In november/december 2009 Julie and I visited the Eastern Fields area in Papua New Guinea, joining a Wetpixel.com expedition with Eric Cheng and Tony Wu. We did two back to back trips on the Golden Dawn, the only liveaboard that visits the area. The Eastern Fields is a pretty remote atoll between Papua New Guinea and Australia, 450 nautical miles wide, consisting solely of submerged reefs. Nearest land is half a day’s travel away.
We knew before we went that this was going to be mostly a wide angle trip. That was going to make it a bit different from our usual trips, as Julie and I both like macro. The area was visually stunning, and Carl’s Ultimate was probably the most beautiful dive site I’ve ever seen. When the current picks up, the amount of life on that reef is so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. But a lot of this lushness was hard to photograph, and more suited to video. At some point I just stopped taking photo’s and watched the splendor in action.
We haven’t done a lot of diving this year, but at least in November we’re going all out again. We’ll be traveling to Papua New Guinea to dive the Eastern Fields area. This isn’t a regular destination due to the conditions, but we’re hoping for the best. We’re joining Eric Cheng and Tony Wu for 2 trips on the Golden Dawn, a boat we’ve seen before near Kimbe in PNG.
After that month we’ll be back in Amsterdam for the holidays and then off again to visit Julie’s mother in the Virgin Islands.
In may of 2009 we went to Indonesia with Eric Cheng for a total of 45 days. We did over 130 dives, and went from Lembeh to Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon and finally Flores. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever done, with a really nice group of people. It took a few months, but I finally managed to upload a gallery of the images. You can also read our tripreport.
For about 2 years now I’ve been using Smugmug for partsofourwebsite. The people running Smugmug remind me of my own company and the way it started more than 15 years ago. A close nit group of people with a real passion for what they’re doing. I recently noticed they now allow you to embed slideshows of galleries in any website that accepts them so I thought I’d give it a go and embed a sampling of our underwater photos. In the not too distant future I also hope to replace most of our current Gallery2 based galleries with Smugmug galleries.
Julie and I just returned from a 45 day dive trip in Indonesia. This is pretty long even for us. We did 40 consecutive days of diving, and did well over 100 dives in total. The trip took us from Lembeh in North Sulawesi to North-West Papua, Raja Ampat, Halmahera, Ambon, Banda, Alor and Flores. We saw many things we’d never seen before, including Harlequin Shrimps, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, mating Cuttlefish, and much more. We had great company, including fellow Wetpixel Administrators Eric Cheng, Matt Segal and Craig Jones. We’ll soon have a gallery online, but until then read our tripreport which includes some of our images. For dutch photographers Cor is doing a talk about this trip on the next AquaShot evening on April 17.
It’s always a bit exciting when you get something published for the first time. I just saw the latest issue of Sport Diver magazine at our regular dive shop Cane Bay Dive Shop with two of my images in it. Sport Diver regularly does an image callout to a selection of underwater photographers, and we joined this list a few months ago after they invited. When they asked for some images of St Croix I submitted some, and included some from other places as well. They printed two of my images. Very cool. I hope this will not be the last, as I must admit that Sport Diver pays very well for a dive magazine.
Here’s the two images. One is a Lemon Shark from the Bahamas. The other a Frog Fish at the St Croix pier.
About a year and a half ago Julie and I did a long trip in the Banda Sea. This is when the idea for another trip to Indonesia grew. Eric was thinking about doing a similar trip, from Northen Papua through Ambon towards Flores. We immediately agreed to join this trip, which eventually turned into a double trip. He also arranged for a well known guide named Graham Abbott. So we’ll be heading back to Indonesia for a full month on the Seven Seas liveaboard.
Since we’re in the area anyways, we also decided to take a small group into Lembeh, a well known diving mecca that both Eric and us have never been to. It’s a macro heaven, with black sand bottoms and some of the most amazing macro around. And to top it off, Julie and I will spend a few days in Singapore before the main trip, to acclimatize to the time zone change and catch up with some diving friends.
We can’t wait to start this trip. It promises to be a very rewarding trip and we expect a lot of good photographs. It’s also going to be great to see all our old friends again, as almost everyone on board will be someone we’ve already been diving with.
In may Julie went on a trip by herself. She claims it’s to see the Oceanic Whitetip sharks, but by now we all know it’s because of the pigs. It’s quite difficult to find these sharks. As the name suggests they are usually found in the open ocean, so basically you have to use a lot of bait and hope for the best. Last year this trip got skunked (one of the reasons I didn’t feel like going) but this year they got some good action.
On a recent trip to the Bahamas Julie photographed some really cute pigs. These are wild pigs that live on an island in the Bahamas, and whenever a boat stops on the beach they come over to check out if there are scraps. They’ll come right to your lens, even if you’re waist deep in water. Julie actually went on this trip, meant to track down Oceanic Whitetip sharks, to photograph these pigs and she got some nice shots. Who needs Oceanic Whitetips when you can photograph small piglets!
I’ve been meaning to do this for ages but I finally got around to it. I can now add SmugMug Galleries to WordPress which can then also be viewed with either Lightbox or PicLens. Ive been prompted to finally finish this by my friend Eric Cheng, who added this to his blog recently as well.
Here is a gallery I created at SmugMug’s request a few months ago »»»»
A few weeks ago we were contacted by Brendan O’Brien asking if we’d like to write a little piece about how we entered the world of photojournalism. Of course my immediately answer was “But we’re not photo journalists!”. According to him we are, and I suppose you can argue either way. We have been published in several magazines, we have had several covers, and the whole field of photojournalism is undergoing a major change anyways. What used to be a very closed community has now changed to a world wide arena of bloggers and other online writers.
I quite like Brendan’s blog. It’s got a lot of interesting information for new writers and photographers. Information that is hard to come by if you don’t know how this world operates. I highly recommend it for anyone that’s interested in getting published.
I wrote a small article about how to photograph mating hamlets for DuikenInBeeld, an online magazine. It was the first time we ever tried shooting hamlets, even though they were right under our noses for years in the Virgin Islands where we stay every winter.
“We’ve been in the water for about an hour now. There’s about a dozen Lemon sharks circling around us. Suddenly Julie points into the distance and I quickly swirl my head that way. There is no mistaking the shape,size and pattern, here’s comes our first Tiger shark. Immediately the attitude of the divers changes; while you can basically ignore the Lemon sharks, you can not ignore the Tiger. It’s great to be back!”
For the first time in the 15 years that Julie and I have been a couple, we’re separated for more than a week. Julie is on her way to the Bahamas to dive with Oceanic Whitetips. That’s what she’s telling people anyways. Her real motivation is wild pigs! Honestly..wild pigs! She saw some pictures made by Alex Mustard last year, and she wants to meet those pigs. At first I did not really want to go, but I wish I had gone after all because being home alone sucks!
I’ll be joining Julie in 11 days for a second trip diving with Dolphins and Tiger Sharks.