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

 

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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 – The Trumpet Fish

Trumpet fish blue background

This photo appeared on the cover of Asian Diver magazine back in 2005.   As often happens with photos that get published, it was a last minute addition to a series of photos I presented to the Art Director who instantly knew this was the photo she wanted due to the myriad of colours that fill the frame. The main subject of the photograph is a juvenile trumpet fish that was hiding in a crinoid that was nestled within a sea fan on the dive site Yap Caverns in Yap, Micronesia. The idea behind this photo was to capture a bright blue background while shooting a small subject with a macro lens. The key element was finding a subject that allowed me to get below and shoot up, in this case the trumpet fish in a sea fan was a perfect opportunity.  Not many dive magazine at that time published macro photographs on the cover, this was my first “macro” cover, and I believe it was the blue background that really stood out to the Art Director.

Nikon D70, 105mm lens at f16, 1/60, iso 200 2 x Sea and Sea YS 120 Strobes

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 – 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

 

It’s Been Awhile!

It’s been awhile, we have been exceedingly busy here in Bali over the past month and somewhat lax when it comes to our social media! Therefore, as a special gift to you all, we present another Photo of the Day!  Hope you enjoy this photo from Raja Ampat.

Raja Ampat Batfish

Story Behind the Shot – Hungry Hawksbill Turtle

Hawksbill Turtle

 

One of my favourite underwater photo subjects are turtles, it doesn’t matter if it’s a “relatively” common hawksbill turtle or green turtle or any of the other more endangered turtles, I am always happy to encounter any turtle when diving. On this particular encounter on the island of Layang Layang in Sabah, Malaysia, I ran into this friendly hawksbill turtle who was happily munching away on sponge embedded in the hard coral.  As with any turtle encounter, I stopped and watched it for a few moments to see if it would be spooked by my presence or if it would allow me to get closer.  After watching it for a while I decided that it wasn’t bothered by my presence and so I slowly moved closer in order to take a few photos.  After snapping a couple of shots from the side I then decided to see if the turtle would allow me to approach from the front, as this photo can attest, it sure did!  As I moved from the side toward the front I realized that the turtle was allowing me to get quite close, but as I started to maneuver my strobes closer to the port the young hawksbill turtle decided that it was a lot more interested in my dome port than the sponges!  Abandoning the idea of moving my strobes, instead I started backpedaling away from the hungry hawksbill while snapping off a few photos and trying to avoid “turtle bites” on my port!  My guess is he/she reacted to the reflection of another turtle in the port and the attempted biting was in order to scare off a potential competitor.  After I backed off again the happy hawksbill went right back to munching on sponge and ignoring my ungainly presence.  Although I didn’t necessarily get the lighting correct on this shot, it is a photo that stands out as it was really a funny situation with a personable turtle who was intent on showing me who’s the boss!

Layang Layang, Sabah, Malaysia – Nikon D90, Aquatica Housing, 10-17mm lens, f10, 1/100, Sea and Sea Strobes

Mike Veitch

High Season Approaches

Bali Manta

It’s that time of year once again, high season in Bali!  August to November is the time of year where we start running all around the island showing our guests the beauty of Bali both above and below the waves.  Although diving and traveling are great in Bali all year round, August is the traditional start of the boom season which lasts until mid to late September.  However, October is our personal favourite month for diving in Bali, the waters are usually calm and clear (in the north!) and there are still plenty of chances to see the Mola-Mola in the south.  Of course, what is a trip to Bali without a visit to the Manta Rays of Nusa Penida!

If you haven’t booked your trip to Bali yet there is no time like the present.

Underwater Tribe/NAD Lembeh Photo Fun Week Wrapup

Group photo of workshop

Another Underwater Tribe/NAD Lembeh Resort Photo Fun Week has come to an end and we have arrived home back in Bali already missing the great atmosphere and wonderful food at NAD. We aren’t sad though because we are happily reminiscing over what a wonderful week we have just had with a great group of people. It all started on the 18th of July with all of our guests arriving by the mid afternoon. After having the chance to set up equipment in NAD’s spacious camera room, we all gathered together after dinner to discuss the plans for the upcoming week and listen to a quick strobe primer by Mike before enjoying a wonderful slideshow about the cool critters we could expect to see throughout the week presented by NAD manager Serge.

Serge Presents

 

The following morning, and for each of the next 5 days, our schedule consisted of heading out after breakfast for 2 dives in the diverse Lembeh Strait. Our bottom times were set to 75 minutes max with between dives snacks and hot drinks served on the roomy and fast boats. With 1 dive guide for every 2 guests, plus 2 photo instructors in the water with slates in hand, everyone was well looked after in the water and there were critters a plenty every day. After lunch back at the resort, we gathered in the upstairs area for a daily presentation before heading out on an afternoon dive. After the afternoon dive we would gather in the restaurant for our daily critiquing and Lightroom sessions before dinner. After dinner each night we would then meet once again upstairs for another presentation as well as a primer on the next days dives and a suggestion of what to work on in the way of photographic technique.

Guide Rokles gives a briefing

Topics throughout the week consisted of the following: Strobe Positioning, Shooting Wide in Lembeh, The Basics of Lighting (fstops, shutter speeds and how they work together), Lightroom, Shooting with a Constant Light Source, Blue and Black Macro Backgrounds, Snooting, and How to Win a Photo Competition. In the water, Mike and Luca spent every dive with a slate in hand working one to one with our students helping them with new techniques in order for them to improve their photography with practical underwater hands on help. One of the big successes this year was the effectiveness of the evening Lightroom and critiquing sessions as everyone gathered in the restaurant each day for image review and Lightroom technique tutorials in a relaxed atmosphere.

Luca Presenting

 

On the last day our schedule consisted of just 2 morning dives with the afternoon scheduled for final image review and the preparation of images for the final night slideshow! The big event at the end of all of our photo workshops is a slideshow of everyone’s favourite images taken throughout the week which are shown in random order on the big screen in order to show the highlights of diving in Lembeh. We don’t create a competitive atmosphere during our workshops and we don’t offer prizes because we believe this creates too much competitiveness amongst participants and takes away from the fun vibe of our “Fun Weeks”. Our NAD 2015 final slideshow showcased some of the best images we have seen from all of our workshops over the years and we are very happy to showcase some of the images from the participants below!  The list of critters that we encountered throughout the week is too long to mention but some of the memorable ones include multiple blue ring octopus, hairy frogfish, loads of different frogfish from tiny to giant, ghost pipefish, wonderpus, harlequin shrimp, and even an eagle ray!

Group shot on Boat

 

Thanks to all of this year’s participants from Australia, the Netherlands, and the USA, we had a few familiar faces this week as well as a great group of new participants, we look forward to seeing you all again soon on a future Underwater Tribe event. Enough with the chit-chat, lets get on with the presentation of some great images from the gang for a very well deserved round of applause.

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