Gaping Hill – In a Hole with the Sony RX1

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

With a trip to the Lofoten penciled in for this winter, I’ve been reluctantly (but increasingly) tempted by the “see in the dark” Sony A7s. The problem is that a new purchase would mean the sale of my beloved Sony RX1.

Before I could bring myself to draft the eBay listing I needed to test the RX1’s low light capability one more time, and where better than 330 feet down a hole in Yorkshire.

Once a year the Bradford Potholing Club (http://www.bpc-cave.org.uk/gaping_gill.htm) set up camp for the week and winch slightly mad people down Gaping Gill, a very large hole on the flank of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales. With the RX1 stuffed safely in the pocket of my down coat (try doing this with an SLR!) I climbed into the cage, was bolted in, and headed in the general direction of down.

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

The decent is mainly lit by natural light from the top of the shaft. The cavern itself is lit by two yellow sodium lamps (UK street lights); not much lighting for a hole the size of York Minster!

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

As we waited our turn to decend into darkness we climbed Little Ingleborough. The shots below showing the camp (right foreground) and (left, distance) Pen-y-gent, were taken using panoramic and manual mode respectively.

Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | www.richardjwalls.com
Gaping Gill | Sony RX1 | http://www.richardjwalls.com

Shooting Notes

Underground shots were taken handheld at ISO 10000, at F2 to F4, with no flash, in raw.

Post processed in Lightroom – zero sharpening, plenty of noise reduction.

I was pretty amazed that most of the shots were in focus!

Postscript

If it was down to low light performance only I’d stick with the RX1, but the extra versatility of the A7s will probably swing the decision.

More links

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3097377/Journey-centre-Earth-Amateur-cavers-given-rare-opportunity-descend-360ft-Britain-s-biggest-known-cavern-15-person.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/outdoors/11630162/Potholers-winched-inside-epic-Gaping-Gill-cave-for-first-time.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/incredible-yorkshire-cave-waterfall-twice-5768426

http://www.richardjwalls.com