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Monday, August 22, 2016

The Grand Caverns and Orbs in a Photograph

Grand Caverns ©Mary Montague Sikes
Until last week, I had not visited an underground cavern in a very long time. As a child, I remember going to the caverns at Luray, Virginia. They were both spooky and spectacular to a little girl. Then, a few years ago, we visited caves in Trinidad that featured stalactites (ceiling formations that look like icicles hanging down). There were stalagmites rising from the floor of the caves. I wrote about these impressive caves in my novel, Night Watch.

My latest cavern adventure was to Grand Caverns in Grottoes, Virginia. This is the oldest "show cave" in North America with more than 200 years of guided tours. Soldiers from both armies in the Civil War took side trips there and even left over 200 of their signatures on the cave walls. These caverns were discovered in 1804 by an 18-year-old trapper named Bernard Weyer who called it Weyer's Cave.

The draping formations in Grand Caverns often resemble the wings of birds, particularly eagles. Some formations are very rare and look like shields. As I reviewed my photographs, I was surprised to discover one with a series of well-formed orbs quite visible. Using my Nikon Cool Pix digital camera, I was taking a picture of the rock formation and was very surprised to see the orbs. This is the untouched photo, except for resizing. 

Grand Caverns with Orbs ©Mary Montague Sikes
We were visiting the Appalachian Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. This was a side trip for us.

Have any of you had orbs show up in your photographs? Years ago, I had orbs appear in a photo I took of Mayan ruins with my 35mm Minolta camera. Those orb images became part of a painting in my series created of the ancient grounds and structures in Palenque and Chichen Itza in Mexico.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cool caves. I haven't visited any since I was a kid either.
I think the orbs are just dust. Caves are dusty.

Birgit said...

Sorry Alex but that is not dust because these orbs I have seen on different pictures taken at different places by different people. It is really...different:) I don't know why these orbs are could be something reflective but you never know. I love caves and find them wondrous. I saw Lurgrotte in the Graz area and I tried to see these caves way up in the mountains but did a total freak out when I saw the stairs on the side of a cliff.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - I'm sure I've had orbs - but now you point them out - I'll remember this post for a while. I love caves ... but really can't take clambering or sliding through tiny spaces to get to the next space. They are fascinating places ... I've been to the Cango Caves in South Africa - magnificent ... that's good you used your knowledge to add into your book - cheers Hilary

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex and Birgit, all the other photos I took were clear of orbs, including several in the same location. That makes it more mysterious, I think.

Hilary,this cave didn't require any sliding through small spaces. The stairs were short and easy to navigate.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I hate to say it, but almost all orbs are indeed dust. They aren't on the lens - they are tiny particles floating in the air. That's why you only saw them there.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Diane, I took other photos with the same setting, and they weren't there. That surprised me.