Below are some photographs that we've taken of people on our very unique underground adventures. We hope that you enjoy browsing through them!
The "outside" photographs in this gallery were all taken just as any other picture would be taken, but the underground photographs posed more of a challenge because the environment is absolutely pitch black. There are no electric lights illuminating the mine (other than the lamps on peoples helmets!) so powerful camera flash is resorted to.
Most of the underground photographs here were taken using vintage flash bulbs. These glass bulbs are use-once disposable flashes that haven't been manufactured for decades. They use an explosive paste in an oxygen-rich bulb to produce a quick, powerful flash of light. The majority of our flash bulbs were manufactured in the 1950's and 1960's and are unused stock or warehouse finds. Despite their age they still provide reliable service with very few misfires.
Flash bulbs (especially the PF60 and PF100's that we use) are much, much brighter than even the best electronic flash, but the light is also more diffused with softer shadows. The longer duration of light (around 1/30 second verses 1/2000 second for electronic flash) still allows a feeling of movement with running/falling water as in Photo 26.
Most of the flash-bulb photographs used multiple bulbs fired in unison. Examples are Photo6 and Photo7. Some photos use just one flash bulb, usually placed behind the subject to create a strong back light. Examples of this are Photo 11, Photo 14 and Photo 20.
Flashbulbs can also be fired underwater, to light it up and bring out the lovely colours. An example photo of this would be Photo 4, where a bulb was lowered on a wire to a depth of 50 feet below the waters surface (the water itself is 90 feet deep). Two other bulbs above the water lit the remainder of the scene.
Some of these underground photographs were taken using remote electronic flash only. In these cases, large free-standing Metz60 units were employed. The extremely short duration of the light freezes motion precisely, which is sometimes a desired effect. An example of a picture taken using only electronic flash would be Photo 22.
There are also a few pictures on here which use no clever lighting or fancy cameras at all: just a point-and-shoot with it's normal inbuilt flash. Examples of these are Photo 46 and Photo 36. These types of pictures are ideal for capturing friends and family though they are less suitable for big open scenes.
A few of the underground pictures here don't use flash of any sort, but a long exposure with just hand-torches to produce the light (the camera on a tripod to keep it still). These type of photographs only really work well when there is nothing that can move in the scene (eg, people!) otherwise it will blur. Example photographs, which despite the models best efforts at remaining motionless still exhibit some blur, are Photo 1, Photo 32 and Photo 48.
The camera used for most of these photographs was a Nikon D3200 with a prime lens (several lengths were used). The lens was stopped down to usually F8 or F11 for sharpness. The camera was set to ISO100 for colour clarity and quality.