The beginning of the year is when it’s normally a bit quieter in the Lembeh Strait. However, we’ve been busy during the past few months regardless of the typical “low season” but we still found time for some renovations and upgrades of the resort!
To say that my dives with Paulus and Stenli are always a bit “stressful” sounds so negative, it’s of course positive stress 😉 However you just can’t stay with your subject for more than 5 minutes because sure enough one of them will find another highlight on the dive to shoot!
Since the conditions at the dive sites in the North of Lembeh are perfect at the moment, I have been focusing mainly on wide angle photography. Sites like Yiko Yansi, Dante’s Wall, California Dreaming, Angel’s Windows and Pulau Putus offer some fantastic wall, coral reef and cavern dives! Although diving in Lembeh is dominated by finding small critters and creatures, they can also be found on sites where both wide angle and macro subjects are present.
Harlequin and Spiny Tiger Shrimp, Juvenile Warty and Painted Frogfish as well as Giant Frogfish are only a few of the highlights from this month. The conditions for diving in Lembeh are perfect right now: with the winds from the North slowing down, we are able to dive both North and South end of the Lembeh Strait.
One of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to underwater macro photography is how to achieve black backgrounds. The popping colors of the subject on black creates great contrasts in an image.
Generally speaking, a black or dark background is achieved by a small aperture. You would want to let as little light as possible through your camera lens. However, it’s not just that easy since a big F-stop/ small aperture automatically means greater depth of field!
For the past week I’ve taken one of our guides, Johan, for some diving. He’s usually famous for being the “Goby Hunter”. Although considering how many different species of shrimps and crabs we both found together, he deserves an additional name!
Especially in underwater macro photography, it becomes challenging sometimes to get your subject separated from your background. You can try and achieve it shooting big aperture and shallow depth of field, another technique is to “snoot” your subject.
November is probably the best month to see the biggest variety of critters here in Lembeh. It’s also the time of the year when conditions are perfect to dive in the North of Sulawesi, around Bangka Island for example.
Today I did 3 dives, 2 with the Sigma 17-70mm (which i’ll write something on in the future) and then the last one with the Zeiss Milvus 50mm Macro lens, which is manual focus. The 50mm lens is the lens that I used for the Shrimpgoby in the video below, shooting at a higher than usual frame rate of 300 frames per second. So this is being played back at less than 1/10th of real time speed to show the detail in the finning method of the goby.
For the fifth time already we’ve been hosting the Underwater Tribe from Bali with photo instructors Mike Veitch, Luca Vaime and Doug Sloss. The number of workshop participants was limited to 16 spaces to ensure everyone gets enough personal time with the instructors. All levels of underwater photographers were welcome and it was incredible to see how each and every one of them improved within only 7 days!