Shaun Jeffers wins New Zealand Geographic award for Waitomo Caves photograph

Shaun Jeffers won an award for this photo of the Ruakuri cave in Waitomo.
SHAUN JEFFERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Shaun Jeffers won an award for this photo of the Ruakuri cave in Waitomo.

A photographer had to abseil down into a cave and dive into freezing water to capture the perfect shot at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.

But the hard work has paid off for Shaun Jeffers who has won the landscape category at the NZ Geographic, Photographer of the Year awards.

The spectacular photo was taken in the deepest point of the Ruakuri Cave, which is lit entirely by glowworms, showing the limestone textures of the cave walls and the threads used to catch their prey. 

The British photographer had to stand in freezing water to capture the perfect photograph.
Shaun Jeffers/Waitomo

The British photographer had to stand in freezing water to capture the perfect photograph.

To reach the sump involved a 35-metre abseil and several dives through underwater passages - then Jeffers has to set up his gear in pitch-black, chest-deep water, for a six-minute exposure. 

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"It's surreal going down there, chest-deep in water, freezing cold. Then your eyes adjust and you can see them [the glowworms]," the 27-year-old told Stuff Travel earlier this year.

Jeffers, who is originally from the UK, has a following of more than 71,000 fans on Instagram and his Middle-earth posts have landed him the nickname "the Hobbit guy".

"I love going to work everyday," he says.

"Long before I was a photographer, I really wanted to go and see New Zealand.

"It's sort of come full circle."

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Jeffers works with other tourism operators around the country, such as Te Puia in Rotorua, and Discover Waitomo.
Shaun Jeffers/Waitomo

Jeffers works with other tourism operators around the country, such as Te Puia in Rotorua, and Discover Waitomo.

 - Stuff

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