One of the best parts of my career is that I get to go places and see things that are mostly off limits. As part of a story on Maya Religion I got to photograph Naj Tunich Cave in Guatelmala. The cave was a pilgrimage site and ceremonial center for the the classic era Maya. It is such a privilege to see things like this and be able to share the experience with photography.
I put this image on the natgeo Instagram feed in January and it reminds me that I should talk about planning a photograph. Sometimes images take months of planning.
Majlis al Jinn is a giant cave room in the Sultanate of Oman. It is over 400 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. The ceiling is almost 600 high. Multiple 747 airliners would fit on the floor. The scale of the room is difficult to imagine. There are huge holes in the ceiling that sometimes let in vast shafts of light. At the time I photographed it the cave was well known but I'd never seen a picture that captured the mystery of the place.
I'm not one of those people who spend much time lamenting that film has largely gone away. In general I think digital cameras do a much better job than film ever did. However, sometimes I do miss it. Right now I am going through some film shot a fuji 6x9 superwide. On the blog or even in a big internet image it is hard to tell the kind of resolution the camera provides, but it is stunning. I've got some big work prints on the wall that are digital like in shadow detail and resolution.
above, another Kabal Cave entrance, Western Belize
Of course I don't miss iso 50 medium format film, or the f 5.6 maximum aperture of the superwide. Those two factors are probably why I've got some good photos of cave entrances shot in medium format, but nothing from the inside of Kabal. That picture needed a faster lens so it is on 35mm film.