Smokehole Cave Photography Trip

Emily and I weren’t sure that we’d have enough people to have a real cave photography trip; we needed models, people to hold flashes, and sherpas. However, we got lucky when Ava, Diana, and Pete agreed to join us for a Sunday caving trip. We drove up to the Bat Ranch Saturday evening so Ava could spend some quality time with a boa constrictor around her neck.

I pointed at the trail to the Hillside Entrance to Smokehole Cave, and Pete said “That’s not a trail.” We took a more circuitous route to the cave. Click on the photos below to see the full images.

Easy travel corkscrewing down to the stream passage, and then I started looking for places to take photographs. Emily was a good sport as she held the ceiling up while looking down at the stream below her. She seemed okay with her niece being the subject of the photos.

When we climbed up the breakdown pile, Emily scouted around while I set up a second photo. Diana couldn’t quite hide from the flash.

Pete agreed to pose near a rock whose bottom had eroded away, and then I flipped direction to try a backlit shot of Emily posing on a rock in the stream.

Diana’s lighting skills helped us backlight more stream shots, but the main stream split three ways not too much further in. I tried to photograph Diana and Pete walking down a mud passage that led to the Big Room.

The Big Room was really big. And muddy. And a good place for a lunch break.

Emily looked to be nine feet tall standing over a rimstone pool, while Ava skulked in the shadows. We then exited the cave uneventfully and drove home late Sunday evening.


[photo staged by Emily Graham]