Luray Caverns

Rays of Light

On the way to Luray Caverns some weeks ago, I traveled the Skyline Drive, that scenery filled parkway that allows you to drive across the Blue Ridge Mountains. While excited to make the trip, I was disappointed in the overall clarity of the air on day one. It was quite hazy which rendered many of my shots useless. There were low lying clouds everywhere and when I could see to ground level it was like looking through fog. I was able to cull through the collection and find a few useable day one shots, like the one below that was taken at an overlook about 3200 feet. Day two was kinder to me atmospherically, so we'll have a look at some of those in future posts.

Enjoy!

Rays of Light
Rays of Light

I haven't processed as many B&W images as I had planned thus far this year, so while in the processing lab I thought a conversion here would help jump start the effort.

Rays of Light - B&W
Rays of Light - B&W
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM

Captures from the Caverns

In Luray Virginia there are caves that date back to the tertiary period (2.6 to 65 million years ago) that lie within the Blue Ridge mountain range. This is a part of the Shenandoah Valley, where the scenery is just spectacular. I visited Luray Caverns recently, a place I had not been to since the mid 1980s and found it to be exactly as I remembered. These are limestone caves that show extraordinary colors and formations created by dripping water through the limestone.

There is a good amount of artificial lighting installed throughout, some of which is a bit harsh for photogs, but overall it's one of the wonders of the world.

Below are a few images from that visit.

The first image shows the point of discovery, the original entry point of August 1878. The staircase, obviously was installed later, but this is where you enter the caverns today from a building above.

Luray Caverns Discovery Point
Luray Caverns Discovery Point

Among the Stalactites (formed from the ceiling downward) and Stalagmites (formed from the floor up), we find an odd but curious object.

An organ!

As it turns out, many wedding ceremonies are performed in this chamber some 150 plus feet below the surface. Seems a rocky start to a marriage, but hey, (had to throw that cornball line in there). LOL

Cavern Organ
Cavern Organ

Just above the organ is this busy ceiling and an entryway to another section of the cavern.

Ceiling Above the Organ
Ceiling Above the Organ

In this final image there is an example of stalactites and stalagmites meeting to form a column, a process that can take thousands of years, depending on the distance between the two when the process begins. For instance, it is estimated that a 7 foot structure would develop in approximately 4000 years.

Stalactites and Stalagmites Meet
Stalactites and Stalagmites Meet

Hope you enjoyed the view!

Camera: Nikon D5000Lens: Nikkor 18-200mm Processing: HDR Efex Pro Photoshop CS5 - Color Efex Pro

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM