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Ingleborough Cave

Posted on 15 November 2014 by

I saw an advert via the Royal Photographic Society of a Photography Day to be held at Ingleborough Cave in North Yorkshire. The only cave photography I’d done before was in Sardinia at Capo Caccia but that was as a tourist on an old Canon compact (see the results at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ophiuchius/sets/72157600733748713/ if you’re interested), so I was interested to give it a go. It was definitely worth doing, although I can’t say it was an unbridled success.

Ingleborough Cave is situated near the picturesque village of Clapham and accessed by a trail of just over a mile through the lovely scenery of Ingleborough Estate. The track winds up past a lake and a small but impressive folly, before breaking from the trees into a shallow valley, flanked by stone walls, sparse trees and sheep. The entrance to the cave itself is via an old wooden door set into a gaping wound in the rock face, where we gathered to don our hard hats and find out what was in store for us. There were around twelve other photographers on the morning session I attended, enough to make it worthwhile for those running the cave but not enough to cause any congestion.

After a guided tour by Ingleborough Cave staff we were left to our own devices for around three hours, which seemed like a long time but it flew by. Given the lack of light, all shots were taken on a tripod and almost all used exposures of around 30 seconds. Setting this all up at each location, finding out what works and what doesn’t etc., soon eats into your time. I could easily have spent another few hours there.

I had a great time and came away with several great images. I’d love to try it again though, either at Ingleborough Cave or elsewhere, as there were plenty of things I’d like to do differently. For one I’d like to take along some extra lighting next time, both in terms of remotely-fired flash units and simple torches. The floodlighting in the cave tended towards the harsh side and several of the photographers were using alternative lights to great effect. I tried it in a couple of shots with the torch on my iPhone but it really wasn’t enough…

Definitely worth the trip up though. They appear to be doing this annually, so if you’re interested in this sort of thing keep an eye out on the Ingleborough Cave website for details.

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