Feb 102015
Rebreathers in the Shaft

The Shaft is a beautiful dive, and an impossible cave to photograph. After I finally achieved that classic shot of the sunbeam down the middle of the hole, rockpile lit up and diver frozen up in the shallows, I declared I never needed to take photographs in there again. And yet, two summers on I was headed over to Gambier with my parents for a fun family weekend with a Shaft booking in place. A couple of weeks beforehand Kelvyn was chatting to the landowners about the long-discussed intent of opening the site up to rebreathers. While there have been “special interest” dives in the Shaft on rebreathers previously regular diving has all been run on open circuit. Letting a [read more…]

Mar 182013
A winning shot in the Shaft

Many thanks to all those who dropped by to see me at OZTeK 2013 this weekend…I had a truly excellent time, and I hope you did too! For those who couldn’t make it, my photograph above won first prize in the cave category of the photo competition. I’ve been keeping it under wraps until the show and I’m very glad to be able to share it with you now. In my talk on Saturday morning I walked through a little of the effort that went into creating this shot. After initial attempts at a tripod based shot in the bottom of the Shaft way back in August 2011, and two separate dedicated trips in summer 2012, this January I put [read more…]

Jan 232012
Long exposure in the Shaft III

About the site The Shaft is a site that I’ve talked about twice before. From a manhole-sized hole in the middle of a paddock divers are lowered to the water’s surface 8m below. After gearing up in the water you drop into the depths below – the central rockpile and debris cone starts at 35m, and the cave gets down to over 100m on one side. The walls are predominantly black and the small entrance means there’s very little natural light in the cave. Dive lights struggle across the huge distances. In summer the angle of the sun allows rays of sunlight to pierce the darkness. The ambient light coming straight down the hole is enough for the human eye [read more…]

Dec 192011
Long exposure in the Shaft II

About the site The Shaft is a massive sinkhole in the Limestone Coast, near Mt Gambier. A solution tube in the middle of a sheep paddock has created a small entrance to a spectacular underground cavern. From 1m in diameter at ground level, to 20m in diameter at the water’s surface a short ladder climb below, the cave expands to over 100m across at the point where this photo was taken, 38m deep. The sinkhole turns into two large tunnels on each side of the central rockpile, with the longer one descending to over 100m in depth. Despite the crystal clear water, the walls are predominantly black and the sheer size of the area means dive torches don’t reach very [read more…]

Sep 192011
Long exposure in the Shaft

About the site The Shaft is a massive sinkhole in the Mt Gambier region, and the deepest cave in Australia. It’s noted in the history books for the four divers that died there in 1973, an event which contributed to the decision to form the Cave Diver’s Associate of Australia and allow Australian cave divers to self-regulate to prevent further deaths. From a manhole sized hole in a sheep paddock, there’s an 8m freehanging drop to the water’s surface. The cave is about 20m in diameter at this point, and the walls continue to widen out as you drop into the depths. Directly below the entrance hole is a feature known as the Rockpile. While this would originally have been [read more…]