Top 5 Micro Marine Animals in Amed

Whether you’re into Macro Photography or just want to take a closer look at the variety of small underwater creatures: this article might help you to find and identify some of the most fascinating little critters Amed area has to offer.

Nr. 1- Nudibranch and other sea slugs

Starting off with one of the most diverse marine animals in matters of shape, size and colour: the Nudibranch. Their scientific name, Nudibranchia, means ‘naked gills’ and describes the feathery gills and horns that most wear on their backs.

With over 3,000 different species, you will not get bored searching for these beautiful little creatures. Their size can range from 0.25 inches (around half a centimeter) to as big as 12 inches (around 30 centimeters), but their bright, colourful appearance usually makes them quite easy to spot. When muck diving the chances are high to find “nudis” (as most Nudibranch connoisseurs refer to them), but they can also be found on a variety of different corals, rocks or sandy slopes. Amed Wall, Ghost Bay or Tulamben Drop Off are generally great choices for a successful Nudi-Hunt.

Hypselodoris Bullocki at Pyramids

Nr. 2 – Frogfish

It is quite more difficult to spot this micro marine creature: the frogfish. They have the ability to “mimic” their surroundings in both form and color which makes them masters of camouflage. These grumpy looking anglerfish are usually found camouflaged in sea fans, sponges, rocks or among the sand. Their colours can vary from yellow, pinkish red, white to full-on red. The best dive spots in Amed for finding frogfish are Ghost Bay (especially at night), Jemeluk Bay, Tulamben Wall or Drop-Off.

Red Painted Frogfish at Ghost Bay

Nr. 3 – Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish

Cephalopods are the most intelligent, most mobile and the largest suborder of molluscs. Squids, Octopuses, Cuttlefish and their relatives display remarkable diversity in size and lifestyle with adaptations for predation, locomotion, disguise, and communication. These “brainy” invertebrates have evolved suckered tentacles, camera-like eyes, color-changing skin, and complex learning behavior. A great variety of them can be found along the coasts of Bali and if you look hard enough and explore each and every crevice you’ll be sure to spot some common reef squids, bobtail squids, pygmy and broadclub cuttlefish, coconut and mimic octopuses or even a blue ringed octopus (makes sure to stay away from this one, as they are extremely venomous and one of the most dangerous animals in the ocean). 

Specifically in the Amed area you should check out Jemeluk Bay or Pyramids by night or day to spot these fascinating creatures.

Juvenile Cuttlefish in Jemeluk Bay

Nr. 4 – Crabs and Shrimps

Continuing the trend of incredible diversity in this list, let’s take a quick look at some of the crustaceans you will be able to find in Bali. 

You can find them in between various corals, underneath rocks or even hitchhiking on a Nudibranch. Most notoriously found are harlequin shrimp, mantis shrimp, colmani shrimp, anemone shrimp and imperial shrimp (just to name a few favourites). 

As far as crabs are concerned they will most likely hide in sandy slopes or underneath a coral/rock-formation. The possibilities seem endless, as you can find almost anything from orang-utan crabs, reef crabs, porcelain crabs to hermit crabs and many more.

Be sure to visit Jemeluk Bay and Wall, Pyramids or Ghost Bay. A nightdive would be ideal, as crustaceans usually come out of hiding when it’s nice and dark and you’ll have an easier time spotting them.

Anemone Crab can be found on almost all sites

Nr. 5 – Ghost Pipefish and Seahorses

Closing off with probably the hardest to spot category: Seahorses and Pipefish.

They are not only rare but also quite difficult to spot. Seahorses in Amed are mostly very small and well camouflaged. Especially seahorses like the yellow (thorny) seahorse or pygmy seahorse won’t be easy to find, but who doesn’t like a challenge? While seahorses prefer shallow waters and to hide in between algae or different species of gorgonian coral (soft coral), pipefish on the other hand are usually found hanging out inside wrecks or close to mooring buoys. 

Try your luck at one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks, the USAT Liberty Shipwreck in Tulamben or the Japanese Shipwreck in Bunutan (Amed area).

Pygmy SeaHorse at the Japanese Shipwreck

5 Must Haves To Get Started With UW‑IMAGING

You love diving? You love to take pictures and videos? Then it is time to talk about becoming an underwater photographer!
A underwater photographers Wishlist is endless. Nevertheless we will introduce you to the “5 Must‑have Items to get started with UW‑Imaging”!

NR. 1 – The Camera

First of all, obviously ‑ you need a camera! There are dozens of awesome cameras out there, but just a handful of them is suited for underwater photography. As a beginner you want to start with something small and simple, like a digital camera! Sony’s RX100 series, like the Canon G7x series or the Olympus TG‑series are notoriously known amongst underwater photographers. Despite their small size they are really good entry‑level cameras. Especially in underwater photography most people have to travel to get to the dive spots and this small camera size can be a real game changer!

(Obviously you could also go for a simple ActionCamera… but if you want to take things seriously and actually recognize something again on your pictures you should stay away from using an ActionCamera for your underwater photography🤗)

Nr. 2 – Underwater Housing

Most cameras are NOT waterproof. Therefor you need to get a underwater housing which suits your camera. Many camera‑manufacturers started to build their own waterproof cases. Some of them are good others should be avoided.
There are 2 materials most commonly used for underwater housings:
Polycarbonate ‑ cheaper, lightweight and perfect for traveling.
Metal ‑ expensive, heavy but extremely durable and rugged.
The market leading companies for polycarbonate housings are Fantasea, Ikelite & SeaFrogs. For metal housings you should have a look at Nauticam, Isotta or Auquatica.

Nr. 3 – Wide Angle Lens

Now, as you got your camera & underwater housing you need to decide, which style of photography you want to pursue.
If you choose to capture the big stuff like coral reefs, sharks, schooling fish or people ‑ you should consider to get a underwater wide angle lens. These so called “wet lenses” are mounted on the lens port of your housing. They broaden the field of view by correcting the magnification that happens underwater with a flat port.

Nr. 4 – Macro Diopter

This is a must have for all those macro photographers out there: the wet macro (or super macro) diopter. Using this piece of equipment brings your right up close and personal to your favorite underwater creatures.
Macro Diopter work by shortening the focusing distance between the camera and the subject so that the subject fills the frame.

Nr. 5 – Underwater Strobe or Video Light

As you learned and observed in your Scuba Courses, the color of light is lost underwater. The deeper you venture, the more colors disappear.
To correct this loss of color you can use either a strobe or a video light.
(This tool is rather advanced and will take practice to be mastered. If you want to know how to correct your underwater colors without a strobe/light, check out our Article on http://www.lunatics‑world.com “Finding the right White Balance”


Feel inspired ? Why not checking out our Underwater Imaging Courses ?

Everything you need for underwater photography can be found here:

NUDIBRANCHIA – PACKAGE 1

 

The LUNATIC’S Nudibranch Collection.

A selection of our favorite nudibranch pictures.

Includes…
…12 High Resolution Images
…the right to use them for personal & commercial purposes (please read our terms)
!NO TAGS!
!NO WATERMARKS!

Note: By purchasing this package you will gain access to download a ZIP-Folder from which you can extract the images on your computer.

Finding the right White Balance

Everyone new to underwater photography wonders: “Where are the colours?”. Maybe you can identify yourself. After hours of diving and countless pictures taken you are sitting on your balcony, having a cold beer. You are reviewing your media and suddenly you wonder what happened to those beautiful colours on your images. Magnificent reefs and beautiful school of fish suddenly appear dull, green and boring. Let’s have a look on how to fix this issue in the first place.

When taking pictures underwater you need to keep in mind, that water absorbs the colour of light. Therefor, the deeper you venture, the less colours will be visible on your pictures.
You will notice, that the colour “red” is being completely absorbed at a depth of 10 meters, followed by “orange” at 20 meters, “yellow” at about 35 meters and “green” at a depth of 45 meters. Everything deeper than that will appear in a blueish colour.

There are three different ways on how to restore these colours on your images. Some techniques work better than others and might also depend on your camera system. But one word is enough to rule them all:

WHITE BALANCE


The process of adjusting the colour composition in a picture is called white balancing. You can accomplish this while taking a picture or in post production. When setting the White Balance on your camera, you are simply telling your device, which colour in your current setting is “true white”. In result, the cameras algorithm calculates all other colours according to the “true white” you set.

Note:


If you are capturing the underwater world with an action camera like a GoPro, there is little you can do to make the colours pop, but one of the following tips might also work for you.


1. Automatic Underwater White Balance

When choosing between different White Balance settings in your camera you might come across the “Automatic Underwater White Balance” (usually marked with a FISH symbol). Not every camera supports this feature. Cameras like the Canon G7x, Sony RX100 or the Olympus TG series for example allow you to use Underwater White Balance. As every cameras colour algorithm is different, the results from different cameras will vary in style and colour. Automatic UW White Balance is a good way to get started but might not work properly at greater depth.


2. Manual White Balance

Every digital, mirrorless or DSLR camera allows you to adjust the White Balance manually. Depending on the manufacturer and camera system you would have to take a picture of something white (white fins or slates e.x). Then you need to tell your camera that this image contains the “true white” and your camera will calculate the whole colour spectrum according it. This setting is usually found at the very bottom of the White Balance settings.
Adjusting your White Balance manually gives you greater opportunities, better results but can sometimes be quite tiring: Remember, the colour spectrum is different at every depth. Meaning you would have to adjust the White Balance every time you go shallower or deeper. Some cameras give you the option of saving multiple custom White Balance settings. This way you can set 3 different White Balances for 3 different depth and change them according to your depth.


