Arus kencang are the words you need to listen out for—you will hear them in the rapid interchange between the dive guides and the boat boys, as they discuss the practicalities of safely immersing a group of “bule” (slang for foreigners) in the waters of Raja Ampat.
The incredible reefs and tremendous biodiversity of the Raja Ampat area have made this remote part of the Indonesian archipelago one of the hottest dive locations in the world, and those currents are the very lifeblood of the area.
In this article, the fourth in the series on mirrorless cameras, we will look at the potential of these cameras for macro underwater photography. In this article, the fifth in the series, we will take a close look at how the Olympus OMD-EM5 mirrorless camera performs underwater, but first a quick refresher on the story so far and why the OMD.
Most underwater photographers start their personal journey with some form of macro set-up because it offers the cheapest and easiest way to achieve consistent results that are both sharp and properly exposed with vibrant eye-catching colors— which is usually when the bug really starts to bite.
While the number of camera manufacturers with horses in the mirrorless race has now reached critical mass with the recent entrance of Canon and its EOS-M, and the earlier entrance of Nikon with the J1 and V1 cameras, the number of models available has grown even more. However, for underwater photography the choices narrow somewhat and the early entrants in the mirrorless race, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, are very much in the lead.
This is because of two key factors—the availability of lenses suitable for underwater photography and the availability of housings to put the cameras in.
There can’t be many dive sites that owe their existence to the direct intervention of the country’s president, but Tasi Tolu, on the outskirts of Timor Leste’s capital Dili, can claim that unique patronage.
Tasi Tolu gets its name from the three fresh water lakes just inland from the beach and below the nearby foothills. During the rainy season, the lakes tend to fill to capacity and then overflow, flooding the nearby road and villages.
The juvenile salt-water crocodile was near to death when the small boy found it stranded in a swamp far from the sea. Although greatly afraid, the boy decided to try and save the crocodile and eventually managed to get it back to the sea where it quickly recovered.
The tale of the boy and his cold-blooded friend is told often in Timor to explain the island’s crocodile-like shape and why the Timorese have a special affinity with the large reptile that is said to inhabit the creeks and pools along much of the south coast of the country.
Lying undisturbed in the deep water just off the fringing reef from the remote village of Boga Boga on the tip of Cape Vogel, is what many consider to be the best aircraft wreck in Papua New Guinea and possibly the world.
The wreck is the B-17F “Black Jack”, serial number 41-24521, and one of the first Flying Fortress bombers built at the Boeing factory in Seattle during WWII.
When India’s Prime Minister Pandit Nehru visited Bali in 1950 to attend celebrations marking the newly established independence of Indonesia, he famously called the island “the morning of the world”. His simple but eloquent description really does encapsulate the uniqueness of this special island.
Introduced in the 6th century, by Hindu traders from India, the religion spread rapidly across this huge archipelago of over 17,000 islands, peaking in the 14th century with the Majapahit Empire. The rise of Islam from the 14th century slowly but surely eclipsed the Hindu kingdoms, and Hinduism itself, and ultimately forced what was left of the Hindu elite to take refuge, consolidating in Bali around the end of the 15th century.