Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Travelling through the Guadalupe Mountain Range one has no idea of the wonder that lies beneath: over 100 limestone caves formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Please click the images to view larger versions.

Carlsbad is the largest of the caves and you can visit without any fear of claustrophobia. It’s big room is 4,000 feet wide, 625 feet long, and 255 feet high and chock full of spectacular limestone formations. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

There is an elevator you can take down, but the better way is to walk down the long and steep natural entrance if your knees can take it. The path is 1 mile long and descends 750 feet on switchbacks. Along the way you can view the many stalactites and stalagmites before you get to the big room. After you finish your tour you can take the elevator back up to the top.

Here are a few of the more distinct formations:

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Temple of the Sun
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Totem Pole
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Stalactite Chandelier

Photographing in the cave is not an easy task. It is generally very dark which means you require a tripod. There are lights along the way and inside the caves which tend to cause hot spots. While photographing I tried to exclude any of these hotspots from the frame except in the case of the temple of the sun where there was a nice silhouette.

The exposures tend to be brighter than the cave actually was so in post processing I used Nik Color Efex Pro to emphasize the dark contrasts.

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    • says

      Hi Howard, yes, there is a paved path all the way through it and you are allowed to have your tripod on the path. There is also a railing so you cannot leave the path. It is nice that they set it up that way allowing people to really see everything without risk of damaging the cavern. Thanks for your comments.

    • says

      Hi Len, thank you so much for your kind compliment! Yes, there is a paved trail all the way through the caves and you are allowed to have your tripod on the pavement.

    • says

      Hi Kris, thank you so much! It was a little tricky with the lighting situation down there but they really did a pretty good job of lighting the caverns without it looking too fake. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the first explorers going down there with lanterns.

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