Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn?t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill?and, adding insult to injury, the men?s equipment didn?t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.
Married for nine years and a photography team for five, Brian and Jennifer Hartman bring an artistic touch and approach to their on-location photography. Employing a photojournalistic style and dramatic lighting, they capture solo subjects and groups during posed and candid moments, earning critical acclaim from the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Association and The Knot and placing images in the pages of Elle and Seattle Bride magazines.
Not content to simply point and shoot, the Hartmans light compositions using chiaroscuro or high-exposure natural lighting and often accentuate subjects with extreme angles, forced perspective, or unique natural surroundings. They shoot in vibrant color or black and white, and can edit photos to enhance colors or, by request, replace each subject?s face with Winston Churchill?s. Though the Hartmans use professional tools, they?re glad to help students break into photography via ultra-accessible devices such as the iPhone?following in the footsteps, they note, of Annie Leibovitz, who endorsed the iPhone?s camera on NBC Nightly News in 2011. When not conducting on-location sessions, Brian also leads large-scale workshops in which they pass on their knowledge through graphic slideshows and hands-on training.
Founder Neil Buckland grew up with a Canon FTb in his hands, and as an adult, parlayed his affinity for striking images into a lucrative career in advertising design and branding. But something wasn’t right. As time passed, Buckland was spending more and more time finding excuses to ditch work and take some snapshots. Finally in 2008, he gave into his true calling, ditched the workaday world of office life, and founded REDred Photo School & Studio.
Today, his accessible workshops and classes help students learn some of the trickier intricacies of modern photography—from understanding what exposure is and how to manipulate it to how to rejigger a DSLR’s auto-modes so that it actually takes decent pictures. Other classes cover more technical concepts such as studio lighting, while still others such as The Art of Photography focus on the aesthetic side. Buckland’s studio is available to rent for personal or commercial photo shoots of any kind, and, for additional fees, the staff can augment such shoots with make-up services, lighting assistance, models for hire, and old-fashioned pterodactyl-powered cameras.
Though he grew up entranced by the Latin music of his father's flamenco group, Michael Cahn didn't discover his love for salsa dancing until he studied Spanish in Cuzco, Peru. That trip instilled in Michael a desire to learn as much as he could about the dance, which prompted him to train in Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, and America. With several awards under his belt—he's consistently placed in the top five at such salsa competitions as the Gemini Salsa Championship and the Jack & Jill competition—he danced off the stages of several prestigious salsa congresses and into his own studio.
At Sueños de Salsa, he teaches his students to focus on their connection with the music and their partner as they develop a deep understanding of rhythm, timing, and body mechanics. His comprehensive instruction includes basic footwork, multiple spin drills, and advanced dance combinations, helping students of all skill levels feel the rhythm more effectively than if they slept under sheet music. He also teaches bachata and footwork classes to small groups of students and hosts monthly Lifts & Tricks workshops that explore aspects of acro-yoga and circus performance.
High above Seattle, one of SeattleHeliTours.com Classic Helicopter Corp's Bell 206B-3 JetRanger turbine choppers hovers in midair. Maneuvering like a hummingbird, it whisks passengers toward the famous Space Needle that was used to crochet the entire Seattle skyline. The helicopter then flies over the downtown waterfront and heads to Snoqualmie Falls, where it pauses at the edge of the churning water. During tours like these, Classic Helicopter Corp's pilots share facts in English, Japanese, and Spanish. The experts can point out such sights as Bill Gates' house and sports stadiums.
Those who wish to maneuver their own space birds can sign up for flight school and obtain such certifications as a private rotocraft pilot or an astro instrument trainer. Charter services facilitate romantic and exciting excursions to such locales as the San Juan Islands or Semiahmoo.
In business for 22 years, Cook's World Cooking School infuses aspiring epicureans with cooking expertise in an appetizing assortment of hands-on classes. During each one-night class, a rotating cast of skilled and professionally-trained local chefs guide students through the basics of a specific type of cuisine, cooking skill, or saucepan percussion technique. Go Italian in a doughy pizza-making and throwing class, create sophisticated small plates of flavor-packed treats in the spanish tapas course, or slather on new skills in a barbecue class, in which students learn to tame the wild elemental forces of fire, smoke, and tangy sauce.
Classes run for three hours each with 15 or fewer students, ensuring ample time for participation and one-on-one guidance. All class sessions are held in Cook's World's well-equipped culinary studio, which houses a cornucopia of professional cooking equipment and a carpet woven from retired chefs’ hats.