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Book Reviews

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 46. (Dec. 92)

Underwater Indonesia. A guide to the world's greatest diving. Kal Muller. Edited by David Pickell. Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd. 1992 ISBN 0-945971-14-1. 205 pp. + endpapers. Softback cover.


Underwater Indonesia

This multi-author guide to diving Indonesia edited by David Pickell covers Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara (Lombok, Flores, Lembata, West Timor and Roti), Sulawesi, Muluku, and Irian Jaya. 

The book is the first available dive guide to a nation that extends across some of the richest tropical waters in the world. It begins with an introduction to Indonesia and its diving. Sections on Reef Ecology by David Pickell and Marine Life by Charles Anderson and David Pickell follow.

The first major part of the guide, on Java, is by Janet Boileau and Debe Campbell, but apart from the introductions to each of the islands or island groups and an article on the Padaido Islands by David Pickell, the remainder of the guide is by Kal Muller (in conjunction with Cody Shwaiko in the case of Banda in Maluku). There are, however, features on reef ecology and marine life by Rudie Kuiter, Helmut Debelius and Cody Shwaiko.

The book is liberally illustrated by more than 120 fine underwater photographs, mostly by Kal Muller but some by a variety of photographers. There are also 33 extremely useful sketch maps of dive sites, including those in Bali and Banda by Wally Siagian.

The book is very readable and is packed with information on travel, accommodation, dive operators, dive sites, local restaurants, sightseeing - in fact all you need to know to enjoy diving in Indonesia's tropical waters. A travel advisory section towards the end of the guide covers everything from air travel to visas, customs, equipment, health, money exchange, clothing, accommodation, food, weather and travel agencies. The guide concludes with sections on underwater hazards, Indonesian Dive terms (with English, French and German equivalents), a list of Indonesian reef fish (in English, Latin, Indonesia and local languages), a bibliography and an index.

Anyone planning to dive in Indonesia will find this book indispensable and I highly recommend it. I wish the guide had been available when I dived in Menado, Sulawesi and Maumere Bay, Flores.

Book Reviews

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 46. (Dec. 92)

Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific. Indonesia and adjacent waters. By Rudie H. Kuiter. Penerbit Pt Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Jakarta, Indonesia. 1992. 314 pages. Soft back cover. ISBN 979-511-058-6. Hardback Rp 100,000,000. Soft back Rp 50,000,000


Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific.

Another first, this identification guide to the coral reef fishes of Indonesia and neighbouring waters of the west Pacific by Rudie Kuiter includes photographs of almost every fish likely to be encountered by divers or snorkellers.

The book starts with a list of contents, a brief introduction, a very brief section on using the book (with details of terms used), a brief discussion on fish faunas and a map of the area covered.

Similar fish, illustrated by almost 1300 quality photographs, are grouped together to facilitate identification, whilst scientific order is generally maintained. Highly variable species or those which appear totally different as juveniles or have different looking males and females are illustrated by several photographs. The photographs are accompanied by the name of the fish in English and Latin and the legends provide details of the location and depth of the photograph and the distribution, habitat preference and size of each species.

The majority of photographs were taken with Nikon F2 and F3 cameras in a housing. Small species were taken with 105 mm Macro and many of the larger species with 50 mm Macro. A few photographs were taken with a Nikonos with a 20 mm wide-angle lens. Except for wide-angle photographs, two flash units were used and with the F3 set up one of the flash units was TTL.

The book concludes with a short bibliography, an article on fish photography, separate indexes to the common and scientific names of the fishes included in the guide and a brief background to the author.

I can also highly recommend this book to anyone visiting the Western Pacific, Indonesia in particular, who is interested in identifying the fishes they encounter.

Book Reviews

by Brian Pitkin

Reproduced from in focus 46. (Dec. 92)


Underwater Photography. By Charles Seaborn. AMPHOTO, an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications, a division of Billboard Publications Inc, 1515 Broadway, New York. 1988. Available in hardback. ISBN 0-8174-6335-6 or Paperback ISBN 0-8174-6336-4. 144 pages. 149 colour plates. 4 colour illustrations.£16.95


Underwater Photography.

This book on underwater photography by professional underwater photographer Charles Seaborn discusses the fundamentals of underwater photography - measuring light, calculating exposure, focusing, framing and composing.

Overcoming the dramatic reduction in both quality and quantity of light to achieve striking images - of humpback whales in Hawaii, shipwrecks in Bonaire, and coral reefs in the Caribbean - is revealed. Using his own high quality photographs as examples, Charles Seaborn describes in detail how to take and compose effective close-up and wide-angle pictures.

The book also contains sections on preparing for a dive, planning a shoot, and selecting and maintaining camera equipment and accessories. The book is illustrated by 149 fine colour plates each with a detailed description of the subject and the way in which it was photographed including equipment, film stock used and exposure. A list of photographic subjects illustrated, with English and common names, and an index complete the book.

Underwater Photography is an excellent introduction and a useful addition to any underwater photographer's book shelf.

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