Dazzling Photos of Glow Worms Lighting Up an Underground Cave

For the past year, photographer Shaun Jeffers has explored what lies beneath the surface of the Earth. Specifically, he’s focused on the Waitomo area of New Zealand and its mesmerizing underground limestone caves. In them, glow worms—tiny creatures that emit a powerful phosphorescent shine—illuminate the pitch black cavern, putting on a spectacular show that looks out of this world.

Jeffers has spent ample time in the Ruakuri Cave to learn how to photograph these creatures, and his dedication has rewarded him with some truly compelling shots. The glow worms’ light seemingly drips from the ceiling like long icicles, their dazzlingly cool reflections illuminating the still waters below.

The stark visual contrast of the bluish-green light and darkened cave resembles a glittering starry sky. Coincidentally, photographing the glow worms was similar to shooting an above-ground landscape in the middle of the night. Jeffers used long exposures—between 30 seconds and six minutes—in order to capture their intense beauty. This meant, however, that he had to sacrifice some comforts, like warmth. “To achieve the shots,” he explained on Bored Panda, “it required me to submerge myself and my tripod in cold water for up to 6-8 hours a day.” But, he says, “It was totally worth it!”

Shaun Jeffers: Website | Facebook | Instagram
via [Bored Panda]

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Shaun Jeffers.

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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