Critters of the Lembeh Strait | SEA WARS – Blue-ring Octopus

Did you know that the deadly, highly venomous blue-ring octopus cannot tell the sex of another blue-ring at first sight? They have to feel the other one first in order to be able to figure it out. An encounter can be witnessed in this video where two blue-ring octopuses (Hapalochlaena sp.) meet each other for the first time. Love at first sight or disaster date? Watch to find out!

 

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | SEA WARS – The Frogfish Strikes Again

Frogfishes are a member of the anglerfish family and eat pretty much everything, shrimps, fish and even other frogfish. The strike itself is accomplished with the sudden opening of the jaws, which enlarges the size of the mouth up to 12 times, pulling the prey into the mouth along with water. The water flows out through the gills, while the prey is swallowed and the food pipe closed with a special muscle to keep the victim from escaping. In addition to expanding their mouths, frogfish can also expand their stomachs to swallow animals up to twice their size.

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Eat dessert first

This little clown frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) obviously did not eat his dessert first! Frogfish tend not to be picky eaters and have been known to eat just about any creature that is close enough and that will fit in their mouth (including other frogfishes of the same species) but this shrimp seemed to not suit his palate. It’s anyone’s guess as to why he spit it out – did he eat the good parts and expel only the hard shell? Was it an awkward shape and difficult to swallow? What do you think?

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 10 – 2016 | September Highlights

We guarantee you have never before seen some of the crazy critter action featured in this week’s video; have you ever seen a video close up of the eye of an elegant sand diver? No? What about this eye with a shrimp on it? Didn’t think so. This and many more bizarre and beautiful surprises in this will make you wish you were here. What was your favorite part?

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 09 – 2016 | August Highlights

This time of year often brings slightly cooler water temperatures in Lembeh and to our delight, we’ve noticed many more baby frogfishes are around than normal. Coincidence? We think not! Some of these ultra-cute froggies are in this video as well as footage of rare nudis like the Phyllodesmium koehleri and one of the weirdest, most unusual critters we’ve ever seen – a bizarre polychaete worm (Diopatra Sp.) that looks like a cross between a bobbit worm and a furry-legged bristle worm! Enjoy this up-to-the-minute glimpse of what’s going on in Lembeh.

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait – Episode 03 – 2016 | Frogfishes

This February is all about frogfishes…here’s a short video of some of the common species we usually see while diving the Lembeh Strait – Enjoy!

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Tips For Underwater Photographers – Fluorescent Photography

UV or fluorescence dives are becoming more and more popular and many dive resorts offer them as part of the experience.

Doing fluorescence dives can be very different than normal dives, and the fluorescence is best appreciated on night-dives.

How to shoot fluorescence underwater?

There are different ways to do fluorescent photography; one way is to use a UV or fluorescent focus/video light to look for subjects, fluorescence filters on our strobes, a yellow filter on our camera and a yellow filter on our mask and the other way is to just use UV lights and a yellow filter on the camera (and mask) and no additional strobes. Because of all these filters the light is not that strong in the first place and we need to use different settings on our cameras. High ISO numbers, large apertures (low f-numbers) and slow shutter speeds are typically needed to be able to see something in our images.

Shooting with strobes

Strobes with fluorescence filters strapped on are stronger than UV lights, allowing us to choose lower ISO numbers, faster shutter speeds and smaller apertures, but we still cannot shoot with our typical macro settings…I usually start off with something like ISO 800-1600 , f8, 1/60sec, take a test-shot and then adjust accordingly…sometimes we need to boost the ISO up more to get the desired depth of field, but that can introduce noise (newer cameras can handle very high ISO numbers without having too much noise)

 

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Hermit crab – Canon 7D, 60mm macro, ISO800, f7.1, 1/60sec, 1x i-Torch Pro6 as focus light, 1x INON Z240 with fluorescence filter strapped over the strobe

 


Shooting with video lights:

Many video and focus lights nowadays have the UV function built in. If you don’t want to invest in the fluorescence filters for the strobes it is possible to use only the UV lights to get some good shots as long as the subjects are small. A good starting setting there is around ISO800-1600, f5, 1/30sec and then adjust according to the subject…for moving subjects use a faster shutter speed.

