I love Vancouver Island. For those of you that have visited my www.adamgibbs.com website, you will have noticed that many of the images on that site are from Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is still relatively under photographed and still clings onto some of its raw wilderness charm that will hold any outdoor photographers imagination. Each time I visit Vancouver Island I always find something new and exciting to photograph.
One location that I discovered a few years ago is Little Huson Caves. Little Huson Caves Regional Park is a relatively small area just south of Nimpkish Lake on the northern section of the Island. A short drive up a well-maintained logging road will take you to a small parking area just a stone's throw away from the caves themselves and Atluck creek. The car park has an excellent descriptive sign about the caves and their geological significance to the area that is well worth a read.
The caves are formed within limestone and have many Karst features including a natural bridge with a large cavern that extends about sixty meters over Atluck creek. Throughout most of the year, the water level is high and would prove to be a challenge for anyone wanting to explore the cavern. However on this late summer trip, I figured that since we have had such a hot summer, the water levels would be sufficiently low enough to walk deeper into the cave and photograph the interior, I was not disappointed.
No need for waders this time of year. I slapped on a pair of Luna sandals and made my way to a large rock promontory that overlooked not only the front and rear entrances to the cave but two smaller side passages. The patterns on the ceiling of the cave and water worn features surrounding the promontory were magical. The rippled rock surfaces, also known as "scallops" created some beautiful textures that worked well in the foreground of some of my compositions. The textures and colours upon the ceiling were also fascinating, and I managed to use my Nikon 14-24mm lens to cover a significant portion of the interior.
Caves are usually associated with being dark and gloomy places, but the main Huson cavern proved to be an interesting study in light and colour. As the sun rose, it penetrated the Atluck creek canyon and illuminated the conifers on the opposite side of the cave entrance. Reflected light bounced from the trees right into the cave, lighting the textures and patterns throughout the darker recesses of the cavern. Not only was the interior of the cave receiving bounced light, but near the entrances, a beautiful ambient blue light from the sky was reflecting off the rock formations that lie in the shade near these entrances.
Portraying a sense of scale next to a large object is difficult at the best of times. Without any visual reference to give the viewer, broad subjects such as old growth trees, vast landscapes or in this case a cathedral type cavern make it difficult for the audience to visualise its size. The main cavern at Huson is big and what better way than to show its size by placing a person into the scene. Unfortunately, I often shoot alone, so in this case, like so many other situations I ended up using myself as the model.
My latest visit to Little Huson Cave Regional Park was a great success. I can think of no better place to visit on a hot, late summers day when you're looking for a reprieve from hot sunny weather and searching for good light. I am sure I will return to the caves as they are a special place. If you would like to see me in action while I take these images please visit my YouTube Vlog about Huson Caves here: