Friday, October 13, 2006

TAG! You're It!

This past weekend was the 29th Annual TAG Fall Cave-In. TAG is an awesome caving, camping and all out fun extravaganza! There are vendors, competitions, caving trips, raffles, carbide bombs, door prizes, toasted powdered sugar doughnuts, a massive bonfire, a bit of metalsmithing, entertainment and lots of late night silliness from lack of sleep - all packed into four days. We had a good turn out from the Huntsville Grotto, along with many friends and family members too - 38 that I can think of offhand.

Here's Michelle setting up the camp kitchen and then there's my cool Cinderella pumpkin I bought on the way up Lookout Mountain. (Thursday the 5th)

This is Vic changing out some batteries in Gourneck Cave (Friday the 6th).

Here's Nathan in Gourdneck

Paul and Michelle hemmed in with all of out nasty caving gear and some towels (Sat the 7th)

Tommy and I amidst all the caving gear from Gourneck the day before.

So this is the TAG bonfire. This year's isn't as tall as last years - but its also the first time I've seen them do a hexagon, so that kind of made up for it. I like this picture - I think its the angle of the shot - they all look very intrepid.

Michelle, Paul and I with a wider angle. The sky was so fantastic on Saturday. Perfect weather for being outside - and for camping!

Here's a close up of some cool fungus that was growing on the underside of one of the logs - just below where I was sitting in the last photo. I thought they were worth documenting before they went up in flames in few hours.

This is Toni's Fire Story - its hysterical. You need to watch it.

So here's the bonfire on Saturday evening, just after it was lit. The white spot to teh right of the flame is the moon. It was so bright you really didn't have to use a headlamp at night.

Here's the bonfire a few hours after it was lit - white hot.

Here's a little late night metalsmithing, in our much smaller campfire. See the lock?

Ah yes, and here Nathan is pulling it from the furnace. You have to understand that after a few days of extreme sleep deprivation we all thought this was a perfectly brilliant idea at oh around 2am Saturday evening. Mark successfully pounded it flat with a rock, all of us were happy, and we eventually went to bed.

Sunday we would all get up and slowly pack up our home-away-from-home and travel back towards Hunstville. But there was one more cave trip to be had - Sauta.... the cave with the crystal room. I spent I think at least an hour or so photographing them, tried out some techniques similar to what Nathan used on Helectite Heaven - with a few successes:

Here's one of the crystals in Sauta with the flash on my camera and my extra slave unit flash.

Here's the same crystal cluster taken with only the ambient light of my extra 9 LED Streamlight without the use of any manual settings (I'm not that cool yet - maybe one day I will be). I had my camera on a little tripod, dangling over the pool of water that the crystals are growing out of. I turned off my flash and set the timer, pressed the button, and then had 10 seconds to play with the angle of the light and make sure I held the legs of the tripod steady enough to not blur.

This shot is actually a composite of two photos. I bracketed a series of about 6 photos of this little crystal, picked two and then layed them on top of each other in photoshop. I took the brighter version and screened it back to about 70% so you could see more background - and still keep the crystal in the forground nice and bright.

This is (from left to right) Ohad, Mark, Michelle, Tommy and I in Sauta.



At 6:15 AM, Blogger Laura said...

beanie your photos are sooo nice, that bonfire was AMAZING and it looks like you had an awesome time, my little adventuring bestest roomie!
Miss you B, come to the land of lizards and hot weather soon! XOXO

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