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A Seeing Eye – A Chinese Cave

A few of the circular basins in a shallow lake within the unique Green Lotus Cave at Xingping in China December 2007

A few of the circular basins in a shallow lake within the unique Green Lotus Cave at Xingping in China December 2007

The action of water on a karst landscape creates peaks and towers above ground, often with caves below. South China is one of the world’s major karst landscapes, where caves abound with endemic blind cave fish in pools. Inside the Lotus Basin Cave near Xingping, 108 rare shallow limestone basins resembling lotus leaves were discovered.

My first visit in December 2007, the cave was 30°C inside and so humid that my glasses and camera lenses steamed up immediately. The head torch I threw in at the last moment, proved essential for changing the ISO. After the camera was fixed to the tripod, the front lens element was wiped clear before each 1 second exposure @f/8, 24-120mm lens at 24mm.

Green Lotus Cave at Xingping in China is unique with 108 basins that resemble lotus leaves, Xingping, China December 2007

Green Lotus Cave at Xingping in China is unique with 108 basins that resemble lotus leaves, Xingping, China October 2009

The temperature outside and inside the Chinese cave was equal on my return visit in October 2009, so condensation was not a problem. The cave is off the tourist route and is kept locked, so we had to collect a key each time. I was thankful many of the spent green lights had not been replaced, but the lower light level meant the ISO had to be pushed to 2,500 to gain a 2 second exposure @f/14, 24-120mm lens at 66mm.

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