Landscapes: Volume 3 from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo. There is something about seeing the world…
If you have no idea what Spelunking is, your not alone. Spelunking is the secret to the unusually challenging and most difficult photographic discipline of cave photography. Ever wonder where those fabulous photos come from of the magical environments underground? Let me introduce you to Knoxville-based caver and cave photography specialist Chris Higgins.
Recently, Chris Higgins guided a team from JOBY, makers of those great GorillaPods, deep underground in Tennessee, where Chris showed them just how he gets his amazing caving images. This type of photography is not for those people who are claustrophobic, nor for the overweight or out of shape. It takes guts and true grit to attempt this type of photo work. It also takes a considerable gear budget. Accidents happen with gear when you are rock climbing, below ground or above. Unknown to most, the equipment for the two is quite similar. You add a good camera for cave photography, and leave the tent at home. Temperatures deep underground in caves across the United States are a chilly but relatively comfortable 55 degrees fahrenheit nearly year around.
The challenge with cave photography is not only the decent to get there and the climb back out, it is carrying sufficient camera and lighting gear to get a decent exposure. Caves are DARK! Power outlets being non-existent and even portable generators being too heavy to transport dictates lighting choices are quite limited. For his gorgeous images, Chris Higgins relies on a number of speed flashes and their remote sync capabilities. I’d also suggest he invest in a wireless control unit to adjust them from a distance individually. As he does it now, multiple climbs are sometimes necessary to adjust the power settings on his flashes. But then, I guess that would take some of the adventure and exercise out of the equation for the people who enjoy such things.
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