Taking photos in a lit cave

edited April 2012 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
This summer I'll be taking a tour of a local cave and would love to take great photos, but need guidance on how to best go about it. The caves are artificially lit along the floor (lighting looks sort of yellow) and seem to be pretty narrow (I believe with outstretched arms you can almost touch both sides).

I have the 18-55mm kit lens as well as the 35mm 1.8. Would the kits lens be the better choice to take with me and also what settings would I need to use? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm very new to digital photography!


  • edited April 2012
    Howdy @Stacey - Sounds like a great tour! When shooting in dimly lit caves, the only real way to end up with a sharp shot is to rely on a tripod. Let's dive right in...

    Here's what I would start with...
    1. Attach your 18-55mm lens and turn off VR
    2. Mount your D5100 to a tripod
    3. Make sure the flash is disabled - You don't wan't the built-in flash casting harsh shadows on the natural beauty and light of the cave
    3. Enable Aperture priority (A on the mode dial)
    4. Set the aperture f-number between f/8 to f/16
    5. Enable Auto ISO and set the maximum sensitivity to 3200
    6. Adjust the focus mode to Single-servo (AF-S)
    7. If you have a remote, then use it...otherwise enable the self-timer

    With these settings in place, pre-focus on the scene, verify you have accurate focus and then press the shutter button. If you have the self-timer turned on, the D5100 will count down a few seconds before taking the shot allowing you to get your hands off the camera. If you have a remote you can just snap away.

    If you don't feel like lugging and adjusting a large tripod, then you might consider getting yourself a Gorillapod (see here). You would actually leave the D5100 attached to it the entire time, allowing you to quickly place the Gorillapod on the ground, rock or wrapped around a stalagmite...joking ;)

    Hope that all makes sense and happy shooting! :)
  • That sounds excellent, thank you so much! I do have a remote, now off to check out the Gorillapod...thanks again for your time. :)
  • @Stacey - Glad I could help! :)
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