Images of the Mayan Underworld


Point and Shoot

The camera being used is a simple point and shoot. This is ideal for the environment of cenote diving. I do also produce shots from my Canon SLR, which I love, but there are obvious drawbacks with such awesome machines. First, an SLR camera can be quite complicated to use, and in my opinion therefore, they should not be taken into cenotes as a first choice. Such cameras produce the best results when the area to be photographed is well understood prior to the shoot and the dive well planned in immaculate detail, to maximize the benefits of  using potentially clumsy tools. To get to that point, the first tool to grab is a point and shoot camera, and Canon lead the way. Secondly, when scouting out an area, the cave diver needs total attention on the environment, and does not need to be task loaded with a machine that is overkill for the job, potentially stealing his attention from a safe exit. Larger SLR’s are also prone to damage by virtue of a larger profile, and a hot humid sweaty Mexican jungle can lead to some costly schoolboy errors. Thirdly, point and shoot cameras are not very forgiving in such low light conditions, and so they force the photographer to polish up his in water skills, which benefits him/her enormously when an area of the cave is found which demands an SLR.  Even with such light sensitive cameras on the market, obtaining quality shots in a dark and potentially hostile environment is difficult. To the cave purist, strobes are effective only up to a point. Ideally the photographer should be trying to capture the experience, and visualize what the cavern diver sees, rather than trying to light the place up like a Christmas tree, which in reality is only like that for less than a second, and bears little relation to the moment..

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