Slovenia Press Photo 2012

In early March, the fourth festival of journalistic and documentary photography came to an end. The organization of the even was, as for all of the years up until now, in the hands of the Institute for the Promotion of Photography of the never tired Matej Leskovšek and his team. Attendance is mandatory for every Slovenian photo reporter to check what the distinguished international panel thinks of his works and is a chance to check out the many exhibitions which take place during the event as well.

This year, I collaborated with two stories, about the caves of southern France and of Ledena jama on Stojna. In the latter, the panel chose a shot of the hall in the right part of the cave for honorary mention in the category of Nature and environment. On it, we can recognize Ines Klinkon, who, in an icy embrace, is fascinated by the beauty of the ice sculptures. From the right, Miha Staut helped light the scene. A thanks to both of them!

And what are the stories like? Like this:

The caves in southern France – August 2011

Some of the most beautiful French caves are found in southern France. Because of special and sensitive formations, the entrances to them are usually locked, while the entering is monitored by the local caving society. (Caves in southern France – August 2011)

A caver has to be accordingly competent to visit the caves that aren’t turistical. He must master the roping technique and be properly equipped because of low temperatures and the high humidity leves. (Caves in southern France – August 2011)

A caver has to work through a number of difficult abysses and straits to come to the most beautiful parts of the cave of Pousselieres, but in the end, he is repaid by the gorgeous view of the snowy white limestone formations in the end hall. (Caves in southern France- August 2011)

In the upper caves, there are regularly no decorations. Here, the power of water reigns, as these shafts are usually the drains of the rainfall from the nearby mountains. But due to the fact that it is deserted, the water here is clean. (Caves in southern France- August 2011)

Some caves bear decorations, which are hard to find anywhere else. The snowy white aragonites of such dimensions are usually a big enough reason for the cave to be specially protected. (Caves in southern France- August 2011)

Due to the mixture of metals and minerals, the aragonites can also become stained with color. Besides white ones, the most famous ones in the caves of southern France are blue and green, while yellow aragonites were found by researchers in only one cave. These light up in a lemony color only at the right angle of illumination. Due to the difficulty of access shots of these formations are very rare. (Caves in southern France- August 2011)

Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011

Even the ice caves haven’t been spared by the climate changes in the past years. The ice cave on Stojna above Kočevje has been defying the higher outer temperatures for years, but the state of the protected forest around the entrance of the cave is also affecting the faster melting of the ice. Even a small fallen tree can drastically affect the state of ice in the cave. (Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011)

Only a few years ago, looking inside the 60 meter deep entrance hall was completely different due to the larger quantity of ice. Due to the frozen base, a caver had to put on crampons at the rockfall at the entrance to ensure a safe access to the hall. (Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011)

Today, the entrance hall of the ice cave is a sorry sight. The ice is disappearing, there is more and more of the demolished rocks, while the trunks of old pine trunks are growing menacingly out of the disappearing ice. (Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011)

The caver is pointing to an anchor, where, four years ago, he could easily screw in the spit. Today, the right arm of the cave is only accessible with the use of ice wedges. (Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011)

Even though the ice in the upper part is disappearing fast, at the bottom of the 40 meter deep right arm the situation is different. As it seems, the temperature conditions haven’t changed much here, and due to the increased inflow of water, the ice is forming even faster. (Ice cave on Stojna – October 2011)

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Copyright Peter Gedei