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Posts posted by paolobl65

  1. Hello ,

    here are my memories from my last trip in raja Ampat - January 2019 .

    I stayed in Papua Explorer Resort and I had a very nice stay .
    All were great there : from accomodation to food , from staff to diving operation .
    What I like specially is his position : right in the center of Dampier strait !
    It was my second time there and I cant wait to come again .

    But ... why Raja Ampat is so special ?
    Because a fantastic shallow part of the reef and so nice fish life ( sometime very well "organized ")

    This is my point of view .... and of course I prefer to show you some photos rather than words

    The shallow part of the reef

































    • Like 2

  2. Hi Martin ,


    thanks for your comment .


    I made some macro shot also ... but not really a standard macro because I used some vintage lens ( Helios and Oreston ) to get some special effect .












    about macro there were some mimic and wonderpuss , frog fish , some nudi , shrimps , crabs , the highlight for me was a junenile zebra batfish .


    Not so bad but I do not rate this place as good as Tulamben , Anilao or Lembeh .


    No manta because the water was so clean , but some shark .

    Incredible dive at shark montain h 06.30 at 34m FULL of fish but so dark ( no sun that day ) autofocus didnt work properly !!



  3. Hi Wolfgang ,


    thank you for your comment .


    #1 : setting 3th photo is F20 - 1/250 - iso 100 ( see exif data here : https://www.flickr.com/photos/paolobl65/47980304126/in/album-72157708873533293/ ) and with this setting the sunburst is OK , but the real secret to get a good sunburst ( without cyan halo ) is to dive very shallow ( 3 m - 7 m ) . In this case I dont remember exactly but for sure 5-6 m .

    And you need to stay very close to the subject ( CFWA is better ) and flash full power because the close aperture ( F20 this time , sometime I use even F22 ) .

    I just made postprocessing in Lightroom so nothing special .



    #2 : I used Orchardz Bandara hotel near Jakarta airport , check in available from 08:00 ( booked trough booking.com ) !


    hope this help

    all my best


    • Like 2

  4. 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.com/photos/paolobl65/albums/72157708873533293/with/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

    • Like 2

  5. I was in Weda Resort ( http://www.wedaresort.com/) Halmahera – Indonesia for a 12 days dive trip in April 2019 , and I’d like to share my experience .

    Reservation :

    I contacted the resort directly and discuss accommodation and diving . Payment possible on check out but I preferred to pay in advance so I get also discount 10% .

    Get there :

    I flew from Italy to Jakarta , stay some hours in an Hotel near airport and take late at night a direct flight to Ternate ( Halmahera Island ) landing the following day h 07:25 .

    Pick up in the airport from the Weda staff and then 15’ by car + 45’ by speed boat + 2 hour 30’ by car so I arrived h 12:00 in Weda resort . Smooth and well organized .

    Accomodation :

    Very comfortable even without aircon because the roof leave the air to enter . I’d say is not a luxury bungalow as some other resort , anyway all what you need for a perfect diving vacation is well provided . Very clean room , confy bed with mosquito net , a large table to work with the camera , big bathroom with hot shower . A nice veranda to enjoy the sunset . And just few step from the diving and from the restaurant .

    My only complain was the frogs were very noisy at night ! ( also becuase it was a lot of rain at night )

    Restaurant :

    the food was very good and plenty ! Lunch and dinner was in family style and fish , chicken and at least 4 vegetarian options were served every time .

    Afternoon snack was served directly on the bungalow veranda ( this was a nice touch ! )

    Wi-Fi works only in the restaurant and was just enough for some wathapps .

    Birdwatching :

    I'm not a big fan of birdwatching but it's worth an early woke up end join the expedition to see the Standard Wing Bird of Paradise in the jungle . A big professional monocular was setted up by the guide , so I saw wery well his dancing ritual . The guide had incredible eyes and he showed me many others birds I cannot count .

    Diving operation :

    2 dives in the morning starting on 7:30 for reef dive and 1 dive in the afternoon 15:00 usually for macro . Night dive available ( but 3 dives was more than enoug for me because 70-90 minutes each one ) .

    Dive boat was very confortable , fast , semicovered , easy to get in and out , plenty of space , and also rinse tank on board for 2 big DSLR camera !

    Snack on board , as well as water , coffee and tea . Great crew , as always in Indonesia , take care of all .

    Group are small , max 4 divers for 1 dive master , but usually 2-3 .

    Diving :

    As underwater photographer I was there for wide angle photography and I was not disappointed !!!

    No other dive shop around , no big boat transit ( just some small fisherman boat ) …. all the sea was only for us !

