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Bali Corona Virus

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

The Corona Virus is grabbing headlines the world over. This viral infection has become a leading news story around the world each day.  One of the questions we are hearing now is “Is the Corona virus in Bali?”.  Today we discuss what the situation is for curious travelers interested in Indonesia.

At this point in time there are no confirmed Corona cases in Indonesia.  The authorities in the country are monitoring all flight arrivals. All flights from China have been canceled at this time.  So far this is working well.  Indonesia is being active and taking initiative to try to mitigate any effects in Indonesia.

Bali Corona Virus

What Can You Do to Be Prepared?

Traveling at this time is the same as at any other time, be prepared.  Like any cold or flu bug, it seems that the Corona virus is spread by touch.  Therefore, we recommend that travelers bring santizing wipes with them. These can be used to wipe down plane seats and other public areas. In fact, this is a great idea whenever you travel to protect yourself from illness. Wash your hands and face often with these wipes as well. The most common way that colds and flu are transferred between people is by touching.

Another good practice is to utilize masks.  The recommended use of a mask has typically been for sick people to use one to protect others. However, at this time, in more confined places like airplanes or trains, a mask may be a good thing for everyone.  Do keep in mind that the mask has to be a proper N95 mask, simple surgical masks don’t provide protection from viruses.

Buy Travel Insurance

Speaking of being prepared, always buy travel insurance for your holidays.  We can’t recommend what insurance to buy, some may not cover for certain things. However, it’s always a great idea to have insurance if anything happens. This is not just during the Corona virus time, it’s for any time you plan a holiday.

Is the Corona Virus Something I Should Be Worried About?

At this point in time, Indonesia doesn’t have any confirmed cases.  Life in Bali is going on as normal, the tourism sector is open, diving and other activities are going on as normal.  By following common sense precautions as discussed above, we don’t foresee any issues for travel to Bali.

 

Tiger Shrimp Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets – A Bali Dive Site Spotlight

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets is one of the most famous critter diving sites in Bali.  With dark volcanic sand covering the bottom, this series of sites is perfect for underwater photography. Often on the list as one of the sites that our guests want to dive, Seraya Secrets is a very productive dive site.  What makes this dive so popular? Let’s delve into it.

Seraya Secrets: Bali’s First True Critter Dive?

With the advent of digital in the early 2000s, underwater photography entered a renaissance.  The ease of digital technology, along with the small size of compact cameras,  makes underwater photography a breeze.  Around the same time, the small dive resort Scuba Seraya opened it’s doors to divers.  For many visitors the coral reefs and the USAT Liberty Wreck were the main attraction. However, the black sand house reef, “Seraya Secrets”, became the go to afternoon site.  With sharp eyed guides, divers constantly photographed a bucket list of top critters.  Due to many of these photographs being published, the Tulamben area soon grew a reputation as a top macro area to rival the Lembeh Strait.

Pink Squat Lobster

 

Where is Seraya Secrets?

Seraya Secrets is located in the North East of Bali, very near to the town of Tulamben.  For those familiar with the area, the site is located a kilometre past the large bridge on the main road.  The site can be accessed via a small dirt road leading directly to the beach. The local families who own the land have set up a great prep area including rinse tanks and a toilet. The whole extended family pitches in to load and unload tanks and equipment.  The entry is directly beside the Scuba Seraya Resort and typically two dives are done here.  The entry is easy enough with a walk over small rocks into a gentle slope.

Chicken at Seraya Secrets

What Do We See?

The diving here is classic Bali macro diving.  The topography is a gentle slope of black sand with a ridge and valley terrain. The valleys are mainly featureless plains of sand, while the ridges are home to corals and sponges.  A guide with an “eagle eye” is  the secret to finding all of the best critters here.  Common animal encounters include harlequin shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, and a plethora of nudibranchs. Larger animals include resident leopard morays, lionfish, and the occasional seahorse. It’s easy to spend a long time in the shallows looking for leaf fish, schooling catfish, and skeleton shrimp.  Its one of the most  rewarding sites in Bali for photographers.  This is also one of the best sites to encounter the elusive boxer crab!

Nudibranch

Leopard Moray

Goby and Shrimp

Boxer Crab

We dive Seraya Secrets on all of our trips in the Tulamben area. If you would like to dive with us there please have a look at one of our Safari packages.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 

Web Graphic

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

One of the most common questions we receive on Photo Workshops is “How do I add a graphic logo watermark?”  Having an eye catching logo as your watermark on a photograph does look more professional than a simple name.  In this short tutorial we will walk you through the way to create a watermark using Adobe Lightroom.

One thing that you will need to start is a logo!  This tutorial doesn’t cover the art of creating a logo.  Although you can use the jpg of the logo as your watermark, we suggest that creating a transparent background will work best.  For information about how to create a transparent background have a look at this easy to follow video.

