Judging Lembeh Photo Shootout 2013

Underwater.kr International Photo Shoot-Out 2013

Like in 2012, i will be judging the Underwater.kr Lembeh Photo Shootout also in 2013. It will take place again at NAD Lembeh Resort. Dates are 2nd-9th of Dec 2013. As in the previous year attractive prizes (equipment, travels and cash) await the lucky winners in various categories – a total of more than 35.000 US$! The participation fee is pretty much exactly what you would pay for a normal week of diving, so this is the perfect chance to have a fun week of diving with lots of UW-Photo-Nerds, see the fantastic Lembeh Strait AND take home some really cool prizes. Go and register now!

Lembeh Presentation at BOOT Düsseldorf

Lembeh presentation on PixelWorld Stage at BOOT tradeshow in Duesseldorf

I just came back from the BOOT show in Düsseldorf (the biggest dive trade show in the world), where i did 3 Lembeh Presentations on the PixelWorld stage. On the 24th, 25th and 26th of january i presented the marine life and the photographic targets of the Lembeh Strait in three 20 minutes speeches. In my presentations i tried to present the “usual suspects” (frogfishes, octopus, seahorses …) as well as some other photo subjects (like special flasher wrasses and anthias) that are well worth considering.

Flash, Flash, Flash …

Togean, Blue and Filamented Flasher Wrasse

On my recent December Trip to Lembeh Strait i tried to shoot more “beautiful fish” and less “ugly critters” – not that i don’t like weird scorpionfishes and other cryptic species. But i wanted to get some more colourful stuff for my portfolio. So i spend a lot of time with Anemonefishes, Anthias … and Flasher Wrasses.
I have always admired these beautiful fishes and  love to watch their behavior. And if it would not be such a pain in the a.. to shoot them, we would see more pictures of them.My favorite spot to shoot them was a deep sandy area with lots of soft coral growth. In this area you can see 3 different species of flasher wrasses (left to right on picture): The Togean Flasher Wrasse, the Blue Flasher Wrasse and the Filamented Flasher Wrasse. All three fishes shown in the picture are males. Male Flasher Wrasses are more colourful than female Flasher Wrasses and they display their beauty (= quality as a mate and/or competitor) to others by flashing their beautifully coloured fins.

The later afternoon is usually the best time to shoot this behavior – but it can be also seen in daytime. Best technique is to put flashes at “full dump”, bump up the ISO and use a small Apeture for maximum depth of field as these stupid little male Flasher Wrasses also like to swim very quickly while they display their fins. This was the moment, when i started thinking, that maybe their name does not come from them flashing their fins, but from photographers wasting shots and flashes on them.
So bring a lot of patience, prepare some good swear-words and be ready to waste a dive (or two, or three …). At this point i would like to thank a lot to Simon from NAD-Lembeh for bringing me so often back to the same spot to try again and again and again ;)


Tongue Parasite Sex

Male Tongue Parasite behind Female Tongue ParasiteThe Tongue Parasite “Cymothoa exigua” is a parasitic Isopod and part of the Crustaceans. And it is very commonly seen in Lembeh Strait – probably the best place in the world to study them. Specially in Anemonefish they are very common in the Lembeh Strait – almost every Anemone hosts a fish with that Parasite in its mouth.
The Parasite is first born as a freeswimming male and then finally settles in the mouth of a fish, where it transformes into a female – holding on to the fishes tongue and feeding on the hosts blood from the tongue arterie. The tongue then slowly dies and the Parasite replaces the tongue. But it still functions as a tongue and helps the fish feeding. It now takes a share from the food of the host instead of sucking its blood – so the host does NOT die. At least not, as long as the Parasite remains in the mouth and functions as his “Tongue Prothesis” ;)
Sometimes (like in the picture above) you can see a smaller male Parasite behind the female – this is how the “Cymothoa exigua” is mating. The young males will then resettle in a mouth of a fish and the circle restarts. I was lucky enough to capture that shot in Lembeh Strait in December 2012 – diving with the skilled Dive-Team of NAD Lembeh.


Judging “underwater.kr Lembeh Shootout”

From the 8th until the 15th of December i was judging the Underwater.kr international ShootOut at NAD-Lembeh Resort as one of three judges. We had a blast and it was a really pleasant event, as all participants were really carefull under water and very gentle to the marine life – very unusual for a photo competition. You can find the winners listed here.
I am already looking forward to the 2013 ShootOut … and you should as well – lots of prizes waiting again.