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Underwater Photography - Underwater Videography - Photo and Video Instruction

From taking images with basic Point&Shoot to making videos with DSLR cameras and camcorders - We have you covered!

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | “Grazing” – Sheep of the Costasiella Family

Many know these adorable little sap-sucking slugs (technically not nudibranchs) as ‘Shaun the Sheep’, due to their resemblance to sheep grazing on grass. They are tiny (from just a millimeter up to about 12 millimeters maximum length) and can be found feeding on the host algae Avrainvillea spp which looks like a large, single, round green leaf which sticks up vertically out of the sand on Lembeh’s muck sites. They are members of the Sacoglossa family which is the only group of animals known to engage in kleptoplasty, a process where the sea slug stores chloroplasts from the algae it feeds on in its body and benefits from the food they produce via photosynthesis. In this detailed, close-up footage you can actually see the chloroplasts in the animals’ cerata (the pointy bits on the back), impossible to observe with the naked eye due to the creatures’ tiny size. Enjoy this detailed video showcasing a cute and also fascinating Lembeh critter and be sure to have a look to try and find some yourself next time you dive in Lembeh!

Underwater Macro – The SONY A7RII with the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS lens

After testing the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS extensively (I did over 200 dives with this lens already), I have to say - it's a pretty good setup for Lembeh! It gives me the flexibility of shooting a wide range of subjects and I'm not stuck with a macro or a wide-angle setup. I can shoot critters that are very small - I cannot fill the frame with a hairy shrimp, but when using an extra macro wet-lens (like the SubSee +5 or Nauticam SMC), I can fill the frame with subjects the size of around 1-2cm (around 1/2 inch) in Super35 mode. When shooting in full frame mode @24mm I get vignetting from the flat port, but I can shoot at the 32mm range of the lens without vignetting and shoot subjects the size of around 30 cm (1 foot) right in front of the port (I'm using a Subal Type4 flat port on a Nauticam NA-A7II housing with a Nauticam to Subal adapter).

I used the Nauticam SMC only for subjects smaller than 3cm (1 inch), for subjects between 3-8cm (1-3 inches) I used the SubSee +5 and everything larger than 8cm (3 inches) I was able to shoot without having to add an extra wet-lens.

 

Here are some example shots:

SaschaJanson_20160329_00013-Edit

Soft coral with a pygmy cuttlefish shot with the SONY A7RII and the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS @32mm in FullFrame mode - F9, 1/60sec


©SaschaJanson_20160329_00015

Soft coral with a pygmy cuttlefish shot with the SONY A7RII and the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS @69mm in Super 35 mode - F9, 1/160sec


©SaschaJanson_20160329_00019

Soft coral with a pygmy cuttlefish shot with the SONY A7RII and the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS @68mm in Super 35 mode and 1x SubSee +5 diopter - F9, 1/160sec


The 24-70 is very sharp - even at smaller apertures.

Here are some Lightroom screenshots:

coconut1

Coconut Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) @42mm, f14, 1/60sec, ISO250


coconut2

Same image like above at 100%


Here's a shot @31mm - on the top left the port is still visible, that's why in full frame mode the lens has to be at @32mm (at least with my setup)

©SaschaJanson_20160327_00028

Coconut Octopus shot with the SONY A7RII and the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS @31mm in full frame mode, f14, 1/60sec, ISO 320


Here's a short video shot with the A7R2 and the SONY FE 24-70mm f/4, for best viewing experience watch in 4K:

When shooting video I also use the Clear Image Zoom function of the A7R II - then I can shoot very small stuff like the Costasiella kuroshimae, also known as the "Shaun the sheep nudi" with the 24-70mm lens (with an additional Nauticam SMC) and I can fill the frame @70mm in Super35 mode with subjects smaller than 1cm in size - pretty amazing! :-)

 

Don't get me wrong, I still use other lenses and the 90mm macro is a "must have" lens in Lembeh, but the 24-70 is also a very nice lens for shooting macro and even super macro in the Lembeh Strait (when combined with a flat port).

This test was done while diving with Critters@Lembeh Resort.

Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 08 – 2016 | July Highlights


This episode features some of the highlights of July, including a lot of baby frogfishes, oodles of nudibranchs (including the Melibe colemani) and some awesome cephalopods like the wunderpus and flamboyant cuttlefish. The king of photogenic fishes, the weedy scorpionfish (aka ‘Rhinopias frondosa’), also makes an appearance in some moody and dramatic lighting. Enjoy the dive!

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | The Melibe Colemani

For many nudibranch lovers the “Melibe colemani” tops their list of must-see creatures. This critter is so perfectly camouflaged that it is very hard to spot – it lives in the waving polyps of a Xenia family coral (Anthelia) where it hunts tiny organisms by extending its large oral hood. If you watch carefully, you can see at 50 seconds into the film how a small brown acoel flatworm (Waminoa sp.) living on the base of the coral flees the attacking Melibe! Best watched in 4K!

Critters of the Lembeh Strait | “Biting Off More Than You Can Chew” – The Brown Moray


If you don’t have hands to hold on to your food, it can be tricky to eat. Especially when your meal has venomous spines on the pectoral fins, like the catfish. These spines with barbs got stuck in the mouth of the moray making it impossible for it to swallow the whole fish. In an attempt to eat it, the moray got some “battle scars” from this deceptive snack. Best watched in 4K.

Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 06 – 2016 – Reef Diving in Lembeh

The Lembeh Strait is famous for all the weird critters, but there are as well colourful, thriving corals at many of the dive sites. This video shows the fantastically diverse coral at our nearby dive sites, where you can ‘have it all’ and see not only famous critters but also beautiful reefs. I couldn’t resist and had to include a few scenes of critters, shot with a fish-eye though :-). Best watched in 4K!

SEA WARS – The Skeleton Shrimp Strikes Back

Make sure your sound is turned up for this epic underwater battle between the tiny skeleton shrimps and the ‘massive’ sea hare. Will Luke Skeleton Shrimp save his young from the sudden attack? Watch ‘The Skeleton Shrimp Strikes Back’ to find out!

 

 

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