Live Reports: Wetpixel Macro Workshop 2016

Wetpixel has returned to the Lembeh Straits, Indonesia for its eagerly anticipated second macro workshop with Wetpixel staff Alex Mustard and Adam Hanlon. We are based at Lembeh Resort and diving with their in-house dive operation, Critters @ Lembeh Resort.

Day 1

A few of us had come directly to Lembeh from the Wetpixel Raja Ampat Expedition and have been have since Monday last. We have spent the time checking out the dive sites and trying to get a picture of what critters are around and where they are in order to smooth things for the beginning of the workshop.

Critters @ Lembeh’s resident photo pro, Sascha Jansen, needs his coffee!

Yesterday, we welcomed the first 16 participants from around the world to Lembeh for the workshop that is running until 7 October. We will have a second group of guests arriving to the same day, who will then be with us until 14 October. Our plans for yesterday went somewhat awry when the Silk Air flight which many of the participants were travelling in on was delayed in Singapore.

This meant that they arrived late last night and were understandably very tired, so Alex postponed his welcoming talk until breakfast today. We have a full schedule of diving too, with 4 dives per day planned, so had to fit Alex’s next talk on lenses, strobes and cameras in over during an additional afternoon and evening session.

The group are split over three boats, with a client to guide ration of 2:1. This means that the group ends up being 27 people.

Each boat set out to a different site were carried out two tank classic muck dives this morning. We returned to Lembeh Resort for lunch, before setting out for an afternoon dive.

An important part of the workshop are the image reviews we conduct each evening. In order for these to work, the participants were asked to submit their images for the review before the day’s night dive.

As we only got back from the afternoon dives at around 4.30 pm and the night dives were at 6, this meant for some pretty serious task loading.

As always, Lembeh did not disappoint with a large selection of amazing and interesting subjects for the group to test their photographic skills on. The images submitted for the review were of a very high standard, so it looks like images from this event will once again be winning photography contests for the next few years.

The good news is that thanks to the group’s hard work, we are all caught up now and can continue at a more leisurely pace. Everyone was pretty tired at the end of today, it is a tribute to the group’s motivation that we managed to get through all we needed to do.

Day 2

The Wetpixel group settled into their normal routine today. Essentially this involves chatting through techniques and then diving to try them out.

This is followed by an image review, to see how the the techniques worked out.

Alex’s talk was about subject selection. The key here is that there are so many amazing critters here (and the guides are amazing at finding them) in Lembeh, that this can detract a photographer’s focus on creating amazing images.

The goal is not to create a catalog of creatures that the photographer has seen, but to produce eye catching images of suitable ones. This sometimes means that you chose not attempt to capture interesting creatures as they are in a position that makes it impossible to create an image.

Alex’s talk provided a list of types of creatures with a variety of options for capturing them. The idea is to get the creative juices flowing!

Adam Hanlon tries to use a state of Zen to attract critters!

Wetpixel/Mustard macro workshop camera room from Wetpixel on Vimeo.

Lembeh Resort’s camera room gets some traffic.

Once Alex’s talk was finished, we boarded the three boats and headed off into the Lembeh Straits for a two tank morning dive.

After the dives, we returned to Lembeh Resort for lunch and to switch memory cards and batteries, before heading out for an afternoon dive.

Many of the group are posting their images from the workshop onto social media. If you use the hashtag #wetpixellembeh, you will be able to see them. In the meantime here is a slideshow:

Days 3,4 and 5

Many apologies as we have missed a few days so are offering a general recap of the events at Lembeh Resort.

The daily routine is for Alex to present a talk after breakfast and then for 3 daytime dives and a night dive, before an image review of the participant’s images over the past few days.

It is pretty exhausting!

Lembeh is providing amazing macro opportunities, with the guides finding an amazing array of critters. The key is choosing those subjects that are in positions that allow them to be used to create amazing images.

Unforgettable imagery is not only about choosing an appropriate subject, but also one that lends itself to creative opportunities.

The participants are all producing some amazing images. The image reviews are full of creative and engaging images. Here is a selection of underwater images from Lembeh.

To see more images, please check out the hashtag #wetpixellembeh on social media.

Lembeh Resort and Critters@Lembeh are running like a well-oiled machine!

Long time Wetpixel member and supporter, Sam Chae came over to visit Adam and Alex at Lembeh Resort:

Participant Slideshow