Underwater Photoshoot BTS // George Kamper Editorial Photography

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The San Francisco Reef is, in my opinion, an underrated dive site. The reef is well-nigh 60 anxiety deep at the drop off and lies north of the southernmost reefs. As such, it is often done equally a second swoop. The reef has very overnice structure, although not as large every bit Palancar. In that location’southward a wall, but it’s not particularly steep, and there are lots of fish to come across. While everyone else was looking into the reef, I spotted a large hawksbill turtle feeding on a sponge to photograph. Big groupers cruised downwards the reef simply they similar to tease photographers and stay simply out of strobe range. Jesús pointed out a couple of juvenile spotted drum.

Rainbow parrotfish (Scarus guacamaia).

Betsy with hawksbill turtle.

There are 2 parts to Tormentos, separated by a single, large sand dune. Tormentos gets deeper towards the end, and then this is a good dive for nitrox. There are overnice windows in the coral heads and many, colorful fish.

Margates (Haemulon album).

Queen angelfish (Holocanthus ciliaris). Why do some fish display such vivid colors? Sexual attraction? In any example, this one is a real beauty.

Betsy and I went to meet El Presidente, the big barracuda that hangs out under the pier. While I burned pixels, Betsy worked her way upwards the iron shore looking for jawfish. The barracuda was very patient but wouldn’t let me get too close to it. There’due south an artificial reef offshore made up of the old pier that was destroyed by hurricane Wilma; the gate from the hotel makes a nice properties for a school of grunts.

“El Presidente” – Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda).

School of grunts & iron gate (Haemulon sp).

24-hour interval Four – Scuba 2 with Jesús, et al

Palancar Gardens

WOW! What a wonderful dive. The magnificence of Palancar Gardens defies exact description. Huge coral heads, the size of apartment houses, are covered in colorful sponges. A large school of baitfish hugged the wall while being watched by black groupers ready for lunch. There was nigh no current on this dive and visibility was off the chart.

Black grouper and allurement (Mycteroperca bonaci). This is my favorite picture of the trip!

Lesser electrical ray (Narcine brasiliensis). Don’t touch! Shocking.

Yocab Reef

A shallow reef, Yocab is home to many colorful fish. A huge grouper hung under the reef and allowed me to get up close and personal. It rained while we were doing our condom stop, but the sun came out on the way back to SCC.

Black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci).

Red hind (Epinephelus guttatus).


I put my 50mm macro lens on the camera and went out to play with the small stuff in forepart of the hotel.

“Yawn.” Bluestriped grunt (Maemulon sciurus). Timing is everything.

24-hour interval Five – Scuba Two with Jesús et al

Santa Rosa Wall

SR is always a crowd pleaser. The wall approaches vertical and there’s structure on the top. At the terminate of the reef, yous can cross the sand to another low lying reef with scattered coral heads and sponges. Big groupers were out in strength on the wall and a very unconcerned turtle posed for the photographers at the end of the swoop.

Yellowfin grouper (Mycteroperca venenosa).

Hawksbill (Eretmoshelys imbriocata). “Haven’t I seen you here before?”

Villablanca (dive of the seven cables)

We only saw ane of the seven cables on this dive. We spent a great deal of time looking for seahorses – constitute two, a yellow one and an orange i. As an added bonus, a large, green moray eel was hiding in a hole on the top of the reef.

Seahorse (peekaboo) (Hippocampus reidi).

Yellowish seahorse.


Nosotros visited the artificial reef in front of the hotel to shoot fish faces and poke around looking for pocket-sized stuff.

Roughhead blenny in worm shell (Acanthemblemaria aspera).

Mean solar day Six – Scuba Ii with Jesús et al. plus Dave and Mike

Colombia Deep

Spectacular coral buttresses the size of apartment houses line the drop off. We started the dive on the southernmost height and traversed the sand gap to accomplish the rest of the reef. When nosotros started to run out of bottom time, nosotros moved upwardly to the shallower reef to extend our fourth dimension. A couple of southern stingrays were hunting in the sand forth with a shadowing bar jack and a permit. A pocket-size turtle teased us on our safety stop, swimming slowly below usa as we hung at fifteen feet.

