Saturday 30 April 2016

29th April 2016. Back underground again

Memories bring back a yearning for the old days.  After working a 39 hour week (yes actually working!) my mind automatically fell back nearly 10 years to the fact that it was Friday and the end of the working week.  The start of the weekend must be celebrated with a caving trip!  Problem was, unlike 10 years ago, the enthusiasm of the team for trips underground was severely diminished and the reply to a text to the one remaining keen member of the TNC showed that numbers were reduced to one.  So, what to do?  A trip underground was necessary to finish the week, but the weather forecast was not so good and solo caving meant it had to be a manageable and safe option.

A couple of months ago a new camera had been acquired (Oympus Tough) that is waterproof to 15m, shock resistant from 7m and 18mp.  Great results had been gained from sea-kayaking trips (see last blog) but the camera had yet to be tested underground so the idea formed of doing a straight forward trip to test the features of the camera. So off i went to explore Great Douk above Ingleton.

On arrival, the weather to the south looked heavy, while to the north it was sunny!  Not the heavy, wintery showers forecast at all.  Ingleborough looked sublime in its snowy covering and heavy clouds above, lit up by the sunshine.

Walking across the moor to Great Douk entrance the sunshine got sunnier but the air temperature remained at about 3 degrees C!

Climbing into the entrance by the waterfall.  The camera's 12 second timer gives you plenty of time to set up the shot

Being waterproof give you other options of where to place the camera on its mini tripod.  in this case in the stream above the waterfall.

The flash illuminates the scene well, once I had realised that the camera had to focus before setting off the timer.

This shot was taken from in the stream

A great facility that we are sure to use loads is called 'Live Composite'.  Images are combined by the camera 'live' so you can watch the picture build up on the screen as you wave the light over the scene.  This allows darker areas to be filled in.  this photo of the stream passage was taken entirely using the helmet light.

The passage goes from walking size to flat out crawling in water quite quickly.  The water was freezing!  This photo illustrates one of the slight problems with using the camera solo.  t
getting it to focus on the subject in the dark!  

 After crawling through the hole in the roof that leads to the exit I popped out into the sunshine but it was freezing cold!   A quick walk back to the car warmed me up a bit and the weather hadn't been anywhere as bad as forecast.   The real fire and pint of Black Sheep in the Hill Inn soon had me warming up while i looked at the photos I had taken.

So opinions about the camera?   The photos that worked are great, clear and sharp with good colour saturation, but the flash doesn't always fire if the camera has not focused on the subject first.  Maybe with two people it would be easier to illuminate the subject before pressing the shutter.  The live composition works well but needs a mini tripod and the illumination needs to be from behind the camera to be able to see the image building up.  more practice will improve technique.  The ruggedness of the camera is great and being able to put it in water is a bonus.  i am not sure how long the pretty red casing will last as it is scratched after the one trip (you can see the scratch on the right side of the first photo) but the case is certainly strong.  As with all cameras underground a problem was water on the lens and despite carrying a microfibre cloth it was hard to keep the lens clean.  Overall, however, its a great little camera.

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