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Alex_Mustard

Bali - August/September 06

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I haven't posted images from my last few trips - so I thought it would be fun to share some recent ones from Bali - I got back yesterday.

 

Like last year I was running a group trip there for British travel agent, Divequest. Most of the group were keen photographers, but this was not a wholly photographic trip - more aimed at exploring the fascinating underwater diversity of Bali (while staying in some jolly nice hotels!). I really enjoy running group trips - as there is always good banter and I especially like seeing people's reactions as they dive sites I love. The downside is that I tend not to meet many other people - as we completely filled two of the four resorts we stayed at (hotels in Bali are small).

 

Photographically I really enjoyed this. With one eye always on the group I used this trip to experiment with several new setups - hopefully you'll notice that several of the shots are not in the standard muck-diving style.

 

The gallery of images is linked from my gallery page, here:

http://www.amustard.com/?page=gallery&...hoto&size=s

 

Hopefully this gives you an impression of the variety of underwater life in Bali. I will post a few of my favourites below.

 

Alex

 

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One of my main goals for the trip was developing a "Wide Angle Macro" technique for muck dives. The intention is to shot a detailed view of a macro subject in the foreground, with a better view of the environment in the background.

 

I was very pleased with the effect:

 

BL13.jpg

 

BL40.jpg

 

BL07.jpg

 

Although it looks easy - this technique is actually more complicated than it looks. And I will write an article all about it, when I get a chance.

 

Alex

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What can I say, really great macro's en CFWA's WAMA's. The peeping mimmic (BLO6) is my favourite.

The CFWA WAMA of the octo and seahorse (BL13 and BL36) are really special.

 

Greetz.

 

The WA's are a bit hmmm

Edited by DuikKees

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Awesome pics- I really like the clownfish/anenome and the seahorse with the diver in the background. How do you get the anenome to glow like that? Any particular technique or done in PS? It's beautiful.

 

Thanks for sharing

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Very interesting "Wide angle macro" shots. Looking forward to your article.

 

Love the mola mola shots also. I just came back from probably a similar encounter and could not get anywhere as close to them as you did. How deep were they when you took those shots. They were down around 40m when I saw them at Nusa Penida on Saturday.

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This trip was also my first chance to try the new 105mm VR. The lens is nice, but it is certainly not an automatic upgrade choice.

 

Personally I prefer the AF of the old lens. The AFS moves too fast, making it difficult to nudge the focus by coming on and off the shutter button, like you could with the old lens. After a few dives I was used to it, but there were still certain shots I was wishing for the old lens.

 

That said there are many positives. The lens is definitely sharper than the old 105mm. And sharper than the 60mm. Also this lens has a much nicer bokeh (how it renders the out of focus bits) than the old 105mm (much smoother).

 

But my favourite feature is the VR, which works really well underwater.

 

This is an example:

BL17.jpg

 

Of course I could take shots like this before. But I because I needed a shutterspeed of 1/20th sec to get the blue background, I would usually take 5 to 10 shots to be sure of a sharp one - free from movement blur. In this case I took 5 shots and all of them were pin sharp without ghosting. Awesome. I didn't actually get too many chances to do that much of this technique because we rarely had good blue water conditions.

 

Alex

 

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The mola mola were very cooperative this year. I did three dives at Crystal Bay and saw 6. They weren't a main aim of the trip, but I was pleased with the shots.

 

The best way to shoot them is on your own - as the more divers the less approachable they are. But I was diving there in a group of 7 inc. guides (we split in two groups) and I had to let the group have a go with them first (luckily my group was nearly all v experienced, with most have 1000+ dives) so we generally got pretty close.

 

Actually I was able to exploit one of out lot as a model in this shot - the advantage of letting the others get close to the Mola first.

BL26.jpg

 

I shot them with the 16mm fisheye - and because my Subtronic was broken as usual - I had to use full power - which probably helped!

 

Alex

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I agree with Kees who has picked out several of my favourites:

 

This is another Wide Angle Macro shot (the technique is very different from a standard CFWA). The other diver was actually hunting for the seahorse at the time - and I exploited him as a model before calling him over! I actually have some interesting follow up shots as he came in and started photographing the seahorse.

 

BL36.jpg

 

And this is the Mimic shot. I really like the composition of this frame.

 

BL06.jpg

 

The anemonefish shot is processed with a cool WB to bring out the blue tips. No PS, but definitely a cooler than normal WB. This anemone did have blue tips like this UW, but in the original photo they didn't come out that bluey. You see anemonefish on most dives - but I only tend to shoot them when I have a interesting coloured anemone and nice arrangements of tentacles.

 

BL18.jpg

 

Alex

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10.5mm and a teleconverter. But it is a longer story than that... (which I will tell, but I am a bit busy today!)

 

Alex

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Truly amazing images! I, too, especially enjoyed the wide angle macro. Can't wait to see your article!

 

Doug

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Great stuff Alex, fantastic really. I'm in awe of the DOF. 10.5 combined with the TC? Only you would think up a combo like that...LOL! Good job. I'm off to Canada tomorrow.

 

Rand

Edited by randapex

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Wonderfull images, as usual, Alex. Thanks for the mini report on the 105VR; I've been kind of on the fence on that one.

 

How close were you to the seahorse with the 10.5. I'm, like everyone else, dying to hear about your new technique.

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Here is a picture of Alex's new rig - sans housing...

 

relay_system-57.3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only joking - this is really Matt Meuller's setup which allows images like this...

 

gardens-41.3.jpg

 

I must admit though, I would have thought extension rather than a teleconverter would be more likely to result in the images Alex has made - which btw, I think look fantastic.

 

Can't wait to hear what crazy combination of contraptions you have come up with Alex!

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Thanks for all the feedback and I am glad that the Wide Angle Macro has generated lots of interest. Here is another one taken with the set-up (which looks similar to the setup Anthony posts (well the camera is the same!):

 

BL23.jpg

 

It does require getting very close to subjects, which then introduces major issues for lighting them - which is when it starts to get complex.

 

Alex

 

p.s. I think we will see some stunning Mola mola pix this season. I was there for a day with a group - but I know that there are several people out there on there own shooting day after day - and to be honest Mola mola are actually very approachable. So keep an eye out for some great images in the coming weeks.

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Thanks Alex - now how about the details :)

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wow. that looks like a set up studio starring mr. frogfish. (oh is that a frogfish?)

 

cant wait for more mola mola pix.

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Thanks guys.

 

The Wide-Angle-Macro shots do get better the bigger you see them. It is a pity that I can't share the larger versions - they really pop when they are big.

 

Alex

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Great Pics Alex!

 

I miss Bali!!!!!!

 

Isn't it amazing how much Graham and Yan can find at PJ? I did, about 12 dives there at PJ last Oct, just myself and Yan and it was phenomenal how much life was tucked away there and one of the best spots for mimcs around I think. But I missed the bluering, is PJ where that was found?? I know Graham has found them there before.

 

Very creative shots and great mola too. Yes it looks like there are more this year as opposed to last. Last year I had to venture down to 148 feet, but had a really close encounter when one came up to me, I presumed it wanted me to clean it also. I'd love to see them again!!

 

Thanks a bunch Alex,

 

Carol

Edited by seagrant

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Alex.

Love the shots...nice work...and I love bali diving as well. I just returned from several days in Padang Bai with Waterworx. We spent the good part of two days in Crystal Bay enjoying fabulous encounters with mola mola. I was able to capture every angle imaginable with my FX1 rig in high vis, bright conditions...love it!

Shawn

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Awesome shots Alex!

 

The mola mola had my jaw dropping. The composition and lighting is perfect. Tha anenomie fish is great too. You see a lot of these shots but the composition and color in this one is stunning.

 

I'm very interested in the technique. I never would have imagined TCs on a fisheye. I'm eagerly awaiting the article on this. Have you tried it with a magic filter?

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I've been doing something similar with the Sigma 15 and a tele on the Canon 5D - you have to test to make sure the tele will fit on your given lens (for example, the white tamron tele works with the sigma 15, but not the canon 15 - you need the black tamron tele for that).

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Hey, I really hope Alex's creative images inspire others to go out and experiment a little more, try new things, I've always wondered why people don't take more shots to show the environment. I've tried to do this myself but couldn't quite get it right with my little Sony, here's my attempt...

At times I wish I had a decent camera to play around with!

Obvioulsy I couldn't get any width as I don't have lenses but you may be able to see what I was trying at here! If I ever try this again, I will have to try it with a model in the background, maybe try the stereotypical diver holding the flashlight, I’d say torch but I know how much this confuses those from the USA, they often look at me and ask, but how do you keep it lit underwater? :blink:

post-5023-1158418904_thumb.jpg

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I'm rather late to this thread, but still must chip in with my own COOOL SHOTS comment. Now, what would be really really cool would be working out some way to use the Scheimpflug effect underwater with the WAMA technique.

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