Sunday, April 26, 2009

Changing the Stripes: a new route with an old friend

I recently finished a Maple Canyon project with my long-time friend Virgil Ash. It's been a couple of years since we were on rope together and it was a great beginning to a new climbing season. The route goes at 5.6 and gets easier the higher you get. But it IS HIGH. Three pitches of great views and exposure. I called it Changing the Stripes.

Changing the what?

I've aspired to be a photographer since I was a kid but didn't do much about it until three years ago when I bought a Nikon D70. I shot religiously as serious ameture during those three years and, as Izzy Mandelbaum says, It's time to take it up a notch. I'm ready to admit that I want to be a professional and take stunning images. I want to be an adventure photographer and in order to make it happen I'm Changing the Stripes.

I've lost 17 pounds by changing my eating habits and working out. I lift at the gym three days a week and I ride my Mtn Bike. I'm jazzed about climbing again and I feel better than I have for years. I have energy to go more hours and I have the motivation to do it. What does that have to do with it? If you can't keep up with your subject or be the first one on scene how in the hell are you going to get the shot? The photographer is always ABOVE the climber in those killer images you see in Rock and Ice Magazine. Theres no market for butt shots, lunch breaks or the hike back to the car. My wife has been a huge inspiration in the fitness department. She's been working out and eating right for more than six years. I aspire to keep with something that hard for that long.

I took black and white film photography class from my friend Amy Jorgensen. It was three months of pure enlightenment from one of the most inspiring person I've ever met. I thought I knew a lot about photography until I took that class. I realize not that I'm just scratching the surface. It was the jumping board in my path to being photographer.

I upgraded my camera system to a D700 and 4K in new lenses. It's a more enjoyable toy than all my others put together! And I have a lot of toys.

I'm enrolled in the Rock and Ice Photo Camp in June and I've never been more excited in my life. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Learning for Keith Ladzinski? Are you kidding me? His images are awesome and I love his use of artificial light. And David Clifford? His lifestyle portraits have spurred an interested in photographing people, something I've avoided until now. The prospect of learning from these two masters almost makes me giddy. I have high expectation for the camp and if I do my part It'll be a huge step in getting me where I want to go.

It's all been a bit overwhelming. Thats a lot bit-off and chew all at once. But, how bad do you really want it?

Bleed for your art. Embrace the Suck. Change the Stripes. It's go time.


No comments: