Galapagos Photo Workshop

Galápagos Photography Workshop

In Galapagos Photo Workshop, Upcoming Workshops by Matt Shetzer



Table of Contents

Day 1 – Arrive Quito, Ecuador
Galápagos Photo Workshop

A curious Blue-footed booby

As we start the Galápagos Photography workshop, you will be greeted at the airport upon your arrival in Quito, Ecuador. Your driver will escort you to your hotel for the night, a historic colonial style seventeen century building, and just outside Quito, the second largest city in this beautiful country.

Tonight we will have a group dinner to get to know everyone, as well as talk about the exciting days to come in the Galápagos Islands.

For those arriving early, the historic center of Quito has one of the best-preserved historic centers in the Americas and is great to explore on foot.

Some of the places to explore prior to the workshop include:

  • Plaza San Francisco and the Church and Convent of St. Francis
  • Casa Gangotena (a recently-restored historic mansion and boutique hotel)
  • Carondelet Palace (the seat of government of the Republic of Ecuador)
  • Basilica del Voto Nacional (the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas)
  • The Metropolitan Cathedral (one of the oldest and largest Roman Catholic cathedrals)
  • Gold leaf interior of the Church of the Society of Jesus
  • Church of San Francisco, Church of El Sagrario and Church of Santo Domingo

After dinner enjoy a restful night in the historic hotel, as we start the photography tomorrow morning as we journey to the Galápagos Islands.

Galápagos Photography Workshop

Galápagos Photography Workshop Route

Day 2 – Baltra Island (1) and Santa Cruz Island – Bachas Beach (2)

We head out early this morning as we fly from Quito, Ecuador to Baltra in the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival in the Galápagos, we will be met at the airport and transferred to our charted yacht for the week. We will meet our crew, get comfortable on the yacht, and depart Baltra.

As we arrive at Santa Cruz Island’s Bacha beach you will witness one of the only World War II presences in the Galápagos. Santa Cruz Island is the headquarters of the Galápagos National Park and has beautiful white coral beaches as well as water lagoons where we hope to see the abundant wildlife.

After our landing on the island, we hope to photograph flamingos, sea turtles, black necked stilts, whimbrels, and the brilliant sally lightfoot crabs.

Day 3 – Mosquera Island (3) and Santa Cruz Island – Dragon Hill (4)

Galápagos Photo Workshop

Flamingos in one of the many lagoons we will visit

We start the morning off on Mosquera Island, a small sandy island between North Seymour and Baltra Island that was created by a geological uplift. We will use the zodiacs and make a wet landing on the island to view one of the biggest sea lion colonies in the Galápagos. There are multiple sea lion harems on the island and a spectacular location to observe and photograph their behaviors.

We hope to see the endemic lava gulls, great blue herons, lava herons, and other coastal birds as well as marine iguanas, lava lizards and sally lightfoot crabs.

On Mosquera we can wander without the typical Galápagos restrictions and enjoy a stroll on the beach looking for unique compositions with the wildlife.

In the afternoon, we will make our way to Santa Cruz Island, and Dragon Hill. Dragon Hill is a beautiful location and we will do a short hike to photograph the flamingos, common stilts, great blue herons, lava herons and mockingbirds at the hypersalinic lagoon.

As we continue our hike, we will ascend Dragon Hill and have beautiful views of the bay, so make sure you bring your landscape lens as well as your wildlife lens for the nesting site of the land iguanas.

Day 4 – Isabela Island – Tagus Cove (5) and Fernandina Island – Espinosa Point (6)

This morning we will explore Isabela Islands’, Tagus Cove. The protected cove on the west side of Isabel Island was originally a favorite resting site for the early pirates, that carved their names into history by writing their names in the high cliffs of the bay. We will take the zodiacs and make a dry landing on the island.

Galápagos Photography Workshop

Typical room with 2 single beds

We will take a scenic photogenic hike leading uphill to the Darwin Lake, an interesting saltwater crater lake. As we continue, we will go up a parasitic spatter cone and have great views of the lava fields of the Darwin Volcano.

Once we complete our hike, we will then go and photograph the Galápagos penguins (the only penguins in the Northern hemisphere), blue-footed boobies, green sea turtles, Galápagos tortoises, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs, sea lions, lava lizards, Galápagos hawks, Galápagos doves, Darwin finches and mockingbirds.

Tagus Cove is a fascinating snorkeling location with its marine invertebrates and vertical walls. If the water is clear, we will make time to explore the marine life.

In the afternoon we will explore Ferdandina Islands’ Espinosa Point, one of the highlights of the Galápagos Photography workshop. We will do another hike on this narrow stretch of land photographing the marine iguanas in large groups perched on black lava rock.

As we explore the lava coast, we will view the nesting places for the flightless cormorants and hope to photograph lava lizards, sea lions, marine turtles, pelicans, herons, madeiran storm petrels, Galápagos hawks, and more Galápagos penguins. (You can never photograph too many penguins!) We will then view the lava flow up close and you will see the endemic lava cactus in large groups.

Day 5 – Isabela Island – Urbina Bay (7) and Elizabeth Bay (8)

Galápagos Photo Workshop

A sea lion enjoys a beautiful day on a white sand beach

This morning we head out to Isabela Islands’ Urbina Bay, which was uplifted out of the sea at the foot of the Alcedo Volanco. We will take the zodiacs and do a wet landing on the beach. On the shore we will photograph the flightless cormorants, colorful iguanas, pelicans, lava lizards and mockingbirds.

As we take a short trail leading to a coral reef, we hope to see sea turtles and rays ashore.

Due to the unique formation of this island, we will photograph as we walk along in the middle of a bed of coral that is no longer submerged.

After lunch we will explore Elizabeth Bay on west side of Isabela Island. We will take the zodiacs and tour the protected mangrove cove, the tallest red mangrove trees in the Galápagos Islands.

Elizabeth Bay is abundant with wildlife, and we hope to photograph sea lions, Galápagos hawks, dorados and pompanos, Galápagos penguins, great blue herons, lava herons, green sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, madeiran storm petrels, and brown pelicans.

Day 6 – Isabela Island – Moreno Point (9) and Puerto Villamil (10)

This morning we will explore the lava fields of Moreno Point, and view all three species of cactus, the lava cactus, candelabra cactus and prickly pear cactus. In the middle of the lava fields there are water pools and we will photograph the flamingos, white-cheeked pintail ducks, pain-billed crakes and common gallinules that frequent this area.

As we depart Moreno Point in the zodiacs, we will look for more Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants and well as colorful iguanas.

Galápagos Photography Workshop

Relax on the sundeck

Once we arrive back at the yacht, we will enjoy a cruise the rest of the day as we head to the south of Isabela Island, and Puerto Villamil. As we cruise and enjoy the scenery of Volcano Cerra Azul and the shoreline, we will relax after a very busy six days, and keep our eyes out for opportunities to photograph the whales and dolphins.

As we arrive the harbor of Puerto Villamil, we will position ourselves for a very busy day tomorrow.

Day 7 – Isabela Island – Sierra Negra Volcano (11) and Puerto Villamil (12)

This morning we will adventure to the Sierra Negra Volcano by bus and go uphill until we are close to the caldera of the volcano. As we ascend the vegetation will change as the weather become damp. As we hike to the rim of the volcano to photograph the large 6.2-mile-wide caldera and view the vast lava fields that were created during the last eruption of Sierra Negra in 2005.

We will then turn our focus towards the endemic Sierra Negra Volcano turtle and its’ saddleback shell and make our way back to small town of Puerto Villamil.

In the afternoon our excursion will take us to the lagoons of Villamil. We will visit the Tortoise Breeding Center to see different subspecies of the Galápagos Land Tortoises and learn about their progress of restoring the population of endangered tortoises.

Toward the end of the day, we will visit many brackish water lagoons to photograph the colorful pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintail ducks, common gallinules, black-necked stilts and whimbrels.

