Through a Caver’s Lens
Cave-diving photography is difficult — here’s how Liz Rogers got her images
Caves are dark, dive times are limited and you can’t let yourself be distracted by the camera. The soft limestone in Timor added to the difficulties. Every exhalation meant bubbles hitting the roof and an explosion of silt into the water. Instead of turning to take photos of my buddies behind me, I was turning to see an expanding milky cloud.
My camera is a large DSLR, a Canon 5D Mark II in an aluminium housing so it can withstand the bumps and scratches of the cave environment. More important than the camera is the lighting: I also have two Inon Z-240 strobes on the camera, and an additional four strobes that I attach to my dive buddies. Pointing backward into the cave and triggered by the oncamera strobes flashing, the additional lighting adds depth and perspective.
The only way to catch images of divers through clear water is to swim ahead,
hugging one wall of the tunnel. Once I am 30 feet ahead, I turn and swim back down the middle of the passage as my buddies swim toward me. If you look closely, you can see the trail of silt from my swim on the side of each picture.
A documentary about the 2016 expedition, Calm in the Jungle, is available on Red Bull’s online TV channel.