Raja Ampat is certainly a destination that should be on every diver’s bucket list and we were delighted to have the opportunity to spend 10 days aboard Worldwide Dive and Sail’s lovely Indo Siren on a photography workshop run by the eminent Dr Alex Mustard. Besides being very generous with his photographic knowledge and wisdom, and gifted with boundless, infectious enthusiasm, another of Alex’s strengths is the ability to put workshop attendees into places where photo opportunities can be exploited to their maximum.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Raja Ampat area, it is a vast, relatively untouched area of Papua in Indonesia. The area offers some of the healthiest, most beautiful reefs and richest diversity of marine life that I have ever encountered. We spent five days in the Southern Misool region before heading North to the Dampier Straight area on the latter part of our trip. Every site was teeming with photographic opportunities, so much so that the real challenge for me was to actually settle down and work an image to a satisfactory conclusion without being distracted by the myriad of other possibilities.
There are few destinations that I have been to which can offer such wonderful wide-angle photo opportunities but macro subjects were also plentiful, in particular the three species of pygmy seahorses which seem to bring out the “pygmy rage” in even the most patient of photographers!
The journey from Western Europe to Raja Ampat is onerous to say the least, some 36 hours door to door, but a journey I’d endure in a heartbeat for the opportunity to go back. I hope you enjoy looking at my images from the trip even half as much as I enjoyed taking them.
To see more of Alex’s images, please visit his page on Flickr