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Capturing Critters in Lembeh Workshop 2020 Round Up



Now in it’s 8th year running, Lembeh Resort’s “Capturing Critters in Lembeh” underwater photography workshop has once again delivered some incredible imagery. As usual, the workshop featured three world-class underwater professionals who hosted daily presentations, workshops and one-on-one sessions with participants.

The 2020 professionals—Saeed Rashid, Todd Winner and Alex Tyrrell—shared their knowledge and expertise with everyone taking part, and joined them underwater for some truly amazing critter spotting and shooting in the Lembeh Strait.

Capturing Critters grows from strength to strength each year and the images continue to portray some of Lembeh’s most iconic muck diving highlights. The participants dived Lembeh hotspots such as TK, Hairball, Pantai Parigi, Nudi Falls and Serena. Lembeh Resort’s marine biology trained dive guides were put to the test and they certainly delivered. The critter sightings were quite remarkable, with blue ring octopuses, flamboyant cuttlefish, hairy shrimps, coconut octopus and pygmy squids and seahorses.

Photo by participant Audrey Haug

While all three pros are new this year to Capturing Critters, certainly none are new to shooting in the Lembeh Strait which boasts the highest concentration of rare and unusual marine life on Earth.

Photo: Saeed Rashid

Saeed Rashid from the UK hosted a series of Adobe Lightroom presentation during the week and commented that:

“It’s a really nice being somewhere (Lembeh Resort) that’s so dedicated to underwater photography and to one particular aspect – macro. The guides have been incredible this week – as trained underwater photographers they know what they are looking at and how to put subjects into images and they understand angles. It’s amazing to have a resort so set up for photography, with comprehensive camera facilities, and to have guides who are so into photography and who also take wonderful underwater images themselves.

Capturing Critters workshop is a unique event and with three pro pros, as well as an in-house pro to help guests, there is always someone on hand to answer queries and help with problems. To have three pros with three different view points is a highlight of the event”.

Photo: Alex Tyrrell

Alex Tyrrell, also from the UK, owns Dive4Photos which provides underwater imaging training on Koh Tao in Thailand. Alex presented some of the most awaited subjects including composition and how to capture black and blue backgrounds. Alex said:

“It’s been really good working with other photo pros and being able to bounce ideas off each other. This has especially benefited participants in the critique sessions where they have been able to get three different views on their images.

Photo by participant Cameron Azad

The Lembeh Strait is ideal for underwater photography, it has a massively higher biodiversity and abundance of photogenic critters than found elsewhere and Lembeh Resort has excellent facilities for hosting photography events and workshops. The dive guides are very attentive to make sure everyone sees the creatures underwater and the dive operations are incredible well organized and well-run”.

Photo: Todd Winner

Todd Winner, from the United States, is well known for his underwater wide-angle photography and aptly presented the Closed Focus Wide Angle sessions as well as lighting technique workshops. He said:

“One of the things that is invaluable about a place like Lembeh Resort is the small ratio of guests to guides. You are never going to find these subjects on your own but the guides here are fantastic at spotting and identifying Lembeh’s critters.

For the participants to have three different perspectives from the pros as well as from James (Emery, inhouse Pro) is invaluable. Critique sessions this week have enabled guests to get maximum input on their images and advice on how to improve from three different stand points”.

Photo: James Emery

Did you miss out on this year’s workshop? Lembeh Resort is set to host the 9th annual Capturing Critters in Lembeh workshop in January 2021 with Photo Pro’s Alex Tattersall, Jade Hoksbergen-Spiers and Henley Spiers

Find out more at the link above or visit

Sarah Ann Wormald is a writer and PADI Master Instructor with a passion for underwater photography and conservation. Sarah is the author of “Diving in Indonesia” and “Diving in South East Asia” (Tuttle Publishing). With over 20 years of diving experience, Sarah has dived all over the Indonesian Archipelago and South East Asia. Find out more at

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Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 6



Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for part 6 of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Thursday has dawned and it is down to the House Reef with an outgoing tide that is approaching slack so we can get in the water straight away.   Lots of chat about last night’s RAID O2 Provider session with Moudi.  Oatsie is talking about sidemounts and marine biology, Swars is looking forward to his first sidemount session this afternoon.

