The wall

“The wall is insanely overhanging and one of the steepest I have ever photographed or climbed,” photographer James ‘Q’ Martin says of this image he captured of luminary artist and climber Jeremy Collins making a first ascent of Gold Blood in Venezuela’s remote Sabana Jungle. “I was 20 feet from the wall, ascending the line completely in space, spinning like a top. I would wait till I would spin in the direction of the climber and grab a couple stills before I would continue on my dizzy dance with the exposure.”

Accompanying Martin and Collins on the trip were Pat Goodman and José Miranda. The team had previously set out to climb this spot a couple years prior, but ran into trouble. “On the previous trip the group suffered major setbacks, with José taking a bad lead fall and Pat slipping in the unpredictable jungle—both falls resulted in broken bones.” Conditions weren’t ideal at the time this photo was taken, either.
“This expedition was challenging on so many levels. The country was in political unrest, the bush pilots refused to fly, the motor blew up on the vehicle we used to travel from Caracas … the list of challenges was a mile long. But in the end, all those hardships made the summit and success of the project that much sweeter.”
Reblogged from National Geographic

To the top


When I was a novice photographer, I learned from my mentor that a successful composition should lead your eye around the frame in a graceful curve. So it is with this remarkable landscape of swirling clouds, sun, and mountains. The contrast between the soft, gentle, snowy slopes and the sharp, jagged black peaks makes me feel both seduced and afraid, which is surely how a mountain climber must feel.

We first notice the three climbers. Tiny, they show us just how towering these peaks are. They are like the all-important first notes to a grand and bold symphony. We then follow the climbers’ tracks, which trace the same elegant shape of the snowy ridge. The eye then climbs up toward the middle peak at dead center top, then finally to the upper left of the frame. That movement is key to the success of the composition.

Reblogged from National Geographic