There is something about long drives that inspires, among the cravings for junk food, me to think of theoretical adventures. Of course going to Seneca Rocks in West Virginia with my school's climbing club was already an adventure. While I am not a climber, yet, I definitely enjoyed the slice of life and culture that climbers subscribe too. The precision in thought and will to not only know such things as different knots but to be able read a rock wall and solve "it's" problem.
I especially found the amount and type of gear used to be fascinating. Our group consisted of 12 total; 3 guides, 8 climbers, and 1 video/photographer (me). Each of the guides had an assortment of cams, carabiners, and other rock gadgets that the multi pitch climb of Seneca Rocks requires. On top of this was all the rope needed to secure each of the climbers they were towing – guiding – up.
My purpose on this trip was to be a make shift documentarian. I had promised the leader that I would produce a promo video for the club, which I am working on still, to both showcase the abilities of its members but to also attract new people. On top of this I wanted to get some nice stills and landscapes of West Virginia at the eve of fall. Finally, I managed to finagle it that I could use the some of the footage I shot for a marketing video I am producing for my job. Overall, I was playing a master of image, so to speak.
I brought with me a Canon 5D mkII, 17-40L, 85 f/1.8, 135L, 100-300 f/4.5-6.3 as my digital still and A-camera for b-roll and interviews. I then took along my Pentax 6x7 MLU, 55 f/4, and 135 f/4 with a pile of Fomapan 100 and my last 2 rolls of Kodak e100s for landscapes. Finally I borrowed a GoPro 3 to get some nice POV shots.
I grabbed a bunch of excellent film b-roll of the climbers. Specifically of the details of setting up for a pitch and of the guides demonstrating and lecturing. However I did not get much "actiony" shots of climbing itself. Climbing is interesting in the sense that it is in many ways a slow sport. It requires extreme concentration and flow yet outwardly can look very static. From what I had researched I knew the best shots are those that encompass both a sense of scale and of thrill and tension. Basically shots of a climber on a steep face overlooking a large drop of some kind. Such shots requiring me to be on the wall or above, something I did not possess the skills for. Luckily one of the climbers had mounted 3 GoPros on himself and is nice enough to let me access his footage.
Overall I found the trip to be a much needed break even though I was very preoccupied with my various cameras. I shot some decent stills, filmed a bunch of great b-roll, and even shot 3 rolls of film; 2 B/W and 1 roll of e100s. The trip was short and encapsulated by 12 hour drives to and from school. I am very much enjoying editing the footage I shot and will hopefully post some fruits of the labor soon. I also plan on sending a batch of color film to Dwayne's Photo in Kansas to get processed soon, so hopefully I will have some nice color shots up as well.