Moudi is supported by Oatsie this morning and doing some more skill work with Keiron.

Moudi running the guys through the RAID O2 Administrator Course

Corey was asking last night about what it is like at 30 metres, so I have decided that with Michael and Swars we will take him to 30 metres.  We are going to run a narcosis exercise so out comes the slate with the numbers 1 – 25 randomly placed in squares.  Corey’s task, in the dive centre, is as quickly as possible to touch each number in sequence.  He does it pretty quickly and Michael briefs him that he will need to do the same exercise at 30 metres.

Michael briefs the dive and we set off down the beach.  Corey has improved beyond measure and he is becoming a pleasure to dive with.  So we are off to follow the South reef to 30 metres where we will complete the second part of the exercise.

At 30 metres Michael hands Corey the slate; there is a considerable difference in the time to complete the exercise at the surface and at 30 metres.  There are lots of mitigating factors in how quickly you can identify the numbers and explaining a slower time at 30 metres than at the surface does not mean an individual is suffering from narcosis.  Identifying random numbers, if you run the exercise at the surface, several times with an individual over a number of hours can result in wide variations in the time taken to complete the exercise.

We finish the dive with Corey smiling from ear to ear and we have a discussion about depth and air consumption.  The second dive of the morning is a fun dive, then it is lunch in the beach restaurant.  After the burgers I am sure we will need to look at our weighting before the afternoon’s dive.

We will need to look at weighting after this lunch!

Corey and Keiron have got into the habit of recording their dives online using the RAID online log book which is a tremendous facility and as the instructor I can access that data.

Moudi and Keiron are going for a fun dive as are Corey, Oatsie, Michael and myself. Swars is getting kitted up for the first experience of sidemount with Guy Henderson.

Swars getting to grips with his sidemount cylinders

People often look at the relationships that exist between the dive team and our beneficiaries and try to extrapolate a similar relationship to disabled students they might have.  Our relationships are built up over a period of time, in some cases over many years.  We also provide 24/7 support and have chat groups etc on social media; we also meet up socially when we can.  It is somewhat different than a individual coming in to a dive centre and saying ‘I want to dive’. Your relationship is likely to be the same as any other student, you will teach them, they might stay with the dive centre or like many that will go on holiday to do some diving, you might never see them again.

Our main aim is to create a family atmosphere for our programme members, one where they feel secure and they are able to discuss freely with the team and fellow beneficiaries their feelings and needs.

Few dive centres are charities, and owners might want to consider costs of running a course for someone with a disability that might take more than the standard four pool sessions etc.  You may find the number of sessions and the staffing levels have to increase.  Many dive centres, because of their size and turnover are exempt from providing accessibility.  How will this affect someone who is a wheelchair user?  Can they gain access to the dive centre, the classroom, the toilet?  What are the changing facilities, can they get wheelchair access to the pool?

Lots of things to think about.

Roots’ beautiful reef

The reef is beautiful, so much aquatic life and the corals look splendid, especially the pinnacles.

A good day’s diving, Swars has really enjoyed his sidemount.

Lovely way to relax in the evening with the Roots BBQ, a fitting end to a great day.

Last day tomorrow and our final blog!

Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at

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And the winners of our Two Sets of OceanPositive Hydroskin Rashguards from fourth element competition are…



We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win Two Sets of OceanPositive Hydroskin Rashguards from our good friends at fourth element!

As usual, lots of you entered… but on this occasion there can only be two winners!

And those winners are…

  • Dean Cocks from the UK.
  • Harry Milkman from the USA.

Congratulations Dean and Harry – your prizes will be on their way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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