobe position" that Scott taught everyone. 1st place -  photo by Frank Reynier.


Whale shark and remoras. 2nd place - photo by Marty Wolff.


 Mobula Rays. 3rd place - photo by Ron Watkins.


Sea Lion in shallow water. Honorable Mention - photo by Drew Collins.


"The Baitball."  Honorable Mention -  photo by Dmitry Starostenkov.


Marine Life Behavior

Tuna hunting the baitball. The tuna are much larger, but they are in the background.  1st Place - photo by Marty Wolff.


Diver and whaleshark.  2nd Place - photo by Dmitry Starostenkov.


Sea lion offering a diver some food. 3rd Place - photo by Dan Clements.


Feeding whaleshark.  Honorable Mention - photo by Marty Wolff.


Chew toy.  Honorable Mention - photo by Ron Watkins.



"Cutie Pie." 1st place - photo by Jay Sprenger.


"Eye of the shark." 2nd place -  photo by Dmitry Starostenkov.


"Grinning blenny." 3rd place - photo by Ron Watkins.


"Whiskers." Honorable Mention - photo by Frank Reynier.


Sea lion mom.  Honorable Mention - photo by George Post.



Tiny blenny.  1st Place - photo by Dmitry Starostenkov.


Large blenny.  2nd Place - photo by Dan Clements.


Eye of a porcupinefish.  3rd Place - photo by Ron Watkins.


Sea Urchin close-up.  Honorable Mention - photo by Drew Collins.


Compact Wide-Angle

"Over and under." 1st place - photo by Pietro Biondo.


Sea lion at Los Islotes.  2nd Place - photo by Tracey Winholt.


"Out for a swim." 3rd Place - photo by Eduardo Nadal.


School of Sergeant Majors.  Honorable Mention - photo by Dennis Cloutier.


Posing sea lion.  Honorable Mention - photo by Kerry Cloutier.


Compact Marine Life Behavior

Mother and pup.  1st Place - photo by Maxine Reid.


Whaleshark feeding, and Golden Trevally.  2nd Place - photo by Pietro Biondo.


Jawfish out of hole. 3rd Place - photo by Paul Salembier.


Sea lion pup nibbling everything it can.  Honorable Mention - photo by Rick Bressler.



Compact Portrait

Male sea lion. 1st Place - photo by Susan Dyer.


Jawfish close-up. 2nd Place -  photo by Eduardo Nadal.


"Kiss my lips." 3rd Place - photo Paul Salembier.


"Any cavities?" Honorable Mention - photo by Tracey Winholt.


Compact Macro

Urchin up-close.  1st Place - photo by Susan Dyer.


Jawfish smile.  2nd Place - photo by Rick Bressler.


Pair of coral hawkfish.  3rd Place - photo by Paul Salembier.


Reef blenny.  Honorable Mention - photo by John Duddy.


Blenny and Christmas tree worm.  Honorable Mention - photo by Christine Cooley.


Topside photos

Our arrival in La Paz. 


Just a short 2.5 hour flight from LAX (for yours truly), to amazing dive conditions.


The gathering spot for many of us after a long day of diving.


Our "meeting room" for the evening Workshop Sessions hosted by Todd Winner and Scott Gietler.


Gathering around after breakfast, comparing images.


Eagerly awaiting poolside for the judges' decisions for the shootout winners!



Our home away from home during the week.


A few photos from the trip leaders

"The Cave" at Los Islotes.  Photo by Michael Zeigler.


Dive model extraordinaire, Joanne Watson, shows us how it's done right at El Bajito!.  Photo by Michael Zeigler.


Sea lion giving a warning sign. Photo by Scott Gietler.


Baitball and Black Snapper, photo by Scott Gietler.


Sea lion in cave, photo by Todd Winner.


Whale shark going vertical, photo by Todd Winner.


Finally, I would like to thank our underwater photography equipment partner, Bluewater Photo & Video, for supplying the trip with demo gear, and for bringing down lots of gear that participants purchased for the trip.  See you on the next adventure!


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