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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20 Responses to “Carlsbad Caverns National Park”

  1. John says:

    Awesome set of shots Anne! Temple of the Sun is definitely my personal favorite, love the silhouette – Nice job keep up the good work :)
    John recently posted..How to Create Textured Photos in Photoshop [PPTT #1]My Profile

  2. These are great…really like the last pic…
    Siddhartha Joshi recently posted..Holi Hai in pardes @ Stanford!My Profile

  3. Great images Anne! I’ve always wanted to go there. It’s nice to hear that tripods are allowed, I could get completely lost in all those textures…
    Howard Jackman recently posted..Week 17 of 52 – Theme: “Coffee” – “Shrooms and Brew”My Profile

    • 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.

  4. LensScaper says:

    That last image is wonderful. Orange icicles!
    LensScaper recently posted..Splat!My Profile

  5. Russ Bishop says:

    You captured some wonderful images there Anne!
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  6. Len Saltiel says:

    These are awesome shots Anne. Great detail and color. I am surprised you can bring a tripod down there.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Trail of BirchesMy Profile

    • 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.

  7. Kris Koeller says:

    Incredible place, and pretty tricky to photograph. Well done!
    Kris Koeller recently posted..The Koellers are in Texas!My Profile

    • 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.

  8. Jimi Jones says:

    Stunning set of images, Anne. Nicely done. ;-)
    Jimi Jones recently posted..Curbside ViewMy Profile

  9. Wanderplex says:

    Great images, especially given what I imagine to be dark conditions for photography!
    Wanderplex recently posted..Don’t let the weather put a damper on your vacation: 17 ideas for a rainy dayMy Profile

  10. Edith Levy says:

    These are awesome Anne. I love the last image.
    Edith Levy recently posted..SEA-nicMy Profile

  11. Fantastic shots, Anne. Well done!!
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