Once you have your logo ready, it’s very simple to use Adobe Lightroom to add it to your photo.  We use a series of screen grabs to show the steps needed to do so.

First step, open the Export menu in Lightroom

Watermark One

 

Next, scroll down to the “Watermarking” tab

Watermark Two

Click on the Up/Down arrow to open the watermarking drop down and choose Edit Watermarks

Renaming

 

The Watermark Editor will appear, on the top right click the “Graphic” button (or choose Text if you prefer to only do your name)

Choose Graphic Logo Watermark

 

Navigate to the folder which holds your logo, this will be a .png file (with transparent background)

Select the Logo File

 

Once the logo opens, you can then choose different options like the opacity, proportion, and where on the photo it will appear

Settings Graphic Logo Watermark

Once you are happy with the way that your logo is placed, you can then click Save which will allow you to create a New Preset. Be sure to name the preset something descriptive so you can remember which preset it is. (I often change between left and right depending on the photo)

Graphic Logo Watermark Preset

 

Now, the next time you enter the Export menu all you need to do is choose the Preset that you created and it will automatically create the watermark you designed.

Find it in the Dropdown Watermarks

 

And that is all there is to it! By creating a watermark preset, or series of presets, you will save a lot of time. There is no need to go through all of these steps each time.  Please let us know if you have any questions about it.  If you are interested in learning how to add your copyright to the image as well, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

Blue Background

Break Away From Black – Underwater Macro Photos

Break Away From Black in Underwater Macro Photography

Blue Background Octopus

For many years the “black background” has dominated the macro underwater photography social media scene. However, photos with a bright subject composed on a stark black background are so common now they have become passe.  Open any underwater photography page on Facebook or Instagram and there is nothing but a sea of black.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a well executed black background. This style of photograph truly allows the subject to stand out against a clean background. However, when 90% of macro photographs that you see on social media are composed against black it becomes tiring. What’s worse, are the photos with obviously painted black backgrounds, which show the subject in an unnatural looking state.  In fact, the obsessive quest for these backgrounds leads to unscrupulous photographers manipulating wildlife in order to get a clean background.

Try Blue Instead of Black

Batu Niti EelInstead of following the crowd, trying to shoot every photo with a black background, why not try shooting blue instead? As a matter of fact, the technical part of shooting these images is almost the same.  We have a short primer on “Shooting Blue Backgrounds” on our underwater tutorials section, take a look! The key thing to take away from that tutorial is twofold.  The most important tip is to shoot up and into the water column toward the surface. The second is to keep in mind the ambient light, try to shoot during the middle of the day to achieve the best blues. Of course, the blues can be tweaked in post but getting a great result in camera always builds confidence.

 

Use Your Depth of Field

DOF Cuttlefish CoverComposing a colourful subject against black is so popular as it allows the subject to truly stand out. However, there are many situations where this simply is not feasible. For example, a subject nestled inside coral or resting on white sand. Yes, a snoot can be used to isolate the subject from the background but why not use another tool? Manipulating the Depth of Field is a simple and very effective way of doing so.  Simply open the f-stop an wide setting such as f4 and turn down strobe power accordingly. (Or use TTL)  This will blur the background and focus the viewer on the subject itself. The best thing about this technique is that no expensive additionals are needed.

Colourful Lights and Reflective Backgrounds

Another popular effect to try is creating colourful backgrounds using different coloured torches and reflective objects.  This technique does rely on bringing some extra tools on a dive. Reflective backgrounds can be achieved using simple tools such as old CDs or DVDs, large crystals, or other shiny objects.  To create the background, use an open f-stop and have a dive buddy hold the object behind the subject. Please do so in a safe manner not disturbing the creature or the reef.  Then shine a normal torch or one of the multi coloured torches available on the market today to reflect off the object. This will create out of focus crystalized lighting behind the subject on the photograph.  To truly achieve special shots, this style can be taken up a notch by using dedicated bokeh lenses with SLR or Mirrorless cameras.

 

Colourful Background

Break Away From Black

When all is said and done, the takeaway from this is not that black backgrounds are bad. Black backgrounds are certainly a very effective tool in underwater photography. However, it should not be the end goal of every macro enthusiast.  Don’t get so stuck on the idea of a black background that you ignore other compositional tools. Get out there on your next dive, think outside of the box, and try something new! Don’t be afraid to break away from black, remember, blue is the new black!

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Lembeh Strait Photo Workshop 2020

Join us in Lembeh Strait in 2020

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Our 8th annual NAD Lembeh Photo Workshop will be upon us soon! This popular event is always a favourite time of year for us. The fantastic NAD Lembeh Resort will once again play host to our workshop. NAD is one of the best resorts in Indonesia and is very much geared toward photography. With a large and spacious camera room and a 2:1 guest to guide ratio, it’s the perfect host.

Who are the Instructors?

