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Dive Photo Guide


The Emerald City- Cenotes Behind the Shot
By Javier Sandoval, August 9, 2011 @ 07:00 AM (EST)

By Javier Sandoval

Cenotes are magical places, full of mystical stories from the Mayans. All you have to do is dive into any cenote to find spades of light breaking through the water and millenary rock formations, all the while a jungle waits just outside the water creating an amazing backdrop to explore the natural light possibilities.

The Idea

I wanted to show the entrance of a cenote, while also including a diver to give a sense of scale. During rainy season, all the natural waste from the jungle washes into the water, creating a layer of acid on the surface. Some cenotes sites, like the one I was diving named “Carwash,” have large overhead openings, allowing plenty of sunlight penetrate the surface. This sunlight produces a great array of life, including loads of aquatic plants. These green plants reflect in the layer of acid, creating a mysterious atmosphere in the emerald-colored water.

The Shot

Taking advantage of all these specific conditions, I went to “Carwash” to take some natural light shots with a friend who would serve as the model.  We spent most of our time around a number of dead trees, but it was not until I decided to penetrate into the “cave zone” that I saw the shot I wanted.  It was on my return to the entrance that I noticed the mouth like shape of the opening, seemingly engulfing the dead trees.  I knew that was the shot I was looking for, so I called my friend over, and as he descended through the hole I had the chance to take a few shots like this one. 

Note: To enter the cave area of “Carwash,” where I took this image, you will need to be a certified cave diver. 





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