Meteorological Perfection is not something you would normally associate with underground exploration but on our latest project a specific type of weather is the difference between rapid extraction, knackering 02 levels or a thoroughly enjoyable trip.
Weather Fronts were due to collide which meant a day of fantastic oxygen levels for us due to the high pressure and we enjoyed more than + 3% more 02 than had been experienced on many previous visits. Also in our favour were water levels so going chest deep got me to places I hadn’t previously been able to reach before without a boat.
Usual rules apply…No names, no locations, just pictures of somewhere. Please don’t ask for locations as refusal often offends 🙂
Not disclosing actual mine names as I believe these are sensitive locations and need preserving, also there are clear and present dangers to the casual observer, not least is the air quality in some of these mines. Human’s start going very twitchy at oxygen levels of 17% and 15% can kill you. If you wander into a heading with oxygen levels of 13% or less it is quite feasible the effect would be so rapid that you wouldn’t be able to help yourself and then its lights out….permanently. If this happens it would be sad for your family and would totally fuck things up access wise for everybody else.
I’ve been caving since the early 1990’s so being underground is nothing new. Low oxygen levels can kill you if you are not prepared…be warned.
Health & Safety lesson over, the following pictures were me messing around with long exposures and trying to perfect the art of Light Painting. Some obvious issues were encountered and lessons learned, one of which is that Xenon/Halogen light is quite bad for light painting but LED light used carefully is good, the other is that my current camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 only has limited settings for long exposure, namely 15, 30 or 60 seconds. These pictures are either 15 or 30 seconds, ideally I would like the option of less than 15 seconds but ultimately that means buying a DSLR at some point.
Since this visit I have invested in another torch which should help with light painting, a LED Lenser P7 which has a one handed focusing mechanism so you can switch from spot to flood. Every underground location is different though and in many places the P7 would overcook the photos but in others it would work a treat.
All of these photo’s were lit with a combination of Petzl MYO XP (85 lumens) with diffuser, Underwater Kinetics Mini Q40 (50 lumens) and a Surefire Executive Defender (60 lumens)
Dead end in a heading, unusual in that the rails should have been removed when the mine closed!