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This feature is called Painted Grotto in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. However, on the right side and near the center from top to bottom, one can see a smirking face in the illuminated alcove, so with the face and stage in place, I titled this image “Phantom of the Opera Revealed”. Other viewers have noticed a second face in the bottom right corner as well, perhaps, it’s the phantom’s mask…razor sharp and clear image using large file size…please view large.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is also a World Heritage Site.

It was thrilling to learn one could take a tripod into the Big Room and use multiple flashes to record images. This allowed me to use manual mode on my camera, where I could select the best combination of shutter speed, aperture, and low ISO for the ambient light. It also gave me time to walk around the scene with my external flash to add light where it was needed. For this image, in addition to the light already provided in the cave, I added over eight flashes from my external Canon 580EX flash to the scene. Digital made it possible to check the results and adjust the amount and location of the extra light. This type of photography required a lot of time with the long exposure, noise reduction turned on, multiple takes, and letting other visitors go by, but I enjoyed every second.

Captured using RAW and finished the processing in Photoshop. Canon DSLR camera, Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM lens, tripod with ballhead mount. For discussion of shutter speed, f-stop, available light, and my technique, please visit my profile page…thank you :-)

stalactite, caverns, column, stalagmite, smirk, revealed, carlsbad, nature photography, phantom of the opera, red, grey, white, black, national, park, photography, opera, face, nature, gray, brown, cave, phantom

I started out as an artist, became a pilot, and ended up where I am now: nature photographer and educator. Being a pilot allowed me to observe the Earth and humanity’s impact on it from 30,000 feet for many years. It allowed me to experience different cultures and to see the world through many lenses.

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Comments

  • heatherfriedman
    heatherfriedmanover 4 years ago

    How very cool! Have you posted it to the Accidental Images group???

  • thank you Heather, that’s very kind of you to say and share :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Jan Cartwright
    Jan Cartwrightover 4 years ago

    Amazing and just a little creepy! Great shot. I haven’t been to Carlsbad Caverns in over 10 years, but it leaves an impression. I’d swear that face wasn’t there then!

  • thanks Jan…perhaps the face only shows up in a picture…a little creepy indeed :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • heatherfriedman
    heatherfriedmanover 4 years ago

    actually the whole thing looks rather like a creature with a long neck and a leg…..

  • hmmm…can’t wait to look for that in the image…lot’s of fun…thanks :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • KatsEye
    KatsEyeover 4 years ago

    Amazing and mystical capture. A little on the errie side but that is what makes this capture.

  • thank you KatsEye :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    A wealth of accidents & on-purposes in this one. I see the Phantom, but there may also be bat wings in the upper center. Astonishing shot of a remarkable, intricate chamber… exit, stage right.

  • hmmm…bat wings, can’t wait to find them, exit, stage left :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Polly x
    Polly xover 4 years ago

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    They aren’t very well defined; it’s probably just me….

  • actually, I see several sets of bat wings :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrentonover 4 years ago

    May 22,2010

    Awesome

  • thank you :-)

    – William C. Gladish

  • Ann Warrenton
    Ann Warrentonover 4 years ago

    Your welcome

  • rocamiadesign
    rocamiadesignabout 4 years ago

    Beautiful! We would love to have this in The Best of Red Bubble…Digital Art and Photography.

  • thanks for the invitation…it has been submitted :-)

    – William C. Gladish

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