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#407443 Trip Report : Weda Halmahera - Indonesia - April 2019

Posted by paolobl65 on Yesterday, 11:10 AM

some more photos :

















in natural  light  with  Magic Filter 



















early morning  and  deep  dive  at  shark mountain  ( sadly non sun ! )  ,  too  much  fish  !



















all photos  with Canon 80D   and   Canon 8-15 mm  in  S&S housing  with  Zen  170 Dome port   +  2 x INON Z330 


If you like to see more  photos   about this  place   here is  my  Flick  gallery  :   https://www.flickr.c...th/48109615808/



Finally let me say a special thanks  to all the  Weda  Resort Staff  and  to my super  dive  Master  Demos  for  their  professionality and  courtesy .


All my  best

Paolo Isgro

#400709 Humpback whales in Tonga - August 2018

Posted by paolobl65 on 11 November 2018 - 08:57 AM

And  we were  lucky  the  baby   wanted to play  with us  :








... but no problem  baby ....  big mama  is  always watching at you !!!








 and  always  take  care of you !!









finally my favourite  image .... just  another  point of  view  !!








If  you like to see more Tonga photos   you can   see  my Flickr album  :   https://www.flickr.c...157701111669905



all my best

Paolo Isgro

#400708 Humpback whales in Tonga - August 2018

Posted by paolobl65 on 11 November 2018 - 08:38 AM

I was in Tonga last August  with Naia liveabord   and  I'd like to share my experience . 


Naia is a well known  liveaboard   cruising Tonga  during  July , August and September and  Fiji during the  other months .

All on board  is  great  : cabin , food , service , professional cruise director , wonderful fijian  staff  !


The  trip  was  10  days - 9 nights  -  8 full day in water with  humpback whales .  A lot of  time  with only one  target : .... whales !! 

Seeing whales above water   and  underwater as well  ( snorkeling only allowed )

I must confess  at the beginning  I was afraid to get bored  , but  day by day  I  understood  that all that  time is  necessary to  " get in touch " with the whales .  This  means  not only take a snapshot  but  let the  whales  accept me  in water  !




As per  tecnical  details  ,  I ask many friends had  done  same experience as  well as  internet research  and  I finally  understood that is  useful :

-use fisheye  on  Dslr  ( or  mirrorless )  :  I used Canon 8-15  on Canon 80D

-use mid  dome  or  minidome :  I  used  ZEN 170  dome  :  a big dome  is not really necessary because  not possible  many half-half  and  no worry about soften corner , and  the  cons  is  you have sto swimm a  lot !

-use manual exposure with center  weight metering and  -2/3  compensation  -  F8 -  1/125 to 1/200  ( I used usually 1/160 ) - auto ISO  

-use autofocus  ( with all points  active )  , water  was very clear  so no really problem with autofocus 


I balanced  (  neutral buoyancy  and  perfect  trim )  my housing  with  some  close  cell foam  all  around it   and   it was  very useful  during  the  long hours  in water  .



Last  important points :

-try to have  the sun behind my back ,  because  the  only light is  the natural light  ( no  flash  allowed ) .

-go close !! ... or  better , let the  whales  came close to me  ...  and  the  first days  I made the  mistake  to use  fishyey at 15 mm  .. at the end I used  only 10 mm  ( on crop sensor )  and  try to fill the frame   to have  to less  water as possible  from whales  and  my lens .

-be prepared  to swimm  a  lot  and a lot ,  so I trained  myself intensive  before this  trip .




here some  shots  , hope you like :









































some   great  moment  of  interaction  ...... :

















#397127 Inon Z-330 In Stock?

Posted by paolobl65 on 07 July 2018 - 11:11 AM

I would only order from a reputable vendor and place that deposit. It's going to be a long wait for it.. longer if you want to wait till they have 1


yes of course , the same for me : reputabel vendor is  a must !


The link  I posted  in my previous post  is  UWdigitalcamera  ( Japan ) :  I bought many time   from  them ( since 2007 ) without any problem .


About  INON Z330 :  I ordered  2 of them end of february and  receive  in just one week .  

