I was inspired recently by watching a adventure photography Masterclass video by Jimmy Chin, one of the Academy Award winning filmmakers behind the documentary, "Free Solo", and an extremely accomplished photographer. So I called up some of my rock climbing friends to try my hand at action photography! We donned climbing shoes, masks, and harnesses and went to Triangle Rock Club Morrisville.
I recently upgraded to a full frame Sony A7iii and this was one of my first extensive shoots with it. It performed excellently! I used my sigma 35 mm lens mostly at f/1.4. The wide aperture allowed me to use a fast 1/500 shutter speed without resulting in images that were too dark. The shallow depth of field also resulted in some really fun shots of beautifully tensed, chalked up fingers.
However, it was also difficult to get in perfect focus, especially when trying to stay stable, suspended 30 feet in the air. A narrower aperture may be a bit more effective for the high paced shooting situations, seeing as the background (the climbing wall) is so close to the subject, that the autofocus is easily lost. Especially when masked faces are not as easily recognized by the camera!
Lastly, one of my favorite thing about any shoot is finding artistry, regardless of the subject matter. When going through my shots there were a few that were exceedingly beautiful for their lines and tones! So I simplified them to black and white to emphasize a different kind of beauty in these shots.
While I may not yet be at the Jimmy Chin level of professional adventure and sports photography, I learned a lot, had a ton of fun, and got some really great shots of these awesome athletes!
Check out the rest of the pictures here!