Short Trip, Small Creatures, Big Productivity

Thoughts for the blog following a recent stay.
by Alex Mustard
I’m a Lembeh Addict. I am happy to admit it. Although I’ve been on a diet recently, foregoing regular visits to Lembeh and South East Asia in general, over the last three or four years to feed in less photographed, and often colder waters. But, boy, is it good to back.

Visiting Lembeh wasn’t actually in my original travel plans for this trip. I’m in Indonesia to run a Photography Workshop on the Indo Siren in Raja Ampat. But once Lembeh was whispered in the planning, I knew I had to squeeze it in. Even though I only had time for 3 diving days.
Is there any point in making such a short visit? Absolutely. First, if you’ve never tried muck diving, a short stay can be safer, because not everyone falls in love with it. This was the first time I have taken Eleonora to Lembeh and I am fortunate and very pleased that she totally adored the diving: her “best ever”.
I’d loved to have been here for longer, but shorts trips can still be hugely productive here. I never arrive in Lembeh with a wish list. Instead, I like to find out what is particularly or unusually abundant at the moment and concentrate on those subjects. Knowing I’ll see plenty more subjects on those dives anyway.

Which type of camera for Super Macro?

Many people arrive in Lembeh with many different pieces of equipment to capture images of the tiny denizens of the muck.  But which is the most appropriate for you?  Obviously, I can’t answer that but i can show you some examples of what you can do with some different setups on the same subject.

Today we went looking for Hairy Shrimp and Gayus and Paulus found a nice one about 3 or 4mm long holding a few eggs. Luckily we had brought 4 cameras:

Canon 5Dmk3 with 100mm lens
Canon 7D with 100mm lens
Olympus OM-D with 60mm lens
Canon S110

These 4 cameras are housed in Nauticam housings and make up our rental line up / staff cameras, and all used a subsee +10 diopter.

I set up on the Hairy Shrimp and then tried my best to replicate the shots as closely as possible by switching through the cameras without leaving the subject.  I started with the 5Dmk3 and im not happy with the picture, but the guide had gone off on an adventure with that camera and I didnt chase after them to get it back!

The little green Shrimp

We found this Phycocaris species for the first time in October and since then already several times at different dive sites here in the Lembeh Strait. This one is now the 5th specimen we found and we have seen them in between 25 and 10 meters depth. It is always associated with the little green ascidians…