Last september, the Climbing World Championships were held in Paris. I’ve been to a number of competitions, but in my experience these championships were quite probably the best competition ever. In this post I aim to give you a quick look at what I produced in Paris. Check inside for more pictures than you can digest!
My goal for this competition was to produce a boatload of photos of the best climbers in the world. I knew that a bunch of other photographers would be present and that the angles we could shoot from would be limited, so I’d have to work hard on capturing the best moments and compositions.
The sport of climbing is becoming more and more popular every year it seems, and with that increased popularity comes an influx of talented photographers shooting the sport. It’s so inspiring for me to see how other photographers capture this dynamic sport. One of the main hurdles in photographing climbing is always that you’re limited in where you can go. During competitions especially, access is quite limited and photographers are usually only allowed to stand directly in front of the wall. This is a shame, since I love shooting climbing from the side of the wall, this enables me to shoot facing the crowd and more importantly the lights shining on the wall. Many of my indoor climbing photos feature backlit action, which in my opinion helps create a slightly epic feel. In the end having to work within these restrictions is always a nice challenge though, it forces photographers to be more creative and try new things.
In order to get closer to the action I’d rented a huge telelens that proved to actually be quite a workout during that week. In the end this effort definitely proved worth it though, I feel that captured some truly unique and intimate moments with these superstars of climbing.
This was actually my first time ever shooting an international lead climbing competition. I fell instantly in love with the heroic energy these top climbers showed, and shooting this action was a blast.
What was great at this competition, which was held in a proper stadium, was that I could easily walk up the empty stands on the side of the lead climbing wall in order to get at the same height as the climber.
Shooting climbing action from below is kind of a no-go, often resulting in the dreaded butt shot. Shooting from somewhat higher up allows a better perspective of the climber and enabled me to capture the climber’s face, which in my opinion is vital to shooting great climbing photos.
In the end, I feel this competition is quite possibly the best climbing competition I’ve ever seen. The turnout was just amazing with some 10,000 people watching the action live and plenty of fans watching the livestream. The crowd was quite present and cheered on their heros, and saw Adam Ondra taking final victory in an epic fashion.
I managed to shoot a cohesive series of images that I’m now adding to my portfolio and working with brands to incorporate into their marketing and social media presence, in addition to offering these photos to climbers to use for their social media. I think it’s great to be able to help climbers who are living their dream communicate that to their fans through the use of my work. Scroll down below to see some more images from this comp!