Jesús with lionfish (Pterois volitans).

Colombia Shallows

Located inshore from Colombia Reef, the Shallows is a large, shallow area where large schools of snappers and grunts hang out betwixt coral heads. Mike found a shark sleeping nether the reef, but its head was inside the reef and I didn’t get for a barrel shot. A pair of turtles was feeding on the sand off the reef, as well as a pair of last male rainbow parrotfish (no, I wasn’t able to get close enough to them for a photograph.) This was Chris and Walt’southward last swoop of the calendar week. I hope to run across you next year!

School of Caesar grunts (Haemulon cabonarium) on Colombia. One fish simply can’t assist but caput the wrong manner.

Mixed school of grunts on Republic of colombia Shallows.

Another hawksbill. I never get tired of seeing turtles on the reef.


Betsy demonstrates technique and gets the shot. After seeing my “yawn” picture show from earlier, she got a great image with three fish yawning at the same time. I’m greenish with envy.

Twenty-four hour period Vii – Coral Diver with Ariel. Ed joined united states of america after the departure of Chris/Walt

La Francesa

The northern end of Palancar Reef is called “the French lady” or La Francesa. Here, the reef is moderately high, merely has no associated wall. On the open up water side of the reef are great overhangs to search nether for crabs, lobsters, groupers, etc. Ariel killed a couple of invasive lionfish and fed their carcasses to a excellent toadfish. A overnice hawksbill turtle let me take its portrait. At one betoken I looked up and a costless swimming green moray was upwardly close and personal with Deborah. At that point the eel decided it liked my fins and smelled forth the edges before swimming off, down the reef.

Greenish moray sniffing my fin. “Please don’t bite me!”

El Paso de Cedral

The best place on the reef to run into porkfish and often abode to many groupers, Cedral is a short reef with a wonderful tunnel system nether the reef that’s fun to explore. Later the end of the reef, we drifted over to Santa Rosa shallows.

Porkfish school (Anisotremus virginicus). Tastes like craven?

24-hour interval Eight – Scuba Two with Jesús, Mel, Juanita, Dave, Mike, George, Deborah and me

Bolones de Chankanaab

Bolones is offshore from Chankanaab Reef and consists of a sandy bottom interspersed with large coral heads. We were greeted by several large groupers that have learned that the dive guides will ofttimes kill lionfish and offer them to the large fish.

Deborah and grouper.

Splendid toadfish (Sanopus splendidus) and busy body fish. “What cha doing? Taking a picture of the toadfish? How about me? Won’t you accept my picture, besides?”

Chankanaab Reef

There are lots of large lobsters, big crabs, and many colorful fish on this reef. The current normally runs to the south due to an boil created by the shoreline. This is a great dive site to notice the endemic, splendid toadfish.

Splendid toadfish (Sanopus splendidus).


Last August, John found a yellow frogfish on a shore dive. Common elsewhere, it’s rare to run into any frogfish in Cozumel. Nosotros were able to locate the xanthous frogfish on subsequent dives, but it was gone when nosotros returned to the island two months subsequently. Yesterday, on this trip, Betsy reported that she had plant the elusive fish and offered to accept the states back to the spot where it was last seen. Upon arriving, we discovered the fish had moved. Later on a couple of minutes, Betsy spotted the frogfish doing its best imitation of a sponge, flat up against the side of a stone. Returning to the artificial reef in front of the hotel, Deborah constitute a Spanish lobster.

Longlur frogfish (Antennarius multiocellatus).

Day Nine – Scuba II with Jesús et al

Palancar Caves

In that location aren’t whatsoever “caves” at this dive site, instead in that location are large passages through the coral heads with many exits and openings. The structure along the edge of the wall is fantastic, huge and colorful. Nosotros saw a turtle feeding many anxiety below our maximum depth, and so I didn’t get to take its picture. After the main reef, we moved up and across the sand to a shallow reef area and poked around until the finish of the dive. A large barracuda was being cleaned by a juvenile Spanish hogfish and allowed me to become inside strobe range.

