Raja Ampat

Dear Friends,  

One of the highlights of recent months has been a chance to dive and photograph in the Raja Ampat Islands.  If you are not familiar with Raja Ampat, they are the group of islands off the western tip of New Guinea, in the Indonesian province of West Papua.  I have been diving there since 2006, and documenting the incredible biodiversity of the marine environment in the Raja Ampat is one of my long-term projects.  It is a very special place, not only because it is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world, but also because it is a place where the rain forest meets the sea.  The marine and terrestrial landscape are part of the ambitious “Conservation Province” initiative by the West Papuan government, and I am working to promote this cause through my visual storytelling.

A magical place called Hidden Bay, Gam Island, in the Raja Ampat Islands.

Featured Photos:

The Raja Ampat Islands are mostly uplifted limestone.  This means little runoff and siltation from land, and thus corals that can grow right up to the edge of the forest.  This makes for really unique photographic opportunities.

Soft corals grow along the edge of mangrove forest in this split level view.
A little glimpse behind the scenes of how Zafer Kizilkaya (pictured here) and I photographed the corals along the mangrove edge.
Raja Ampat is a place where the coral reefs have so far been quite resilient to bleaching and the impacts of rising sea temperatures.  One can still find rich reefs covered in hard corals, and teaming with fish.  This region supports the highest coral diversity in the world.
The richness and diversity of fish life in Raja Ampat is also unparalleled.  On one dive, I found this incredible scene of golden sweepers taking shelter beneath a coral head, right next to a giant moray eel.
And if one looks closely, there is an incredible diversity of smaller creatures.  This is a ghost pipefish taking shelter in a sea fan.

The possibilities for exploring the marine life of Raja Ampat are truly unlimited.  We have just started to scratch the surface, and there is so much research to be done.  As the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity, it is so important to document, study, and spread the word about protecting this amazing place.  So please follow along as I continue to work in this region.  And if some of you are inclined to join me at some point, please see the workshop announcement below.

Future Workshop – Underwater Photography:

Are you fascinated by the Raja Ampat region and also an experienced diver passionate about improving your underwater photography?  I am planning an exclusive workshop in the region for a small group in July 2020 with colleague Zafer Kizilkaya.  Drop an email to  if you have any interest in learning more and we will keep you posted as details develop.

Gallery Update

My solo exhibition of photographic works from Walden Pond is now on display at the Walden Pond Visitor Center in Concord, Massachusetts, and will be up for the entire fall season.  Please check it out if you are in the area. We have also added a lot more options to my online Fine Art print store, including the Walden Pond Collection, so please check it out.

Thanks for reading, and best wishes to all.

Zafer Kizilkaya photographing a school of sweetlips and snappers in Raja Ampat.