Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Climbing Photography Clinic Day at Devils Lake.

Andy Hansen on "Breakfast of Champions" 5.9+

After two days of discussion, preparation, and practice in the gym the Climbing Photography Clinic participants Peter and Giulia where ready to get the full experience of shooting climbers outside. So for the third and final day of the clinic we set out to the west bluff of Devils Lake to shoot the classic routes on The Lost Face, as well as "Son of Great Chimney" and "Stuck Knee". Conveniently the routes are near each other, but offer distinctively different challenges and approaches when it comes to photographing them. So we woke up early, packed gear, and hiked the approach. Soon after anchors were set a plan was hatched to shoot Andy and Josh on the Lost Face overhangs. Both photographers rigged up a line to shoot from and the decision was made to break up the 90 foot route into two pitches for a greater opportunity to get some really unique photos.

Overhead view of the clinic photographers and climbers on the Lost Face.
Yes, I can levitate...

Peter Beck shoots Andy Hansen and Josh Knapp pitching out the Lost Face overhangs.

Giulia Bartolotta gets rigged up to shoot the Lost Face.

The lighting this morning offered some common photographic challenges. Although it was still early in the day, the sun was high and there were little clouds in the sky to diffuse the light. The photographers dealt with the challenge of metering and selecting the best exposure to shoot the bright rock. As time passed the light became a little more diffused by some thin clouds appeared overhead. The lighting became more even and the shooters and climbers rejoiced. Soon after we gathered our things and moved over to shoot "Stuck Knee" and "Son of Great Chimney". We started with the off-width "Stuck Knee" which is an especially unique climb because it can be shot from both sides. Peter set up to shoot the climber directly, and Giulia set up the shoot the climber looking through the big off-width crack. The big gear required, difficulty of off-width climbing, and ability to shoot multiple angles made this climb a great choice for photos.

Peter Beck shooting Ryan Strong on "Stuck Knee" 5.7

Giulia Bartolotta shooting Ryan through the offwidth crack on "Stuck Knee" 5.7

We wrapped up the day by moving down to shoot "Son of Great Chimney" a classic Devils Lake 5.11c that offers many aesthetic photographic angles. Peter rigged a line to shoot from around the corner, and Giulia shot from the top of an adjacent pillar. The group worked on the different challenges of shooting several climbers on top rope instead of on the sharp end lead climbing. Peter also worked to refine his use of an aid climbing hook to use as a directional while shooting. Guilia enjoyed the comforts of shooting a quality angle from the comfort of a huge ledge.

Peter Beck lowers in to shoot the classic "Son of Great Chimney"

Peter Beck works on getting a hook placement for a directional.
Does it hold?

So with the third day of the Climbing Photo Clinic wrapping up we were all excited to go back to our computers and take a look at all the new images and compare results. I am yet to see many of the groups shots on a full screen, but I am excited to see how the class used what they've learned from the clinic and to see the final results. I would like to put together a small show/exhibit of the work from the clinic to be hung in the gym so the work can be viewed in print by all. Until then I'll do my best to keep everyone updated and share some links when/if Peter and Giulia post their photos online.

For all of those who wished they could have signed up or had scheduling conflicts for the first photography clinic I would like to put on another clinic in the Fall. There are no determined dates and it all depends on your interest! So please keep let me know if you're interested in signing up or have any questions about future clinics. Thanks to Peter and Giulia for making this clinic a blast, and I hope to see you guys out there shooting!

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