Jesús, sponge and baitfish. I really like this motion picture! I think it’s the curve of the baitfish over the sponge that gives information technology dial.

Las Palmas

Near the Fiesta American hotel, the electric current splits, with ane part going south towards Chankanaab and the other part heading north. Nosotros dropped in on the north current and were blown in that direction and had to swim to stay on the drop off. There were schools of small bar jacks, feeding in the electric current and other fish, merely it was almost impossible to stop and accept pictures, the electric current was so strong. Nosotros swam over a large sandy expanse to become to the inshore side of Paradise where we looked, unsuccessfully for seahorses.


Betsy had signed upward for the twilight/night gunkhole and Deborah was resting, so I did an afternoon swoop with Margaret.

Goldentail moray (Gymnothorax miliaris).

Lionfish (Pterois volitans). An invasive species that is threatening the reef ecology in the Carribean.

Twenty-four hour period 10 – Scuba Ii with Jesús. My sister, Jana, and brother-in-law, Mike, joined usa today!

Paso de Cedral Drop Off

Offshore from Paso de Cedral Reef, the drop off is a wild, current ride on top of the drop off into the deep bluish. This is a great place to run across turtles, sharks, large parrotfish, and many colorful fish. Unfortunately, I had failed to observe a smudge on the inside of my lens port and most of my pictures from today’s dives aren’t worth sharing. Role way through the dive, nosotros moved over to Paso de Cedral Reef and made 2 dives out of 1.

Paso de Cedral

Nosotros had so much fun on the showtime dive, we voted to repeat the reef!

Aqueduct clinging crab (Mitrax spinosissimus).


Deborah, Betsy, George, and I went a long style along the ironshore in search of the frogfish. It had moved from its final position, just Betsy plant it again subsequently some close inspection of the wall. On the way back, I spotted a needlefish just under the surface.

Houndfish (Tylosurus crocodilus).

Curved trumpet fish, ready to strike.

Twenty-four hour period Xi – Scuba Two with Jesús et al

La Francesa

Today was Mike and Dave’s final day, so we opted for a couple of shallower dives. This was our 2d visit to the “French Lady” on this holiday. On the first office of the reef is a tunnel that runs much of the length of the coral head. While there isn’t much to see in the swim through, sunlight penetrating the reef gives the tunnel a religious aspect that’s hard to describe and hard to photo! We saw the big three, turtle, green moray, and nurse shark.

Light-green moray.

Nurse shark (Gingliomostoma cirratum) & shark sucker (Echeneis naucrates).

Paradise Reef

A good selection for Dave/Mike’due south concluding dive, Paradise offered a long, slow drift with lots of time to poke around and look for small stuff.

Patterns on a coral head.

Day twelve – Scuba II with Jesús, Jana, Mike, Deborah, Mel, Juanita, Betsy, George

Colombia Bricks

Some other fabled dive on the Colombia/Palancar reef system. A slow drift through the huge coral structures at the top of the drop off before moving upwardly to the top of the reef to extend our lesser time. We saw simply i turtle on this dive, very unusual for this swoop site. I played with wide angle photography and my favorite yellow sponges.

Bluestriped grunt (Haemulon sciurus) eating a brittle star – Predation on the reef is hard to capture with a camera; either the action is also fast or too infrequent. This snapper had just grabbed a breakable star and was having a hard time getting it down!


This dive was a repeat of ane nosotros did the previous calendar week. The huge grouper was even so under the overhang about one-half manner down the reef.

Blackness grouper (Myctoperca bonaci) showing off one of its colour changes.


I put my macro lens on the camera and went to await for small stuff. In that location’s a lot to see on a shore dive if you look closely.

Orangeclaw hermit crab (Calcinus tibicen).

Juvenile smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter) (50 mm Zuiko lens with SubSee 10X diopter).

Day 13 – Scuba Ii with Jesús

Bolones de Chankanaab

This was Mel and Juanita’south concluding day of diving and they requested a render to Bolones. There were fewer groupers on this swoop than there were last week, only lots of other colorful fish to keep everyone happy. There’s a chocolate-brown looking sponge on Bolones that turns a bright red-orange under strobe calorie-free, making for some nice wide bending shots that attempt to evidence what the reef looks like.

Erect ropesponge (Amphimedon compressa).

Chankanaab Reef

Later a short surface interval, nosotros pigeon on the normal Chankanaab Reef. A barracuda was being cleaned by some neon gobies and was not going to dorsum away from the photographers. Likewise shortly, we had to end our dive and ascend for a safety finish.

Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda).


Later on a nap, I did a shore dive in front end of the hotel. Highlights of this swoop were an arrow shrimp pretending to be a twig and a juvenile butterflyfish.

Arrow shrimp (Tozeuma carolinense). It is head down. You lot tin meet the white eye virtually the bottom of the critter.

Juvenile spotfin butterflyfish (Chaetodon ocellatus).

Twenty-four hours Xiv – Scuba Two with Jana, Mike, Betsy, George, Deborah, Mark and Lu

Palancar Gardens

We returned to Palancar Gardens. I had hoped to find the school of baitfish that had been on the wall the previous week, but they were gone. A hogfish shadowed usa equally we slowly drifted down the reef. The school of jack that’s been at the cease of this dive for many years was withal there. Several turtles delighted the defined and photographers.

Spanish hogfish (Lachnolaimus maximus).

School of horse-eye jacks (Caranx latus).

Betsy and turtle.


Jesús in the window. That sounds like a religious statement – “I have Jesus in my window.”


Deborah and I spent a couple of hours in front of the hotel looking for small-scale stuff.

File clam (Lima scabra). This file clam was at the same depth as the previous image where the tentacles are red. The theory is proven false.

Web burrfish (Chilomycterus antillarium).

Day Xv – Scuba II with Jesús et al

Santa Roda Wall

Santa Rosa is Jayne’s “happy place.” This dive was dedicated to her for her altogether adjacent week. We were sorry she couldn’t join us this Baronial. After a huge group of divers passed the states on the wall, we enjoyed a leisurely migrate in and out of the coral formations before moving across the sand to the shallow, upper reef to extend our bottom time.

Jesús demonstrates perfect buoyancy inside the cavern. “¿Donde están los otros?”


While Jesús paused to look for the yellowish seahorse that we saw hither the kickoff week, I drifted further up the reef looking for the hole where the dark-green moray eel was. Plant information technology. A lilliputian turtle decided it needed to go to the surface and get some air just as we got to where it was feeding on sponges.

Diving hawksbill.

I took the afternoon off to work on this trip study and off-gas a piddling.

Solar day Sixteen – Scuba Two with Jesús, Deborah, Betsy, George, Jana, Mike, Roger and Judy

Palancar Caves

Nosotros had a mild current and drifted along the wall for a while before moving up onto the shallower reef organisation. Just 1 turtle was seen and a single gratuitous swimming nurse shark was spotted in the distance. Nonetheless, a dainty first dive for Roger and Judy.

Pair of balloonfish (Diodon holocanthus).


At this indicate, there aren’t many reefs that we haven’t visited, some more once. The big grouper wasn’t in his usual identify when we got to the cut out. Instead, a large grouper was lying on the sand and let united states become close. After taking a few pictures, I movement over to the reef to shoot some fish schooling images. It was and so that the big grouper showed upward and poised with his rima oris open to be cleaned by a Castilian hogfish. We were treated to a turtle meet – can’t have too many of them – at the cease of the dive.

Juvenile queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris).

“What kind of camera are y’all using?”