All perfect .  (.... yes  japanise manual  ...  but  all the fuction are the same old  INON Z240 )

#396703 Gorontalo ( Indonesia ) April 2018 - trip report

Posted by paolobl65 on 23 June 2018 - 07:59 AM

and  just few  macro :

(  canon 7D  + canon 60 mm  and  Inon Z240 snooted  )









#396700 Gorontalo ( Indonesia ) April 2018 - trip report

Posted by paolobl65 on 23 June 2018 - 07:50 AM

some more photos .... :



















#396699 Gorontalo ( Indonesia ) April 2018 - trip report

Posted by paolobl65 on 23 June 2018 - 07:42 AM

I was in Gorontalo ( Sulawesi - Indonesia ) for a 8 days dive trip last April 2018 with Miguel's Diving Gorontalo ( Dive Gorontalo, Sulawesi, Indonesia with Miguel's Diving )  

Unfortunately I lost 4 days diving because a tracheit , so with only 4 days diving I had just an idea of what the place has to offer .

Logist is very easy : Garuda Indonesiua connect every day Jakarta to Gorontalo ( 4 hours flight with a tecnical stop in Makassar ) , resort arrange pick up in airport for a 50 min drive to the town.
Accomodation is in Gorontalo City ( Grand Q hotel : GRAND Q HOTEL GORONTALO • GRAND Q HOTEL GORONTALO ) so do not expect any idilliac resort on unspoiled beach , anyway the hotel is big and quite confortable ( air con , hot shower , great breakfast buffet ) .
Dinner at hotel is good and it is also possible to go outside in many local suggested restaurant , anyway be aware a little bahasa indonesia is needed !

Every morning Rantje Allen ( Miguel Diving owner ) pick up me 07:30 AM for a short drive to the dock . Back more or less 04:00 PM . 
Dive boat is confortable , with toilet on board . Dive sites from 20 to 40 min away .  
3 dives per day , lunch on board ( lunch box from a local restaurant … very good ) .

Underwater scenario was very interesting and really unspoiled : incredible big sponges ( and the famous Salvador Dalì sponges as well ) , big sea fans , dramatic sea scape with many holes , cavern and deep splits.
Fantastic visibility , warm water ( 28-29°C ) , mild to none current made the dives very relaxing . Good fish life , but nothing big .
Good macro life as well even nothing to compare to the real macro destinations like Tulamben , Lembeh , Anilao , Ambon .
Unfortunately whale shark are no more regulary seen here because the local shrimps factory closed and so no more organic waste is flushed in the sea to attract the whale sharks .
What I dislike a bit was the too much plastic garbage on the surface …. 

As underwater photographer I take advantage of the skilled dive master for macro shot and the professional dive models for wide angle shots .
All in all a very interesting place , nice place to vist if you are in Sulawesi area ( Manado/ Lembeh ) and have some spare days . 

Here some photos from this trip  .

( Canon 80D  in S&S housung  -  Canon 8-15 FE  with ZEN DP170   -  2 x Inon Z330 )

( more photos and better quality on my flick gallery : https://www.flickr.c...157669429671268 )




















#396222 Inon Z-330 In Stock?

Posted by paolobl65 on 09 June 2018 - 11:53 PM

I bought Z330  here  end of february :  https://www.uwdigitalcamera.com/store/

received them  in 1 week ... perfect !!

#394495 Macro Dive in Tulamben-Bali : where Dive Guide can make the difference .

Posted by paolobl65 on 17 April 2018 - 12:25 PM

Reverse ring macro ( extreme supermacro )


We used a  Cason EF-S 24 mm  F2,8 pancake  reversed with kooka adapter ( to be able to adjust aperture )  on  Canon 7D   +  37 mm  ext  tube  .

In this  way   5 mm  fill the long side  frame   and this  means   , considering  the  Canon /d  sensor  22,5 mm  , an optical magnification   x 4.5   (  stronger than any wet supermacro lens  available today on the market )

Usually stopped  down  F5,6 – F8  to avoid  too much diffraction  ( you can see Exif data in Flickr ) . 


Illumination  was made  by  different kind  of  snoot (  all by fiber optic )   because working distance from port was  only  2,5 cm .


It was  not so easy   to work with this  lens   because so close to the subject ,   manual  focus  only   and  fix frame  ,   anyway  we  had a lot of  fun  .

