Author Topic: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.  (Read 494 times)

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« on: October 13, 2018, 10:10:38 am »
Reading comments recently I seem to have gained the reputation of a manic paparazzo inserting himself at all sorts of inconvenient times twixt digger and rock-face. So can you have too many photos of caving ? I have been lucky, I guess, with  new discoveries having camera to hand. Fairy Cave Quarry Caves from the late 60's, Reservoir Hole, NHASA Gallery and now Vurley. Reservoir Hole and Vurley were followed intensely at all stages of digging and discovery as I thought it important to keep a record. Now , sadly , these efforts are rarely appreciated at the time . Oh I am not just a digger with a camera I am a committed digger too. Regarding recent years in Reservoir and latterly at Vurley I have put in more digging trips than anyone else ( Currently approaching 150 trips in Vurley. Hardly a bystander and not bad for a 71 year old in just over three years ). Ali thought my ladder rolling photo on the Reservoir Hole appreciation thread was " dreadful ". Now Ali I count as a good friend and would do nothing to embarrass her . In fairness ,taken in context, it was an historic caving image. The very first ascent of Ascension. Ali was pulling up the ladder we used to follow Andrew Atkinson the lead climber. Andrew's drill lies close by. It was not an image of Ali trying to roll a ladder and failing dismally. So easy to mis comprehend an image with no text which in the thread I wanted to keep to a minimum. It was an " Appreciation " not a history of the cave. My approach to cave photography I always describe as " journalistic " as to my mind it is the moment that is important. No matter how much you try you can never repeat that. So to achieve a passable result I might take ten images and select the best. All done in seconds I might add. I am not keen on doing posed photos. ( my old moan about formulaic images ). Of course any complex set up will mean your images have to be posed. To get good light back lit perhaps. There are lots of them and no bad thing as it shows the cave in the best possible way. For me I let circumstances dictate my methods and if I am lucky enough to be on original exploration so much the better. Some of my early ( pre taping ) images in The Frozen Deep can never be repeated. Areas now out of bounds even to the worlds best photographers.
So why am I whinging here ? Let's face it this forum is particularly under used when it comes to photographs. There seems to be a reluctance from cavers to share images here.
( oh so many on Facebook ). I suppose you get great images here time to time and maybe those with a humbler approach fear to suffer in comparison. That is an ill conceived concept. Photography has many " faces ". There are no unbreakable rules. No reliance on super expensive kit. My old TG2 is still struggling on. Try getting 1,000 meaningful images of any cave with complex set ups and expensive kit. It's not a question of quality verses quantity. I do not see photography like that. Most of the iconic images of the past are not great set up shots. They are iconic because they capture the moment. Well here I just might be taking myself too seriously. Well I would be if I said all great artists are only appreciated after they are dead.
Another facet of cave photography I like to explore are portraits. I find those so much fun. Again I try to catch my subjects unposed. Of course here the photographer embarks on dangerous ground as your subject might not see the same image as you do. I do always say anything that I post that seriously offends will be deleted. I have come a cropper with perceived health and safety issues too in the past. You have to realise that your land owner may come across your images and might not appreciate views of " hanging death " under his land. Sometimes the photographers lot is not an easy path to tread. Lord knows how many Vurley images I have. The digging team are reticent about publicity and by and large I have gone along with it. I do see reasons for that and showing images at an event like Hidden Earth is a different prospect than publishing them here where they may end up on Google Image.
Long term what do you do with " Too Many Ruddy Photographs "? Yup they may well remain unloved on your hard drive or float about in the cloud. Share what you can but consider the pitfalls. Ultimately anything " online "is at risk long term. Third party hosting and even forums may well come and go and all will be lost denying that legacy approach we might strive for. So many of my images go in Photobox hard backed books hoping there lies immortality. That is if they end up in the right place when I go.
Well there we are. Nothing contentious like CROW ( sic ) or blocked up entrances and guess what ? Yup I have started a thread without a single photograph. Snap on.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2018, 10:29:53 am »
Ha Ha. Thinking back. The first bit of new passage we found in Reservoir Hole was called " Happy Snappers ". Hardly an oxymoron in my view. :)

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2018, 02:06:31 pm »
A very thoughtful and pertinent post Mr OR. Now my active caving days are over, my biggest regret is not taking enough photos, and although I cannot claim your levels of exploratory derring-do and achievement, there were nevertheless significant moments when, for want of those few (pre-digital) seconds it would have taken to drag the camera out of an ammo tin, crucial caving events I'd have liked to share with my kids and old caving buddies exist only in a fading memory.

I guess you've got thicker skin than me; even now I can remember the collective groans from my fellow explorers whenever I suggested a nice picture would be a good idea, so in the end I guess I couldn't be bothered with the fuss. I do know that if I was still caving, my TG-5 would be seeing much underground snapping action.

So good luck to you, and please don't stop posting your excellent photos! I'm a big fan...
"Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment"

Offline Badlad

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2018, 04:10:55 pm »
We also try to keep a record of our digs and come across the same problems as you.  I have to admit to the odd groan when the camera comes out.  However, often it is when there is a lull in the proceedings.  It is difficult to know how much to publicise a dig as often it can lead to criticism for a variety of reasons.  Usually we publish some on here and follow up with an article in Descent giving as much details as we can.  Here's a couple from our latest efforts.  Guess where it is





Thanks to Franklin for the photos.

Offline Ali M

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2018, 06:04:24 pm »
Nick - you worry too much. By "dreadful" I meant me not looking my best and appearing to make a pigs ear of pulling up the ladder, so that I could attach it to a rope for Andrew to pull it up the upper Ascension pitch that he had just climbed.  My comments re the photo were in jest and aimed at myself. x




Offline Speleofish

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2018, 11:51:10 pm »
Please, Mr OR, keep them coming. Hugely appreciated.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2018, 09:05:18 am »
Er umm just one then. I am reworking some mainly for the collage and also for a local photo Facebook Group.

The Crystal Edge.



I used a selfie stick to carefully lower the TG2 under a calcite shelf working on the 12 second timer.. The resulting image showed me in the background which I cloned out to black. Re editing existing photos can make a whole world of difference.

Offline Wolfo

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Re: Just Too Many Ruddy Photographs.
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2018, 10:08:44 am »
In the cave you often wish the camera guy/girl some deep and nasty, muddy pit to step in next - but all are crying if there are no fotos at the easter/christmas/sylvester informal hut meeting.
So don't worry and look out for deep mud :beer2:
Lower Saxony - Harz Mountain Area - Germany