Day Seventeen – Jesús was sent to the mainland to take a course in Scubapro equipment repair. Scuba II with Ariel et al

San Franciso

This was a skilful choice for Mike’s introduction to Cozumel. The drop off isn’t that deep, there’s some vertical structure at the peak of the wall, and shallower reef at the cease to extend the lesser fourth dimension. Nosotros saw a nurse shark, out for a morn swim, at the beginning of the dive. Unfortunately, the one turtle on this dive was out of sight before Mike got to see it.

Paradise Reef

Ariel chose to starting time the dive on the flats to expect for seahorses. He didn’t have to look for long, he pointed out iv of them! My brother-in-constabulary discovered a juvenile seahorse, black in color. There were some very tame permits riding the electric current on peak of the reef, but I was sticking shut to my son and didn’t swim upwardly to take any pictures; telephone call me “Dad.”

Day Xviii – Scuba II with Ariel et al


The current was stiff enough on this dive that I could not swim directly into it! We flew forth, occasionally dropping behind the coral or an overhang to terminate and await for everyone. There was a green moray under a ledge and a couple of green turtles to have images of.

Lobster hotel.

Green turtle (Chelonia mydas). Dark-green turtles are not common in Cozumel waters and are endangered by overfishing.

Ariel’s Chankanaab

Ariel asked if it would be OK to dive a portion of Chankanaab that isn’t normally dived. The showtime part of the dive consisted of a serial of large coral heads that were closely spaced. This is a place to detect Atlantic spadefish, merely none were seen. Instead, a school of ceros tantalized this photographer by staying out of range. A big school of horseeye jacks was too too shy to get shut to.

WA sponges and family.


While Deborah and Mike explored effectually the pier, I concentrated on some macro photography. At that place’due south a lot to see on a shore swoop and a peachy identify to play with your camera.

Odd couple. This epitome is strangely appealing. I think Norman Rockwell would corroborate.

A spotted moray existence clean-cut past a banded coral shrimp. “A little off the top, please.”

Day 19 – Scuba II with Jesús et al

Colombia Deep

What more can I say about Colombia Deep? Fantastic!

Colorful sponges on Republic of colombia reef.

Colombia Shallows

Another deadening drift over the shallow coral heads. Mike and I were given the close up by a modest turtle.

School of grunts.



Nighttime dive in front of the hotel with Mike. There was only ane octopus out hunting, lots of sleeping parrotfish, and the odd eel or two.

Sleeping stoplight parrotfish (Sparisoma viride). What Larry, the cable guy, would await like if he were a fish.

Solar day Xx – Scuba Two with Jesús et al

Paso de Cedral

I remembered where the green moray eel was hiding a couple of weeks ago and was able to locate it for a couple of pictures before the balance of the photographers showed up. I took lots of pork fish pictures to brusk through later. Mike and Deborah went through the tunnel under the reef and played with a large lobster at the go out.

Porkfish. A school of porkfish has been in residence on Paso de Cedral for equally long as I tin can remember.

Caribbean area spiny lobster (Panuliris argus).

Paradise “Grass”

“Grass” is inshore of the reef at Paradise and consists of a sandy lesser with low vegetation. This is a bully place to find seahorses – nosotros saw vi of the reclusive critters.

Slender filefish (Monacanthus tuckeri).

Seahorse. “Hey there, big boy, come up here ofttimes?”

Too before long our vacation came to an end and nosotros had to go out the gates of Scuba Social club to caput for the airport. Adios, Cozumel, regresaremos.

These are my favorite images from the trip. Which one exercise you think is the best? Are there any others that you like better?

Image one – Grouper and sliver sides.

Epitome ii – Pair of squat anemone shrimp.

Prototype iii – Turtle on Colombia?

Camera: Olympus E-330 in an Ikelite housing with dual Ikelite DS-125 strobes. Most images were shot with a Zuiko 14-54mm lens or a 50mm lens for macro. All images are copyrighted and may not exist used without permission.

Source: https://www.uwphotographyguide.com/content/scuba-club-cozumel