We don't expect to see lights in an underground cavern unless humans put them there, but if you pay a visit to various caves in New Zealand, caves where few humans have ever gone, the glow worms that live there will light the place up for you.
Photographer Shaunn Jeffers first explored the caves beneath New Zealand and discovered their hidden insectile beauty many moons ago, and this glowing underworld has fascinated him ever since.
So Shaunn keeps slipping into his wetsuit and heading in to every cave he can find, to see what sort of glowing worms he'll meet there:
I have explored caves in both New Zealand’s Northland and Waikato regions and have been totally mesmerised by what I have found! From small public accessible caves to huge Department of Conservation permit only caves big enough to fit a cruise ship, it’s been an absolute incredible experience!
I’ve never experienced anything quite like it and to be honest it’s difficult to put the feeling into words – standing alone in total darkness looking up at these little glowing creatures is just so surreal and magical. It’s like looking up at a starry night sky.
I used a combination of Nikon equipment including my D850, D810, and various lenses. Shooting glowworms are no easy feat. Photographing them is just like taking photos of the night sky, only the exposure time can be much longer. Depending on how close I was to the glowworms and the amount of them, exposures varied from 30 seconds to 8 minutes. To achieve the shots, some required me to submerge myself and my tripod in freezing cold water, other required hiking, climbing, abseiling and swimming. Once again, totally worth it! Bring on more glowworm adventures!