NAD Lembeh Photo Fun Week 2016 Summary

Lembeh Group Photo

We have just finished our 4th Annual Underwater Tribe/NAD Lembeh Resort Photo Fun Week and it was a resounding success! Along with the Underwater Tribe’s Mike and Luca as instructors, we also welcomed Doug and Lorenza Sloss of UW Lightroom to the teaching team to add a vast knowledge of Lightroom and Photoshop to this year’s event.

InstructorsThe event started on the 30th of July with a few people arriving in the afternoon joining those who arrived early with a relaxed day of diving and gear prep before the evening “Welcome Session” and introduction after dinner. We welcomed 15 folks from around the world on the first day with another 3 joining a few days late for a total of 18 participants along with our 3 underwater instructors. Joining us this year was a great mix of participants from Singapore, Belgium, Australia, the USA, the UK, and Italy. During this session the instructors were able to give a run down of what to expect throughout the week as well as an opportunity for the participants to introduce themselves and give a short statement about what they were hoping to learn during the week. As many people traveled a long distance to get to Lembeh, we had a short night so that everyone could get their rest for the first day of diving on the 31st.

Our daily schedule consisted of an early breakfast before heading out on NAD’s large, fast, and comfortable boats for two dives before heading back to the resort for a tasty buffet style lunch. After lunch each day, one of the instructional team presented a short discussion about photography followed by an afternoon dive and then an open discussion forum at 5pm which focused on Lightroom as well as an opportunity to spend time 1:1 with the instructors for photo critiquing and general discussion about photography tips. For most evenings, we followed dinner with another Instructional presentation, however, this year we organized the opportunity for our participants to join a Black Water Night Dive for a truly extraordinary photo opportunity.

One of the hallmarks of an Underwater Tribe Photography Event is that the instructors do not bring cameras during the dives, this allows the participants to maximize their learning time not just in the classroom but also underwater. Armed with slates in hand, Mike, Doug, and Luca accompanied the guests on 17 dives throughout the week offering immediate suggestions on strobe positioning and exposure as well as helping with snooting and backlighting options. This technique proved to be of paramount importance during the critiquing and personal sessions in the afternoons as it allowed the instructors to personally suggest improvements and ideas to further everyone’s development.

workshop2016 (8 of 11)As is the case with most of our workshops, the participants ranged from brand new photographers to experienced ones with 100s of dives with a camera. To be sure that everyone was on the same page, we started the week off with the basics of Exposure and Lighting along with what we term “normal” strobe positioning. Also during the first day of presentations, Doug delved into the Lightroom workflow to get everyone on the right track with image management. Throughout the week we then discussed other underwater photography topics such as: Blue and Black Macro Backgrounds, Creative Strobe Positioning, Composition, Shooting Wide in Lembeh, Constant Light, Limited Depth of Field, Snooting, and Backlighting. We also presented Lightroom tips and tricks during the Developing stage with examples of the Radial Overlay and Adjustment Brush tools to get everyone’s images popping.

workshop2016 (3 of 11)Of course our report wouldn’t be complete without mention of the amazing critters that we encountered in Lembeh. Hairy octopus, mating blue ring octopus, mimic octopus, coconut octopus, rhinopias, oodles of nudibranchs, shaun the sheep nudibranch, bumblebee shrimp, harlequin shrimp, frogfish galore, three different species of pygmy seahorse, and everything else that a trip to the Lembeh Strait can offer. With the fantastic 2:1 dive guide to guest ratio that NAD offers their guests, it seemed that we were finding a new and exotic critter every few minutes. One of the best advantages of being able to dive with an operator offering such a low guide to guest ratio is the fact that photographers don’t feel rushed by others and can take their time to set up a photograph correctly. (except in the case of pygmy seahorses where photographers are limited to the number of photos they can take)

During the last night of our event we collected everyone’s best photos of the week and presented a beautiful 20 minute slideshow which showcased some amazing images from everyone. We can say that everyone was very impressed by the fantastic photographs that everyone presented and it was very exciting to see photographs which were inspired by many of the tips and tricks presented during the week. Sooner than expected the final dives were made and the computers and cameras were packed up to signal the end of this years event. All in all, it was another fantastic experience at NAD Lembeh Resort this year and we are busy making plans for 2017. The entire week ran very smoothly due to the hard work of the friendly staff and a fun atmosphere on the boats and at the resort from morning and often late into the night. We would like to thank Simon, Zee, Serge and the entire staff of NAD Lembeh Resort for helping us host this years Photo Fun Week. We would also like to thank Doug and Lorenza Sloss for joining us this year to help expand the event and create a fun atmosphere for everyone. Last but not least, a special thank you for all of this year’s participants, we hope you had as much fun as we did and also learned some exciting new tricks to improve your photography!

