Lava Beds National Monument. The greatest concentration of lava tube caves in North America, it was set aside to preserve a vast array of caves, lava flows, and the flank of the largest volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc: Medicine Lake Volcano. Many of the lava caves are remarkably well preserved, and include a multitude of original features from when the lava tube cooled from molten basalt. The unique textures and shapes provided by the lava make for fascinating photography. Using multiple light sources, I was able to create some wonderfully abstract shots.
This cave is called Golden Dome Cave, and is one of the most popular caves on Cave Loop, which is a road that passes by many of the most interesting caves near the visitor center. The Golden color that covers many of the walls and ceilings results from a bacteria who’s surface is hydrophobic, or water-resistant. The moisture in the cave in the air or on the walls gets concentrated into droplet that sparkle in your lamplight. It is usually bright yellow or silver, and adds great beauty to the mysterious dark of the underground.