Photo of the Day

An underground pool of water illuminated by a shaft of light
September 16, 2011

Cenote, Chichén-Itzá, Mexico

This Month in Photo of the Day: Your Photos With Tips From Photographer Catherine Karnow

Caves can be very hard to shoot. Challenges include locating the spot with the most interesting elements and the need to return to a certain place over and over.

In this shot, the combination of the warmly lit stalagtites and stalagmites, the intense turquoise of the water, and the curious stone "jetty" create a dynamic and intriguing setting. (You don’t always have to bring along flashes, as caves open to the public are often lit to highlight the most dramatic rock formations.)

As with most successful photographs, there’s a single element that makes this one captivating: the shaft of light coming down from the roof of the cave. Sometimes you have to go back again and again to capture that remarkable detail that makes the shot sing. It’s the light beam and the circle of light on the water that gives this image an almost religious quality.

Photo Tip: You may have to return repeatedly to a spot to capture the special quality of light that transforms a photograph from ordinary to enchanting.

See more of Your Mexico Photos »
Get more photo tips »

Photograph by Jack Paulus, My Shot
Create a free account to continue and get unlimited access to hundreds of Nat Geo articles, plus newsletters.

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

Create your free account to continue reading

No credit card required. Unlimited access to free content.
Or get a Premium Subscription to access the best of Nat Geo - just $19