A close-up view of a Coleman shrimp in its fire urchin host
The black sand slopes and coral reefs of the Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi are home to some of the ocean’s most unusual creatures, and underwater photographers travel to this special place in Indonesia to take pictures of rare subjects such as blue-ring octopus, hairy frogfish, pygmy seahorses and the perfectly named flamboyant cuttlefish. Besides these popular critters that every diver includes on their macro bucket list, you can also encounter numerous other kinds of octopus, seahorses, shrimps and nudibranchs, and even shoot wide angle if you can drag yourself away from the abundance of strange small stuff.
Nick More is a regular visitor to the Strait, and he recently spent 10 days diving with our friends at Lembeh Resort as part of an Alex Mustard Photography Workshop, where he unsurprisingly produced some stunning results. It is fair to say that Nick has learned a lot from his mentor, and his images are all beautifully composed, perfectly lit, and bursting with color. When shooting critters in the muck, it can often be difficult to separate them from their less-interesting surroundings, but Nick knows how to experiment with aperture and shutter speed settings to achieve buttery-soft bokeh backgrounds with a main subject that is always sharp and in focus.
Nick reports that this year’s visit to Lembeh was his most productive ever, and the images featured in this Destination Portfolio are just a fraction of what he was able to capture during his stay. Keep an eye out for more of his macro work appearing on social media—or in underwater photography contests!
A yawning hairy frogfish in the black sand
A juvenile clownfish with a beautiful orange bokeh background
A scary-looking stargazer lying in wait for its next meal
A tiny hermit crab framed against another lovely bokeh background
A portrait of a pygmy seahorse
A rare and elusive critter Lembeh guides have named the ET worm
Motion blur makes an otherwise boring background just as interesting as the scorpionfish subject
Coconut octopuses carry shells they often use as a mobile home
A bright orange frogfish undercover in a matching coral outcrop
Shaun the Sheep nudibranchs are hard to find and even more difficult to shoot
A peackock mantis shrimp carrying a large clutch of eggs
A mototi octopus on the move
Mating mandarinfish caught in the act
Fire urchins are home to a variety of shrimps and crabs
Harlequin sweetlips never stop moving and are the perfect subject for motion blur
Flamboyant cuttelfish are another colorful muck diving highlight
Ornate ghost pipefish blend in perfectly with their environment
Nudibranchs aren’t all as brightly colored and as photogenic as this one!
For more of Nick’s awesome images from Lembeh Resort, check out part II of this Destination Portfolio! You can also visit his Instagram page or enjoy our Photographer of the Week article featuring him and his work.
Plan Your Adventure >