Photographing a cave is a huge challenge for any photographer. And you would never ever imagine how many colors are hidden there in the darkness, formed through billions of years!

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First, it's the absence of light. Which means that you need high exposure times and the camera cannot focus.

But, alas, I was in Diros cave, in Greece, a huge submerged cave, that is only crossed with a rowing boat! Crouching to pass through the narrowest corridors of the cave, it is evident that a tripod is just a luxury. You only have your stable hand. And high ISOs.

And then, it’s the itineraries inside the cave. The most difficult of them. Where stalagmites are so close that literally touch your lens. For just a fleeting click. Well... if you manage to capture it, while you row, crouched to protect your head.

And after that… it's the effort to create photos with some form of composition. To stand in awe in front of the majestic reflections! With minimal light. Any light available. And to admire earth's wonders. They have even named some of the cavities with titles. Like the "Room with Chandeliers" in photo #7, for it resembles a palace with hundreds of chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

And then… Then comes the magic!

The multitude of colors.

Colors which are created by water as it drips down from the earth's soil down to the cave, to create stalactites and stalagmites, carrying with it any sediment found in its passage. Creating all those magnificently beautiful color tones.

While never forgetting that eerie silence of the cave, while you are there alone.

This is the secret world of nature's fine art, well preserved in the darkness. And the majestic feeling that it requires almost 100 years, just for a single *centimeter* of a stalagmite to form! This same stalagmite that you make a single click to capture. Which stands there for a billion years!

It’s Awe defined.

Here are a billion years and a billion colors hidden in darkness. Most of us would probably never imagine they existed. But here they are exposed.

(all photos are available on large, fine-art canvas prints)

Yannis Larios

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