Until next year

The Underwater Tribe and UW Lightroom

 

workshop2016 (7 of 11) workshop2016 (6 of 11) workshop2016 (5 of 11) workshop2016 (2 of 11) workshop2016 (1 of 11)

The Beauty of Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat! It truly is a beautiful destination and one that we always look forward to visiting.  The marine life in Raja simply thrives due to the sheer size of the area, along with a small human population and a long running successful marine protection program. What this means to divers is the opportunity to experience one of the healthiest and most diverse reef systems on the planet. Mike is fortunate enough that he typically spends 2-3 months per year diving in Raja Ampat aboard different vessels exploring areas far from where other boats typically venture. Of course, he also spends a lot of time at the popular spots as well, after all, these spots are popular for a reason! However, “popular” in Raja Ampat does not mean 15 boats on a site like in other areas of the world. Due to the amount of great sites so close to one another and the fact that boats communicate with one another, it’s rare to run into another set of divers underwater in Raja (except at Manta Sandy!). We also organize group trips here quite often and we utilize our knowledge of the area to choose the best time of year to plan ahead so that we experience the best weather and the ocean conditions possible.  Of course the marine life is also a major reason for our love of the area: mantas, beautiful and healthy coral gardens, endless amounts of colourful soft corals, loads of schooling fish, cool critters such as pygmy seahorses and wobbegong sharks, and did we mention mantas?

These are just a few of the reasons that we always look forward to going back to Raja. But there is only so much that words can do, instead, have a look at the photos and video instead to see what we mean.

We will once again be heading to Raja Ampat aboard a great boat in 2017, the Mermaid II will be our home on an 8 night trip from 19-27 March 2017 departing and returning to Sorong. If you would like full information about this trip, including pricing, please let us know and we will be happy to send it to you. The best way to get a hold of us is at info@underwatertribe.com

 

Misool Raja Ampat Soft Corals Raja Ampat Colourful Corals Raja Ampat Batfish under jetty Raja Ampat Small Island Raja Ampat Crab on coral Raja Ampat A hawksbill turtle on the reef Raja Ampat Corals of Raja Ampat Boo Windows Raja Ampat Batfish Raja Ampat Red fans and corals Raja Ampat Wayag Raja Ampat

Story Behind the Shot – Banded Sea Snake

Banded Sea Snake on the Surface

Sea Snake Surfacing

One of my all time favourite photos is this photo of a black and white banded sea snake (krait) surfacing for breath.  The photo was taken at the island of Bunaken on one of the famous Likuan dive sites which feature a shallow reef bordered by a sharp vertical wall.  It was during the morning on a dive to this site where I encountered this beautiful sea snake while doing my safety stop in the shallows.  I patiently followed the snake for a while taking a photo or two of it while it stuck it’s head into a few holes in the corals, possibly looking for a meal.  The snake was not bothered by my presence and continued to swim along the reef in no particular hurry.  However, as any air breathing animal is want to do, it eventually had to swim toward the surface for a breath of air.  This is when I knew the best photo opportunity would take place, as the snake would have to swim up toward the flat calm surface.  Sure enough, off the snake went toward the surface and I quickly followed it while taking a few shots of it from below.  Immediately, I knew the photos would be winners as I could see the beautiful blue/green water pop up on my screen afterwards.  There are two elements of this photo that I believe really make the photo:  firstly, the green reflection of the reef surrounding the white clouds and blue coloured snell’s window and secondly, the ripples that the snake’s head makes on the water as it surfaced for air.

Nikon D90, 10.5 mm lens, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 200   Sea and Sea Strobes

Mike Veitch

Story Behind the Shot – Coconut Octopus

The Coconut Octopus

Coconut octopus Bali

For me, the ultimate photo when it comes to close focus wide angle photography is capturing an octopus behaving in the unique ways that octopus do. In Bali, there is a black sand dive site called Puri Jati which is well known for its octopus population including long arm white V, mimic, and the ever curious coconut octopus. This particular photo was taken of a coconut octopus that I found in a few metres of water which was living inside its namesake: a coconut! The best thing about this encounter was the fact this octopus was a player, each time I edged closer, the octopus would pick up its home and scuttle across the sand away from me before settling down once again. The key to this image was shooting it from far enough away to show some of the background as well as the main subject. I also used a slower shutter speed in order to utilize the natural light to “burn in” the background to show the environment where the octopus lives.

 

Nikon D7000, 60mm lens at f11, 1/80, ISO 160

 

Mike Veitch

Komodo July 2016 with the Underwater Tribe

We have been keeping this one a little close to the chest, but now it’s time to announce it to the masses!

We are excited to publicly announce two very special trips to Komodo National Park this coming July with the Underwater Tribe.  We have reserved back to back sailings with the exclusive live aboard “Wellenreng” in the wonderful Komodo National Park, Indonesia.

