Aug 132012

Lake Ayre split

About the site

I’ve talked about and shown photos from Tank Cave multiple times. With kilometres of beautiful, varied and shallow passages its a photographer’s delight in a relatively easily accessible location. When Dive Rite announced their annual photo competition, a weekend in Tank Cave seemed like the obvious place to take some shots of Dive Rite gear in action.

About the dive

This was the first dive of the weekend, as I wanted to take advantage of clear water throughout the system for the best photos. While 8kms of passage between 12 divers seems like a lot, there are some great shots to be taken in the regularly travelled places. By the last dives of a weekend these locations will be milky from the divers swimming past. The still water doesn’t clear in the same way that a flowing cave does, so we needed to plan for the weekend’s traffic.

We decided to go down F tunnel, a very photogenic location for tunnel shots. F has the characteristic sunken floor that looks like a river once travelled through the tunnel. I was keen to get a few of the easy “diver down the tunnel” shots so I could focus on more interesting and more risky images for the rest of the weekend. In the end though, not very many of the tunnel shots came out as well as I expected, and on the way home we stopped for a quick chat in this air pocket on the gold line.

Lake Ayre for Dive Rite

One of the things I was keen to take advantage of over the weekend was having two buddies instead of one. When I dive with just one other person, in the images, they are diving alone. By diving in a team of three, you get photographs of a buddy pair. With two other people in the water you can get shots of them interacting with each other, to give a more realistic feel to the image.

About the image

This image was taken in an air pocket just big enough to get your head out of the water. While it wasn’t a “real surface” and I’m not convinced that breathing the gas was a good idea, it meant I could dictate instructions between shots.

In addition to the usual difficulties of split shots (droplets on the dome, autofocus on the water line, camera angle compared to the surface), I was floating to take this shot. Lifting the camera half out of the water pushed me down into it, and the limited space meant rearranging the strobes so as not to hit the roof.

After a bit of stuffing around we got all the lights and all the divers in the right places, and this is the shot. I was happy to hear from Dive Rite this week that it’s won third prize. You can look out for it up with the other winners on their website throughout the year.

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