I have just returned to the world of internet connectivity from an amazing trip through Alor and Komodo with the Arenui. Organised by the very helpful Greg from Liquid Diving Adventures, the trip took us through amazing reefs and some very productive muck diving.
Along the way I had the opportunity for a daily presentation on photography. From the simple fun of correct exposures to the slightly more complicated fun of creative techniques, each day I was out taking sample pictures to demonstrate the concepts. This gave me the opportunity to think about what I was doing in a new way, and I have a bunch of pictures to share.
First up though, rather than the teachable moments, here are my favourite shots from the cruise. I split my dives fairly equally between my wide angle 14mm lens and my macro 100mm lens. My favourite shot from the wide angle is the manta you see above, because….well, manta.
For the small stuff, the second picture here is really small. This little purple hairy beast is an algae shrimp. He is about 2mm from end to end and like to jump around at night. The camouflage is spectacularly good and Ronald miraculously spotted several squadrons of these guys over consecutive night dives. This one was co-operative enough to pose side on in the best position to see through his body shape through the strands.
Back to wide angle, and this co-operative cuttlefish is from the same dive as the manta ray. As we zoomed to the end of the current he was hanging out in a little patch of coral. He was quite happy to ignore the camera an inch from his face and I got a series of shots that really shows off the shape and colours of his skin. I especially like the blue water behind in contract with his red/white patterns.
The half and half shot is our diving group waiting to get back on the tender after a stunning blue water dive over a big wall. The seas are flat, the sun is shining, and breakfast is on the table back at the Arenui. The two dives we did here were really beautiful. Big fans and little fish swarming everywhere in very blue water. On the left is the fabulous Ronald, dive guide and algae-shrimp-spotter extraordinaire.
The pygmy seahorse is an uncropped photo taken with my 100mm lens. This guys didn’t seem bothered by my red light on a night dive and was happy to pose. This was the third shot I took. I remember my first few dives with the 100mm lens where I could have spent the whole dive with the pygmy and not got a shot I was happy with. In contrast, now I definitely feel that I have the lens under control. Must be about time to go shopping for the next one…
As well as feeling like the 100mm is behaving itself for me, I also had time for some fun with strobes. This soft coral goby is nearly translucent and lives on the pink soft corals. Using a long strobe arm I moved the strobe around to be pointing directly back at the lens. The glowing light effect filtered through the coral and the fish himself brings out the little details. I love the feeling of peeping into this little fish’s world for a moment.
Over the next few weeks I will be adding photos from this trip with some thoughts on the photographic techniques as well as the wonder of diving Komodo. If you’d like to follow along, you can subscribe to the weekly emails by entering your email address in the box on the top right of the page, and then clicking on the confirmation email that arrives. If the confirmation email doesn’t arrive, please check your spam folder! Once the posts are up, you will also be able to see them by clicking on this link.
To finish, I will leave you with a quick 5 minute video of some of the highlights. I was a little photo-focussed on this trip so video was a secondary consideration. However I was keen to show the motion and craziness of the Komodo currents and the big trevally hunting up in the blue. I spent a couple of quiet morning hours editing together the best of the bits and here you have it – enjoy.