I am excited to share a really short video I put together of a frogfish I had the pleasure of filming during our trip to Bali. In this video...our beautiful frogfish friend 'Finds Nemo'. You may not want to show the kids this one....
Thought I would post a trip report for our recent trip to Bali Indonesia. With my wife doing photos and myself doing video, we have certain expectations when booking with an operator. With Mike Veitch being both, we figured that booking with his company, Www.underwatertribe.com would be a good idea. After researching others experiences, we felt comfortable with moving forward with them. And we couldn't have been more pleased.
Our group was a mix of people with varying levels of dive experience/interest, as well as non divers as well. Everyone also didn't arrive or leave at the same time, so needless to say, the booking for our group was challenging. Mike,Miho, and Luca handled everything great, and the trip went off without hitch. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending their operation to anyone, and I don't give those kind of compliments very often...lol. They handled all of the transports from each location, the diving, tanks, guides, gear cleaning, hotels, boats, etc...Everything went like clockwork, even if some things were changed by our group at the last minute. Their main guide Derek is excellent, and mike isn't too shabby a spotter either. Although they did miss a few things on the list, like a mimic octopus, mating blue ring octopus, and orcas. Although, I am willing to forgive them for the last 2. ;-). A lot of the diving is shore diving, so the diving isn't easy. Between getting to the sites, setting up gear, and lifting everything, rinsing it, and also helping you into the water, with breaking water, and rocks that my feet aren't used to stepping on, they were extremely helpful in every way, and made the diving as easy as it could possibly get.
For those that haven't been to Bali before, a lot of the dives in the tulamben area, and Pemeturan area are shore dives and you have to deal with the sand in your gear. It makes getting geared up less than ideal, but have the right mindset and you will be fine. Also, I don't know if my feet are extremely sensitive, but the rock to walk on hurt pretty bad at times. I had soft sole booties, but highly recommend thick soles, if you have feet that are less than tough.. Though Derek, and Mike would help with cameras and fins for those entries we were less than sure of. Whether it be unstable rocks, or the surf, they were always willing to help. My only complaint regarding the diving would be the tank fills we generally around 2700-2800 psi. Although this isn't the fault of the operator as there is company that delivers the tanks to all the operators, so this would be the same for everyone. Mike, noticed my air consumption was subpar, so he ordered a larger tank for me. Which helped quite a bit.
We had 11 days of diving, and started in the Pemeturan area, staying at adi assri, which was a nice hotel, with nice rooms. We startied diving with menjangan island. It has some nice coral dives, with some moderate walls. Some nice fans for photography. But for video, it was just reef stuff, nothing overly exciting. 1 day was enough for us there. We then dove secret bay, which had the best viz, that mike had ever seen there, so I think we lucked out a bit there. It was 10 degrees colder than in menjangan. Still worth a visit although if viz is low, probably not.
We then dove puri jati on the way to tulamben. In Tulamben, we really got in a grove with 6 days there. The liberty wreck dive is the most popular, which we didn't prefer, as it had too many people for us. We liked the liberty slope more, and it had great critters. We dive site, which I can't recall, it wasn't a popular site...but we drove in, saw a cow that was in labor, did the dive, saw 5 mantis shrimps with eggs, probably a dozen ornate ghost pipefish, a clown frogfish, and a warty frogfish, in which I got video of it eating an anenome fish, and some nudis....got done with the dive, and the baby calf was standing next to its mom...will never forget that dive. It was amazing.
Did a bunch of night dives in tulamben, have to admit it, it wasn't as good as I had hoped. But still was productive. Didn't help that we went on full moon, and the current was pretty strong.
As we ended our time in Tulamben, we journeyed to Sanur, to dive with the mantas, and molas. But on the way to Sanur we dove in Padang bai. We really liked it. And wished we had another few dives there. The water was again 8 degrees cooler than tulamben, but in 2 dives, we saw a rhinopia, nudis, zebra crab, 5 frogfish. Nice diving and good viz.
