Our November 2018 photo cruise to Komodo was one of our best yet. The macro life in Horseshoe Bay was outstanding with nice visibility, along with two fantastic dives at Manta Alley in south Komodo where we were literally surrounded by manta's. Some photos and a video from the trip are below. Talk to us if you would like to join a trip with the same itinerary in early October 2019.
KOMODO PHOTO CRUISE - a short video
Some great new dives sites around these remote islands. For us the highlight was a visit to Beangabang Bay on the south east coast of Pantar Island. This beautiful bay lies between two headlands and has a natural hot spring on the beach, plus a tiny village perched on a hill.
This remote village has very friendly people, we were greeted on arrival by an outrigger canoe full of happy kids. We later went into the village as we had bought along some school supplies and footballs. We were mobbed by the kids when the footballs were distributed at the church, then the children took us to see their school and meet their teacher.
The visit bought home to us the reality of living in these remote islands. Grubby clothes, school books that were literally falling apart, a school that consisted of three rooms with a few old desks, a dirt playground and a flag pole: no computers, no fans, no lunch room, but these kids enthusiastically sang us their national anthem and a song about the sea and its bounty. Not a dry eye among us as they finished singing, and only just in time for the visiting ice cream man on his motorbike to give them all icey treats on us.
We just returned from a trip to Alor this week and were greeted by some bad news that hit us hard, our friend and well known deep diving specialist Ben Walzinger had not surfaced after a dive in Pemuteran, Bali. A search was conducted and no trace of Ben has been found in the days since.
We did two dives using larger tanks than normal (not recommended for bad backs due to the long walk) with 30% nitrox to allow us ample time to check out the cargo holds contents and forward guns. The short video below shows some of our finds.
Troops escpape the sinking ship just after her captain drove her ashore
Using the INON UFL-M150 ZM80 Micro Fish Eye Lens with Olympus PEN & OMD camera's underwater
This INON Insect Eye Lens is listed as a speciality lens that offers "150 degree ultra wide fish eye, a compact fisheye lens to shoot through eyes of small marine life, so-called "insect-eye lens" imaging..... hmm I wonder what all that means?
Well the INON Insect Eye Lens certainly is a speciality lens. It is not just a standard fish eye lens, it has to be used in very close quarters to your subject. Almost touching it! This is because the lens cannot focus further than around 30cms from the camera, but can focus all the way down to the glass on the front mini-dome. The INON Insect Eye Lens fits into an adapter that itself screws into any 67mm lens adapter. The smaller thread on the lens body is screwed in or out until the INON Insect Eye Lens is touching the front port of the camera housing on Olympus housings (it has a soft rubber ring to stop any damage to the port) Then the second smaller ring surrounding the lens is turned to lock the position of the lens. The distance between the port and the Insect Eye Lens can be adjusted underwater to achieve the best results without cropping of the image in the corners. The camera lens is set to the longest telephoto end (42mm or 50mm dependent on which lens I am using - see below). Check this list if you are thinking of buying this lens, as your camera/housing may not be compatible: http://www.inon.jp/pdf-dl/_userdata/SystemTable-EN.pdf
The INON Insect Eye Lens gives a whole new perspective to the underwater world. Nudibranchs can fill the frame and still show the surrounding reef. A shrimp on a sea whip along with the surrounding fish and blue water. The Insect Eye Lens even works on macro video subjects (the main reson I purchased this lens).
To use the lens for still photos, I use either of the Olympus standard kit zoom lenses (The Olympus 12-50mm or 14-42mm lens), set to a relatively high aperture (F8-F16, to gain the most depth of field), shutter speed to around 1/60th to 1/100th second (to get the most back ground natural lighting) and then select an ISO that gives me a correct background exposure (this can be between ISO 400 to 1000 depending on the subject and amount of daylight), then bring my strobes directly alongside the lens and adjust strobe power to achieve the lighting on the foreground subject (normally I use MAD Flip Snoot to get the light just on the foreground subject and not light the surrounding water - to reduce any backscatter). Some sample photo results are posted here to give you an idea of the potential of this lens. It isn't for every day underwater photography, but it is the only lens style that allows macro subjects to be photographed among their surroundings.
How to Care For Your Underwater Camera Housing for Dummies.
That should be the title of our next book. But we don't have time to publish it, so here it is for free and with photos so you understand what to do. Check out our latest page on our website:
Underwater Camera Housing Maintenance
Jeff compiled this video and Dawn kept swimming into the frames.
Shot with Olympus OMD EM5 MkII and PEN E-PL6 camera's.
Reef Wreck & Critter Blog:
Jeff & Dawn Mullins run this Blog to give an insight into our underwater discoveries in Indonesia and any news about what we are currently doing .