Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Challenging Neptune: 6 Underwater Cave Photographers
Cave diving photography is one of the most challenging and potentially dangerous kinds of all human activities. A lot of things can go wrong when you go into a deep cave. Many more can go wrong when the cave is also filled with water. This said, imagine doing the last two while at the same time being occupied with the right angle and perfect lighting of a beautiful underwater cave shot. Not the easiest job on earth, ha? Naturally, this kind of activity requires special training and equipment as well as state certification. Cave diving is not a game. According to American Caving Accidents, a special yearly report of The National Speleological Society tracking cave diving accidents, 50 American divers have died in 44 fatal cave diving accidents since the year 2000 and until end of 2007 and the numbers keep going up. So, just to make sure - if you are not certified and trained for cave diving, don't even think about trying it.
Gladly, in reality most underwater explorations end up with a satisfied diver and some very good stories, while some of them even have spectacular underwater photos to tell their stories for them. Following is a photo compilation from 6 cave diver-photographers who have followed the rules and came back to share their experience and photos with us. All images are copyrighted and are the property of the corresponding photographers. For more about Cave Diving see Wikipedia.
The underwater caving photographs of Wes Skiles are of the most well known and highly valued available nowadays anywhere in the world. Skiles is a professional high-definition nature photographer and film director and the CEO of Karst Productions, specializing in high-risk operations of nature exploration projects.
His clients include world leading media channels including the National Geographic with which he made quite a few amazing projects. During his career Skiles has won many awards including the HDFEST Deffie for Best Documentary Film (twice), Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (finalist, 2003) Gold Aurora Award (2003), Crystal Reel Awards (2003) and Best Educational Film Cine Golden Eagle 2003.
Deighton does not seem to be a professional cave diver yet he practices the combination of cave diving and photography and manages to obtain exceptional results with his photos. The above were taken during his cave diving journey in Mayan Riviera, Mexico on November 10-14, 2005. More photos from Deighton on this Picsa webAlbum.
Andreas W. Matthes
Andreas Matthes is a highly experienced Closed-Circuit Rebreathers Cave (CCR) Instructor living in Mexico who has been training CCR cave diving since 1997, conducting thousands of cave dives world wide. Matthes received the NSS-CDS International Cave Diving Safety Award as well as the NACD Wakulla Gold Award for 1000 completed cave dives, both in the year of 2001. For more about rebreathers technology see here.
Other than being a professional underwater cave diver and photographer Matthes is also an avid webmater. He runs a website dedicated to closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR) cave diving, a type of mixed-gas system, enabling descent to much greater depths than can be safely reached with oxygen rebreathers or normal compressed air equipment. For more about rebreathers technology see here. The above photos were taken in Mexico with an Olympus 3030 digital camera during a CCR exploration journey. The camera was placed into a Light and Motion Tetra housing featuring a screw-on wide angle lens converter.
With a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree Allen Wooten spends most of his time doing Corporate Accounting for a Fortune 500 Company in South Georgia USA. On other times, just about every other weekend, Wooten likes diving to the North Florida caves.
Wooten is a certified member of the NSS-CDS and DAN and practice various technical diving activities including sidemount, drysuit and scooter/DPV diving, as well as cave diving photography. He has a low-volume garage factory for gas mixing of nitrox, trimix, and deco bottles at home and has previously adopted 50 ft of cave passage in the deep section (165 ft deep) of Lower Lower Orange Grove Sink.
With 14 years of dive experience John Blausey has a record of thousands of dives all over the world. He is the principal instructor and manager of AcmeScuba, a company specializing in various adventurous dive training including night dives, deep dives, search and recovery and underwater photography.
As a Master SCUBA Diver Trainer, Blausey provides a complete diver training program set forth by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. The above photographs were taken Jul 24, 2007 during an underwater caving trip in Dominican Republic. The camera in use is a Canon PowerShot G7. More photos from this dive on Blausey's Picsa webAlbum.
Not much is known about Nick except for his first name and the fact he is a skilled cave diver and a talented underwater cave photographer. The above photo selection was taken on Jul 31 - August 1, 2007 during Nick's caving journey in Florida. More photos from Nick on this Picsa webAlbum.
If you enjoyed this post don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed or via email.