Lembeh Photo Workshop 2020Once again we are happy to have Adobe wizard Doug Sloss with us this year. Doug will conduct all of the Lightroom and Photoshop sessions throughout the week. Mike Veitch will conduct the majority of the technical photography lessons. Luca Vaime will conduct artistic presentations and record the events of the week. Of course all 3 instructors will be in the water with the students on every dive. One of the highlights of our workshops is that the instructors don’t carry cameras underwater. The instructors are underwater specifically to help out the students with their photography.

What Will I Learn?

Our photo workshops include presentations aimed at beginners as well as more advanced techniques for experienced shooters.  We start the week with all of the basics to get everyone on the same page. This includes suggested settings for F Stops, shutter speed, and strobe positioning.  As the week progresses we introduce new ideas to improve upon the basics.  Each day we have informal meetings after the third dive in order to critique images and work one to one with any issues. During the dives each instructor will work with students one to one. The instructors change boats each day so everyone will get a chance to work with each instructor.

What Kind of Diving in Lembeh Strait?

Black Water Mimic OctopusThe Lembeh Strait is a world class dive destination. Known as the top critter spot in the world, Lembeh is home to all of the famous critters that make muck diving so popular. There are black sand, white sand, coral reefs, and true muck sites throughout this large area.  NAD is also one of the best dive operations for Black Water diving, we will be organizing Black Water dives throughout the week (weather permitting).  The list of creatures that can be found here is long but includes: hairy frogfish, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, rhinopias, nudibranchs, wonderpus, and so much more.

 

How Do I Sign Up?

Signing up is easy, simply send us an email and we can get started today. We have space available in either bungalows or pool side rooms. If you are a couple or two friends, we have the shared room option. If you prefer to travel on your own, we have options for a single supplement room.

Pricing (Bungalows are larger and more private than Pool Side rooms)

Double Occupancy Pool Side – USD $1875 per person

Double Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2230 per person

Single Occupancy Pool Side – USD $2120 per person

Single Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2475 per person

 

Getting there is easy via either Jakarta to Manado or Singapore to Manado.  Let us know if you need help with booking domestic flights.

Pepe Arcos Podcast

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos Podcast

To close 2019 in style we are happy to bring to our podcast Pepe Arcos, who is an underwater photographer combining Fashion and Nature. Pepe Arcos is an award winning photographer and filmmaker who explores both fine art and commercial work.  From a former career as a Graphic Design studio working for large brands and organisations he has become a creative nomad traveling the world.

He is constantly tackling new projects that take him to the most breathtaking places on the planet.  He recently hosted a gallery in Bali of his conservation art work concentrating on coral reefs.

As a cinematographer, his works cover a wide range.  Recent work includes a BMW M4 commercial and the TV series APNEIA for Canal OFF, Globo Brazil. He has also produced personal projects like the shortfilm “Pressure”, which was awarded the best short film at the International Film Festival Balinale. He regularly shoots still photography for fashion brands and editorial campaigns for different magazines.

To see more of Pepe’s works feel free to visit his social media sites:

Website : https://www.pepearcos.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pepearcos/?…

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pepearcospho…

Click on the photo below for the YouTube version or Click here for the audio Podcast version.

If you are interested in listening to our other Podcasts, please peruse our Podcast Page.

Bali Corona Virus

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

The Corona Virus is grabbing headlines the world over. This viral infection has become a leading news story around the world each day.  One of the questions we are hearing now is “Is the Corona virus in Bali?”.  Today we discuss what the situation is for curious travelers interested in Indonesia.

At this point in time there are no confirmed Corona cases in Indonesia.  The authorities in the country are monitoring all flight arrivals. All flights from China have been canceled at this time.  So far this is working well.  Indonesia is being active and taking initiative to try to mitigate any effects in Indonesia.

Bali Corona Virus

What Can You Do to Be Prepared?

Traveling at this time is the same as at any other time, be prepared.  Like any cold or flu bug, it seems that the Corona virus is spread by touch.  Therefore, we recommend that travelers bring santizing wipes with them. These can be used to wipe down plane seats and other public areas. In fact, this is a great idea whenever you travel to protect yourself from illness. Wash your hands and face often with these wipes as well. The most common way that colds and flu are transferred between people is by touching.

Another good practice is to utilize masks.  The recommended use of a mask has typically been for sick people to use one to protect others. However, at this time, in more confined places like airplanes or trains, a mask may be a good thing for everyone.  Do keep in mind that the mask has to be a proper N95 mask, simple surgical masks don’t provide protection from viruses.

Buy Travel Insurance

Speaking of being prepared, always buy travel insurance for your holidays.  We can’t recommend what insurance to buy, some may not cover for certain things. However, it’s always a great idea to have insurance if anything happens. This is not just during the Corona virus time, it’s for any time you plan a holiday.

Is the Corona Virus Something I Should Be Worried About?

