Over the Memorial Day weekend we went down to visit the Luray Caverns. For a few members of the family, it was their first exposure to the wonder of the power of water. I’ve been visiting here since I was 5 and still get a thrill out of visiting. Of course I took my camera and since the pathway remains the same, I thought about looking at how much difference having an up to date camera makes. So I combed back through my library and quickly searched through my metadata to bring up all 277 of the digital images I’ve taken since 2007. I picked out 5 pair showing roughly the same scene to evaluate to see if I could detect any difference. I’m on my third camera since I shot the first batch with my D80. I was pushing it when I had set the ISO on 800. Anything above that and the noise was just unacceptable. Plus, I didn’t have a fast lens, which only made it more difficult. This trip I had my D800 and my 70-200 f/2.8 and was shooting at ISO 1250. Here is an example from roughly the same spot and the histograms that go with each. The best I could do for the ice cream cone was blurry mess, but now it has detail. The ghost column is the same story.
On a side note we did have a little international incident while down there, some visitors from an unnamed pacific country kept touching the rocks, which causes moisture damage and disturbs their growth. This despite repeated announcements to “Please do not touch the formations.” Finally I watched the dad reach up and break off a chunk of stalactite. That was it for me, I marched up to the guide and they retrieved the piece. We were hoping they would through them over the railing down into skeleton gorge, but unfortunately that did not happen.