Photography

Cameras

Cameras are welcome on our adventures, the small digital waterproof variety that you can “take anywhere” are best, although ordinary cameras can be taken if you are careful with them. Caves have plenty of rocks, grit, mud and water and in general are rather hard on cameras. Bring yours at your own risk. A few hints for keeping your camera alive are:

Keep it in it’s case around your neck, inside your clothes when not in use.
Wipe your hands on a clean bit of clothing before you touch it.
Keep it firmly attached to you when climbing, traversing or abseiling.
Don’t drop it.
Don’t fall in the water!
Be warned, if you bring your camera you can use up heaps of time taking photo’s, it’s that sort of place!!

It’s quite difficult to get the standard of cave shot you see in flyers and on postcards. Photo’s taken with the on camera flash come out quite “flat” (no shadows), or pretty much black if you try for anything further away than 4 to 5 metres. If you want to take a bit of time to get some better looking photo’s of cave formations we know a few tricks with a flashgun which we can bring along.

Photography Trips

If you are really keen and want to get into some serious underground photography then we can run a photography trip. Don’t expect to do too much else apart from taking photo’s – it can be really time consuming! You need a camera with a full manual mode, a tripod mount and a time exposure setting. It really helps if you know how to use it in manual too! To get glowworm photo’s the camera needs at least a 30 second exposure at ISO 1600 and f3.5. If you have an SLR bear in mind that changing lenses underground is something to be avoided – a 14 to 50mm zoom is good for most shots.

We can supply:

  • lightweight basic tripods,
  • 3 flashguns (two with variable power),
  • optical slave flash triggers,
  • wireless radio remote flash triggers/shutter release,
    (for Canon or Nikon cameras with a hot-shoe),
  • padded, waterproof ammunition boxes for putting cameras etc in,
  • a bit of advice!
    We also have a supply of cloth’s for drying hands etc. Oh and if you have non-photographers with you they need to be really patient, understanding and obedient…

Cave Photography

Natural light in cave situations is usually low, requiring a tripod, longer exposures and high ISO settings

The ambient light from our headtorches requires high ISO settings to allow fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the action.

Flash photography

On Camera flash.
This is a straight ‘snapshot’ using the
Auto setting and the on-camera flash.
It is very flat, there are no shadows to
give the shot depth and much of the
stalctite detail is lost as it is white on white.

There is also not enough light on the
people, which could be improved simply
by moving them toward the light source.

Side lighting.
This shot used a flash fired manually from
about 2m right of the camera.
The shadows give the shot much more
depth and detail.

The difficulty lies in ensuring the scene is
evenly lit – in this case the stalactites in
the top right are too close to the flash
and over-exposed.     

Back lighting.
A totally different effect obtained by simply
firing the flash directly into the lens from
behind the subject.

The shot below was set up exactly the same
way as the one above, with the only 
difference being a higher ISO was used, 
doubling the amount of light in the image.

This shot used a blue & red LED’s, a flash and natural light.  It was shot in RAW to allow the colours to be manipulated in photoshop.