At this point in time, Indonesia doesn’t have any confirmed cases.  Life in Bali is going on as normal, the tourism sector is open, diving and other activities are going on as normal.  By following common sense precautions as discussed above, we don’t foresee any issues for travel to Bali.

 

Tiger Shrimp Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets – A Bali Dive Site Spotlight

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets is one of the most famous critter diving sites in Bali.  With dark volcanic sand covering the bottom, this series of sites is perfect for underwater photography. Often on the list as one of the sites that our guests want to dive, Seraya Secrets is a very productive dive site.  What makes this dive so popular? Let’s delve into it.

Seraya Secrets: Bali’s First True Critter Dive?

With the advent of digital in the early 2000s, underwater photography entered a renaissance.  The ease of digital technology, along with the small size of compact cameras,  makes underwater photography a breeze.  Around the same time, the small dive resort Scuba Seraya opened it’s doors to divers.  For many visitors the coral reefs and the USAT Liberty Wreck were the main attraction. However, the black sand house reef, “Seraya Secrets”, became the go to afternoon site.  With sharp eyed guides, divers constantly photographed a bucket list of top critters.  Due to many of these photographs being published, the Tulamben area soon grew a reputation as a top macro area to rival the Lembeh Strait.

Pink Squat Lobster

 

Where is Seraya Secrets?

Seraya Secrets is located in the North East of Bali, very near to the town of Tulamben.  For those familiar with the area, the site is located a kilometre past the large bridge on the main road.  The site can be accessed via a small dirt road leading directly to the beach. The local families who own the land have set up a great prep area including rinse tanks and a toilet. The whole extended family pitches in to load and unload tanks and equipment.  The entry is directly beside the Scuba Seraya Resort and typically two dives are done here.  The entry is easy enough with a walk over small rocks into a gentle slope.

Chicken at Seraya Secrets

What Do We See?

The diving here is classic Bali macro diving.  The topography is a gentle slope of black sand with a ridge and valley terrain. The valleys are mainly featureless plains of sand, while the ridges are home to corals and sponges.  A guide with an “eagle eye” is  the secret to finding all of the best critters here.  Common animal encounters include harlequin shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, and a plethora of nudibranchs. Larger animals include resident leopard morays, lionfish, and the occasional seahorse. It’s easy to spend a long time in the shallows looking for leaf fish, schooling catfish, and skeleton shrimp.  Its one of the most  rewarding sites in Bali for photographers.  This is also one of the best sites to encounter the elusive boxer crab!

Nudibranch

Leopard Moray

Goby and Shrimp

Boxer Crab

We dive Seraya Secrets on all of our trips in the Tulamben area. If you would like to dive with us there please have a look at one of our Safari packages.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 

Web Graphic

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

One of the most common questions we receive on Photo Workshops is “How do I add a graphic logo watermark?”  Having an eye catching logo as your watermark on a photograph does look more professional than a simple name.  In this short tutorial we will walk you through the way to create a watermark using Adobe Lightroom.

One thing that you will need to start is a logo!  This tutorial doesn’t cover the art of creating a logo.  Although you can use the jpg of the logo as your watermark, we suggest that creating a transparent background will work best.  For information about how to create a transparent background have a look at this easy to follow video.

Once you have your logo ready, it’s very simple to use Adobe Lightroom to add it to your photo.  We use a series of screen grabs to show the steps needed to do so.

First step, open the Export menu in Lightroom

Watermark One

 

Next, scroll down to the “Watermarking” tab

Watermark Two

Click on the Up/Down arrow to open the watermarking drop down and choose Edit Watermarks

Renaming

 

The Watermark Editor will appear, on the top right click the “Graphic” button (or choose Text if you prefer to only do your name)

Choose Graphic Logo Watermark

 

Navigate to the folder which holds your logo, this will be a .png file (with transparent background)

Select the Logo File

 

Once the logo opens, you can then choose different options like the opacity, proportion, and where on the photo it will appear

Settings Graphic Logo Watermark

Once you are happy with the way that your logo is placed, you can then click Save which will allow you to create a New Preset. Be sure to name the preset something descriptive so you can remember which preset it is. (I often change between left and right depending on the photo)

Graphic Logo Watermark Preset

 

Now, the next time you enter the Export menu all you need to do is choose the Preset that you created and it will automatically create the watermark you designed.

Find it in the Dropdown Watermarks

 

And that is all there is to it! By creating a watermark preset, or series of presets, you will save a lot of time. There is no need to go through all of these steps each time.  Please let us know if you have any questions about it.  If you are interested in learning how to add your copyright to the image as well, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

Blue Background

Break Away From Black – Underwater Macro Photos

Break Away From Black in Underwater Macro Photography

Blue Background Octopus

For many years the “black background” has dominated the macro underwater photography social media scene. However, photos with a bright subject composed on a stark black background are so common now they have become passe.  Open any underwater photography page on Facebook or Instagram and there is nothing but a sea of black.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a well executed black background. This style of photograph truly allows the subject to stand out against a clean background. However, when 90% of macro photographs that you see on social media are composed against black it becomes tiring. What’s worse, are the photos with obviously painted black backgrounds, which show the subject in an unnatural looking state.  In fact, the obsessive quest for these backgrounds leads to unscrupulous photographers manipulating wildlife in order to get a clean background.

