I traveled to Anilao in the Philippines this April for an UW macro class with Mike Bartick at the Crystal Blue Resort. We spent 10 days exploring the reefs and searching for small critters to photograph. I saw more critters on this trip than any previous location. We saw hairy frogfish every day along with more nudibranchs than I have ever seen. I was especially glad to see a Rumengan's Pipehorse which was originally described in Lembeh in 2007. Mike's course is excellent and I used many of his techniques to photograph tiny subjects with black backgrounds. Many of these animals are quite small including the medallion crab and the algae shrimp which were less than 5mm. The guides at Crystal Blue Resort are excellent and I would have missed most of these subjects without their help, especially Glenn who was my guide for the trip. Look closely in many of these pictures. You will see even smaller critters including skeleton shrimp and amphipods.
I tried several new techniques on this trip including using super macro optics with a macromate. I found a snoot helpful and occasionally I used a remote strobe with a laser guided snoot. In the end, I found the simplest approach worked the best using a 105mm lens with a macromate and backward lighting. Mike's course is excellent. It includes up to 2 hours of classroom per day with daily photo review. There were 4 dives per day with an option for night time black water diving as well.
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© Mark Etter Underwater Photography