Misool, The Crown Jewel of Indonesia


I recently spent a few weeks scuba diving in the southern part of Raja Ampat on the tiny island of Batbitim.  At just three and a half kilometers in circumference, this island is not only a stellar diving destination, but it also hosts the luxurious Misool Eco Resort, while maintaining an eco-friendly environment.  I was so impressed with the resort and the conservation work they are doing there that I wanted to share a little bit about it.

The beauty and serenity of the resort itself is apparent as soon as you arrive. The island of Batbitim lies about four hours south by boat from the nearest port. It lies among other uninhabited islands and is about twenty miles from the nearest local village. Each guest enjoys their own cottage on the water, or residence on the beach. You can walk down the stairs from your front patio right in to the water for snorkeling or swimming.

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 Although the diving in this area of Indonesia is astounding, I believe it is the accomplishments of the resort itself that make this destination truly remarkable.  Just ten years ago, this island’s bay was a place where fishermen came to fin sharks.  Because the bay is a black tip reef shark nursery, that included juvenile as well as adult sharks.  Misool bought the island and has since successfully turned it into a marine sanctuary.  In fact, they have lobbied to make the entire location a marine protected area and now protect more than 1200 square kilometers.  This is policed and enforced by the local island population with great success.  The bio-mass has been documented since 2006 and in this particular area, it has a richer density and diversity than anywhere else in Raja Ampat.

A Coral Grouper rests among the iconic soft and hard corals of Raja Ampat

A Coral Grouper rests among the iconic soft and hard corals of Raja Ampat

Another great accomplishment of Misool Eco Resort, is the minimal environmental impact they have.  Everything from the cottages to the furniture are made from materials found on the island, with no trees being cut down to build with.  Fresh water is obtained through desalination, they generate their own electricity, and they recycle the gray water through the roots of a beautiful garden where it is naturally filtered.

All this is accomplished while maintaining the highest level of service and luxury in the industry.  The local islanders work on the island, the food is delicious and plentiful and the guest list is small.  In addition to scuba diving, guests can enjoy snorkeling, Stand Up Paddle boards, kayaking, local excursions and more.

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It is the scuba diving and the photo opportunities that draw visitors from all over the world.  Raja Ampat is known for its beautiful soft corals and colorful fish.

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The image above was taken at a site called Boo Window. There are two swim-throughs close to the surface that look like the eyes of a ghost. One of the “eyes” is partially covered by the gorgonian fan, but you can see why the site got its name. I asked my guide, Marfal, to show me critters such as the Raja Ampat pygmy seahorse which is found only in Southern Raja Ampat. Everything I asked to see, he found without fail.

Raja Ampat Pygmy Seahorse

Raja Ampat Pygmy Seahorse

I even mused that what I really wanted was a shot of a giant manta hovering above the colorful reef, to which he replied, “Okay.”

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Truly, Misool Eco Resort is one of those fantasy destinations that most people only dream about.  I can tell you that I will be dreaming about it for a long time to come.

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog and please feel free to share on Facebook or other social media.

My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me
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10 Best Photography Blogs


Thank you to Paul from “Pick My Camera” for referencing my blog as one of the ten best Photography blogs!  You can read the article here:

Stay tuned for a tutorial on wide angle underwater photography coming soon!

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As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog and please feel free to share on Facebook or other social media.

My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me

A Pat on the Back!


Just as I was leaving for a long vacation last month, I received a few honors that I didn’t get to properly revel in.  Being in a foreign country without internet left me unable to toot my horn, so to speak, so I will belatedly honk away now.

Underwater Macro Photography eMAG  featured one of my photos in their top ten for the months of September/October.  Click on the Magazine link to see all the beautiful images that were featured.  Below is the image of mine that was featured:

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The image is of a Hopkins Rose, a tiny nudibranch that is found in Southern California.  It measures around 5mm and can be seen at some of the Channel Islands and along the California Coast.

Another fun honor, was having my review of Sea&Sea’s YS-D2 strobe published by Dive Photo Guide.

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Take a look at the article if you are interested.  I can’t say enough good things about the YS-D2 strobe.  It is a great improvement over the already excellent YS-D1.

Stay tuned for some new and inspiring images from Indonesia.  I’ve been enjoying a solid two weeks in my under water studio and can hardly wait to process the images and post some of them here.  In the mean time, here is one from Lembeh. 20151124-20151124-_BPP7007

This image is of an anemone fish caring for its eggs.  Both the male and the female will aerate the eggs by blowing water over them with their mouths or their fins.  The male has the toughest job though, because the female will scrutinize how well he does his job, and if it isn’t up to her standard, she will rid herself of him!

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog and please feel free to share on Facebook or other social media.

My photographs are taken with a Nikon  D810 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.
All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me

 

 

 

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!


I’ve always wanted to be an award-winning person. It hasn’t ever mattered what the award was for, as long as it was something I earned and had some kind of value.  Well, I recently participated in the Monterey Shootout.  Now, a shootout is a photography contest that is restricted by time and/or location.  In this case, this contest was restricted to 36 hours and photographs had to be taken under water in Monterey, California.  Participants could submit up to six photographs in four categories.

Anemone, 1st place under water wide angle unrestricted
Anemone, 1st place under water wide angle unrestricted

The photograph above was entered in the unrestricted wide angle category.  This means that the photograph could have some changes made to it via photo editing software.  In this case, I removed a few fish that were facing the wrong way. I believe the photo is also cropped by five percent.

Starfish and schooling fish, 1st place underwater wide angle traditional

Starfish and schooling fish, 1st place underwater wide angle traditional

Anemone, 2nd place under water wide angle  traditional

Anemone, 2nd place under water wide angle traditional

The two photos (above) were entered in the wide angle traditional category.  This means that the photograph could have only a few global changes to it.  In both cases, I bumped up the contrast slightly, and made minor brightness and color enhancements.  These are pretty much straight out of the camera.

Nudibranch, 1st place in under water macro unrestricted

Nudibranch, 1st place in under water macro unrestricted

This nudibranch image (above) is my favorite from the shootout.  It was entered in the macro unrestricted category, although I needn’t have made any changes to it.  I removed three small dots of backscatter (particles in the water that show up as white spots), and increased the contrast.  I had to wait for this slow moving slug to get into position, but it was worth the wait.

Top Snail.  3rd place winner in Underwater Macro, Traditional
Top Snail. 3rd place winner in Underwater Macro, Traditional

Finally, two more traditional macro shots.  The one above is a photograph of a top snail.  They are so beautiful for a snail that is only the size of my thumbnail.   The photograph below is of a hermit crab that really didn’t like my focus light shining in its eyes.  After this shot, it turned away from me and refused to show it’s face to me again.

Hermit Crab.  2nd place winner in Under water Macro Traditional

Hermit Crab. 2nd place winner in Under water Macro Traditional

In this contest, points were given for each photograph that placed.  Then the points were added up.  Those photographers with the highest number of points were able to choose their prize first.  Because all six of my photographs received a place, I had the highest number of points, so I had the good fortune of being first to pick my prize.  There were lots of fantastic prizes!  They offered several different dive vacations, as well as dive gear, camera equipment, and gift certificates.  I chose the top prize:  a 7 night stay at Misool Eco Resort  in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.  I look forward to diving there and taking many more photographs!