Try Blue Instead of Black

Batu Niti EelInstead of following the crowd, trying to shoot every photo with a black background, why not try shooting blue instead? As a matter of fact, the technical part of shooting these images is almost the same.  We have a short primer on “Shooting Blue Backgrounds” on our underwater tutorials section, take a look! The key thing to take away from that tutorial is twofold.  The most important tip is to shoot up and into the water column toward the surface. The second is to keep in mind the ambient light, try to shoot during the middle of the day to achieve the best blues. Of course, the blues can be tweaked in post but getting a great result in camera always builds confidence.

 

Use Your Depth of Field

DOF Cuttlefish CoverComposing a colourful subject against black is so popular as it allows the subject to truly stand out. However, there are many situations where this simply is not feasible. For example, a subject nestled inside coral or resting on white sand. Yes, a snoot can be used to isolate the subject from the background but why not use another tool? Manipulating the Depth of Field is a simple and very effective way of doing so.  Simply open the f-stop an wide setting such as f4 and turn down strobe power accordingly. (Or use TTL)  This will blur the background and focus the viewer on the subject itself. The best thing about this technique is that no expensive additionals are needed.

Colourful Lights and Reflective Backgrounds

Another popular effect to try is creating colourful backgrounds using different coloured torches and reflective objects.  This technique does rely on bringing some extra tools on a dive. Reflective backgrounds can be achieved using simple tools such as old CDs or DVDs, large crystals, or other shiny objects.  To create the background, use an open f-stop and have a dive buddy hold the object behind the subject. Please do so in a safe manner not disturbing the creature or the reef.  Then shine a normal torch or one of the multi coloured torches available on the market today to reflect off the object. This will create out of focus crystalized lighting behind the subject on the photograph.  To truly achieve special shots, this style can be taken up a notch by using dedicated bokeh lenses with SLR or Mirrorless cameras.

 

Colourful Background

Break Away From Black

When all is said and done, the takeaway from this is not that black backgrounds are bad. Black backgrounds are certainly a very effective tool in underwater photography. However, it should not be the end goal of every macro enthusiast.  Don’t get so stuck on the idea of a black background that you ignore other compositional tools. Get out there on your next dive, think outside of the box, and try something new! Don’t be afraid to break away from black, remember, blue is the new black!

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Lembeh Strait Photo Workshop 2020

Join us in Lembeh Strait in 2020

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Our 8th annual NAD Lembeh Photo Workshop will be upon us soon! This popular event is always a favourite time of year for us. The fantastic NAD Lembeh Resort will once again play host to our workshop. NAD is one of the best resorts in Indonesia and is very much geared toward photography. With a large and spacious camera room and a 2:1 guest to guide ratio, it’s the perfect host.

Who are the Instructors?

Lembeh Photo Workshop 2020Once again we are happy to have Adobe wizard Doug Sloss with us this year. Doug will conduct all of the Lightroom and Photoshop sessions throughout the week. Mike Veitch will conduct the majority of the technical photography lessons. Luca Vaime will conduct artistic presentations and record the events of the week. Of course all 3 instructors will be in the water with the students on every dive. One of the highlights of our workshops is that the instructors don’t carry cameras underwater. The instructors are underwater specifically to help out the students with their photography.

What Will I Learn?

Our photo workshops include presentations aimed at beginners as well as more advanced techniques for experienced shooters.  We start the week with all of the basics to get everyone on the same page. This includes suggested settings for F Stops, shutter speed, and strobe positioning.  As the week progresses we introduce new ideas to improve upon the basics.  Each day we have informal meetings after the third dive in order to critique images and work one to one with any issues. During the dives each instructor will work with students one to one. The instructors change boats each day so everyone will get a chance to work with each instructor.

What Kind of Diving in Lembeh Strait?

Black Water Mimic OctopusThe Lembeh Strait is a world class dive destination. Known as the top critter spot in the world, Lembeh is home to all of the famous critters that make muck diving so popular. There are black sand, white sand, coral reefs, and true muck sites throughout this large area.  NAD is also one of the best dive operations for Black Water diving, we will be organizing Black Water dives throughout the week (weather permitting).  The list of creatures that can be found here is long but includes: hairy frogfish, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, rhinopias, nudibranchs, wonderpus, and so much more.

 

How Do I Sign Up?

Signing up is easy, simply send us an email and we can get started today. We have space available in either bungalows or pool side rooms. If you are a couple or two friends, we have the shared room option. If you prefer to travel on your own, we have options for a single supplement room.

