Behind the Scenes at the Mendip Cave Photography Exhibition and Competition

Caver and photographer Mark Burkey impressed the judges so much at the recent Mendip Cave Photography Exhibition and Competition that he swept up the prize for three winning entries.

Mark has kindly taken the time to give us a behind the scenes look at his photographs, telling us something about them and how he takes his photos.

Upper Flood Swallet, Mendip. Photograph © Mark Burkey.

Of the three shots chosen, one was recently taken during the Mendip ‘Cavefest’ weekend in Upper Flood Swallet. Three of us were on the trip plus our leader Bill Chadwick who asked if I would like to photograph ‘The Duck Pond’ as he had never seen a photo of it. As Bill and I made our way back down to Zig Zag Passage, Duncan was climbing over a rock and Jess was behind him and her Scurion lit a curtain in front of me and so the shot was born.

Aveline’s Hole, Burrington Combe, Mendip. Photograph © Mark Burkey.

On the second day of the same weekend, I wanted to experiment with some old Metz 45 strobes. We were really just having a bit of play in Burrington Combe and thought it would be fun to try to make Aveline’s Hole look like some massive cave system, which is how that shot came about.

Arete Pitch, St Cuthbert’s Swallet, Mendip, Photograph © Mark Burkey.

The last shot is of Martin Grass exiting Arete Chamber, St. Cuthbert’s Swallet from a trip earlier in the year. This is really just a grab shot as we made our way out from a trip and although dramatic is the easier of the three with regard to lighting and composition.

Mark tells us that he shoots with a Nikon D810 camera with a 16-35mm lens. He carry this in a single 1400 size Pelicase along with five Yongnuo flash guns and says that it is pretty much attached to him these days. In fact it has been said that he would probably be too off balance to be able to cave without it!

Many thanks to Mark for taking the time to share his winning photos. The competition will be running again next year, so do keep a look out for it. And if any cave photographers would like to share your photos and give us a behind the scenes tour of your work, we’d be very happy to hear from you!