Given that Turkish videographer, Cemal Gulas, grew up with a father who owned over 200 cameras, it’s little surprise that he quickly developed a love of photography and a flair for capturing the wonders of nature.
Drawn to those areas where others tend not to venture, Cemal began photographing them in order to share a host of natural marvels.
Cemal’s latest project takes him to the magical karst caves in Anatolia, Turkey. No stranger to exploring the mysteries of cave systems, Cemal already has 5 television documentaries under his belt, all of which have met with critical acclaim in Anatolia. This time, he says, ‘I would like to share the pristine, fairy tale side of Anatolia with the rest of the world’.
Entitled The Karst Fairy Tales, Cemal has journeyed into often dangerous terrain, capturing amazing footage of these subterranean limestone caverns. He explains that because of an ancient sea, Anatolia has an incredible karst structure.
‘Today, thousands of caves are still waiting to be discovered by people. Most of them reach depths of up to 1000 metres – and lengths of over 3-4 kilometres could still remain unseen by the human eye. This makes the karst structure in Anatolia truly magical. It’s also extraordinarily exciting to find human traces dating back thousands of years in many of the caves I explore.’
As you might imagine, when you’re journeying deep into ancient caverns, hoping to capture the mood and feel of areas untouched by natural light, you need a camcorder that’s up to the job.
Cemal says that the Sony PMW-EX3 was perfect for this current project. ‘I chose this camera because of its tapeless recording feature and, also, its lightweight battery system and sensitivity to light.’ Once inside the caves, any artificial light source we bring with us will only illuminate a single centre. Everywhere else is under the influence of absolute darkness. ‘In the places where there was no chance of lighting the cave completely, the PMW-EX3 provided clear images without interference’.
Another advantage of the tapeless camcorder is that it’s not affected by moisture or dust. This, for Cemal, is imperative. In fact, he says, having equipment that’s reliable and of high quality is probably just as important to him as the work itself. For him, the PMW-EX3 fits the bill. ‘Sometimes we were shooting in the depths of dark caves, sometimes at the summit of mountains and sometimes in jungles. The light body of the PMW-EX3, the semi-shoulder design and also the SxS Card enable you to shoot comfortably in different terrain conditions.’ Another advantage for Cemal was the fact that the viewfinder could be opened to become an LCD screen when prompted.
When asked to sum up the most satisfying aspect of his work, Cemal admits that it’s overcoming risk in order to record a unique experience, then coming home and watching the footage in a safe environment and being able to say, ‘I did this’. And certainly nobody could deny that the footage he’s captured with the EX3 for The Karst Fairy Tales is anything other than spectacularly unique.