Pricing (Bungalows are larger and more private than Pool Side rooms)

Double Occupancy Pool Side – USD $1875 per person

Double Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2230 per person

Single Occupancy Pool Side – USD $2120 per person

Single Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2475 per person

 

Getting there is easy via either Jakarta to Manado or Singapore to Manado.  Let us know if you need help with booking domestic flights.

Pepe Arcos Podcast

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos Podcast

To close 2019 in style we are happy to bring to our podcast Pepe Arcos, who is an underwater photographer combining Fashion and Nature. Pepe Arcos is an award winning photographer and filmmaker who explores both fine art and commercial work.  From a former career as a Graphic Design studio working for large brands and organisations he has become a creative nomad traveling the world.

He is constantly tackling new projects that take him to the most breathtaking places on the planet.  He recently hosted a gallery in Bali of his conservation art work concentrating on coral reefs.

As a cinematographer, his works cover a wide range.  Recent work includes a BMW M4 commercial and the TV series APNEIA for Canal OFF, Globo Brazil. He has also produced personal projects like the shortfilm “Pressure”, which was awarded the best short film at the International Film Festival Balinale. He regularly shoots still photography for fashion brands and editorial campaigns for different magazines.

To see more of Pepe’s works feel free to visit his social media sites:

Website : https://www.pepearcos.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pepearcos/?…

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pepearcospho…

Click on the photo below for the YouTube version or Click here for the audio Podcast version.

If you are interested in listening to our other Podcasts, please peruse our Podcast Page.

Bali Corona Virus

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

Bali – The Corona Virus Update

The Corona Virus is grabbing headlines the world over. This viral infection has become a leading news story around the world each day.  One of the questions we are hearing now is “Is the Corona virus in Bali?”.  Today we discuss what the situation is for curious travelers interested in Indonesia.

At this point in time there are no confirmed Corona cases in Indonesia.  The authorities in the country are monitoring all flight arrivals. All flights from China have been canceled at this time.  So far this is working well.  Indonesia is being active and taking initiative to try to mitigate any effects in Indonesia.

Bali Corona Virus

What Can You Do to Be Prepared?

Traveling at this time is the same as at any other time, be prepared.  Like any cold or flu bug, it seems that the Corona virus is spread by touch.  Therefore, we recommend that travelers bring santizing wipes with them. These can be used to wipe down plane seats and other public areas. In fact, this is a great idea whenever you travel to protect yourself from illness. Wash your hands and face often with these wipes as well. The most common way that colds and flu are transferred between people is by touching.

Another good practice is to utilize masks.  The recommended use of a mask has typically been for sick people to use one to protect others. However, at this time, in more confined places like airplanes or trains, a mask may be a good thing for everyone.  Do keep in mind that the mask has to be a proper N95 mask, simple surgical masks don’t provide protection from viruses.

Buy Travel Insurance

Speaking of being prepared, always buy travel insurance for your holidays.  We can’t recommend what insurance to buy, some may not cover for certain things. However, it’s always a great idea to have insurance if anything happens. This is not just during the Corona virus time, it’s for any time you plan a holiday.

Is the Corona Virus Something I Should Be Worried About?

At this point in time, Indonesia doesn’t have any confirmed cases.  Life in Bali is going on as normal, the tourism sector is open, diving and other activities are going on as normal.  By following common sense precautions as discussed above, we don’t foresee any issues for travel to Bali.

 

Tiger Shrimp Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets – A Bali Dive Site Spotlight

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets

Seraya Secrets is one of the most famous critter diving sites in Bali.  With dark volcanic sand covering the bottom, this series of sites is perfect for underwater photography. Often on the list as one of the sites that our guests want to dive, Seraya Secrets is a very productive dive site.  What makes this dive so popular? Let’s delve into it.

Seraya Secrets: Bali’s First True Critter Dive?

With the advent of digital in the early 2000s, underwater photography entered a renaissance.  The ease of digital technology, along with the small size of compact cameras,  makes underwater photography a breeze.  Around the same time, the small dive resort Scuba Seraya opened it’s doors to divers.  For many visitors the coral reefs and the USAT Liberty Wreck were the main attraction. However, the black sand house reef, “Seraya Secrets”, became the go to afternoon site.  With sharp eyed guides, divers constantly photographed a bucket list of top critters.  Due to many of these photographs being published, the Tulamben area soon grew a reputation as a top macro area to rival the Lembeh Strait.

Pink Squat Lobster

 

Where is Seraya Secrets?

Seraya Secrets is located in the North East of Bali, very near to the town of Tulamben.  For those familiar with the area, the site is located a kilometre past the large bridge on the main road.  The site can be accessed via a small dirt road leading directly to the beach. The local families who own the land have set up a great prep area including rinse tanks and a toilet. The whole extended family pitches in to load and unload tanks and equipment.  The entry is directly beside the Scuba Seraya Resort and typically two dives are done here.  The entry is easy enough with a walk over small rocks into a gentle slope.

Chicken at Seraya Secrets

What Do We See?

The diving here is classic Bali macro diving.  The topography is a gentle slope of black sand with a ridge and valley terrain. The valleys are mainly featureless plains of sand, while the ridges are home to corals and sponges.  A guide with an “eagle eye” is  the secret to finding all of the best critters here.  Common animal encounters include harlequin shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, and a plethora of nudibranchs. Larger animals include resident leopard morays, lionfish, and the occasional seahorse. It’s easy to spend a long time in the shallows looking for leaf fish, schooling catfish, and skeleton shrimp.  Its one of the most  rewarding sites in Bali for photographers.  This is also one of the best sites to encounter the elusive boxer crab!

Nudibranch

Leopard Moray

Goby and Shrimp

Boxer Crab

We dive Seraya Secrets on all of our trips in the Tulamben area. If you would like to dive with us there please have a look at one of our Safari packages.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

 

Web Graphic

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

Add A Graphic Logo Watermark

One of the most common questions we receive on Photo Workshops is “How do I add a graphic logo watermark?”  Having an eye catching logo as your watermark on a photograph does look more professional than a simple name.  In this short tutorial we will walk you through the way to create a watermark using Adobe Lightroom.

One thing that you will need to start is a logo!  This tutorial doesn’t cover the art of creating a logo.  Although you can use the jpg of the logo as your watermark, we suggest that creating a transparent background will work best.  For information about how to create a transparent background have a look at this easy to follow video.

Once you have your logo ready, it’s very simple to use Adobe Lightroom to add it to your photo.  We use a series of screen grabs to show the steps needed to do so.

First step, open the Export menu in Lightroom

Watermark One

 

Next, scroll down to the “Watermarking” tab

Watermark Two

Click on the Up/Down arrow to open the watermarking drop down and choose Edit Watermarks

Renaming

 

The Watermark Editor will appear, on the top right click the “Graphic” button (or choose Text if you prefer to only do your name)

Choose Graphic Logo Watermark

 

Navigate to the folder which holds your logo, this will be a .png file (with transparent background)

Select the Logo File

 

Once the logo opens, you can then choose different options like the opacity, proportion, and where on the photo it will appear

Settings Graphic Logo Watermark

Once you are happy with the way that your logo is placed, you can then click Save which will allow you to create a New Preset. Be sure to name the preset something descriptive so you can remember which preset it is. (I often change between left and right depending on the photo)

Graphic Logo Watermark Preset

 

Now, the next time you enter the Export menu all you need to do is choose the Preset that you created and it will automatically create the watermark you designed.

Find it in the Dropdown Watermarks

 

And that is all there is to it! By creating a watermark preset, or series of presets, you will save a lot of time. There is no need to go through all of these steps each time.  Please let us know if you have any questions about it.  If you are interested in learning how to add your copyright to the image as well, have a look here.

 

 

 

 

Blue Background

Break Away From Black – Underwater Macro Photos

Break Away From Black in Underwater Macro Photography

Blue Background Octopus

For many years the “black background” has dominated the macro underwater photography social media scene. However, photos with a bright subject composed on a stark black background are so common now they have become passe.  Open any underwater photography page on Facebook or Instagram and there is nothing but a sea of black.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a well executed black background. This style of photograph truly allows the subject to stand out against a clean background. However, when 90% of macro photographs that you see on social media are composed against black it becomes tiring. What’s worse, are the photos with obviously painted black backgrounds, which show the subject in an unnatural looking state.  In fact, the obsessive quest for these backgrounds leads to unscrupulous photographers manipulating wildlife in order to get a clean background.

Try Blue Instead of Black

Batu Niti EelInstead of following the crowd, trying to shoot every photo with a black background, why not try shooting blue instead? As a matter of fact, the technical part of shooting these images is almost the same.  We have a short primer on “Shooting Blue Backgrounds” on our underwater tutorials section, take a look! The key thing to take away from that tutorial is twofold.  The most important tip is to shoot up and into the water column toward the surface. The second is to keep in mind the ambient light, try to shoot during the middle of the day to achieve the best blues. Of course, the blues can be tweaked in post but getting a great result in camera always builds confidence.

 

Use Your Depth of Field

DOF Cuttlefish CoverComposing a colourful subject against black is so popular as it allows the subject to truly stand out. However, there are many situations where this simply is not feasible. For example, a subject nestled inside coral or resting on white sand. Yes, a snoot can be used to isolate the subject from the background but why not use another tool? Manipulating the Depth of Field is a simple and very effective way of doing so.  Simply open the f-stop an wide setting such as f4 and turn down strobe power accordingly. (Or use TTL)  This will blur the background and focus the viewer on the subject itself. The best thing about this technique is that no expensive additionals are needed.

