May 062014

Restriction in Olwolgin

About the cave

Olwolgin Cave is well on its way towards having more underwater passage than any other cave in Australia. With miles of intersecting tunnels, crazy rock shapes, dark water and white silt, it’s a photographer’s playground.

About the dive

As you saw in the video I posted last week, we had a lot of fun on our first dive of the trip. With nearly three hours in the water and lots of footage in the can, I wanted to move back to photos for the subsequent dive. We also moved from Upstream Olwolgin to Downstream Olwolgin, leaving the breathers behind and strapping on sidemounts instead.

Restriction in Olwolgin

The tunnels here are bigger, and with only one diver to hold strobes I didn’t have much chance of lighting the dark water from side to side. Instead we opted to wiggle around in the side tunnels in search of the perfect restriction.

About the photo

Restriction shots aren’t normally achieved on a swimming dive – they need some extra effort. In particular, getting a good shot is about finding the right bit of cave. Flatteners are good for having a camera right up beside the model (as you can see in the video). For smaller, single person holes getting a clear shot means finding a restriction with another route around it. This lets me get the camera in front with some clear water to shoot through. The other option is shooting a pair of fins stuck in a hole…possible, but not all that fun.

This particular hole was a little duck under on the side of the main tunnel. It was the perfect size and shape for a one bottle exit. By getting up close and personal in the first shot I’ve captured Tim’s eyes through the silt cloud. For both of these shots my aperture was stopped right down to control the white rocks. The side effect of this is great depth of field, and not having to dial the strobe power down from the larger passage shots. You can see the off camera strobe that Tim is holding in his left hand lighting up his face, despite the black skirt on his mask.

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