Plongée à Alor. Indonésie, juillet 2012.

Take Pictures Underwater or Exhaust Yourself Swimming

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

I love taking photos underwater. But kicking with my fins, far less. I realized this while diving in Alor, Indonesia.

Strenuous Dives

More than a month has already passed since my stay at Alor, in July 2012. A faraway journey to the borders of Indonesia, dedicated to what I love most: diving and taking pictures underwater.

Since my return, I continue, day after day, to sort through my underwater pictures brought back from this lost archipelago – more than a thousand photos!

On my computer screen, I rediscover the splendor of the reefs, full of huge barrel sponges, coral tables, colorful gorgonians... And I remember my dives there. Dives that are sometimes "sporty", as they say.

That's right, we had to swim hard... 😆

Éponge barrique à Alor. Indonésie, juillet 2012.
Barrel sponge in Alor. (Indonesia, July 2012)

Strategy of the least effort

I knew, before I left, that there were strong currents in Alor. Having already tried those of Nusa Penida / Lembongan, of Komodo or of Raja Ampat, I'm starting to have some experience with this kind of diving.

But I know my physical limits and I'm also a little cluttered underwater by my 7D's bulky housing. Underwater photography involves a strategy of the least effort. Drift dives, where you just have to let yourself be carried by the current, without having to fight, suit me well. The dives where you hook yourself on the reef in the current, to enjoy the show without getting exhausted, suit me very well too. On the other hand, to swim against the current, or to follow a group that advances too fast for my taste, with big and energetic kicks, is much less my thing.

I readily admit it: I am aquatic but not athletic. I am a contemplative diver (understand: slow). I am sparing in my movements, I try to make the air in my tank last as long as possible...

Jeux de lumière sur une gorgone délicate, "survolée" par une nuée d'anthias. Alor, Indonésie, juillet 2012.
Play of light on a delicate gorgon, "overflown" by a swarm of anthias. (Alor, Indonesia, July 2012)

Plongée à Alor. Indonésie, juillet 2012.

Safety first

As a result, the rather "sporty" dives at Alor don't always fit in with my usual strategy of the slightest effort, I have to confess...


I often find myself behind the group, because of my habit of taking pictures on the way (instead of swimming hard like my little comrades). Then, I am totally unable, physically, to catch up with the others... (What do you mean, photographers are balls?)

As a result, if I have to come back against the current at the end of the dive, I don't even try anymore, knowing that I might run straight into exhaustion. No need for that. We may as well meet on the surface, instead. Safety first, huh.

In these cases, I prefer to let my little non-photographer buddies continue to kick furiously (after all, if they like it) and I go up to a shallow depth, a little above them, just to finish my dive at ease, to take some more pictures closer to the surface, where there is more light, and to degas quietly without risking to run out of air. A sign to Gilles or Jenny of Alor Divers – always vigilant – is all it takes.

Swim or take photos? I have made my choice!!!

Plongée à Alor. Indonésie, juillet 2012.

Plongée à Alor. Indonésie, juillet 2012.

Crinoïdes jaunes et rouges. Alor, Indonésiée, juillet 2012.

The Photos

That said, I don't regret at all these few "sporty" dives in Alor. Or about having often hung around behind the group for shots. It was worth it! Alor's sea-beds are magnificent, full of fish, colorful...

A confirmation with the following pictures below. Click on the thumbnails to see them in large format.


  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

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  1. I look at these beautiful pictures on my computer screen, it is a delight, a little "ruined" however by a small technical problem; they take a while before appearing full-screen, and so it breaks a little charm of the sub-aquatic ride.

    1. @Ysbilia: as under water, "who's going to go sano piano" ... 😆
      The concern comes either from the server that hosts my blog, which regularly has slowness, or your connection ... The bottom line is that the photos end up appearing !!!

  2. All the same! Not a fan of the current, and he does not love me anyway, he does not do anything to adapt to my pink flippers in 36 girl! And it's not funny to take your time to observe, search, discover, photograph the child.
    For the wide angle, I admire your photos! Superb!

