"A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. Caves form naturally by the weathering of rock and often extend deep underground. The word "cave" can also refer to much smaller openings such as sea caves, rock shelters, and grottos.
Speleology is the science of exploration and study of all aspects of caves and the environment that surrounds the caves. Exploring a cave for recreation or science may be called caving, potholing, or spelunking.Solutional caves are the most frequently occurring caves and such caves form in rock that is soluble, such as limestone, but can also form in other rocks, including chalk, dolomite, marble, salt, and gypsum. Rock is dissolved by natural acid in groundwater that seeps through bedding-planes, faults, joints and so on. Over geological epochs cracks expand to become caves and cave systems." Wikipedia
Cave photography can be very visually stimulating but it comes with difficulties unique to them and lets face it, not that many of us have ventured inside a cave or much less taken loads of expensive photographic equipment into one.
Caves are not found everywhere but if you have the opportunity of venturing into one, do take advantage and photograph it. You may be surprised by the results. Caves are usually dark, some in total darkness and most are very humid.
Not only do you have to carry equipment like flash units but you have to keep everything protected until ready to shoot. Another thing to keep in mind is your safety.
Many caves are good environments for moss and other slippery growth to form and footing is not always the best. It is best to start by visiting caves that are kept by national governing bodies as they are usually safe, have clear paths, have good lighting and are usually staffed in case of an emergency.
As said before, the main problem with caves is the lack of sufficient light so far as photography is concerned.
A camera mounted flash unit will most likely produce harsh shadows directly behind the are where it is aimed.
The best alternative is usually to have at least to remote -off camera light sources. This set up tends to produce results which appear more natural with very little need to Photoshop the images in post production.
The lights should be positioned at about 45 degree angles to the focusing spot and about 10 feet away.
You should also use a tripod to secure the camera and lens set up and fire them remotely.
This is off course if the terrain permits it. A good idea is to scout the area and selecting a suitable scene prior to the shoot. try various set ups to determine which works best for you and try to avoid harsh shadows.
Since caves are often monotonous in their color scheme. It is worth it to take a close looks at as much detail as you can so that the images does not end up looking like a monotonous continuation of one color.
Crevices, edges, drops, water if present, places where the soil meets the rock and sandy formations, curious rock formations can all make for very interesting scenery. Do not forget to look up. Often some of the most intriguing scenery can be found in the roofs of many of these caves, especially if wild life like bats call it their home.
Taking along an assistant is always a good idea not only for the work involved but for safety's sake as well.
If the cave has clear standing water, or perhaps a stream or lake, consider taking some underwater shots as many have even more interesting subject matter under the water, and if you are lucky these water reservoirs contain wild life as well.
Take heed and do not disturb much less destroy anything inside the cave and this includes any wildlife as most if not all caves are federally protected.
Caves also present spectacular night time photo opportunities so long as you have the right light gear but you can take advantage of any cave that is government managed since most have good light set ups and often these lights come in colors making the walls and general cave scenery brilliantly colored.
If you want these kind of pictures caves offer you great opportunities to capture seemingly "surreal" images.
However if you prefer a more natural look, then photographing during daylight hours makes the best sense.
For natural looking subjects it is best to visit less known samples and not those that are run by any agency.
It goes without saying that the majority of your pictures should be of the cave interior but do not overlook outside areas like the cave entrance.
Often you can find suitable scenery if you look carefully and choose good angles and perspectives.
Pay attention if the cave ceiling features openings that let the sun in. If you plan the shot carefully you may be able to capture the rays of the Sun as they enter the cave and these are always good eye catching images.
Make sure to choose angles that "position" the Sun rays against a dark background to enhance the effect and it is best to have some distance between you and the scene to capture details around the walls and where the rays finally hit.
Cave pictures go very well with publications that focus on travel spots and some scientific ones that use articles on caves.
Really stunning images can be used by most photographic publications and they can also be shown at fine art galleries not to mention used din self published books dealing on photography and travel.
Do not overlook submitting your cave images to tourist boards for each location as they are always in the look out for images that showcase their region.
- 14 Tips For Cave Photography - Digital Photography School
Hawai’i's Big Island is rife with photography opportunities, including those below the surface. I recently was a guest on an underground tour of the Kazumura Cave, the world’s longest lava tube with a length over 40 miles. While I didn’t explore th
© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez
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