Sunday, November 28, 2010

Devils Lake Boulder and Photo Session

Frost on the windshield on the beloved craggin' wagon.

Tony Brengosz and I took an early morning drive to Devils Lake to spend the day bouldering and soaking up what's left of the fall temperatures here in Wisconsin. When I left my house the thermometer displayed 25° F, but once we arrived the temps had increased slightly and the sun was out to keep us relatively warm all day. We drove to the North Shore parking lot and after only a ten minute hike we were getting our shoes on for a warm up climb. We first went to an area called "Greatest Bluff" which was home to a handful of fun sandstone boulder problems in the area ranging from V0-V9. We started by warming up on an unnamed arete problem rated V0 and then quickly moved on the "Gay Gigolo" V2.

Arete V0

The crux move on "Gay Gigolo" V2.

The sandstone here was pretty textured and had a lot of neat features which were fun to climb on. This was my first experience bouldering on sandstone at the lake, but I felt slightly prepared being pretty familiar with the classic trad climbing here at "Old Sandstone." Tony has a lot more experience bouldering around these parts than I do, and today he acted as a guild of sorts to show me some of the more aesthetic boulder problems at the park. Today would not only mark my first time bouldering at the lake, but also the first time shooting climbing with the 5D mark II. Like every photoshoot there was a lot of experimenting and trial and error, but funny enough the biggest crux of the new camera was turning off the two second self timer that accidently got turned on... always bring the manual!

Tony B. on "Slippery Seam" V4

After checking out a few other areas near by we took a walk over to the Monolith area, which is home to some taller more intimidating lines. My personal favorite of the day (to photograph) was "Sex and Chocolate" v6. This line featured a seemingly featureless arete that went up to a slopey ledge to a difficult looking topout, in other words it looked totally awesome! I really wanted to get the right angle to shoot this problem. I wanted to showcase the arete and avoid making it look like a face climb while also illustrating the overall height and commitment it looked like it needed to be completed. I looked around for options, and after a little bit of effort I ended up with a unique vantage point while being nestled precariously in a bendy tree. My personal favorite shot of the day...

"Sex and Chocolate" V6

From this vantage point I was also able to capture a video of Tony getting a repeat send of this problem. I'm still becoming familiar with the finer workings of the video capability on the 5D mark II, but look forward to gathering some footage and making short videos here and there to keep the blog new and exciting. Beyond documenting the repeat send here, I was also able to film the send of "Slope of Dadaism" V3 and "Pillar of Contemporary Movement" V4... Nice work Tony! Anyone have any recommendations for video editing software?

Tony comes off "Pillar of Contemporary Movement" V4

A stellar day at the lake once again, and even though I was bouldering I still managed to end up hang dogging in my harness. Much thanks to Tony B. for agreeing to be photographed instead of being spotted by me for most of the day, and a big high-five to the Wisconsin weather for letting us get out and shoot some more rock climbing before the season finally turns and the water freezes in anticipation of being climbed.


Andy said...

The photograph of Tony on Sex and Chocolate make that thing look HUGE! I haven't seen it in real life but from what other photos I've seen, this one puts it into a very intimidating perspective. Looks like you guys had fun.

Matt Kuehl said...

Yeah it is pretty intimidating, and I think the photo does it justice. Some things just don't look like they should from the ground. And also.... I wish I could get blogger to make this photo HUGE when you click on it, so you could actually see the details!

Tony said...

And that break on sex and chocolate is only half way up the direct