3. Post Production White Balancing

Everything is possible in post production. If you have experience using editing programs like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop you know, that you can change the Temperature and Tint of a picture in post production which is actively effecting the White Balance of your image. Lightroom gives you the option of selecting a white object on the frame. According to your selection it will adjust Tint and Temperature of all colours.
Changing White Balance in post production is a great tool to rescue your underwater colours but it should be the last resort. The quality of the image suffers under too much editing and post production. Therefor you are advised to capture your images straight from your camera with the right White Balance setting and only “manipulate” the image afterwards if truly needed.

Conclusively we would advise you to set your White Balance manually for the best results. If you are still not happy with your colours, the only way out is to invest in underwater strobes. Only with underwater strobes the true colour of the underwater world will comes into light. Learn more about underwater strobes in our next article.

Who is a Scorpion?

The order of scorpaeniformes includes many different families which come in variable forms, textures and colors. All of them are very poisonous, some less than others but nevertheless you need to be extremely careful when working with them. Usually they would never charge you if you behave respectfully and responsibly.

Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Actinopterygii, Order: Scorpaeniformes, Suborder: Scorpaenoidei, Family: Scorpaenidae


Lionfish (Pterois)
Most commonly known member of the Scorpaenidae family is the Lionfish genus. Lionfish vary from species to species. All of them have similar features: featherlike fins, distinct facial features and poisonous spikes on their back.

During the day, Lionfish tend to rest on corals or rock. If you approach them slowly you get a good chance to take pictures of them. At night they start to hunt. Some divers experience that Lionfish follow them at night. This is due to the divers’ torches. Lionfish use the light to locate their prey.
Unlike in other parts of the world, Bali’s Lionfish are a natural part of the ecosystem and not invasive.

Common species in Amed:
Spotfin lionfish (Pterois antennata) – red stripes, white body with a dark spot
Devil firefish (Pterois miles) – reddish to tan or grey
Clearfin Lionfish (Pterois radiata) – reddish-brown with about six vertical dark/white bands
Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans) – red, maroon, brown stripes & white body
Dwarf Lionfish (Dendrochirus brachypterus) – very small in size, red coloration and banded antennas. 

Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis)
This camouflaged ambush predator can be found all over Amed’s dive sites. Scorpionfish rarely move and stay in one place. They blend into their environment by letting algae and other microorganisms grow over their bodies. Sometimes it can be very difficult to see them. That’s one of the reasons you should never touch or hold on to anything underwater as you might be placing your hands right onto one of these guys.
The appearance of scorpionfish depends on the environment they live in. Even though there are different species of scorpionfish it can be difficult to distinguish them. They all have 12 to 7 poisonous spines on their back. Some have very long snouts giving them their distinct scorpionfish-like look.
Common Species in Amed:
Tassled scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala)
Flasher scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis macrochir)



Sea Goblin (
Inimicus didactylus)
Also known as Indian Walkman, demon stinger or devil stinger. This nocturnal predator often lies partly-buried under sand or rocks. They have highly venomous spines which can cause serious injuries. The lower pectoral-fin rays are used as ‘walking legs’.

It can be very difficult to get a good picture of this creature as it blends into its environment perfectly. This makes it difficult to separate it from the background. When the Sea Goblin feels threatened it exposes extremely colorful fins. Looks really cool in pictures from above.

Stonefish (Synanceiidae verrucosa)
This creature is often wrongly identified as a member of the Scorpaenopsis family due to their similar appearance. Once you take a closer look, you will see the significant features which distinguish this fish from the Scorpaenopsis family.

Stonefish are usually brown or grey, and may have areas of yellow, orange, or red.
They can be found in very shallow areas of the reef, which poses a danger to snorkelers who come to close.
These ambush predators carry one of the most toxic venoms found in the animal kingdom. 13 spines on their dorsal area contain the fatal toxin from which it only takes 6 spines to possibly kill a human.

Despite their toxicity they are a great subject for portrait pictures. Make sure to never get too close and especially avoid contact. As they usually won’t move it can be easy to photograph them.
Do not attempt any photoshooting if you feel out of buoyancy control or if there is a surge or current.

Leaf scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus)
The Leaf Scorpionfish (sometimes called paperfish) is one of the least poisonous members of the Scorpaedie family. The venom of the leaf scorpionfish is considerably weaker than that of the lionfish and stonefish. Their color varies from green, red, pink, brown, ocher and yellowish to a ghostly white. As they are really thin they can often be mistaken for a leaf. 

Leaf scorpionfish can be portrayed in many different ways and styles. As they seem slightly transparent you could try to position your strobe behind them to get this translucent appearance.