In Luray Virginia there are caves that date back to the tertiary period (2.6 to 65 million years ago) that lie within the Blue Ridge mountain range. This is a part of the Shenandoah Valley, where the scenery is just spectacular.

I visited Luray Caverns recently, a place I had not been to since the mid 1980s and found it to be exactly as I remembered. These are limestone caves that show extraordinary colors and formations created by dripping water through the limestone.

There is a good amount of artificial lighting installed throughout, some of which is a bit harsh for photogs, but overall it’s one of the wonders of the world.

Below are a few images from that visit.

The first image shows the point of discovery, the original entry point of August 1878. The staircase, obviously was installed later, but this is where you enter the caverns today from a building above.

Among the Stalactites (formed from the ceiling downward) and Stalagmites (formed from the floor up), we find an odd but curious object.

An organ!

As it turns out, many wedding ceremonies are performed in this chamber some 150 plus feet below the surface. Seems a rocky start to a marriage, but hey, (had to throw that cornball line in there). LOL

Just above the organ is this busy ceiling and an entryway to another section of the cavern.

In this final image there is an example of stalactites and stalagmites meeting to form a column, a process that can take thousands of years, depending on the distance between the two when the process begins. For instance, it is estimated that a 7 foot structure would develop in approximately 4000 years.

Hope you enjoyed the view!

Camera: Nikon D5000Lens: Nikkor 18-200mm Processing: HDR Efex Pro Photoshop CS5Color Efex Pro


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21 Responses to Captures from the Caverns

  1. Jan Winther says:

    Awesome awesome shots. Nice colors. Close to my home town in Denmark, there is an old lime stone mine. They actually have a concert hall down there. Apparently they acoustic is unbelievable. Its also place they store cheese, and you can smell it… :)
    Jan Winther recently posted..Skies up here…

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Thanks, Jan.
      You’re right about the acoustics, someone had rigged up some devices to strike a few of the stalactites and the musical tones were unreal. I can imagine a concert being quite an experience. :-)
      Jimi Jones recently posted..Depression Bread Line

  2. Dave DiCello says:

    Really cool captures here Jimi, haven’t been to a place like this in a while!
    Dave DiCello recently posted..Up in their air

  3. Ryan Sexton says:

    Did they let you take a tripod down there of was it all handheld? I bet that organ a very unique sound with the acoustics in a cave. It would probably drive me mad after just a few minutes. ;) Very cool place Jimi,
    Ryan Sexton recently posted..Breakwater Mangroves – Islamorada Florida Keys.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Yes, you can take a tripod, which I found out after getting my ticket. I could have gone back for it but opted to handhold the shots rather than walk back to the car since that particular tour was about to begin.

      They limit the groups to about 40, and space the tours so that there is no crowding. Really cool!
      Jimi Jones recently posted..Depression Bread Line

  4. Len Saltiel says:

    Very nice shots Jimi. You bring back a lot of old memories. I remember Luray Caverns from from my early vacations probably 20 years ago. Nicely done.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..All Aboard!

  5. jasmine says:

    Yeah, the artificial lighting didn’t do much justice for you. But, I think they look great! These photos remind me of “The Goonies” Great photos!
    jasmine recently posted..Personalized Wedding Gifts

  6. Kristi Hines says:

    Great shots, although I would find a wedding in that kind of place a bit claustrophobic. :)
    Kristi Hines recently posted..Ground Squirrel of the Desert

  7. Adam Allegro says:

    Great captures my friend. Handheld also! I love the Piano! Excellent post.
    Adam Allegro recently posted..Sunday Evening in Procida

  8. Jim Nix says:

    wow Jimi what a great series of shots! love the caverns, they are so cool, and that organ is interesting (and nice joke there too ha!)

  9. Amazing captures Jimi. I have never been able to deal with the strange florescent,ambient light in caves and have never successfully photographed them. Bravo Jimi! Just too creepy, even for an unconventional wedding; a short, photographic tour is long enough!
    Barbara Youngleson recently posted..Monet Bus

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hi Barbara.

      The lighting was challenging, had to make quite a few adjustments in post.

      I agree, no weddings in a place like that for me. But they’ve installed that organ for a reason. LOL

      Apparently they do quite a bit of business in the wedding area.
      Jimi Jones recently posted..Captures from the Caverns

  10. Ed Prescott says:

    Great shots I pass the exit to Lauray alot and never have the time to visit the caverns, I have checked out the New Market battlefield though, fascinating place, the Shennandoah Valley, tons of history there..:-) Great Blog..:-)
    Ed Prescott recently posted..Skywatch Friday: Into the Storm

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hopefully, you get a chance to visit the caverns on one of your trips through the area. It’s a cool place to explore. Also cool on a hot day, as the caverns stay around 60 degrees year round.

      Let me know if you get a chance to photo the place, Ed.

      Thanks for visiting, man and be safe in your travels.
      Jimi Jones recently posted..On The Rocks

  11. [...] the way to Luray Caverns some weeks ago, I traveled the Skyline Drive, that scenery filled parkway that allows you to drive [...]