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Favourite Photos of 2012

Well it’s the year end, so i thought i would post my favourite 12 photos of the year.

The problem is I dont have any from before 25 September 2012, which was when i (finally) started diving in 2012!

Hopefully for 2013, i will be able to post a favourite photo from each month.

A special thanks to Bent for making me get back in the water again, and to Mood and Serge for keeping me going, and of course Bill for selling me a whole load of equipment for my 5Dmk3!

Happy New Year to you all.

Simon, Zee, and Bella and the team at NAD

Soft Coral Munchers

Kabira PhyllodensiumAs Phyllodensium Nudibranchs are uncommon, bizarre and attractive at the same time, they always make a good Blog post. Specially when they are found in numbers. Having blogged some weeks ago already about the Solar powered Nudibranch, it’s today the turn of the Kabira Phyllodensium (Phyllodensium kabiranum). As they are very well camouflaged when feeding on Soft Corals, they are very hard to spot – but once you found them, they make a very attractive subject. Specially, when they are isolated from the soft coral, like this one in the picture. At the moment we are finding 5 of them at Nudi Retreat – but we are also seeing them at some other Dive Sites here in Lembeh Strait.

The blue highlights in its brown tentacles make it already very attractive – but when you pass the right moment of the surge moving all it’s cerata to one side, you can see its beautiful orange base. Keep looking within Heteroxenia and Xenia corals and you might find one.

The Inaugural Lembeh Shootout has finished!

Our first Lembeh Shootout in association with Underwater.kr has just finished, and it was a blast.

We made our rules very strict, specifically in relation to trying to limit our environmental impact, as one contestant put it… ‘It was refreshing to shoot with the discipline we sometimes forget.’

We laid out the categories in the following way:

  • Compact Camera
  • Mirrorless
  • dSLR
  • Super-Macro
  • Unrestricted
  • Portfolio

Then we had additional prizes for the following:

  • Environmentally Friendly Diver
  • Best Of Show

We did not want to promote the misuse of pointing sticks, or having animals in an unnatural environment, so the guides would not move critters to unusual, more favourable positions – and the judges and the guides were also checking to see if the critter was in the same condition when a diver finished shooting as when he started.  We’re pretty sure this is unique and it did make it very cool. For the judging, we based our criteria on the usual areas of image quality, composition, technique and subject, and we also considered the amount of tweaking the image had been subjected to.  This may explain why the order of images may seem odd if you have not seen the raw files.

So, here we go with the results:

Compact

Winner:  Balqesh Abdullah

Winner Compact Category, Lembeh Shootout

(c) Balqesh Abdullah

Honourable Mention:

Honourable Mention Compact Category

(c) Hng Che Leong

Mirrorless

Winner: Christine Foo

Winner Mirrorless Category

(c) Christine Foo

Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention Mirrorless Category

(c) Anne Adijuwono

Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention Mirrorless

(c) Nicole Ng

Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention Mirrorless

(c) CH Low

dSLR

Winner:

Winner dSLR Category

(c) Kay Burn Lim

Runner Up:

Runner Up, dSLR Category

(c) Carmelo Bethencourt

3rd Place:

3rd Place, dSLR

(c) Carmelo Bethencourt

Honourable Mention:

Honourable Mention

(c) Jeong Kwon Park

Honourable Mention:

(c) Alvin Ho

(c) Alvin Ho

Super Macro

Winner:

winner supermacro

(c) Kay Burn Lim

2nd Place

runner up, supermacro

(c) Patrick Rebai

3rd Place

3rd Place, Super Macro

(c) CK Chong

Honourable Mention

Honourable Mention, SuperMacro

(c) Carmelo Bethencourt

Unrestricted

Winner:

Winner, Unrestricted

(c) Kay Burn Lim

2nd Place:

Runner Up, Unrestricted

(c) Kay Burn Lim

3rd Place:

3rd Place, Unrestricted

(c) Christian Jansen

Honourable Mention:

07_D_003_sm

(c) Won Ha Kyoung

Portfolio

Winner:

1st place portfolio

(c) Jeong Kwon Park

2nd Place

(C) CK Chong

(c) CK Chong

3rd Place

(c) Patrick Rebai

(c) Patrick Rebai

Best of Show

Winner:

Best Of Show

(c) Jeong Kwon Park

Environmental Diver

Winners:     Patrick Rebai & Christian Jansen  (Joint Winners).