The dates for these two trips are 5 – 14 July and 15 – 24 July 2016.  What makes these trips so special is that the boat hosts just 3 cabins, which means our group will have a maximum of only 6 guests!  With such a small group we will be able to pick and choose the best sites at the best times to avoid the crowds and dive the sites at the most opportune times, rather than sticking to a set schedule like larger boats do.  If we find a particular site is really hot for diving and photography, we will stay on the site all day if we want!  The Wellenreng prides itself on fantastic personal service which is one of the reasons we have chosen to work with the vessel, combined with their intimate knowledge of the area and flexibility of schedule.  Of course the Underwater Tribe also knows a lot about the Komodo area so we will personally discuss the diving plans each day with the crew to ensure we are at the right place at the right time.  Mike or Luca will be on the boat to host and lead the trip; we will not be conducting a formal photo workshop, however we will certainly be on hand to help everyone with their photography needs and conduct evening presentations about underwater photography and Indonesia in general.

July is a great time to dive the area with a very good chance of encountering mantas, turtles, and sharks.  Komodo is home to some of the most varied diving that Indonesia has to offer with a huge range of eco systems to visit such as beautiful hard coral reefs, manta ray cleaning stations, action packed pinnacle dives, and amazing black sand muck dives as well.  The sheer variety of dives in the Komodo area is a great attraction for underwater photographers who enjoy a mix of both wide angle and macro subjects and is one of the reasons we visit there every year.

There is only one full cabin available for each of our two sailings so please get in contact with us ASAP if you would like to confirm your place on one of these very special trips.  The cabin can be configured as either a twin or double so it’s perfect for either a couple or else two friends to share.  There is also the possibility to join us on back to back trips to spend almost one month of diving in Komodo!

In addition to this trip we will be also running a special underwater photography warm up session in Bali.

Send us an inquiry at info@underwatertribe.com

wellenreng boat photo komodo

Summarized:

Underwater Tribe/Wellenreng Liveaboard

Trip 1: 05-14 July 2016 – 9 nights with 4 dives a day for most days

Trip 2: 15-24 July 2016 – 9 nights with 4 dives a day for most days

Arrival and Departure from Labuan Bajo ( Komodo).

The trip costs 3800 Euro per person plus 200 Euro for Park/Harbour fees and 100 Euro for Nitrox.

(Park fees and nitrox to be paid on board)

The boat will depart and return to Labuan Bajo for each trip, therefore, guests will need to arrive into Indonesia from Bali and then connect to Labuan Bajo via domestic flight (approximately $200 USD return)  We recommend that guests arrive in Bali at least 1 day ahead of the domestic flight and plan their international departure one day after their domestic flight case of delays.

 

Included in the price:
Accommodation in cabins with air conditioning, private toilet with shower, bathrobe & towels
Full board with extensive breakfast and two hot meals per day
Fresh fruits and snacks at any time, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, free tea and coffee
Use of all onboard equipment, use of the fiberglass boats (6 m), Bauer compressors, tanks and weights
3-4 guided dives per day guided by an experienced Indonesian dive guide.
Transfer from the local airport to the dive boat Wellenreng and return to the local airport
Land excursions during the dive trip
Nitrox for day dives                  (Please note that we cannot guarantee availability because the oxygen suppliers are not always reliable in Indonesia)
Harbour & National Park Fees  (Please note: national park fees can be changed by the local government or the national park office without any advance notice)

 

Komodo Liveaboard Trip Does Not Include:

Not Included in the price :
Airfares (domestic and international)
Alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine
Nitrox during Night Dive  ( due to limited stock)
Single cabin surcharge
Crew Gratuities
Health, Travel and Dive insurance ( Strongly recommend)
Excess luggages fee
Airport tax and departure tax

Hotel, airport transfers in Bali prior or after the trip

 

Please email us at for more information

Story Behind the Shot – Wayag Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat Wayag Behind the Shot

 

Although most of our “Story Behind the Shot” images are typically underwater photos, I have chosen this image from Wayag, Raja Ampat, Indonesia as it’s such an iconic photo from this area. The island group of Wayag is a located in the far NW quadrant of Raja Ampat and it’s famous for it’s beautiful vistas. Measuring only a few miles from east to west and less than a mile from north to south, this incredible little archipelago consists of hundreds of small karst islets which have been carved into mushroom shapes over the millennia. Although this photo looks incredible, it’s quite an easy shot to take (other than the journey to get all the way to Wayag!) There is a rocky path that leads up one of the hills inside the lagoon that offers a fantastic 360 degree view all around the archipelago and beyond. Although the common perception would be to take this photo with the late afternoon “magic hour” lighting behind the photographer, it doesn’t actually work too well because the low light coming from behind tends to blow out the sky on the horizon. Instead, the best time to take photos here is between 10am – 2pm while utilising the magic of a circular polariser. Even better, is if the low tide coincides with the timing, as this allows the camera to capture the beautiful greens of the sand and reefs that offsets the royal blue of the deeper water. The high overhead light during this time really allows all of the colours to pop.

Nikon D7200, 12-24mm lens at 22, f8, 1/250, iso 320

Story Behind the Shot – The Liberty Wreck

The Liberty Wreck

My first time diving the Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali was in 2006 during a photo workshop I was conducting with Tim Rock at Scuba Seraya. During my very first dive on the wreck, I swam the length of the wreck scanning the site for the best photo opportunities. Once I reached the midship area, with the open cargo hold, I kept it in my mind as being one of the best “photo ops” of the wreck as it certainly offered a real feel of being in a proper shipwreck as opposed to only the colourful soft corals which are plentiful on the Liberty.  Being ever the opportunist, I immediately decided that I wanted to incorporate photos of this scene into the photo workshop that we were teaching. Therefore, for the rest of the week I worked with each of the participants to set up this same shot again and again with very positive results for everyone who took the shot. Although it looks like a simple shot, the difference in brightness inside and outside of the hold does make it a great learning process for new photographers to work out the intricacies of shooting natural light photography and silhouettes.

For anyone who has taken a photo class with me in Bali since then, you will most likely recognize the photo. Knowing a good learning experience when I found it, I continue to utilize this scene in all of the photo classes that we teach in Tulamben to this day and I am sure will continue to do so far into the future.

If you are diving with us here in Bali, let us know if you would like to try your hand at this photo opportunity, we are always happy to model for you!

Thanks to Sofie for being the model in this photograph with the Liberty Wreck

Mike Veitch

Raja Ampat 2015 Video Highlights

It has taken some time but we have finally edited the video clips from the Underwater Tribe Raja Ampat trip aboard the Mermaid II liveaboard in March 2015.  As expected, the Raja Ampat area delivered some amazing diving for our group of explorers and the Misool area was especially abundant with clear water and plenty of fish.  If you would like to read a brief trip report on our 2015 adventures then please head on over to our Trip Report from March.  If you are interested in joining us on a trip of a lifetime to Raja Ampat we have booked the Mermaid II for the same moon phase at the same time of year in 2017 and we still have spaces available, please check out the 2017 trip page here: Underwater Tribe Raja Ampat 2017

 

Doug Sloss Joins us in Lembeh in 2016

We are excited to announce that world famous photographer and Post Processing wizard Doug Sloss will be joining us for our Lembeh Strait Photo Funweek at NAD Lembeh Resort for 2016.  As an update, we have also changed dates for this exciting event from May to July/August, the new dates for our Lembeh Photo Week are 30 July – 6 August 2016.  Doug is a long time friend of the Underwater Tribe and NAD Lembeh Resort and he and his wife Lorenza are one of the top underwater photography and post processing teams on the planet.  Like any Underwater Tribe photo fun week (click to read about our 2015 Lembeh Photo week), Doug will be joining the guests underwater with a slate in hand, as opposed to a camera, in order to help the participants get their best possible images.  Throughout the week Doug will be presenting tips and tricks about Lightroom and Photoshop as well as being on hand to give individual help to everyone.

Here is a brief bio about Doug:

Doug Sloss Bio Pic“Doug Sloss is an underwater and landscape photographer, photography educator, and digital image developing enthusiast based in the Rockies just outside Denver Colorado. Once a long time photo pro and dive instructor in Palau, Micronesia, his award winning photography has appeared in numerous diving magazines and books worldwide. His passion for teaching photography led to a successful series of DVD tutorials he’s created that help underwater and topside shooters of all levels professionally post-process their images with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. He is the principal photographer at Studio Sloss and is an expedition leader and photo pro for Beyond The Capture Photo Tours, a company he owns with his wife Lorenza. When not shooting client work for his Colorado based photo studio, he offers a select calendar of field workshops, photo tours and image developing classes throughout the year and spends time teaching his little man Sam how to scuba dive.”

 

To find out more about Doug please visit his website www.underwaterlightroom.com

For more information about our UWT/NAD Lembeh Photo Fun Week 2016 please visit our Lembeh 2016 web page or email us at info (at)underwatertribe.com

We Are on Instagram!

Mola Instagram

We have finally jumped on the bandwagon and joined Instagram!  If you are not already on Instagram or don’t know what it is, it’s simply a photo sharing platform that allows you to send out photos for your friends and followers to admire.  Of course here at the Bali Academy of Underwater Photography and the Underwater Tribe, we take a lot of photos!  Therefore please follow our Instagram feeds for a daily dose of photo goodness from Bali and Beyond!  We have even come up with a way of posting photos in their original ratio instead of the square format

The Underwater Tribe @underwater_tribe

Mike Veitch @mikeveitch

Luca Vaime @luca_vaime

 

Let us know your Instagram account and we will follow you back.