Summer is almost over, but I’m still on the roads, going around Romania, visiting places and taking pictures. So last week I’ve been to the salt mine from Turda (one of many salt mines in Romania, not the biggest and most beautiful, but still worth).
The environment and what you need in the photo bag. Mines and caves are very similar then taking pictures inside them. The light is pour and even if there are some lights placed by humans for visitors, you still need to take with you your own lights. And I really have to remember you to don’t forget the tripod (it seems like I always forget that…)
1. external lights
3. external powerful flash
4. remote controller (long exposures will only work with this on some cameras)
What’s here to shoot? So there mines have formations similar to the ones in the caves (formed in the same conditions by the water), but also new man made formations which you should consider photographing. (tunnels, excavations and mining gears). As for a salt mine, this is something special: people come here for treatment, football playing (this is no joke), so here it is an interesting subject for a photojournalist. As for the mines in which the mining activity still goes on, talk to the workers, they will not hesitate to let you photograph them when at work – it changes their everyday routine.
Now let me tell you a few words on the camera settings that work under this environment: it’s mostly similar to cave photography. But when there are people in action inside the mines, you should keep the shutter speed fast, increase exposure compensation and grow the ISO (light sensitivity). Some parts of the mines are huge galleries where the flash won’t work because of the distance. I could not manage to take a very decent shot under these conditions, at least not without powerful external lights placed all over the place.
One interesting tip: in one of the tunnels of the salt mine, where the walls were strongly reflecting the light, I increased the exposure (at the limit of overexposure), and obtained an effect that I call: alien spaceship. Here are some examples:
Salt mines are well know for the textures on the gallery walls. I took hundred of photos of the walls but here’s one which I find to be the most complex: