Situated in the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is a must! Come and enjoy Raja Ampat diving and discover its world class underwater photography!
Diving in Indonesia is our hobby, our passion and our dream. Raja Ampat diving is a must! Just like all activities, whether it is professional or for leisure, we all need to grow. If not, these activities -even being a pastime- become stagnant and even boring. If you always do the same type of dives, you might not feel you are gaining any experience or enhancing your skills. Therefore, adding elements like underwater photography to your hobby can prove to be an excellent challenge full of great memories.
Biodiversity Nature Resort recommends wide angle photo
Raja Ampat diving is all about opening your eyes and taking it all in: increadible reefs, colorful hard and soft corals, marine diversity, shallow water diving and bio-mass. For underwater photographers, this type of conditions makes a perfect opportunity for wide angle photography. Raja Ampat has been and remains a world class location for any type of photography, but since there is always something going on, your memories will be better captured shooting wide angle.
The underwater topography around these unique rock islands includes swim-through passages, mushroom-shaped features, cracks and pinnacles. It’s no wonder that Raja Ampat’s wide angle photos often adorn the covers of famous dive books or dive magazines.
What about macro photography?
Yes, it is possible. At Raja Ampat Biodiversity our dive guides have incredibly sharp eyes, and if you are a lover of macro photography, you will love the variety of small creatures. On almost every dive, you will find Nudiphiles and there is a great variety of them in Raja Ampat. You may even encounter the remarkable blue-ringed octopus! Keep an eye on the sand, since mimic octopuses have been seen here too.
With some patience, you can find ghost pipefish (robust, harlequin, halimeda), zebra crabs, pearlfish, the peacock mantis shrimp, pygmy seahorses, tiny gobies, blennies and the most colourful ones, the Mandarin fish!
Diving skills before photography & some key advice
Let us be honest. You will not be able to capture any decent photo, if your diving skills are not up to scratch. For most beginners -and all divers in general- Raja Ampat diving is mind-blowing! Especially the dive sites in Central Raja Ampat, the Dampier Strait, where Biodiversity Nature Resort is situated. This means all sorts of distractions like monitoring your air, follow you buddy/guide, trying to keep off the corals, navigating through currents, enjoying the dive… And taking photos! A lot to think about if you have a camera as well, so make sure your buoyancy and stability are perfected. Possibly look at doing a speciality course in Buoyancy, which you can even do at Biodiversity with one of our trained instructors!
Natural or artificial lighting?
As you know, the deeper you go, the less light there is. However, you are in luck, as depth is the least of your concerns at Raja Ampat. Our dives are shallow from 10 meters and up, which give you the perfect chance to shoot with natural light. Remember the best angle is to have the sun coming over your shoulder.
For anything deeper than 10 meters we recommend you use artificial light, either with one or two strobes. In any case, try not to block the angle of the light with your body, do not remove particles from the background and keep in mind that the built-in flash will not do you any good if you are far from the subject.
Shooting basics: Depth of field and slightly pointing upwards
The less light you have, the less intense you eye perceives the colours. Therefore, there are several types of options for shooting. A basic technique is to point your camera slightly upwards, with a main subject no more than 1.5 meters. Then, try to have the sun in your background and don’t stir the sand!!
Frame, focus, and shoot
Some species are easier to capture than others, but don’t give up, when diving with us we will do our best to get you to sites that offer a variety of marine life. As we said before, diving in Indonesia and specifically in Raja Ampat is a unique experience. Remember that this archipelago is home to one of the most beautiful and diverse sea beds on the planet, the Coral Triangle. You will have many opportunities to focus and shoot.
Equipment for underwater photography
Technology nowadays offers incredible opportunities for all budgets. We would suggest a GoPro for beginners, for those memory shots to take home to family. It shoots great 4K video and HD modes. GoPro is excellent for all budgets and light weight for travelling, especially when luggage is limited. It is important to remember two accessories for your GoPro: a red filter and any rope or clip to attach it to your BCD.
There are some excellent mid-range compact cameras available for those who wish to take your photography to the next level. Cannon and Nikon have some models that you don’t need housing for and they let you dive up to 30 meters! As you get more experience, you will want to invest in higher quality photos. There are great compact housings for practically all mid-range cameras, combined with a single strobe or two. You can really enhance your photos and make them magazine worthy.
For those that have been taking pictures for years under water will understand the below guidelines, for beginners please take note:
- Respect other divers and be courteous. Everyone wishes to capture the underwater world, so take turns and share what you see!
- Be respectful with the environment. Do not lie or touch the coral, this is often a common thing to spot and it is disrespectful of the environment and can cause great damage!
- Be familiar with currents. Raja Ampat is famous for its currents!
At Raja Ampat Biodiversity Nature Resort we offer you many diving sites where you can use a macro lens or prefer wide angle photos. Whether you are a beginner or a real photography enthusiast, you will find an endless number of wonderful species to capture, if not with your lens, with your eyes, which is equally worthwhile.