A good  focus light  and  a good  external viewfinder  were  a must  to  clearly see  when in focus  .


Here  are some  shots  we  taken  .

(  if you like  to see more  , and  in high resolution ,   here is the dedicated Flick gallery :  https://www.flickr.c...157689139160906    )

































Finally let me say again it was  an amazing experience to dive and  shot with Ajiex Dharma  ( ... and  I already hire him again for my next trip in Tulamben )

all my best


Paolo Isgro

#394494 Macro Dive in Tulamben-Bali : where Dive Guide can make the difference .

Posted by paolobl65 on 17 April 2018 - 12:08 PM

I spent 9 day diving  in Tulamben ( Bali ) last August  and  I hired   Ajiex Dharma  as my private dive guide .

Ajiex  is a skilled  and  expert freelancer dive guide , worked many years in Villa Markisa , is very knowledge in nudibranches  and  a talented  underwater photographer  as well .


The  feeling was  perfect  :  above and  below  water . 

We usually make 2 dives in the morning  , lunch  together  ( fantastic  have a lunch on the beach  with super fresh grilled fish )  , and  another  dive in afternoon .

All shore dive , pick up from my resort … all perfectly organized .


We  split  our underwater  photography   in two session  :   macro  with snoot    and    reverse ring macro ( extreme supermacro )



Macro with snoot  .


We used  mostly  a  Fabio Iardino snoot (  fiber optic + sealed optical lens  custom snoot  )  on  a slave  Inon  Z240  triggered   to   have  the  maximum  flexibility  in  targeting the light  to  create some side light and  back light  ( and  not  the  standard  spot  light  )  .  

The goal was to create a light  that  give a  great result to the  subject  but , sometimes ,  do not completely  dark the  background  .  

Just  as  less light as  possible  in the  “right place “ to create te effect "we like"  :   this is  the way  we used the snoot .  

( btw :  “right place “  is  a subjective  meaning  of  course  ….  anyway  hope you like  the  following photos )


Here  are some  shots  we  taken  .

(  if you like  to see more  , and  in high resolution ,   here is the dedicated Flick gallery : https://www.flickr.c...th/36874751275/









































#388553 Triton Bay - trip report - December 2016 / January 2017

Posted by paolobl65 on 19 October 2017 - 10:57 AM

Whale Shark experience :

Just a 1 hour boat ride to arrive to fisherman platform and we jumped in the water with whale shark .
This was the best experience of this holiday , maybe becuase my first time with whale shark .

We spent 2 hours there , again the water was not so clear , anyway was fantastic to be so close with so a gently giant .

Here some shots :


















Definitely I really had a gret time in Triton Bay !!

The best memory was the feeling to be a pioneer in the last dive frontier , and I can't wait to get there again .

Hope this help . Do not esitate to contact me for any question .
best regards

Paolo Isgro

#388552 Triton Bay - trip report - December 2016 / January 2017

Posted by paolobl65 on 19 October 2017 - 10:51 AM

Wide angle :
I think the best reason to get there is for reefscape and underwater panorama .
It really seems the jungle and the reef mix each other .

Wide angle photography was my real goal but so many pigmy take me out to left my wide angle lens so often .
I was impressed by biodiversity and density of coral and fish ( btw : the fish approach you very close without fear ... )
The blak coral forest was unbelievable ! And the soft corals were like in Fiji : so beautiful .

Be aware this is not a big fish destination : I didn't see any shark or manta , just two wobbegong . But I was in a fish soup every time in the water .

Better stop to chat and show you some shot ( ... even if I'm not a wide angle specialist ) :




































and really amazing black coral forest  :







Sometime the current was very strong , anyway the dive master know how to manage the dive for divers safety .

The only issue was visibility sometime poor and the water with a little green color cast .
And when the visibility is good .... it is a dream !

If you like , other wide angle shots here : https://www.flickr.c...157679783634576

#388550 Triton Bay - trip report - December 2016 / January 2017

Posted by paolobl65 on 19 October 2017 - 10:20 AM

Macro :

As macro lover ( btw : I dove the most important macro destination may times : Anilao , Lembeh , Tulamben , Ambon ) I was really impressed about the variety of pigmy sea horse in Triton Bay .

This was the real highlight of Triton Bay as my macro point of view .
Many different kind of Denise , Bargibanti . And Pontoi also . And all these 3 species during the same dive . And not only one dive site ... !
And sometimes Satomi pigmy can be seen also ( ... I missed it for 2 weeks ) .

Just some pigmy shots :
























very interesting behavior as well , ie mating nudibranch :


or pigmy denise releasing ( ? ) eggs :


this is also the place for nudi lovers .

another highlight is the dive to see the flasher wrasse : a challange for macro shooter :


For macrophotography the condition was really good with subject no deeper than 24 m and really no current . Warm water ( 29 °C ) so possible to stay longer ....!

If you like , other macro shots here : https://www.flickr.c...157677301099011

#388549 Triton Bay - trip report - December 2016 / January 2017

Posted by paolobl65 on 19 October 2017 - 09:52 AM

 I was in Triton Bay - West Papua - Indonesia ( Triton Bay Dive Resort ) last December 2016 for a dive vacation and I'd like to share my experience .
( .. I just beg your pardon for my English .. )

Getting There :
the trip begin many months before with a good e-mail comunication with resort owners ( Jimmy and Leeza ) to receive all the info about the location and diving and to set up the flights to get there .
I arrived from Italy in Jakarta in the afternoon and then a night flight Lion + Wings Air to Kaimana via Ambon . I arrived in Kaimana airport h 10:00 AM , Jimmy , the owner , is waiting for me and other guest and than half hour drive to the pier and 2 and half hours to get the resort . Long but not difficult .
Same for the way back : starting in the morning from resort and landing in Jakarta h 4:00 PM .
Actually Wings Air seems do not fly anymore to Kaimana , but there is now Garuda : so for getting there next time ( ... ah , yes I already planned next Christmas again in Triton Bay ... ) I will fly Garuda from Jakarta to Kaimana via Ambon ( arriving in Kaimana H 9:45 AM ) but way back Garuda has orrible connection in Ambon , so better Kaimana to Jakarta via Sorong ( Wings + Batik Air , landing in Jakarta h 7:00 PM )

Location and Resort :
Triton bay is in West Papua , south-est from Raja Ampat , a very remote and still untouched area for diving . Only one resort actually ( Triton Bay Dive resort - Home ) and very few liveaboards .
The resort is in a quiet and amazing bay .

This was the view from the door of my bungalow :





and this the view of the beach from the restaurant :






and this the bungalow and the diving from the beach :





I loved very much this resort : so small , intimate and well organized .
The room was very nice , well ventilated even without aircon , with a big open air bathroom , and just a step from the beach .

The restaurant offered buffet breakfats and family style lunch and dinner . Always delicious .
One per week a wonderful barbeque on the beach .

The electricity run from 6:00AM to 11:00 PM , this was my main concern before to arrive there , but really no problem at all , just a little planning to charge all the battery camera , strobe , laptop, and remember to have a little flash light on my bed during the night just in case .
Maybe the only issue is the slow wifi connection : whatsapp worked but no e-mail , FB .... anyway sometimes is also good in this way to better enjoy the holiday !
Be aware No mobile signal as well .

Again about location : I was really fascinating about the surrounding area , every morning the short boat ride to dive site gave me amazing view and after the first dive we always spent the surface interval in a unspoiled beach .... fantastic .
Just few example :












and I was very impressed to not see anyt plastics in the water and to the beach !

the main reason to get there !

Just few words about the diving operation : there were 3 very skilled Dive Master from Manado , and this was the mailstone to have a very good experience !
The boat leave 8:00 AM for two dives in the morning , diving time 60-80 min , then back for lunch in resort . As I already said : surface interval in a fantastic and desert beach for relax and some snack .
Third dive 3:00 PM and night dive h 6:00 PM if you like ( I made only one time and it was beyond expectation )
Even with only 5 guest the resort always used two boats , so very relaxed and enjoible diving . Someimes I was with private dive master for better opportunity in phothography

As underwater photographer , I can divide the diving in three section : MACRO , WIDE , Whale Shark experience .