Apart from the photographic obstacles that had to be overcome in those early days, there was also the considerable difficulty of transporting the camera, tripod, oxygen and hydrogen cylinders and flash materials underground, in light provided only by candles worn on helmets or caps. Ladders were most commonly used to progress from level to level, as shown in the photo on the right taken at the 180 level at East Pool Mine (the 180 level is 1080 feet below the surface, all depths in Cornish mines being measured in fathoms, a familiar measure to Cornishmen with their sea-faring tradition- similarly the head man on the mine was the Mine Captain, a term still used internationally today). Mortality rate among the miners was very high, due to rock falls, bad air and lung disease, but also due to the state of exhaustion produced daily by climbing to and from work on the ladders, it not being uncommon for 3 hours of a working day being spent on the ladders.
The photo on the left was taken at the 412 level (2472 ft) level at Dolcoath Mine, where massive supports were in place, as the lode was of great width and the walls unreliable. Not long after Burrow took this photo the whole of the 'stull', or series of timbers, collapsed, killing seven of the men working underneath, one man being rescued unhurt after 37 hours.