Hello again dear visitors. Today I’d like to share an absolute treasure of a place and introduce some new web two point oh! (such a wank term) ideas to the site. As you may or may not know, I’m a singer and lover of most things musical. Given this, certain songs resound in my cranial chambers when I’m exploring (I’m also prone to sing outlandish viking-esque notes in tight places). I believe that certain songs really capture the essence and emotion of exploration so I wanted to try something new. For every new post I create, documenting my adventures, I’m going to post a song that I love and think captures the mood of the place.
So today I bring you Burford’s Bat Cave accompanied by the ghostly sounds of Field Rotation.
I’ve been in this dark, wet and generally ill smelling hole in the earth before. Today I entered through the Exit; sliding down a wall a few metres high, using the enchanting roots of a large fig tree as foot and hand holds. I knew the most difficult part of my journey was also the beginning – a stretch of tunnel to small to stand upright in. So with my distorted hobbit like gait and my companion, a lonely torch, I made my way up this stretch as fast as I could.
Several successfully dodged spiders and burning back muscles later, I entered what is affectionately known as Hell Junction.
This space looks larger than it is, thanks to the wonders of wide angle lens technology. I spent a rather long time here composing shots using candles for a natural light and shade balance. I’m not entirely happy with my final photographs as I’m still learning a lot about composition, but nevertheless, it’s an interesting enough place to not need too much photographer wizardry. The moments here when I had to turn off my flash light to shoot were a little unsettling at first. The long exposure makes it look well lit, but really those four tea lights produced very little light.
I wandered further up the tunnel to some interesting intersections that I remembered. These spots generally have manholes at the top which cars often drive over. The sound this produces is amazing. It’s like a fantastical Ogre beating on the walls of some Tolkien-esque fortress. I used my torch here to light paint the chambers which gives a very different feel to the shots. The shadowy humanoid figure in the centre is actually me, somehow captured as a ghost by the trickery of light.
Behind me, I kept the candles flickering away. This turned out to be a fantastic opportunity to shoot the large entrance to Hell.
One of the most fantastic parts of this cave is how it changes from stone to brick to concrete and back again as you traverse it. There are a few pieces of graph in here that give it a few special points of interest. I love admiring graph, but I’m not sure how I feel about it being done over the old stone sections. Something about their age gives them a sacred aura. Regardless, they make for interesting photography.
Light painting in this chamber is where I met my first bats. I almost lined my pants with the stuff flowing out of certain pipes when the first one flew past my face. Much to my chagrin, I think sunset is their wake up time… which is exactly when I thoughtlessly descended. I didn’t go in any further than this, as I really didn’t want to disturb the poor creatures while they hit the bat-version of the snooze button in preparation for the night’s hunt of insectoid prey. Also, having their cute, fuzzy little faces so close to mine was fairly undesirable. Next time I visit I’ll do it well after sunset which seems mutually beneficial.
I made my way back to HJ and met a very curious fellow there. He was fairly quiet and just puttered about in strange poses in front of the glass… what are drains coming to these days? After collecting my candles (the council is pumping enough shit into the Brisbane river without needing my assistance) I headed back toward the exit, continuing to harass and be harassed by my new squeeky friends.
I’m not usually too interested in light painting in this manner as I think it looks cool but detracts from the organic ambience of environments. However, for this shot I forgot to leave a second torch next to my camera so I could see my way back after painting up the tunnel. Quite by accident I ended up with this interesting effect and went with it. It’s a nice eye-lead for the shot anyhow.