Red Rocks


It’s always interesting to get ready for a climbing trip by slicing off the tip of your thumb. I don’t know if you know this, but thumbs are very important for climbing. I won’t go into the gory details, or post pictures, but that’s what happened on the evening of the 24th, as I was making Christmas stew. With our Vegas trip coming up I really only had 2 choices: pout, or get ready for a photo adventure.

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Abby on The Pearl [v5]

I ended up going with all of the above. With my finger tightly wrapped and my bottom lip in full pout, we went to Vegas.

I should clarify here, when I speak of Vegas, I don’t mean what everyone else means by ‘Vegas’. We went to Red Rocks and Vegas just happens to be the closest thing there. We weren’t gambling, so don’t expect debauchery photos here. Sorry not sorry.

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He got so close, this is at minimum focusing distance of my 70-200

Since this was quickly becoming a photo trip, I decided to revisit my approach to lighting. I’ve received a fair amount of feedback about it looking odd and I think I finally understood why. Because it’s annoying to lug around stands I usually light my climbing photos from below, which creates some unexpected shadows. I think the effect is kinda neat, but I figured I might try lighting from higher up to see what that does.

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Scare Tactics [V9]
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Ultimate Grandstaff [v4]
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Josh on a v8 on the Burnout Boulder

I rather like the effect. Looks like I’m going to have to bring light stands with me on climbing trips. Sorry, friends.

On the last day, we decided to venture up the canyon to the Gateway Boulders. Honestly, I’m sad that we didn’t go there earlier. The location is spectacular. Unlike the Kraft boulders that sit exposed in the sun, all vegetation burnt out, the canyon is a lush green on top of red and greenish-gray sandstone.

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Porkchop [V3] one of the best climbs in the Kraft/Gateway Canyon area

Right before we left, Josh got on one last boulder called Mr. Moran. Because he’s mutant strong, I assumed it’s going to be a flash (do it first try) and I only had one chance at getting the shot. I did a couple test fires, before he got on, but my flashes were pretty low on batteries by that point and it was getting dark.

He set off. I only got to fire 3 shots as he cruised right through it. But one was good.

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Josh on the flash of Mr. Moran [v7]

With that, the light was gone and I ended up with what I think may be the best climbing photo I’ve ever taken.

So, overall, I think it was a pretty good trip. I ended up being able to climb after all, sending the hardest thing I’ve ever tried. But more than that, not only did I get some good photos, thanks in large part to Abby’s feedback, but I also happen to learn to use my editing software better. Just when I thought I was running out of thing to learn and feeling confident in knowing what I was doing, I get to learn something that put me in my place. That’s why I love photography. It’s nice to have something where you can constantly learn.

Also: I’m starting another 365 project, so expect weekly posts with at least 7 photos each.