Using High-Tech Photography to Reveal Ancient Rock Art

Daniel Britton and Dirk van Dorpe setting up the camera for Infra-red photography (Photo by Julian Jansen van Rensburg)

During the second part of our adventure into the dark realms deep within Dahaisi cave where legends say a giant white snake dwells, we discovered and documented an ancient pathway worn smooth by ancient visitors to the cave. However, the main reason we came to Dahaisi was to document the wide array of rock art using the latest photographic techniques. To this end the photographer, Daniel Britton, has been working tirelessly in less than ideal conditions. Here is his story.

By Daniel Britton

The first thing I noticed as I clambered down into Dahaisi cave is the gradual loss of the beautiful light that for me as a photographer defines Socotra. Colors on this amazing island in the Indian Ocean seem brighter and more vivid than usual. In the cave this colour is replaced by a grey gloom. Increasingly dark shadows hang around the edges of my vision as I slowly became accustomed to seeing the world through a narrow cone of light projected from my borrowed headlamp.

This is my first experience of caving and when I turn off my headlamp to sample the true darkness that I’ve been told can only be found deep within a cave, I am not entirely sure if the increase in my heart rate is a sign of exhilaration or a somewhat more primal fear of the darkness. I quickly turn the headlamp back on.

Daniel Britton and Dirk van Dorpe setting up the camera for Infra-red photography (Photo by Julian Jansen van Rensburg)

As I pass through increasingly narrow passages I find myself crawling on hands and knees with Dirk van Dorpe, a seasoned caver making reassuring noises and advising me to get lower still as I slowly crawl along with a backpack full of cameras, tripods, and lighting rigs.

Heading deeper into the cave the —> Read More

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