Above: Swiss cave diver Olivier Isler hangs at the decompression station in the main shaft 1100ft/350m from the entrance of the Doux de Coly cave in southern France. Using his unique triple redundant RI2000 rebreather system, Isler had just made a solo penetration of over 13,000ft/4km into the cave during a dive lasting just under 15 hours. (Nikonos RS, 13mm Nikkor Fisheye, Subatec 250 Flashes)

Below: Troglobitic Crayfish photographed at Wakulla Springs, Florida - These totally albino cave dwellers live in total darkness and have lost all need for pigmentation to protect themselves from the harmful radiation effects of sunlight. (Nikonos V, 35mm, Subatec Flashes

 
 

Gavin Newman is a freelance adventure sports photographer and film maker based in the United Kingdom. Specializing in caving and cave diving photography and filming, his work also covers a range of other action and environ- mental subjects.


   A highly experienced diver, cave diver and cave explorer in his own right, Gavin has been involved in numerous expedition projects, providing a wealth of material for filming and photography.  

 

Above: Decompression stops at the top of the shaft in the Doux de Coly cave system in France - This photo of support diver Mike Thomas was taken during Olivier Isler's solo exploration of the cave reaching a point over 13,000ft/4km from the entrance.

Below: British cave diver and technical diving pioneer Rob Palmer hangs in the vast empty chamber of Ben's Room in the Lucayen Caverns cave system of Grand Bahama Island. (Nikonos V, 15mm Nikkor UW, Ikelite Flashes

 
 

   With his own exploration projects in the Picos Mountains of Northern Spain and as a joint leader of many expeditions to China, Gavin has been actively involved in the discovery and mapping of numerous new cave systems as well as their visual documentation.


   Having worked with the BBC and other television production companies for many years, he recently ventured into producing his own films. His first two productions, one on cave diving at Wookey Hole in the United Kingdom (UK) and the second on Cave Exploration in China, are now nearing completion and seeking broadcast deals. With his own exploration projects in the Picos Mountains of Northern Spain and as a joint leader of many expeditions to China, Gavin has been actively involved in the discovery and mapping of numerous new cave systems as well as their visual documentation. Having worked with the BBC and other television production companies for many years, he recently ventured into producing his own films. His first two productions, one on cave diving at Wookey Hole in the United Kingdom (UK) and the second on Cave Exploration in China, are now nearing completion and seeking broadcast deals. Graduating with a degree in photography, film and television from Harrow College in London, Gavin's life has always revolved around photography and filming. A major part of this work over the last couple of years has been for the environmental group Greenpeace, which has led to a whole range of adventures. Some of these have included diving on nuclear waste pipelines, camping on the frozen arctic sea ice and chasing pirate-fishing vessels across the vast southern ocean.  

 

Above: Geoff Crossley, typically accustomed to the small confines and murky waters of British sumps, admires the clear waters of Peacock Spring, Florida. (Nikonos V, 15mm Nikkor UW)

Below: Sump 2 of the Fontaine de Truffe in southern France is a small winding tube through spectacular fretted rock. Water levels in the cave can vary as much as 15ft/5m depending on weather conditions and in drought conditions much of this sump can have airspace. (Nikonos RS, 13mm Nikkor Fisheye, Subatec 250 Flashes)

 
 

   Gavin started caving when he was 16 years old, after several family holidays to the UK's Yorkshire Dales and a series of caving films on television prompted his interest. Starting with a short, one-day introductory course in caving at the UK National Caving Centre at Whernside Manor in Yorkshire, this led to joining a caving club in London while in college. While pursuing a degree in photography, his senior-year project was based around cave photography and his tutors soon became accustomed to all the college‚Äôs camera equipment coming back from weekends away sporting a strange layer of mud and the odd unexplained dent!


   Later moving to Bristol and joining the South Wales caving club brought him into contact with many of the UK's top expedition cavers, and he was soon asked to join these projects as expedition photographer.  

 

Above: Whaleshark - Photographed off the East coast of South Africa, the Whaleshark is the world's largest fish. Once quite common these harmless plankton eaters can grow to a length of 16m but heavy overfishing increas- ingly endangers their survival and encounters these days are rare. (Nikonos RS, 13mm Nikkor Fisheye)  

Below: Ginnie Springs, Florida - Photographed against the sunlight, two divers prepare to descend into Devil's Eye Spring. The clarity of the water reveals the trees and clouds above the divers. (Nikonos V, 15mm Nikkor)

 
 

   After taking up open-water diving alongside his interest in caving, it was inevitable that cave diving should beckon. He soon developed a very personal style based heavily around creative lighting effects while reveling in the challenge presented by photographing the small, cold and inhospitable sumps of the UK.


   Invited by UK cave diver Rob Parker to join Bill Stones' 1987 Wakulla Springs project, he worked on the film of that groundbreaking project and provided many of the images used in the project book. Since then, numerous expeditions have followed, including nine that explored the caves of several regions of China from where he has recently returned.


   His current favorite camera systems are all 35mm Nikon and Nikonos cameras for still photography work, while Sony DV, DVCAM, & Digital Betacam are his choices for video work. Lighting is provided by Subatec and Sea & Sea flash units for still photography and Kowalski and Satchler lighting systems are the favorites for video projects.


   More of Gavin's work can be seen on his web site at www.actionphoto.co.uk, and all the images in this feature and many others are available for purchase as prints. Visit the web site or email http://www.underworld-productions.com for further details.  

 

Below: This sea cave on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca offers several short sumps containing submerged stalagmite and stalactite formations leading to a series of dry cave passages that lead to a land entrance. (Nikonos V, 15mm Sea & Sea lens)