Manta Fest 2015 Topside



Here’s some topside shooting action and the photographic scenarios that are available here in Yap all year and a special shoot setup for the first time for this year’s Manta Fest.

One of the very special things about Yap is that the culture is real and it’s very much alive.

One of the most colorful sites in Yap is a traditional shoot in a village.


One of the photo contest categories is “People, Land and Culture”.

Throughout the two-week event we setup several opportunities to shoot traditional people, attire and village life… as well as some fun scenarios over sunsets, cocktails and gold sand beaches with models.

The winners of both dSLR and non-dSLR divisions submitted shots from the village experience shown here.

Traditional life for both men and women of all ages is demonstrated and participation is welcome.

We tried traditional food, betelnut and watched a bamboo stick dance in front of a stone money bank.

Yapese people are especially welcoming to outsiders and the photographer’s experience is as personal as it is unique.


Advanced Photographic Scenarios

This year we introduced some new shooting scenarios and advanced workshops and dive plans. One of our homegrown concepts was to have our pro presenters talk to us about shooting split image compositions using our Sharks as models at Vertigo.



We shot Vertigo a lot during the photo fest and one of the ways we spiced things up is to plan the dive to shoot sharks at depth, at the surface in natural light, and finally, from the boat shooting over/under, or split images.

My contribution to this year’s photography was an advanced shooting scenario – Vertigo splits, at sunset.

This requires flat water, a picturesque sunset and a boat crew that will get us in position and home in the dark, we got two out of three.

Dealing with some surface chop and a rolling boat, five photographers hung out for their shots. Marty Snyderman and Frank Schneider were there to offer input on camera settings, positioning and animal behavior to help us dial in on these sharks.

Exposing the background with a lot of depth of field meant a high f-stop, freezing the action required quick shutter speeds and lighting subjects in dark water had our strobe power cranked up.

We all brought home something we were happy with, learned some advanced  skills and stepped up our photographic game – workshop success.

One on One Pro Training

Aside from the daily workshop schedule there is one-on-one private training available to all Manta Fest participants. Each professional has their own approach at their photography skills; managing the archive, sharpening images, color balancing and there’s both popular post production Adobe products, Lightroom and Photoshop to learn.



I sat with Marty and Frank asking how they manage assets and wanted to pick up some pro pointers on post-production in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Whether it is how to get close to an animal, what to look for, how to compose behavior or develop your shot on a computer, the information was here and available day and night throughout Manta Fest.

Some of this training is immediately visible in your photography and photos start to really shine when some of the world’s best underwater shooters pass on a couple of their secrets.

Photography Party

We still put the fun in all of this learning. We hosted a couple mid-week sunset excursions with camera, drinks and models to a beach in a village for a colorful evening shoot.



Paradise gold sand beach, dramatic tropical sunsets, grass skirts and coconut cocktails go well together.

Manta Fest has some unique topside action that we are going to champion to grow this event.

Next year we’re going to invite topside photographers that will host a week-long land-based workshop that will run in concert with the daily underwater dive plans.

We’ll also grow our advanced shooting scenarios and advanced workshop themes above and below the water.

Manta Fest 2016 is August 27th – September 11th.



Availability & Reservations

Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly
11:27 21 Mar 18
We stayed at the hotel and dove with Manta Ray divers in early December 2017. The hotel is very comfortable, well run and staffed with wonderful employees. During our visit my wife came down with an illness and the consideration and support from the hotel and dive staff could not have been more
Sandy Stinson
Sandy Stinson
16:03 03 Mar 18
The staff couldn't be more friendly and accommodating. Food is good, (worth upgrading to include all meals). Diving is good more
Alex Divinsky
Alex Divinsky
17:24 01 Jan 18
The best place to stay in Yap. The resort is really nice and clean, the scuba diving is great, and the docked ship that houses the bar, restaurant, and movie screen is very cool. I really enjoyed my stay more
10:44 01 Jan 18
Offers one of the best accommodation service. It also has a uniquely designed restaurant.
Yi-Hsin Lin
Yi-Hsin Lin
00:53 21 Feb 17
The whole place centers around the scuba diving operation. Probably better to find somewhere else if you're not a diver. The dive operation was generally good, but a little too laid back - schedules weren't always clear, and sometimes would change without any notice. Sometimes it was hard to tell if this was really because of changing tides/weather or because of the island pace of life. Pizza is a surprisingly good option at the more
William Myers
William Myers
21:01 21 Jul 18
Great hotel. Have stayed twice.
Emily Caquelin
Emily Caquelin
04:10 02 Aug 18
Manta Ray Bay Resort is a great dive resort with extremely hospitable staff.
Daniel Granzer
Daniel Granzer
11:40 23 Aug 18
We were from 11.08 to 18.08 at the Manta Ray Bay resort and had unforgettable days there 😍In total we made 12 dives with wonderful encounters. Highlights were, of course, the manta rays in the Goofnuw Channel and many white tip reef sharks in the Shark City 🦈 But also we saw eagle rays, turtles 🐢 and buffalo head parrotfish. The hotel is beautiful and the whole team does a great job there. The food on the ship Mnuw, as well as the home-brewed beer are excellent. Thank you again to the whole team of Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers 👏🏼We also did a one-day land tour to explore the many beautiful places of this unique island. The beach is like in paradise🏝, stone money and relics from the second world war very worth to see! You find there also culturally typical houses with different meaning and use! It would be nice if more visitors would come to this great island and appreciate the great work that is done there! Anyway, we really enjoyed it and would come back anytime 🙏🏻✌🏼read more
Jonathan Gapith
Jonathan Gapith
10:31 19 Sep 18
Best dive resort around, amazingly friendly staff and great food on the mnuw
Rene Sten
Rene Sten
04:06 12 Oct 18
Bill and his family run a great dive resort, rooms are spacious and comfortable. Restaurant and bar provide good range of food and drink. Bill and his dive guides know the reef intimately and the diving is spectacular. Bill and his family make for a very friendly and rewarding experience in more
Ms. Malinda
Ms. Malinda
13:52 14 Oct 18
Great place to stay while visiting the island. Lots of activities to do with places to see & people to more
Jan Toman
Jan Toman
22:14 02 Nov 18
Great! GREAT! GREAT! Lovely place, lovely staff, great location for divers!
Deb Roy-Stothart
Deb Roy-Stothart
13:55 06 Dec 18
The highest level of dive service ever experienced! Fabulous dive operation from crew, boats, snacks, hot tea and water, warm towels etc. etc. and of course the Manta Rays!! Thank you for making my 100th dive so memorable. Accommodations 5 star! Food was fabulous! Can't say enough about this beautiful Island and it's people. Loved Yap! Deb & Glenn, London, Ontarioread more
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