    Even if there was a lot of rain at night during my stay ( unusual for the period ) the visibility was from great to excellent . Anyway we had to dive mostly the off shore dive site ( Loleo , Tidore , Elmoos ) for best visibility .

    Hope next time I will be there ( … and yes , I have to came there again for sure ! ) I'll be able to dive the dive site close the coastline .

    Macro dive was also good with some dives really "muck style " on sandy slope in search of mimic octopus and frog fish .

    Very special dives were Gorango and Shark Mountain in early morning dive . So many fish !

    Dive condition was perfect : flat sea , warm water ( 29-31°C ) , great visiblity , none to moderate current .

    Great snorkeling possibility as well and fantastic shallow part of the reef .

    It was really a great experience : one of the best place I ever dived for wide angle photography because the combination of three key factor : fantastic corals and very good fish life / great visibility / moderate current ( to be able to manage flash positioning and accurate composition ) , ..... anyway more than thousand words I think it is better to show you some photos :











    • Like 2


    Hi Paolo,

    Different price may be dependently of optional products (if included). There was such optional kit on the website, but it is already updated to standard kit.


    Standard kit includes TTL board, HotShoe cable, 2 pcs optical LED emitters with plastic adapters.

    This is most popular setup, purposed for Optical TTL usage.



    Optional products

    If user also needs Electric TTL via Sea&Sea Nikonos bulkheads, usually he requires electric cable adapters (1 or 2 pcs). This is optional product. There can be few variants, dependently of parts (UWT connector or original Sea&Sea connector, 1 or 2 pcs, etc.), all are available. Better specify optional parts when ordering.




    Perfect Pavel !

    I only need the Optical ( standard ) Kit !

    thanks again


  7. Hello Pavel ,

    thank you for answer .


    I saw new new article ( May 5th ) in wetpixel : https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ShowUserReviews-g312559-d4431592-r388696566-Pro_Dive_Centre-Port_Elizabeth_Eastern_Cape.html


    price is 450$


    but in UW Tecnichs website ( https://uwtechnics.com/index.php/online-store/ttl-converters/for-canon/11044-ttl-converter-for-canon-for-sea-sea-underwater-housings-detail ) the price of same item is 495 $


    maybe the website is not updated to new correct price ?

    ( ... I'm going to order but this mistake stopped me ... )





  8. 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.com/photos/paolobl65/albums/72157701111669905



    all my best

    Paolo Isgro

    • Like 4

  9. 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 ...... :

















    • Like 4

  10. 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 )

    • Like 1

  11. Very nice photos. I have a question for you regarding Garuda. I'm heading to Lembeh in October for the first time ever, and I'm flying Garuda to/from Jakarta. What are their exact policies regarding carry-on luggage? Are carry-on's weighed? If so, do they force you to check them if heavy? Or merely pay an extra fee? I typically travel with a light back pack with my cameras/lenses, and a heavy (but appropriately sized external dimensions for all US carriers) carry-on Pelican hard shell case with my housing, strobes, etc etc etc. This has worked for any flights I've ever been on for numerous destinations in the Caribbean. Garuda's website notes a 7kg weight limit for carryons. Did it seem like they were actively checking weight on bags? My Pelican case is way over 7kg. All my valuable equipment are in padded compartments, and the case is hard (and can be locked), so I could theoretically check it, but it is my MUCH preferred option to keep it with me.


    Any insight you can add would be helpful. Thanks!


    I flew many many times with Garuda and always with one Loewepro 200 with 2 camera , 3-4 lenses and accessories ( 7 Kg ) and one ultralight sansonite trolley with housing , arms , 2 strobe , dome , wet lense , clamp , laptop ( 12 Kg ) .

    I dont remember any weight control at check in . Anyway I usually take out from trolly some equipment and put them in a photographic jacket .... just in case ....


    And with Garuda you can have as chek in baggage + 23 Kg for diving equipment on top of the regular 20 Kg .

  12. 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.com/photos/paolobl65/albums/72157669429671268 )




















    • Like 2

  13. Hello Ludovic ,


    Nice to meet you in Wetpixel Forum !!


    Let me say the details in your hairy shrimp photo are unbelievable !! I saw also that shot in your Flickr gallery …. unbeatable details !!

    The downside is to discover now a simple hairy shrimps is too big for a full shot in extreme Reverse Ring Macro …. not so much subject available .…


    And apologize :mocking::mocking: for unecessary advertising about Ajiex ability ( he really doesn’t need ! ) ….. but I hope we will have always a priority line in booking him ( anyway I already booked him for August 2019 , just to be conservative :lol2::lol2::lol2: !! ) .


    all my best


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