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The King's Palace

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Mike B in OKlahoma

Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1048
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject: The King's Palace Reply with quote

I have been gone for about awhile, seemingly spending all my time away from home underground. I was in Southeast New Mexico, and had plans to visit White Sands and several photo locations in the area. But the temperature was consistently above 100 degrees (they broke an all-time record high for that day once while I was there) so I spent most of my time underground in Carlsbad Caverns, where the temperature is a nice consistent 60 degrees or so. The main attraction is "The Big Room", and I'll have some posts from there later (including some closeup shots, believe it or not). But this post is going to cover a guided tour of "The King's Palace. This is an improved part of the cave, with smooth paths to walk over, that can only be accessed in a tour conducted by and escorted by a park ranger.

This isn't high adventure, as you can see, we walked on artificial paths (no getting off the path!) and had a ranger in front giving a talk, with a ranger in the rear making sure nobody fell behind.

I was continually impressed on this trip with the high ISO performance of my new Canon 5D Mark II, but this pic shows that noise is still an issue....The other high ISO photos I shot on the tour were all "developed" in the RAW processor with noise reduction applied, and I forgot to apply the noise reduction for the above shot. You can tell the difference.

Jim White, the fellow who explored the cave by coal oil lantern in the 1890s, named this formation "The Fallen Giant" and I can't think of a better name. Minerals deposited by flowing water made the formation bigger and bigger until it weighed too much and fell down. Scale is hard to get from this photo, but I'd guess the fallen section is at least 25 feet tall.

I'd read about The Bashful Elephant, and seen his photo, but I wanted to see him for myself, and here he is. I hope he wasn't too traumatized by my photographing him!!!

And here's The Bashful Elephant in context....Despite the huge scale of many of the features of the Cavern, this little guy is only 15 or so inches tall!

All these photos were taken handheld with the 5D Mark II and a 24-105 IS lens. Very impressive and convenient combination for this kind of work. I didn't want to take a tripod on the conducted hike among the crowd of tourists, though at least one of my fellow tourists did (and had a tiny point and shoot mounted on it!). This was the next best thing.
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
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Ken Ramos

Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7078
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing what one can find underground besides bats and blind fish. Wonder what all those funny looking creatures are with only two legs, two arms and two eyes? They only have one head too! What an odd looking bunch of organisms! Shocked Some great shots here Mike, I really like that bashful elephant. Wink
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