Day 8 – Floreana Island – Cormorant Point (13), Devils Crown (14), Post Office Bay (15)

A very full day scheduled we explore the north side of Floreana Island visiting three different locations

Cormorant Point
This morning we take the zodiacs for a wet landing on the “Green Beach” of Punta Cormorant. This unique beach shines green in the sunlight due to the high concentration of olivine crystals in the sand. As we walk on the beach, we will photograph at a very large salt-water lagoon with flamingos, black-necked stilts, Galápagos petrel, and white-cheeked pintail ducks. The lagoon is one of the favorite locations for the flamingos.

Galápagos Photo Workshop

A pair of Galápagos tortoises talking about the beautiful weather

As we continue our walk, we arrive at the White Flour Sand Beach which is made of white coral. This location is known for the nesting of marine turtles and many stingrays in the shallow water.

Devil’s Crown
Our second location for the day receives its name as it is the remains of a volcano that looks like a black crown. One of the best snorkeling sites in the Galápagos Islands, the Devil’s Crown has an enormous variety of fish, as well as many seabirds and the Galápagos favorite, the blue-footed boobies. We also hope to photograph the frigates, sea lions, marine turtles, and pelicans.

Post Office Bay
A visit to Post Office Bay with the zodiacs, we complete the tradition of checking the barrel if there is a postcard to the city where you call home. Bring a postcard and mail it home to have a memory waiting in the future when it arrives at your home.

We hope to photograph wildlife such as great blue herons, madeiran storm petrels and sea lions.

We then head towards the Island of Santa Cruz to Puerto Ayora and have a little free time to walk around town as the crew provisions the yacht.

Day 9 – Daphne Island – Daphne Mayor (16) and Baltra Island (1) and return to Quito, Ecuador

Our last day of the Galápagos photography workshop, we will spend the morning enjoying Daphne Island, made famous for the studies by Peter and Rosemary Grant about the Darwin Finches. We navigate around the small tuff cone, making panoramic images of this unique location.

We then return to Baltra Island in time for our morning flight back to Quito, Ecuador as we conclude the workshop.

Itinerary Changes

Galápagos Photo Workshop

A Land iguana poses (this one might of taken a modeling class)

The operator(s) and/or the captains of the yacht reserve the right to make changes or cancel any part of the itinerary or programs, without giving previous notice, due to unforeseen circumstances such as new Galápagos National Park rules, public authority decisions, weather or natural disasters, and/or force majeure or any other extreme circumstances. These decisions will be made to avoid problems, respecting the safety of the passengers, and offering the best possible alternative or adjustments.


  • 9 Days / 8 Nights’ Galápagos Photography Workshop
  • 8 Days / 7 Nights’ accommodation aboard Galápagos yacht – Double occupancy (Single Occupancy available)
  • 1 Night accommodation in Quito, Ecuador – Double occupancy (Single Occupancy available)
  • Airfare from Quito, Ecuador to the Galápagos Islands and return
  • Ground transportation to and from the Quito, Ecuador airport
  • Ground transfers in the Galápagos Islands
  • All shore excursions with an English-speaking Galápagos naturalist guide
  • Snorkeling equipment: mask, tube and fins with size 34 – 45 included. (Optional)
  • Galápagos National Park Entrance Fee
  • Ecuador Transit Control Card
  • All meals are provided during the workshop. Expect to gain a couple of pounds on the trip.
  • Instruction in the field with your photographer guides. (2 guides if 10 guests or more)
  • Photography instruction on photo editing techniques
  • A planning package that includes recommendations on the proper camera gear and clothing
  • We take care of all the trip logistics once guests reach Quito, so the only thing you should concentrate on is having a fantastic time and capturing stunning images in the Galápagos Islands

Prior to embarking on your journey, we are happy to provide a free phone consultation with your trip leader, who will give you guidance on what equipment to bring, answer questions about the locale, and give general photography advice to make sure you are ready to capture your dream images.