We chose to dive Nusa penida for the last two days. The first day, the surge was poor and we couldn't get to the manta site or mola site, so we dove the reefs there. They are nice healthy reefs, but we were bummed about not being at the other sites. The next day we were able to get to manta point, and chose not to try for the mola, as the chances of seeing one, and taking photos without anyone in them was remote, we chose to shoot mantas, and for the last two dives of the day we could shoot with nobody in the shots..the last dive we were the only ones in the water. Had trains of up to 8 mantas, and in one video frame I counted 13....not bad.
We then spent a couple days off gassing in ubud, which is a must do....although two of our group members had to visit the first aid, after getting bitten by the monkeys in monkey forest. Dont take water bottles in there if you don't want a monkey to bite you..trust me..lol. Make sure you take time away from diving to experience the culture and sites, we didn't do too much of that as we had been there before for just land sightseeing a couple years ago, didn't do diving that trip. Also. Beware that if you try to take a drone in there they might cause you problems. They claimed a new law was passed an you needed a permit for one....they wanted me to leave a $3k drone at the airport....I had to promise not to fly it...;-).
My overall impressions of Bali as a dive destination are good. It doesn't has as much critter density as Lembeh or anilao, but still very strong. Mike mentioned he thought it was strange that we didn't see more nudis on our trip..the muck diving is still one of the tops in the world, and the combine with nice reefs and manta diving, it really is superb. On top of that, it excels at the topside beauty and the richness of the culture that no other destination can compete with. Everyone should dive Bali at least once In their lives. I'm sure this won't be our last time, and when we come back we will be using Underwater Tribe.
I can only speak to a couple of items on your list. As I haven't been to PG. Anilao is one of my favorite places. However September is still a risky time there for weather...normally October/November to May is the safe time.
As for club O. Been there twice. It is a great place, with great guides. Although, getting a hold of them can be tough. I recommend trying through their Facebook account. They have enough repeat business, they aren't too focused on gaining new clients. If that doesn't work out. There are other places that are good as well, like crystal blue.
As a side, I have done Atlantis resort in dumaguete and it was great. I am sure pg will be similar.
I wanted to share a short film I have put together. Those that know me and my filming style, know that I don't personally like to narrate, nor have divers in my shots....well with this film this was all unavoidable.
Ever since I have been diving, I have wanted to have an up close and personal interaction with Manta Rays. I have been all of the world waiting for this magical opportunity. Thousands of miles traveled and dollars spent, I went to some of the best places in the world to pursue this dream of mine. Whether it be weather, bad luck, or illness, something always seemed to get in the way. It was very frustrating.
This film is about how the manta curse eventually got broken. I figured this is my story, and I needed to tell it. So outsourcing the narration didn't make sense. Hence the poor narration...:-).
Anyhow, Please let me know things you like and don't like about it. Always willing to try to improve and get pointers from others.
Thanks Dustin. Yeah I was puzzling about the length of each clip. I decided to keep the Pikachu nudibranch and the white one long because it show the interesting way of the pikachu crawl and flop (so cute!), and the white glass one eating. I suppose I could have cut the juvenile dragon shorter.
The mating part was tricky, I didn't even know they're doing it until when they split up. While I was shooting them, I just saw a blob of black nudibranch stick together, so focus was hard (dealing with diopter and try not to shake/move camera much). Watching them crawl closer kind of set up the scene, but I agree it's very sloooooowwww....... Do you think 15 seconds max per clip is too long? I'm slowly learning the editing portion, so any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
I have another big master reel in the progress, so I think I will try to keep each clip around 10 seconds.
Also, I saw your Nudi clip, will try snoot light the next time, if I get to do more night dive!
Timing is tricky and there isn't ever a correct answer. When I was first learning, I would keep clips too long. And videos too long. Even now, I am thinking 5 minutes is too long for a full video, but I get dragged into it because I have more footage I want show. Lol. And even now, of course, then you will get people that say the clips aren't long enough. I have found that in general, if someone is very interested in the subject matter, longer clips are fine. But those casual viewers not so much, they need more action and variety. So I suppose it depnds on who you want as your audience. Unless you are nudi freak, you probably won't watch this all the way thru. you are better off making 2 shorter videos.
