About the cave
Stinging Nettle is a small sloping cave just across the road from Pines, with a gated entrance at one end of a shallow doline. There’s fine, dark organic silt through the whole cave but because it’s rarely visited by divers and only accessible on the weekends the water is normally crystal clear on the way in.
The permanent line leads the way down the slope, twisting left and right between the boulders. The diveable cave has been formed by boulders rolling down the slope and coming to rest wedged between floor and ceiling which makes for an interesting dive.
This was the first time I’d been in Stinging Nettle in 18 months, but I remembered the silting issues with photos on the previous dive. The photo plan was for me to stick to the edges of the passage, leaving the centre for Andreas. In the larger areas I could then turn and face uphill looking through clear water. The layout of the cave meant large clouds of heavy organic silt followed us down through the water. As I turned sideways around an outcrop, Andreas would come over the top, closely followed by the silt from the layer above.
About the photo
The photographic challenge of the silt here is obvious. The key was getting ahead of it and creating the clear water between the camera and subject. I liked this shot because of the way the off camera strobe light diffuses through the silt cloud. With the smaller passage I was able to turn the on camera strobes right down and still keep the colour in the drysuit and helmet. Lastly, Andreas had to keep moving to stay ahead of the cloud and the motion shows in the photo.
Most importantly of all, my camera is back in action! From date of flood to housing repaired and camera replaced I spent four weekends out of the water. It was great to be taking underwater shots again.