Story Behind The Shot
The Aussie town of Mount Gambier is known for two things: cows and sinkholes. The land beneath this farming hamlet located between Adelaide and Melbourne in the continent's southeast corner resembles a 492-foot-thick chunk of sopping-wet Swiss cheese. Thirty million years ago, this oozing seabed crawled with invertebrates and was drenched in a sludge of decaying vertebrates and corals. Time compacted the goo into porous limestone, then millions of years of rainfall massaged and sliced away at the rock to create the present-day cave-diving paradise.
Ewens Ponds are three shallow interconnected pools. This secret world contains underwater chambers, ancient springs and a crater lake that mysteriously changes color each year.
Thanks to walls of limestone the ultimate pool filter the visibility can reach 300 feet. Photographing this spot is like shooting topside, but better: Water magnifies everything. On my most recent dive there, I lay on my back at a depth of 25 feet while shooting. I held my breath so bubbles wouldn't break the mirrored surface.
I was concentrating on passing clouds as a group swam overhead. In the picture, the divers appear to be entering a mysterious round portal. The super-wide-angle lens creates an optical effect called Snell's window. It's a phenomenon that occurs when the underwater viewer sees everything above the surface through a sphere of light caused by the refraction of light entering water. The area outside this window can go completely dark, creating a visual manhole effect.
I have often thought that diving is like flying. This image captures what I have long wanted to create: the feeling of divers in air surrounded by clouds.
CAMERA Nikon F4 LENS Nikkor fisheye 16 mm 2.8 HOUSING Aquatica STROBES none
For wallpaper images, visit sportdiver .com/behindtheshot. For destination info, visit sportdiver.com/australia.