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Mushroom coral – Canon 7D, 60mm macro, ISO800, f4.5, 1/30sec, 1x i-Torch Pro6+, 1xi-Torch Pro 7 with fluorescence filter strapped over the light

 

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Galaxea coral – Canon 7D, 60mm macro, ISO800, 1/30sec, f4, 1xi-Torch Pro6

 


It is easiest to photograph corals and anemones as they don’t move much, but a lot of the critters here in Lembeh are fluorescent as well…

 

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Stargazer (Uranoscopus sp) – Canon 7D Mark II, Tokina 10-17, Kenko 1.4 TC, @17mm, ISO640, f7,1, 1/60sec, 2xi-Torch Venom 50

 

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Wrasse – Canon 7D Mark II, 60mm macro, ISO640, f5.6, 1/125sec, 2x i-Torch Venom 50

 

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Needle cuttlefish (Sepia aculeata) – Canon 7D Mark II, Tokina 10–17mm, Kenko 1.4x TC, ISO 16000, f/6.3, 1/30s, 2x i-Torch Venom 38

 

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Lizardfish –  Canon 7D, 60mm, ISO640, 1/30sec, f5, 1x i-Torch Pro6

 

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This is a little scorpionfish with some algae growth on him…the scorpionfish itself is not fluorescent, it’s the algae! – Canon 7D, 60mm, ISO640, 1/30sec, f3.5, 1x i-Torch Pro6+, 1xi-Torch Pro 7 with fluorescence filter strapped over the light

 


With multiple UV lights and a wider lens (i.e. fisheye lens) it is possible to illuminate larger subjects:

 

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Favia coral – Canon 7D Mark II, Tokina 10-17, Kenko 1.4 TC, @17mm, ISO640, f7,1, 1/60sec, 2xi-Torch Venom 50, 2xi-Torch Venom 38, 1x i-Torch Pro6+

 

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Reef-scene in UV view – Canon 7D Mark II, Tokina 10–17mm, Kenko 1.4x TC, @14mm, ISO 5000, f/5, 1/60s, 2xi-Torch Venom 50, 2xi-Torch Venom 38, 1x i-Torch Pro6+

 

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Hard coral  (Montipora tuberculosa)  – SONY A7 RII, SONY FE 16-35mm f4 ZA OSS @16mm, ISO2000, f4, 1/60sec, 1xi-Torch Venom 50, 2x i-Torch Venom 38, 1x i-Torch Pro6+

 

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Close-up of above image

 

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Hard coral  (Montipora tuberculosa)   – helicopter-shot – SONY A7 RII, SONY FE 16-35mm f4 ZA OSS @16mm, ISO20.000, f4, 1/60sec, 1xi-Torch Venom 50, 2x i-Torch Venom 38, 1x i-Torch Pro6+

 


Scientists still don’t fully understand what purpose(s) fluorescence serves in marine life but theories propose that it may be for communication, as protection and to fool predators. Whatever the reason, it’s fascinating to discover and photograph a whole new side to fish, creatures, corals and anemones whose appearance changes radically under fluorescent light. See if you can discover fluorescence in an organism you never knew had it in them! Remember as always to be respectful of marine life and be cautious if you are using fluorescent lights on an animal, as some may have eyes which are particularly sensitive to that spectrum of light. Also keep in mind that if you are diving with UV lights, non-fluorescent coral is harder to see, so go slow and take care not to damage unseen organisms or habitat.

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 17 – 2015 | Sex, Muck & Rock ‘n’ Roll – Part 2

In the second part of “Sex, Muck & Rock ‘n’ Roll” some unusual mating behaviors are featured, starring blue-ring octopus, wunderpus, coconut octopus and also flamboyant cuttlefish, just to name a few, and watch out for the spectacular hatching blue-rings and flambos!

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Critters of the Lembeh Strait | Episode 16 – 2015 | Sex, Muck & Rock ‘n’ Roll – Part 1

The rock stars of Lembeh get down, dirty and mucky in this video! The frogfishes like their ladies large, and as for nudis, they’ll do it with anyone – nudibranchs are all hermaphrodites and able to mate with any other individual of their species. Shocking, right?! Do they at least buy each other a drink? Be sure to stay tuned and find out!

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