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Thread: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

    Well, great news today! I made great progress in identifying an archeological site where I'm headed in (I hope) a few weeks. It is a native american temple and the walls are reputed to have some spectacular paintings. The cave is on a military post, on the range (which is "live") so I need an escourt from the PAOIC. I have the phone # of a photographer who documented the site long ago for additional info, but what I wanted to ask here is what kind of lighting gear that will work with my 8x10 that can I reasonably expect to cart up a one mile steep and slippery trail? Alas Milly the Mule, my "ASSistant," can't go on this trip. At the very least I'd want some kind of reflective panel but some kind of battery powered light would be nice---maybe on of the 500,000 watt rechargable mega flashlights from Costco?---most likely this will be a one of a kind opportunity unless, if its really cool, I can get a clearance for my Cub Scout den to make the hike in a few years.

    Any thoughts?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #2
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Los Altos, CA

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

    It's pretty amazing what you can do with multiple pops from a battery powered strobe with "auto" function, like an older Metz 54 or Nikon SB 24/5/6. I have an Apollo "mini" soft box I place over mine to spread and soften the light. Of course if the images are close to the mouth, then one of the 40x72" folding reflector kits will work well too, but the light will be cold and if shooting chrome you may need to filter for it -- color neg should be fine though. Don't forget to add for bellows extension -- you'll probably be pretty close inside the cave!

    Congrats on the job and show us some photos when you're done!

    Jack Flesher

  3. #3
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

    Flash bulbs are said to be the most compact way of transporting LOTS of light...

  4. #4

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside


    Are you familar with

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Sullivan, IL

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

    my Metz 60's have never let me down in situations like this.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Hell's Kitchen, New York

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

    I'd definitely take a hand mirror - I have one about ten inches square for this purpose - and a folding reflector, if it was likely to be sunny outside the cave. You shine sunlight from the mirror outside the cave onto the reflector, which is in the cave. Continuous, and very powerful. The beam carries perfectly over very long distances. A mirror can do as well as, or better than, a 25 kW HMI. I first used this method for illuminating deep disused mineshafts during photo surveys without using anything potentially dangerous and quickly learned how powerful a simple hand mirror can be.

    I'd also consider taking a few large flash bulbs, as Ole says. That is how I have lit large underground caverns in the past, when it has been permissible to do so. Otherwise there's something like a Dyna-Lite UNI400JR and Jackrabbit II battery. I have a couple of those, and a couple of Metz 60s, and it is a toss-up between them. The JR's are a little more versatile, but Metz 60s are much cheaper - about $200 each for a full CT-4 outfit, less for a CT-2 - very good value for what you get, even if you have to buy new batteries. Also look out for a cheap Mecatwin, which allows you to run two heads off one pack.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Shooting in an open mouth cave on a mountianside

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