On this expedition, the approach taken to underground photography was similar to previous trips, but with a little more knowledge of the problems to be overcome. The very size of most of the cave passage explored introduced its own factors in terms of the equipment required and the expertise of the personnel involved with photography. In the latter respect, we were fortunate that the majority of the team were well versed in the operation of our various sources of illumination and had a good understanding of what the photographers were trying to achieve. Our appreciation of their part in taking pictures successfully should be noted.

The aims of our attempts to record the caves explored were twofold; firstly to produce a set of 35mm slides with which to present the expedition in a lecture format, and secondly to create high quality prints which could be used for publication. With the limited supply of lighting equipment which we could feasibly transport to and around Vietnam this meant that most photo trips involved the simultaneous use of both 35mm and large format cameras.

For the slides, we used mainly Pentax ME Super or K1000 cameras equipped with 200 ASA Kodachrome film. The large format shots were taken with a Bronica using 400 ASA Kodak “Vivid Colour” roll film. In both cases, we were very pleased with the quality of the results achieved.

As usual in Vietnam, a lot of flash power was required to produce results which did justice to the caves. We utilised around 100 PF300 bulbs, which proved ideal for the large passages encountered, plus lots of AG3 bulbs. In addition to this, we had 4 electronic flash guns and the faithful old Magicubes.

Putting all this together was, as always, a tricky job, but we consider that overall the results obtained represent a good return for our efforts.

Paul Ibberson


2012 Report


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