www.speleo-foto.de - Cave Photography by Max Wisshak
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Tor am Höhleneingang

A topic that I take very serious and which must not remain untreated here is the relationship of cave photography and conservation. There are two key arguments cave photographers are confronted with - unfortunately sometimes for good reason:

The directly destructive influence on caves by photographers
Every now and then one encounters traces of destruction in caves that can be directly addressed to cave photographers. These may be a result of searching for the "perfect" camera position, trying to capture a somewhat hidden helectite, or from an "optimal" placement of a flashgun. In addition, carelessly littered flashbulbs and batteries are occasionally found. Here is a crucial need to admonish ones self-discipline: not every shot must be taken, and not every flash position is really essential!!!

Spectacular underground images stimulate more people to go caving and thus indirectly contribute to destruction
This is certainly true. However, here is a need to differentiate: It cannot be stressed enough that the style of presentation and type of the chosen media is controlling this impact factor. It is a considerable difference if one puts an article entitled "Conquering the pits of hell" (including precise directions where to find them) in a climbing magazine, or if you give a talk entitled "A delicate and fragile world underground" to an interested audience! If one succeeds to get across the sense of fascination, the fragile nature and aesthetics of caves and speleothems, as well as a deep respect facing this underground phenomena, one actually greatly contributes to cave conservation!


Fragiler Sinter

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