Having said that, the video is really good, and I am a nudi freak so I watched the whole thing...
As for the mating....I had the same type of nudis in Lembeh, but they were doing a 3 way...pretty funny. They were positioned well so you could definitely tell what they were doing. any black subject looks bad in video or pictures. Really hard to get that stuff to look good.
Would like to get an opinion in regards of underwater tripod. I'm thinking to purchase one for video both for WA shoot and macro.
I do have gorilla pod that can be used underwater but adjusting them is such a pain!
Considering the price - the proper one is expensive! - I do want to be sure it will help in getting a stable clip.
Thanks in advance!
Adjustin them is always a pain. You have to ask yourself, if it's important to you...? For me and macro, it's essential. For others, not so much. Keep in mind I also shoot a dslr, so that pretty requires a tripod. If you are satisfied with footage you get without one, then you are fine. If not, get one.
Here is another DIY solution for Macro. I doubt tripod is useful for wide angle, especially on wall dive.
I disagree. I use a tripod for wide angle, can get some great shots when the camera is staying still. Sometimes nice to leave the camera and let the fish surround it.
I also use the legs as a wider handle to help with more stable shots. Better than the housing handles imo.
It also makes my housing more stable above water, so it is more stable on sometimes rocky boats.
The whole video is excellent, I like the color grading and smooth shots.
I really love the first shot of the wreck appearing behind the corals !
The (double) splashscreen at the beginning is too long for me : 30s.
If I had not been for the preview, I would have left.
Thanks for watching it. I agree...the first part is too long. There is always a balance of trying to get your name out there and boring people. This is too long to get to the good stuff......but I will tell you my thinking. This might just be me...but, I feel there is a place in every song where it makes sense to start the good stuff...So with this particular song, that was where I thought it was, so I was trying to fill in the gap...Not great I know...but choosing music is hard for me, so if I find something that for the most part I like, I go with it.
Nice work, as usual. I liked the "tilted font" effect that you got on your name in the title sequence at the beginning. I was also very impressed with the water clarity, and how much of the plane was still intact after all this time.
I know it's your style but I would not crush black that much because it will look too much black on uncalibrated screen like tv or projector.
But maybe it just me.
As for the blacks...yes it is my style. Is there anything technically wrong with doing it this way? This might be a false observation, but I have noticed you used to do more of this than you currently do. Are you finding you don't like black in the picture just as a personal taste? Or is it for a technical reason? I definitely like having blacks especially in my macro, as I shoot it that way on purpose. On this trip I was actually exposing to the right on purpose with the mindset of crushing the blacks in post. I have viewed on both calibrated and uncalibrated monitors and TV's and it looks pretty good. I haven't put it up on my projector however. I have often pondered why we are so concerned with calibrating our monitors, when 99% of the monitors/tv's are not calibrated...lol. I always watch it on an uncalibrated monitor to make sure it looks good first. Interesting discussion....
I remember diving it and the water being quite milky then.
Can you say about what you did in post with this.
- and it's amazingly stable footage too!
Thanks! As for post I essentially crushed the blacks and tweaked the WB in very small amounts.
Nice video, Dustin
Yeah, divers in shot can be a mixed blessing. I shoot stills and with a fisheye lens on my camera, "bike riders" or those who dive with their legs bent constantly at 90 degrees from the knee are a real pain! Stop it, you people!
My partner has become an excellent model: hanging-in the water-column, legs elegantly elongated, lovely green eyes looking at the subject, gently exhaling a stream of perfectly rounded bubbles... and bingo, into view hoves Mr or Ms Bike Rider. ARGH.
We have thought about putting together a PADI Specialty Course: Underwater Modelling. It's tempting to make it compulsory. At least then we can get perfectly poised divers in shot.
(Sorry, not trying to hijack your post)
Thank you for watching it and commenting. Yeah, the divers can be a challenge especially with a fisheye. My instruction to my friends consisted of, "If you are in the shot, look like you know what you are doing, and never look at the camera!"...lol.