I’ve finally been able to break away from my jewelry making to spend a little time with photography after a recent trip to New Mexico and far West Texas, visiting Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in the days preceding the US government shutdown. In fact, we were at Carlsbad Caverns to watch thousands (or millions?) of bats escape from the caverns as the sky darkened just hours before the government shut down and all the national parks closed.
Here are a number of photos taken during our descent into the cool, dank darkness that is Carlsbad Caverns. This was a huge challenge photographically, as the there was little room or time to set up a tripod and my camera doesn’t perform particularly well at high ISO. While a few are long-exposures taken on a tripod, almost all of them are handheld. I had to push the limits of what my camera could do, purposefully underexposing most images to prevent a shaky image and then relying on a little Lightroom magic to pull as much detail from the shadows as possible. This project is a good demonstration of why you should always shoot RAW if you have the option. Of course, it also whets my apatite for a camera upgrade, with better performance at high ISO being top on my list of improvements I am looking for. It would help with handheld images in low light, and it would really add some magic to my astronomy photography as well. My trusty Rebel has served me very well over the past few years–don’t get me wrong–but technology advances so fast, and it’s a relative dinosaur now compared to what’s out there now. Nonetheless, I’m thankful for all the great photo opportunities it’s given me, and I look forward to many more!