Colourful Lights and Reflective Backgrounds

Another popular effect to try is creating colourful backgrounds using different coloured torches and reflective objects.  This technique does rely on bringing some extra tools on a dive. Reflective backgrounds can be achieved using simple tools such as old CDs or DVDs, large crystals, or other shiny objects.  To create the background, use an open f-stop and have a dive buddy hold the object behind the subject. Please do so in a safe manner not disturbing the creature or the reef.  Then shine a normal torch or one of the multi coloured torches available on the market today to reflect off the object. This will create out of focus crystalized lighting behind the subject on the photograph.  To truly achieve special shots, this style can be taken up a notch by using dedicated bokeh lenses with SLR or Mirrorless cameras.

 

Colourful Background

Break Away From Black

When all is said and done, the takeaway from this is not that black backgrounds are bad. Black backgrounds are certainly a very effective tool in underwater photography. However, it should not be the end goal of every macro enthusiast.  Don’t get so stuck on the idea of a black background that you ignore other compositional tools. Get out there on your next dive, think outside of the box, and try something new! Don’t be afraid to break away from black, remember, blue is the new black!

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Lembeh Strait Photo Workshop 2020

Join us in Lembeh Strait in 2020

Lembeh Strait Workshop

Our 8th annual NAD Lembeh Photo Workshop will be upon us soon! This popular event is always a favourite time of year for us. The fantastic NAD Lembeh Resort will once again play host to our workshop. NAD is one of the best resorts in Indonesia and is very much geared toward photography. With a large and spacious camera room and a 2:1 guest to guide ratio, it’s the perfect host.

Who are the Instructors?

Lembeh Photo Workshop 2020Once again we are happy to have Adobe wizard Doug Sloss with us this year. Doug will conduct all of the Lightroom and Photoshop sessions throughout the week. Mike Veitch will conduct the majority of the technical photography lessons. Luca Vaime will conduct artistic presentations and record the events of the week. Of course all 3 instructors will be in the water with the students on every dive. One of the highlights of our workshops is that the instructors don’t carry cameras underwater. The instructors are underwater specifically to help out the students with their photography.

What Will I Learn?

Our photo workshops include presentations aimed at beginners as well as more advanced techniques for experienced shooters.  We start the week with all of the basics to get everyone on the same page. This includes suggested settings for F Stops, shutter speed, and strobe positioning.  As the week progresses we introduce new ideas to improve upon the basics.  Each day we have informal meetings after the third dive in order to critique images and work one to one with any issues. During the dives each instructor will work with students one to one. The instructors change boats each day so everyone will get a chance to work with each instructor.

What Kind of Diving in Lembeh Strait?

Black Water Mimic OctopusThe Lembeh Strait is a world class dive destination. Known as the top critter spot in the world, Lembeh is home to all of the famous critters that make muck diving so popular. There are black sand, white sand, coral reefs, and true muck sites throughout this large area.  NAD is also one of the best dive operations for Black Water diving, we will be organizing Black Water dives throughout the week (weather permitting).  The list of creatures that can be found here is long but includes: hairy frogfish, mimic octopus, blue ring octopus, rhinopias, nudibranchs, wonderpus, and so much more.

 

How Do I Sign Up?

Signing up is easy, simply send us an email and we can get started today. We have space available in either bungalows or pool side rooms. If you are a couple or two friends, we have the shared room option. If you prefer to travel on your own, we have options for a single supplement room.

Pricing (Bungalows are larger and more private than Pool Side rooms)

Double Occupancy Pool Side – USD $1875 per person

Double Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2230 per person

Single Occupancy Pool Side – USD $2120 per person

Single Occupancy Bungalow – USD $2475 per person

 

Getting there is easy via either Jakarta to Manado or Singapore to Manado.  Let us know if you need help with booking domestic flights.

Pepe Arcos Podcast

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos – UWT Podcast #015

Pepe Arcos Podcast

To close 2019 in style we are happy to bring to our podcast Pepe Arcos, who is an underwater photographer combining Fashion and Nature. Pepe Arcos is an award winning photographer and filmmaker who explores both fine art and commercial work.  From a former career as a Graphic Design studio working for large brands and organisations he has become a creative nomad traveling the world.

He is constantly tackling new projects that take him to the most breathtaking places on the planet.  He recently hosted a gallery in Bali of his conservation art work concentrating on coral reefs.

As a cinematographer, his works cover a wide range.  Recent work includes a BMW M4 commercial and the TV series APNEIA for Canal OFF, Globo Brazil. He has also produced personal projects like the shortfilm “Pressure”, which was awarded the best short film at the International Film Festival Balinale. He regularly shoots still photography for fashion brands and editorial campaigns for different magazines.

To see more of Pepe’s works feel free to visit his social media sites:

Website : https://www.pepearcos.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pepearcos/?…

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pepearcospho…

Click on the photo below for the YouTube version or Click here for the audio Podcast version.

If you are interested in listening to our other Podcasts, please peruse our Podcast Page.

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