    1. @Manta: I'm not kicking in the current, but I realize that it also depends a lot on the way the diving is organized ...

      For comparison, Raja Ampat, then, I sometimes had currents of madness, even more furious than Alor, but there, everything was fine: I had a guide for me alone almost every time, and we were still in very small numbers, moving at the same leisurely pace. And for the strong sites in juice one was hooked, to be able to film and photograph without tiring or getting carried away.

  3. And again you only have 1 flash, but when you buy the 2nd, try to see for a group purchase with an underwater scooter! 😆 😆
    On the other hand with all these pictures of sponges, barrels and barrels, your readers will end up suspecting something. You will not be able to hide them for a long time your atavistic dependence on alcoholic beverages and your multiple detox treatments hidden under cover of tourist trips ➡
    Still BRAVO for this beautiful series of photos of atmosphere and in the current ...

  4. Hello Corinne
    I join you on these palanquées or on one side we have the marathoners, stalled behind their compasses and all the points of passage to see without exceptions. The stakhanovists of the kicking who always arrive first. And on the other the photographers who They are enchanted by a color, by a light of a creature, whatever its size, which frolic on the left then on the right, which remain for a quarter of an hour on a shrimp and that all the squalene cursed.
    Conclusion we must dive between us! and at our pace! and that's all! 😉

  5. Impressive your photos, it must be said that with a 7D ...
    Bravo in any case, it leaves dreamer, especially in the fall or holiday memories are far.

    1. @Denis: thank you !!! Me too, it makes me feel good, to get out of the hard drive, these pictures ... Like a bubble of escape in this period of return ... 😉
      As for the 7D, yes, I am very very happy, I must say. I am getting used to playing with wide angle and better control - even when there is power!

  6. Hi Corinne,
    I just discovered your blog and ... I am amazed at the quality of your photos. I have already tried to take pictures under the water but it was far from having this result! At the same time, you seem to have the necessary equipment. Congratulations. 😀

    1. @Benjamin: thanks for the compliments! It's not only a matter of apparatus, there is also learning and experience ... All the pictures dating from before 2010, on this blog, were made with a modest compact. We can already obtain excellent results, especially in macro. But it is certain that for the photos of atmosphere, there is no photo as the other would say: when one passes to the SLR, with a suitable objective, the quality is of another level, inevitably.

  7. Between photographing or palmer against the current my choice is the same as yours! On your good advice and fear of the effects of the full moon for our dives Komodo, we invested in a nice hook before the cruise Mermaid 1. I am disappointed he served us only 2 times for fun on our 27 dives ??? !!! The DMs chose the right moment to dive and reassure the team & #8230; .not of current on sites like Takat Toko and Crystal Rock ?? The counterpart is the lack of action, little hunting scene, but sharks and giant jacks at the appointment. Diving drift of madness in Tatawa Besar & #8230; impossible to take pictures !!! My best memory in the current is in the company of the MANTAS Takat Makassar 2 times, sensational photos a little blurred so the box vibrated, I had only one free hand to hold it!

    1. @Lisemet: My hook served me well afterwards, during my stays in Raja Ampat. Well appreciated when everything vibrates, indeed, in the "underwater wind", from the regulator to the box of the camera ...

      In Komodo, I used Crystal Rock, no way to do otherwise. However, there was no need to take him out to Karang Makassar (magnificent, non-stop passage of rays-mantas). Well, tell yourself that you had good guides, who took care of the security by not sending the team to put in the moment of strong currents ... You will find the opportunity to serve you the hook.

      For my part, I do not hesitate to use it, even in moderate current, when I want to be installed "comfortably" to film or photograph.

  8. I have to say that your sentence "(How is that, the photographers are bullets?") "Made me laugh a lot, I make videos and I must say that the feeling of my" comrades "of palanquée is as follows:" But he does not care what else, there is nothing about this branch of coral. I love your site that inspires me a lot for the continuation of mine.