Return to Carlsbad Caverns — Part 1


Looking Back to the Cavern Entrance

Looking Back to the Cavern Entrance

It’s been almost two years since I authored my very popular blog So Easy Even a Caveman Can Photograph It—Carlsbad Caverns.  That article — which was later “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress —  described in great detail how to photograph Carlsbad Caverns without the use of a tripod by implementing many of the techniques I covered in Available Light Photography Without a Tripod.

Wire and Wood Ladder used by Early Explorers

Wire and Wood Ladder used by Early Explorers

Well, it’s amazing how much the technology in digital photography has advanced in so short a time.  On our latest trip to Carlsbad Caverns I decided this time that I would rely upon the “Handheld Night Scene” mode on my newest travel camera, the Canon G1 x (a three-part review begins here:  Canon G1 X Review—Part 1).  Handheld Night Scene takes three rapid, sequential photographs at high ISO, and then internally combines those three images to create a relatively noise-free, stabilized JPEG image without the need for a tripod.

Still My Favorite Formation

Still My Favorite Formation for Some Reason

How well does it work?  Reasonably so.  In particularly dark shooting situations any hand movement will result is some blurring, and when the photograph is later blown up to a 100% crop there is some digital noise evident.  Still, images taken from ISO 3,200 all the way up to ISO 12,800 are better than many travel zooms can produce at even ISO 800.  All in all I was quite impressed, but next trip I’ll probably take a GorillaPod all the same.  That way I’ll be able to produce images at lower ISO with the ability of storing them in RAW format for later post-processing.

Carlsbad Caverns 20

Carlsbad Caverns 20

So, for this week’s blog articles, I return you to Carlsbad Caverns with many images I was unable to capture during my previous visit because of equipment limitations.

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