Saturday, May 3, 2008

Out of the depths

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]


  1. Very nice silhouette shot! Love all your beautiful photography and quotes. I find your blog a very peaceful place to visit, thanks.

  2. Before doing any more cave exploring, please come to a Mountain Empire Grotto meeting (2nd Tuesday of the month, 7 pm at Comfort Suites, Brown's Mill Rd across from Walmart in Johnson City. The Grotto is a chapter of the National Speleological Society; trains interested persons in responsible safe caving methods. Great harm can be done to cave owner relations in this area by untrained folks going caving.

  3. Wow... This is the first time I have been to your site and I am very impressed to say the least. It is my dream to visit as many places as you have had the chance to explore. I am only going to be in Tennessee (Johnson City area) for a few more months and would love to hear where you're favorite spots are! I want to make the most of my time left in this beautiful area!!! I am going to twisting falls tomorrow and would really appreciate any other recommendations. Thanks, you are an inspiration :)



Thanks for visiting and joining in the discussion on Appalachian Treks! Your comment will be sent to me to be approved. Sorry for this added step, but it is necessary to avoid spam. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!