underwater photography is expensive! underwater housings for digital cameras – point and shoot as well as SLR or mirrorless cameras – often cost much more than the actual cameras, and other components such as underwater strobes or video lights are similarly expensive (starting at 500 USD for the cheapest brand name lights, and >1000 USD for the ones other divers recommend). however, artificial light makes all the difference under water, where light is increasingly limited the deeper you dive.
i’ve been taking pictures with a Sony RX100 and Meikon RX100 housing, and have also shot some underwater video using GoPro cameras (Hero 3 Black and Hero 5 Black), but until now this was mostly with available light rather than an external light source. because i can’t really justify buying these expensive parts with my relatively infrequent diving trips, i’ve been looking for a relatively inexpensive way to get lights that can be used both for video and still photography.
after several nights of online research, i have decided on an Archon dive light which is both very affordable and popular in online forums (and therefore tested by the masses).
here’s my new setup:
i’ve been meaning to post these for quite some time now: chara vulgaris is a multicellular green alga in the family characeae (de: armleuchteralgen; the closest relative of green land plants).
here are three underwater pictures of chara vulgaris in its natural habitat:
pictures were taken in telfs, austria. species identification was done by a colleague adept in algae.
previous part: indonesia part 1: the northern part of north sulawesi (bunaken, tomohon)
we had planned on staying in the togean islands for about a week, but as lonely planet says…
yes, it does take some determination to get to the Togean Islands, but believe us, it takes much more determination to leave.
this turned out to be true because of both motivation and possibilities, but let me start at the beginning:
we decided to go south “the local way” from manado and took the public bus. 400 km, more than 10 hours later and a bit richer in indonesian experiences, we arrived in gorontalo. there, we just had a quick dinner, went to the last ATM for some time (no ATMs in the togeans), and continued on to the harbour to catch the once-a-week night ferry. in 2011, it left gorontalo every friday at 7 p.m. and arrived in wakai around 10 a.m., but schedules are said to be changing frequently.
in wakai, we were approached by a local woman called “uni”, who we were a bit suspicious about at first. it turned out, she’s a very honest person who can absolutely be trusted. after we declined on having a look at her new cottages about 20 minutes away by boat (we already had plans), uni offered to host us until the connecting boat to malenge island would get there in the afternoon.
a 4-hour ride on the next public boat brought us to malenge island (northeast of the main islands), where we were approached by the owner of one of the two accommodations of the island: malenge indah, which also offers cottages now (not mentioned in lonely planet yet). so, another boatride of 40 minutes in the beginning night (adding up to 36 hours of continuous travel) finally brought us to our destination: a small, very remote bay with 5 cottages.
let’s see if i can get those photos from our trip to indonesia online within a reasonable amount of time…
part one is about the first of just over 5 weeks (roughly 4 weeks on sulawesi and 1 week in lombok), in which we visited the island of bunaken and the cities of manado and tomohon.
as we found out, bunaken is one of the top diving spots in the world – and there’s a reason for it: we enjoyed some splendid reefscapes (both diving and snorkelling) and incredible drop-off walls up to 50+ meters deep. the corals were some of the most beautiful i’ve ever seen (which isn’t really to say that i’ve seen that many). apart from nudibranches, which always enthuse me, we saw a wide variety of wildlife, including green turtles (chelonia mydas, pictures) and the undescribable mandarinfish (synchiropus splendidus, pictures).
back on the main island (sulawesi), another must-see place was the market in tomohon. the local minahasan people are said to eat “everything with 4 legs, escept for the tables and chairs”, and what we found at the market was gross at the least (you may want to skip some photos at the end if you’re feeling sensitive).
regarding accommodation, we stayed both at the worst hotel that i’ve ever, EVER seen, and at one of the nicest ones of our entire trip: [more...]