Breathtaking Images of Some of the Widest and Longest Caves Around the World

cave photography
Suspended on a thin rope, engulfed in cloud and lost in time, a tiny figure is dwarfed by the sheer size on a monumental scale of Cloud Ladder Hall. The beam of light cast by anothers headtorch pierces the fog yet illuminates nothing. This naturally formed room is so large it has it’s own weather system going on.

Robbie Shone is an adventurer who has particular fondness for cave photography. He melds his passion for both photography and caving into a perfect mix to capture some rather imposing photographs. For the past 10 years he has been able to document the depths of widest and longest of caves around the world. Shone’s adventures have brought him to the farthest areas of Papua New Guinea, Borneo, China, the Alps and Crete where he has shot some enormous, cavernous cave systems.

starless river
The crossing of Lake Cadoux in a small dingy. 4m deep pool of water blocks the way forward through the Starless River.

These journeys involved hanging on a thin rope up to 650 ft. (200m) above the floor in the earth’s deepest natural shaft, as he explored the farthest ends of a 117 mile long cave system, spending nearly four consecutive days underground on some shoots.  This may sound a bit perilous, but if not for Shone’s bravado, many of us would be left unaware that there was so much beauty lurking inside the earth’s caves.

cave explorer
A cave explorer climbing out of a Maelstrom on the fixed rope in the upper shaft originally climbed by Tim Allen.

Shone’s lighting of the many monumental caves creates some awesome surreal imagery. He makes use of flash lights to enhance particular structures as well as stones in these deep crevices. The images are extremely captivating making you feel as though you were there yourself along on the adventure.  Thanks to Shone’s graphic but beautiful images, one can travel to the deepest bowels of a 189 km long cave without leaving home.

borneo caves
Cave Explorers progresses downstream in Clearwater River Cave, – The eighth longest cave in the world, Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Borneo.

Viewable in this collection are some of his most awesome and breathtaking cave shots, mostly taken from a 2012 excursion into cave systems in Wulong County, China. One can view more of his cave photography on his website here. Shone’s work has appeared in various publications which include National Geographic Science, GEO, National Geographic, Intelligent Life, Stern and View; in addition to the books Bear Grylls Great Outdoor Adventures, as well as Robin Hanbury-Tenison’s The Great Explorers. Robbie is the recipient of several national and international accolades, and is a favorite for speaking engagements, workshops and judge for competitions.

cave photography photo
Gravely battling the elements; American speleologist Erin Lynch struggles to pull her way across a raging torrent of white water that relentlessly bombards her with waves and waves of crashing water, wanting to tear her away from her only lifeline and throw her down the main river in Quankou Dong.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.