If there were an Olympic event for macro photography, it would be held in Lembeh Strait. This stretch of water brims with weird and wonderful creatures that live on the volcanic sands that carpet the strait. Each dive becomes a mini safari looking for cryptic creatures and watching for odd behavior.
Hairball has always been home to the strangest of Lembeh’s oddballs. The site is flat, featureless and uninspiring until you look close, and then closer still. The dull gray sands hide an incredible cast, and is especially productive at dusk and dark when stargazers peer at you with a facemask perfect for bizarre and scary portraits. Though the hairy denizens offer great ID shots, behavior is particularly good at Hairball. Flamboyant cuttlefish hunt, flash, mate and, if you’re really lucky, you might finds eggs about to hatch. Octopus fight and use flip-flops, coconut shells and pot lids for cover.
Nudi Falls is our go-to site for gaudily colored nudibranchs. It is also a prime spot to capture nudibranch behavior, with predation and reproduction on view almost every dive.
What’s best about Lembeh Strait is that whether you’re a diver or a photographer, it’s a dynamic piece of water that changes from year to year and season to season. What you see on one day isn’t what you’ll see the next, so you have to keep coming back for more.
— David Doubilet and Jenn Hayes
Because many of the animals in Lembeh Strait are small and camouflaged, your images will only be as good as the animals you can find. Get a good guide and let him guide, finding the weird and weirder for you to photograph.
The volcanic sand in Lembeh is not your friend. Check,
double-check and triple-check your O-rings before you jump in.
Carry a 60mm as your workhorse lens (it’s especially good for nudibranchs), and a 105mm for the very small, like photographing cuttlefish eggs or hitchhikers on nudibranchs.
( Live It )
Nad-lembeh Explore the glorious muck of the Lembeh Strait and sleep in beachside bungalows. nad-lembeh.com