Muck diving started getting popular in Indonesia during the early 90’s. I remember diving the Twilight zone in Ambon, and the Lembeh Strait near Manado, North Sulawesi Indonesia. Going slow and looking for little critters became popular and now there are resorts that specialize in it. Not far from Indonesia, is the Philippines, and those in the know say, the muck diving is just as good as Indonesia.
Wanting to find out just how good the muck diving was I booked a trip to the Dumaguete area and stayed in Dauin. This is one of those times when the marketing is true. I spent 9 days diving in the area and it was awesome. The critters that live along the sandy bottom, patch reefs, and slopes, of Dauin, were ever-present, abundant, and colorful. Every dive featured frog fish, nudibranchs, crabs, shrimps, and more.
When it came to critters with eyes, I try to shoot less rather than more as to not blind or otherwise stress-out the creature. When I find a subject like this ornate Ghost Pipe fish I will watch for it for several minutes, so it gets used to me and figures out I am not going to eat it. This allows me to get close. Then I will make about three exposures and back up a bit to review the histogram, lighting, and composition.
If changes are needed, I make them and then move back into position for another sequence. Once everything is dialed, I will stay with the subject and create just a few more sequences of images then move on to find another subject.