Galápagos Photography Workshop

Each stateroom has a private bathroom



  • Air Transportation to/from Quito, Ecuador from your home base
  • Alcoholic drinks / Bottled beverages
  • Personal Items
  • Shorty wet suits in all sizes to rent on board.
  • Gratuities to yacht crew and local naturalist
  • Travel/Cancellation/Emergency evacuation insurance



You should be in good physical health. We will be planning some walks on smooth trails with your camera gear for about 2 hours. You will need to be able to get in and out of zodiac boats from the yacht and onto the beach and in the shallow water.

If you are concerned about the physical demands of this trip, please contact us and we would be glad to discuss the typical day and options for your needs.



Our Galápagos Photography Workshop is open to all photographers, from beginners to professionals.



This is the perfect time to explore the Galápagos with ideal weather. The temperature lows are typically around 72° Fahrenheit (22° Celsius) and highs are a pleasant 82° Fahrenheit (28° Celsius).

Rainfall is very little averaging less than an inch for the month.

Galápagos Photo Workshop

The colorful sally lightfoot crab



Matt Shetzer – Matt has been leading photographic workshops all over the world since 2011 and loves being outside enjoying nature. To read more about Matt, click HERE.



While our primary goal is maximum field time, we will take advantage of non-optimal photography conditions to provide photo workshops, discussing the following subjects in detail:

  • Achieving the best composition
  • Proper exposure for the scene
  • Focus techniques for that crisp image
  • Getting the most out of the histogram
  • Mastering the modes (when to shoot manual, aperture and shutter priorities)
  • Filters for the digital age. Split ND filters and polarizers
  • Taking images for HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Image workup techniques with Photoshop and Lightroom. At each workshop, we demonstrate how to work up attendees’ images from scratch, displaying our nondestructive techniques to produce the highest quality image.
  • Best Plugins to use
  • Color Correction
  • Layers and Masks (Masks are targeted adjustments)
  • Noise reduction and sharpening techniques
  • Lightroom and portfolio management
  • Photography discussions – Review select images and discuss which images work and why to expand your skills and move to the next level

Over the course of the Galápagos Photography Workshop you will learn photographic techniques to hone your digital photography skills, learn how to achieve the perfect exposure with the camera and take control of your camera to achieve the sharpest and highest quality images.

Galápagos Photography Workshop

A typical double room



  • A telephoto lens from 80 to 400mm
  • A landscape lens from 24-70mm
  • Tripod with Gimbaled or Ball Head
  • Camera Backpack

Prior to the trip, you will receive a detailed planning package and detailed recommendations for camera gear.



The Galápagos Islands provide a spectacular experience for anyone involved on the photography workshop. Whether you enjoy photography or have a love for nature, everyone enjoys the Galápagos Islands.

Non-photographers are welcome to join us in the field and join in on all activities with a discount of $250.00.



Galápagos Photo Workshop

The blue-footed boobies are always a highlight

Read what our fantastic guests are saying out our workshops. Client Comments



We strongly recommend trip insurance purchased from a third-party operator to protect your travel investment against medical emergencies, attendee trip cancellations, travel delays, and emergency evacuation coverage. All tour cancellations must be submitted in writing and will result in loss of deposit and all fees paid.



The cost for the tour is $7,995.00 USD based on double occupancy. We do offer single accommodations for an additional $5,995.00 USD per person which guarantees a single attendee a private cabin for the trip.

To reserve a spot on this tour, we require a $1,000.00 USD deposit per person that is paid by credit card at the time of registration. 50% of the full amount of the workshop fee will be due three hundred (300) days prior to the start of the workshop. The remaining final payment for the workshop will be due one hundred and eighty (180) days prior to the start of the workshop. Fees are paid by check or bank transfer. All fees are non-refundable.

Once the final trip payment has been received, the detailed trip planning documents will be sent to each guest to assist in planning for the best photography workshop.

If you are not traveling with someone, we will assign a roommate depending on group makeup and gender.

Our workshops are based upon a first come, first serve basis. Workshop availability will be updated on this page.

If you have any additional questions or would like to speak to one of us, please contact us at 303-888-2710 and we would be happy to answer your questions.



Galápagos Photography Workshop was last modified: February 19th, 2020 by Matt Shetzer