His main claim to fame to audiences overseas are his beachside antics. Beyond that, Australia’s conservative opposition leader doesn’t demand a whole lot of our work time.

However, I ended up next to him, underground, 10 kilometers (6 miles) into a coal mine.

Reuters just happened to be writing a piece about Tony Abbott and we write about mining many times every day Down Under. So here was a chance to match this piece while shooting lots of subterranean stock images.

Like all Reuters photographers now and then I am faced with shooting in very low light. This particular mine releases lots of methane gas, the stuff that caused an explosion at Pike River coal mine in New Zealand killing 29 men underground, a tragic story that I covered in November last year. The restrictions one works underground include:

- No flash
- No tripod
- No changing lenses
- No other gear except camera with lens attached
- No spare batteries
- No light sources other than the mine’s supplied head lamp
- No turning your camera on if an unsafe methane reading is detected within 20 meters of you
- No wondering off by yourself
- No leaving the main transit corridors
- And a host of others I can’t remember