« on: August 08, 2012, 03:40:57 PM »
The local cave wardens would string up anyone using a flash. They supposedly do a lot of damage.Depending on the cave, you will often be told not to use a flash in the first room or two of the cave to protect the bats which are sleeping during the day while you invade their territory. Once you are deep enough into the cave where the bats don't visit/sleep, you can flash away. Ask the guide when it's OK if they don't automatically tell you.
As for photo techniques, I agree with bringing and using a small flash light. I prefer the 2-3" multi LED lights that are so popular right now. Using the other suggestions provided to take advantage of the lights in the cave you will get reasonable shots. But they're the same shots everyone gets because the lights only highlight the major features and holes. With a little light of your own you can find and shoot the rarely photographed features.
Use aperature priority with a large aperature and let the camera select the shutter speed. You'll mess up a few shots if you are too hurried, but generally with the flash light (held by another person) and a moment to stabilize yourself, you can get a good shot. The flashlight generally isn't good for whole room shots, but then neither is wide open aperature because your depth of field is too short and the whole room won't be in focus.
The biggest problem with flashes, is that the interior of a cave is mostly limestone/travertine, which is really quite colorless and harsh when lit by a flash. The warm colors we traditionally see in cave photographs are from the tungsten lighting used, but a flash makes the white pop out and you end up wondering where all the pretty colors went. If you really have to use a flash, then experiment with the flash compensation controls for your flash, or put the flash in manual mode and use the low end of the power scale.
Because of the tour speed or other "hold back to shoot" photographers, you'll rarely have the time to setup a prize winning photo. So, mostly just enjoy the cave and let the photos enhance the memories.