Through a Caver’s Lens

Cave-div­ing photography is dif­fi­cult — here’s how Liz Rogers got her images

Sport Diver - - Training -

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.

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