Jul 012013

Foreground rocks in Tank Cave

About the cave

Looking back, this is the 14th photo article I’ve posted about my trips through Tank Cave. With easy access, miles of shallow tunnels and clear water it’s easy to see why we keep going back. On the other hand, long tunnels tend to lead to long swimming dives and it becomes a challenge to find a new angle while on the move. Things that have occupied me in the past include reflections in surface bubbles, action shots of divers reeling out, the perfect tunnel shot and more.

About the dive

I have to admit I wasn’t feeling the inspiration on this particular weekend. The more I dive in Tank, the more I notice the diver damage throughout the cave. Closer to the entrance and in the smaller sections it’s impossible to avoid the scratches on the rocks and the scrapes across the silt banks. On this dive we headed down towards P section which is relatively small and I began to keep to one side of the tunnel. This allows me to turn, swim across and capture my buddy coming towards me through clear water that noone has swum through. It also puts me closer to one side of the tunnel that the other, and led me to this shot.

Diver in the rocks

About the photo

I wanted the focus in this photo to be the foreground rocks. By setting up the composition this way I could avoid photographing the giant fin scrape in the middle of the tunnel floor. I had clear water to shoot through and a diver in the background for scale. The lighting arrangement was a little tricky – my right strobe was turned down to avoid overlighting the foreground. My left strobe is sticking right out into space on high power to be sure to trigger the off camera strobes. And JDZ is carrying three off camera strobes so that the background light can compete with the light much closer to the camera.

There are two things I like about the lighting in this shot. The first is that by having the foreground lit mostly by one strobe alone, it has great shadows. These really show the textures in the rocks and the silt. The second is that JDZ’s hand held strobe is out in front of him, and the light is bouncing off the rock and onto the front of his suit. One of the drawbacks of taping strobes to tanks can be that the diver’s face must be lit by the on camera strobe or left in the dark. Having an off camera strobe out in front meant I didn’t have to blast out the on camera light to get some details in the diver.

So, a new perspective on a regularly dived cave. The question is, what’s next?? I’m taking suggestions in the comments.

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