A special thanks to all of the sponsors, the new friends we made and the old friends we saw again.

Solar Powered Nudi with Inhabitant

Solar Powered Nudibranch with little Wrasse

 

It seems to me, that we see a lot of Phyllodensium Nudibranchs at the moment. We encountered 4 different Types only yesterday – and 3 Solar Powered Nudibranchs (Phyllodensium longicirrum) on a single dive at “Tanjung Kubur”. The one you can see on this picture was a smaller one. As i was preparing for the shot, i realised, that there was a little fish hiding between the Cerata (tentacles) of the Nudibranch. It turned out to be a little Wrasse seeking shelter within the “arms” of the Solar Powered Nudi. This shot was taken in a brief moment, when the Wrasse came out of its solar powered home.

Even though we also saw a Blue Ringed Octopus, 2 Ambon Scorpionfishes, a Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Hairy Shrimps and other cool Critters on this dive at, the little Wrasse hiding in the Nudibranch was still my personal favourite of this Dive.
We were 6 Divers and had Johan, Stenley and Marnez as Guides with us.

Sex Show Everynight!

MandarinfishLast night I was feeling a little bored and felt that I needed to relieve some urges from deep in my soul. The only cure to that was to go and watch some sex!
Before you all start thinking im losing my mind, I am, of course, talking about Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus).  These beautiful little fish are nymphomaniacs, and get it on every-night.  They are one of the most frustrating things to photograph and i havent tried to take pictures of Mandarinfish for about 4 years, so i thought it was about time for some stress!

I headed out with Johan and his two guests (Alex and Barbara).  I took my own guide, Marnes, so that Alex and Barbara didn’t have to hear my foul language when i missed the shots that i wanted :).
In the end it was quite a nice dive with some success.  Only one other boat arrived and they graciously put their guests a little further down the patch from us and i think everyone had a good time 🙂  By the time the other boat left we were just finding some frogfish, Bobtail Squid and cool nudis mating.  For more details on the Mandarinfish dive i did a creature feature post on the NAD site.  For those of you too lazy to click there, here are some photos below, but there are more on the website:

Nudibranch Jockeys

The other day at TK I found (well of course i didn’t, the guides did!) a pair of Commensal Shrimp (Periclimenes imperator)  sitting on the back of a Glossodoris nudibranch.

commensal shrimp on a ceratosoma nudibranch in lembeh

Commensal Shrimp on a Glossodoris Nudibranch in Lembeh

I also managed to get a few video clips of them feeding as well, these are some of my favourite shrimp, just behind the coleman shrimp… which i’ll go looking for in a few days:

Simon went diving :o

We’ve got lots of Critters around the Lembeh strait at the moment, but Blue Rings are still present in good numbers, and to be honest they are one of my favourites. I went on and afternoon and night dive to try a new camera, and he also came back with some video too.  Here you go:

During the dive I saw a few other things as well, but as a good lesson to all you photographers out there, keep your gear organised and take care of it after your last use! There were a few technical difficulties with my strobes so not so many photos 😉

I was diving with Johan, who is back with us again after we found him working in a textile shop of all places (shouldn’t have left to another operator at the start of the year, silly boy!).  Stenley is private guiding, as is Paulus.  and then Joni, Indra, Abner and Marnes are also busy.  We have a new guy Steven, more on him later.

On the night dive i was struggling with my new setup so stayed out of the way on the Sand (ie i was pretty much lost). Johan found some harlequins that Joni had found earlier in the day and also a Bumblebee shrimp which im pretty upset to miss!

Hopefully i’ll be in the water again soon, until then!

Simon