If you like dark places, really dark places – scratch that – I mean really freaking dark and downright spooky places, then this post is for you. This is the famous Paw Paw Tunnel on the C&O Canal tow path in Paw Paw, West Virginia. And yes – it’s about as dark as they come. The tunnel is a 3,118-feet-long (950 m) engineering marvel of more than six million bricks, which took some 14 years to build (1836-1850) and cost nearly 18 times more than initially estimated. To this day, it’s still considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the 1800s.
And the tunnel is dark. Think pitch black. Other than the sunlight filtering in through the thick foliage at either end of the passage, there is no light whatsoever, because the tunnel has no artificial illumination in it, period. The top photo is actually a timed exposure at a high ISO, which is part of the reason why it looks grainy. In reality, when viewing the same scene with human eyes, there was just a dim dot in the distance, and absolutely nothing else. The only way one can see anything while traversing the length of the tunnel is to use flashlights or headlamps, which is highly recommended.
The photo of the hole in the side of the tunnel is interesting, because it illustrates just how many layers of brick were used in the construction of the tunnel. We used both of our flashlights to illuminate it enough for the camera to take a photo.
Paw Paw Tunnel
Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Tow Path
Paw Paw, West Virginia
Zeiss Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8 ASPH zoom lens
Sony RX100 IV digicam