Stanislaw Staszic Chamber – Look Up! | Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

Stanislaw Staszic Chamber in the Wieliczka Salt Mine

The Wieliczka Salt Mine must make it on your list when you have a rainy day in Cracow. The mine is simply mind-blowing. There are 300km full of statues, arts and chapels on 9 levels that were built over the last 700 years. It is the oldest salt mine of its kind in Europe and since 1978 legitimately among the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Because of that, the salt mine is very popular among tourists and there is no other way than to go through the mine in a group along the tourist paths. All that in a speed in which you have rarely enough time to take good shots, even with ISO400 setting. Also, my usual strategy of falling back behind the group didn’t work as the next one was almost right behind us.

Nevertheless I was able to get some good shots. And in taking this one I had no time pressure as it was at the end of the tour. Please note: This room, the Stanislaw Staszic Chamber, is approximately 130m (420ft) under the town Wieliczka. As I was standing there I totally forgot that I am underground. All around you find drink machines, gift shops and a museum. But if you look up you see that you’re in a cave that is 36m high. I have no idea how they built that, but well, they had 700 years to do it. Can you imagine that this chamber was the host of the first underground balloon flight as well as the first underground bungee jump?

Technical Details

Camera: Canon EOS 500D
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm
ISO: 400
Exposures: 3 (-2, 0, +2)
Aperture: 3.5
Exposure time (middle): 0.7s
Tripod: Manfrotto 190CXPRO4

Location: In the Stanislaw Staszic Chamber of the Wieliczka Salt Mine

Software: Lightroom 4.3, Photoshop CS6, Photomatix Pro

Production: Even though I had enough time in the Stanislaw Staszic Chamber to capture the scene, this photo was taken in ISO 400. Reason for that is that I simply forgot to adjust it, as I was in such rush all the way through the salt mine.

When I decided on how to frame the scene, I wanted to show the depth of the place. I didn’t want any of that disturbing tourist information stuff in it, so I pointed the camera just high enough to hide all of these.

In the post-processing I didn’t do any lens correction even though it was shot at 10mm. In contrary, I decided to leave those converging lines in the way in which the lens captured them, as they all shift the focus to the light in the middle. I then enhanced this effect by adjusting the light within the photo.

Wieliczka Salt Mine is part of the UNESCO World Heritage

The Wieliczka Salt mine is part of the UNESCO World Heritage since 1978 as Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines. It was among the first 12 inscribed World Heritage Sites.

» UNESCO Description of the World Heritage: Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
» The official information website with an amazing interactive online tour:

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