Dampier Strait, Raja Ampat

For the last part of my trip report I want to show you the photos from the northern area of the Dampier Strait. We dived many quite a few different sites here (including Arborek Jetty which I’ve already posted about).

Mantas:

Here we saw a host of amazing creatures, larger ones such as mantas & woebegones, and smaller critters such as pontohi pygmy seahorses, snake eels, robust ghost pipe fish and more. Without further ado here are some of the photos that I liked most from this area.

Two (mating?) woebegone sharks, I love how they just look like bits of old carpet!

Pontohi pygmy seahorse:

Many of these images were taken on the Olympus OMD EM1 camera which was lent to me for review so tomorrow I’ll post up a bit more about my experience with it and the pros & cons verses my own little EM5.

Pele, Raja Ampat

Following on from yesterdays post on Misool. We only visited two sites in Pele, Kaleidoscope & Toblerone. Most itineraries for Raja dont come out this way but Toblerone tunnel is kind of interesting too see again (we stopped by there in 2009). I took down my off camera strobe to see what I could make of the sea fans on the tunnel floor (see above).

Its a pity the weather wasn’t better when we were here because it was a bit murky for wide angle on Kaleidoscope but it was like fish soup! Amazingly fun dive site just to go and watch them all swirling around and around

It was also interesting to see how big these sponges had grown in that time… here they are from 2009:

There is a little air pocket in the top of the tunnel, here’s Alex come up for a breather

For more images from this trip see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.

Misool, Raja Ampat

Following on from the previous post at Daram, We spent quite a bit of time diving around the Misool area so I might end up splitting this area into two posts. Its great for both Macro and wide angle so you couldn’t go in with the wrong lens.
We went to Yillet Kecil, Magic Mountain, Boo Windows, Boo East & West, Tank, Whale & Nudi Rock and lets not forget Wedding Cake.

Everyone loves to take photos of the famous Boo Windows but the macro there is amazing, I watch some squids laying eggs and found a couple of Misool Pygmy seahorses.

These little red & white pygmy seahorses are only found around the Misool area.

Nudi rock, so called because it looks like a Nudibranch:

for more images of the divesites at Misool see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.

New Underwater Video – Bali 2012

Watch this video in High Definition on Vimeo here.

This is my second Bali video. I do hope you like it. If you have any film making tips to help me (I’m such a newbie with video) then please let me know in the comments. This was shot on a GoPro Hero 2 in the GoPro dive housing with the backscatter magic filter on it. Edited in iMovie. Music: “Dire News” by Celestial Aeon Project

Wishing everyone a happy new year :)

Red Sea 2010

Just come back from Egypt (again). Went on the Alex Mustard June 2010 Ras Mohammad Red Sea Photo workshop. I love these workshops because it always attracts such a nice crowd of people and we all learn from each other (and of course Alex). As an added dimension to this year’s trip there was another boat going out for a Martin Edge workshop and I knew a whole bunch of people from that trip and it was a nice big catch up with everyone in the airport/plane going to and from Egypt. Without further ado here is a roundup of my photos from the trip… (click the images to be taken to larger versions)

The first few days of the trip was wreck-tastic. I got a little wrecked out by wednesday and skipped the thistlegorm (gasp!) this year for a lie in ;) We had unusally calm weather here and got to see a wreck I’d not seen before though, the Chrisoula k. Its an interesting wreck and the front of it is a funny red colour looks like meat when you bring the colours back with magic filters or flash (looked a nice green underwater though):

The Carnatic was lovely (as usual) but this time I really enjoyed shooting on the Ghiannis D. I bumped into Alex inside the wreck (well actually he swam into my shot, I was timidly taking photos from the doorway because I wasnt keen to swim inside on my own and he swam into the room from another part of the ship). Long story short, he was playing with off camera strobes and we took turns modelling for each other in the strobe light. it was a nice effect. I have to get one of these units to have a futher play myself (Alex expect to be emailed soon)! I then felt bolder to go in and explore (knowing there was another diver somewhere around) and we tried agan in the engine rooms (my results were better here since I wasnt trying to use the funny 45-degree viewfinder on Alexs camera).

After that we headed over to Ras Mohammed National Park. To see the annual fish schooling behaviour. The current wasn’t really running (which for me was good and bad). Good because I hate to dive in a current but bad because the fish don’t line up nicely in photos unless the current is running. I didn’t get many of the snappers at all this year but I enjoyed testing out the magic filters on the batfish and other reef life.

snapper:

Although Alexs trips tend to be wide-angle focused, it wouldnt be a good trip for me if I couldnt get out my macro lens a few times! I loved the Cardinal fish with his eggs in his mouth at the Barge and all the other alsorted little dudes inside coral etc…

Alex T and I also managed to fit a night dive in…

We stayed on the same liveaboard as last year but this year I spent some time taking more topside photos to put my personal SoMoFoBo project into context (more in a later post). MV Whirlwind of the Tony Backhurst fleet is a very comfortable boat and the crew are lovely. It docks at the Military port so there were a few nice topside photos to take there as well at the start & end of the trip.

All in all we had a wonderful trip (we’ll gloss over the dodgy tummies that everyone had, I trust that everyone is back to normal by now?). So thanks Alex and thanks crew of Whirlwind and thanks all guests.

my full underwater gallery can be found here. And last years gallery of the same trip can be found here. Mikes above water photos can be found in his Flickr photostream from this photo fowards.