Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Playing with the Pros

Behind every good climbing photo there's a lot more than just the art of when to press the shutter. Sometimes its easy to think its all down to the photographer themselves. But many of my best shots have come when I've been working with the right people. The title of this post is a bit misleading as very few of my "models" are pro climbers. My mate Jon Winter works in Outside but is always willing to give a route a go and ignore me hanging on a rope nearby taking the mickey. I try to avoid too much posing in shoots, with ideally the climber just getting on with the route although on this shot of Jon inside Swimmers Chimney a very old school VDiff (i.e. much harder) at Froggatt I did get Jon to thrutch up and down the easier upper chimney several times. Someone else Ive turned to on several occasions is Ben Bransby. Partly because he lives near me in the Peak District but mainly because he's very reliable at getting up climbs that few others would dare get on merely for pics. The shot below is on the same day at Froggatt on the E4 classic Downhill Racer, a bit of a walk in the park for Ben. Ben climbed it three times on the trot so I could get my angles sorted but its even more humbling when he puts in similar laps on some barely repeatable nightmare like Warmlove or Little Women, both E7s at Stanage.
Photographing Jon and Ben despite the obvious grade difference of their climbs is a very similar experience. It doesn't feel like work at all. With Ben's dog Klem usually trying to eat my cameras or Jon adding to his fine collection of jamming scars, the best way to describe it would be playtime.

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