Rifle Mountain Park with Jon Cardwell and Chelsea Rude

We stop in Rifle Mountain Park for some hard, limestone sport climbing for a couple of days. When I go to Rifle I feel like the weakest climber in the world. Typically I am the weakest climber I meet there. It’s incredibly humbling.

“I’m just working this 5.13c, it should go down pretty easily.”

“I just did all the moves on my first 5.14!”

“Can you get some shots of me on the 5.14 I just got the first ascent of?”

I didn’t climb much. I mostly hung uncomfortably from my harness and snapped photos while I lost all feeling in my legs. I shot Sarah and Chelsea Rude working Apocalypse ’91 (5.13b).



Try Hard Tongue
Chelsea climbing on a 5.14a, Bride of Frankenstein I think? 

Jon Cardwell was working on Planet Garbage, a new link up that Matt Hong had gotten the first ascent of a couple weeks earlier. Jimmy Webb had broken off a huge hold since Hong’s send making the route seem impossible. But Jon tried a huge dyno past the broken hold off of a terrible looking sloper pinch. After a few attempts Jon stuck the move and declared that the route still goes. Jon eventually sent the route a couple weeks later.

Jon Cardwell holding on after a massive dyno on Planet Garbage, 5.14c? 

 I think I have climbed more trees while shooting with Jon and Chelsea than anywhere else. I climbed a skinny, unstable tree to secure a flash near the top. Gorillapods work great for this.

A couple weeks before Jon had gotten the first ascent on Nastalgie (5.14) in the Wasteland, and asked me to get some shots of him on it. 

Jon sticking the crux move of Nastalgie, 5.14

It was a great weekend in Rifle, but after two and half weeks on the road I was ready to return to Boulder. Love having a home I’m excited to return to. 
Quick free solo of the 2nd Flatiron.

Getting Out with Jon Cardwell & Matty Hong

This weekend I got out Jon Cardwell & Matty Hong for some climbs in Rocky Mountain National Park and Guanella Pass. They both worked Mirror Reality and Paint it Black in RMNP and Ice Knife in Guanella Pass. While they were both working hard on V14’s and 15’s I sent my first V6! I was psyched.
Enjoy the photos. 
Matty Hong on Mirror Reality
Jon Cardwell trying hard on Mirror Reality V14
Cardwell on Paint it Black 8c

Matty Hong trying Paint it Black
Matty working the moves on Ice Knife V15
Jon working Ice Knife V15

Lighting a Cave & Problem Solving

A few weeks ago Jon Cardwell asked me to come out and shoot with him and Chelsea Rude for a project.

Chelsea Rude climbing Rubble (5.13b)
We went back to Sex Cave in Clear Creek Canyon to get some shots of them sport climbing. It was an ideal location because of the easy access from the road and the ability to shoot from the ground. I hadbroken my back a few weeks before and could not hang from a rope. 
With the help of my girlfriend I set up my lights how I wanted them and prepared to shoot, but I realized I was missing something. I had forgotten to pack the connector wires for the radio slaves. My studio strobes could not be fired remotely, well directly from the slaves. So I quickly figured out a solution. 
I would have just used my Canon Flashes, but they are not powerful enough to get the results I wanted. I connected my Pixel King radio slave to my flash and used the built in optical slave on my White-Lightning strobe to fire into an umbrella that broadly lit the underside of the cave. The spill light from the umbrella hit the optical sensor on my Yongnua YN-560 flash, firing it into the back of my other White-Lightning strobe, giving me the rim light I wanted. It was super complicated and tricky to enact, but the diagram below might help you visual types. 
The diagram is, of course, inexact, but it give you the idea. Using optical slaves to pop your lights remotely is a great, fast and easy approach to lighting. A lot of times in my studio I will just use a speedlite set to 1/128th power to pop all the lights in my set up. But in a less controlled environment using wireless slaves gives you much more control. 

Jon Cardwell on Rubble

After the climbing we used the great afternoon light over the Flatirons to shoot a few portraits using just one Speedlite in an umbrella and the sun as rim light. 

I don’t recommend leaving behind pieces of equipment you need. I definitely need to be better at double checking my gear. 
Till next time, 

Published in Origin. Magazine

I just picked up my copy of Origin. Magazine at Whole Foods (the only place it sells) that has photos I took of Jon Cardwell and Chelsea Rude a few weeks ago. 
It has two covers…

Jon Cardwell climbing Rubble in Clear Creek Canyon & portrait in front of the FlatIrons. 

Chelsea Rude climbing Stone Cold Modern in Clear Creek Canyon & portrait in front of the FlatIrons.