The photos were taken by Shelly using the Nikon 8400.  I think you will agree, she did an excellent job!


Since  we didn’t make it to the Water Barrier on this trip and since I forgot to try to take photos of cavers with only their helmet lights I will plan another photo trip to the Water Barrier after the March Ennis trip.

email from Rick Hines on 2/24/09

Trip report

Carroll Cave Photo Trip

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Purpose:  Photo training, Test new camera, Intro trip


CCC#      Name

1              Rick Hines, Stilwell, KS

361          Shelly Field, Kansas City, MO

297          Lloyd Morrison, Springfield, MO

349          Pic Walenta, Gladstone, MO

269          Jay Kennedy, Lawrence, KS

362          Kelly Still, Ames, IA

363          Adam Brooks, Jewell, IA

366          Dave Mead, Harrisonville, MO

Dr Jay and I left my house in Stilwell , KS around 6:30AM with Kelly and Adam following in their truck.  Our first stop was McDonalds in Belton to pick up a slightly lost Shelly.  From there we moved on to Harrisonville where we picked up Dave.  At 9:30 we picked up Lloyd at the schoolhouse and headed up a snow covered hill to the silo.

At the silo we found Jim Cooley just starting his decent down the shaft.  Jim informed us that he was the last one down on Bill Gee’s Biology trip.  Perfect timing!  Pic was at the silo when we arrived, completing our crew of 8.

This was the first trip in to Carroll for all but Jay, Pic and I.  After reviewing shaft safety procedures and plans for the photography we started down the shaft at about 10:30.  We took a few shots around the base of the ladder to get everyone familiar with the slave flash system.  Shelly, who is currently taking a college photo course, used my Nikon 8400 on the trip and I carried my new Nikon D700 for its first trip underground.

We started down the Carroll passage taking frequent stops for photos.  I planned to go to the Water Barrier but I made an unintentional U-turn and by the time Jay pointed out that we were going the wrong direction we were close enough to the short cut to Thunder Falls that we decided to go that way.  We took photos of the falls from the down stream side.  Shelly helped light Thunder Falls by carrying a flash in a dry bag under the falls.  After the photos Shelly went for a swim to test her new wetsuit.  From Thunder Falls we moved upstream passed the ladder and on to Angel Pool Passage.  We spent almost two hours in the well decorated Angel Pool Passage taking photos.

Back at the ladder I led the first group of four to daylight.  I helped each climber safely get off the ladder before disconnecting them from the safety cable.  After everyone else was out Jay connected all the packs and photo equipment to a haul line.  Everyone helped get the gear to the surface.  Jay made it up and we took an “after” photo in the cold night air to avoid the warm humid fog in the silo.  After the last photo at 7:00 we were off to Senior Peppers for dinner.

Having reviewed the photos from the trip I see that Shelly did an excellent job with the 8400.  I see little quality difference between the 8400 and the D700.  I carried a 24-120mm zoom lens with the D700 but did not use it.  I used a 50mm f1.4 lens but with all the slave flash power we carried (8 Vivitar 285s) I did not need the fast lens or the high ISO capability of the D700.  I intended to try some shots of cavers using only their headlamps that would have taken advantage of the D700 features but did not get around to it.  I’ll put that on the list for the next Carroll trip.  The 8400 has a good zoom range with a 24 mm equivalent wide angle capability and a close-up capability.  The lenses I have for the D700 do not allow close-ups.  At about 1/3 the weight and volume of the D700 system the Nikon 8400 is still my favorite camera for most cave photography.

I wish to thank my crew for their excellent help on the trip.  For a group heavy with novice cavers everyone did very well on the trip.

Rick Hines