A Few of My Indonesian Friends

By David Chevrin

Paul Rosenblum showed his images from Indonesia at the February meeting.

Most pictures were taken in the Lembeh Strait and Raja Ampat with some additional shots from Wakatobi.

Paul RosenblumPaul got off the plane and soon realized the more primitive nature of Indonesia on his ride from the airport to Lembeh when he saw stacks of Coke bottles. The bottles contained a clear liquid that turned out to be gasoline for motor scooters. When he arrived for diving the boats were less than impressive and he was struck by the amount of garbage in the waters.

Despite these conditions, Paul showed us that Lembeh waters are full of a wide variety of life. Lembeh is a “muck” diving location where the creatures are often small and well camouflaged. Paul uses a smaller Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II compact mirrorless camera system and dual Sea&Sea strobes. Paul packs his whole lightweight photography system and electronics in his carry-on for travel. His system offers image stabilization and fast autofocus with the sharpness of the Zuiko lenses.

Paul showed us a variety of crabs, shrimps, and eels (ribbon and moray). The frogfish varied from big to small to tiny and were hairy, colored and hunting. A stargazer looked up at Paul on a night dive. Paul photographed tiny pygmy seahorses on sea fans. Paul captured images of a green shrimp the size of a pencil lead.

One tiny creature was a yellow bearded goby with a multi-colored eye hidden in an anemone. It took two hours to get a good shot of the goby, but luckily the anemone was in five feet of water.

Paul showed us a variety of Octopi including blue-ringed, wonderpus and large reef varieties. Indonesia has coconut octopi and Paul learned to bring them a shell to move to where they curled up and showed their iridescent blue suckers.

In Raja Ampat Paul found a different environment that featured manta rays and soft corals. He photographed creatures with eggs that included a banded pipefish and a manta shrimp.

Paul shared photos from a separate trip to Tonga where he snorkeled with humpback whales. The whales included moderate sized babies to their very large mothers. Paul photographed the whales close-up and perhaps too close-up when the baby got within five feet and he had to back out of the way. Paul processed many of the images of whales in black and white to match their coloring and enhance the drama of the image.

Paul’s presentation proved there is a plethora of life in Indonesia available for your next dive trip.