The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
--Elisabeth Kubler Ross (1926-2004) psychiatrist and author
Yesterday, Justin (pictured above), Lee and I had an amazing time exploring a cave in Carter County, TN. This was my first real caving experience -- besides touring caves open to the public like Bristol Caverns in Bristol, TN or Appalachian Caverns in Blountville, TN. I'm told that there are dozens and dozens of smaller caves like this one in our area. But I haven't found much about them online, most likely because they're on private property and fenced off. While there weren't intricate stalagmites and stalactites, still I was amazed at how large this particular cave was -- To walk from the cave entrance to the other end took about 15 minutes. The good news... not many bats, almost no visible vandalism or trash, I didn't have to crawl through mud or slither through small openings, I could stand up throughout most of the cave, and there were many large rooms with neat rock formations to explore. The bad news... before I was taken there I had to agree not to disclose its location to others (I'm sorry!).
To get the silhouette effect in the top photo, I spot metered on the brightest part of the scene and then refocused on Justin. The result is that the darker parts of the frame were made darker and the brightest parts of the scene were properly exposed.
The photo to the right was taken near the entrance of the cave using a long shutter speed (9 seconds), my flash, and the three of us 'painting' the walls, floor and ceiling with four flashlights to bring out the color and detail. [click photo to enlarge]