Maybe it’s the try hard faces, the desperate smiles, and the out-of-breaths. Maybe it’s the perfect view of the decision making in cam placements. Maybe it’s the angle of the hand jams and body movements. And maybe, it’s just hanging in mid-air, lens in hand, breathe captured by my lungs, and the knowledge that the only thing that would make the show before my eyes better is popcorn. But probably, it’s all of the above.
I met Neil last year on my Creeksgiving trip that I took to Indian Creek. Since then, I have taken multiple trips with him, his lovely wife Shannon, and their dog Shasta. They are a hilariously cute couple. I love learning about people, their habits, and listening to their thoughts on life around camp fires. For instance, Shannon cannot stand it when people take a sip of her beer and do not suck up the aftermath of their drinks that have pooled around the rim of her can. And Neil, well, he listens to trance/house music while he hikes, climbs, and belays yet always has the ears for listening.
There are certain moments, phrases, quiet defeats, little triumphs while watching someone climb that you can only see as you watch them from above. Naturally, I jumped on the chance to photograph Neil’s climb.
At this point, Neil informed me he did not have any pictures of him as he lead a route. He smiled, he thanked me with as much breath as he could muster, and resumed his resting pose. The conversations I have had with people in the middle of their climb never cease to entertain me. Sometimes I think I should shush entirely, not uttering a word, and sometimes, it’s just too hard to not be a peanut gallery.
Also, as noted by a friend, this may be a text-book perfect cam placement.
And at the end, Neil couldn’t even bring himself to hook the anchor right in front of him. Clearly, he needed a breather. The dedication that climbers have for their mental strength and physical prowess continually inspires me to push myself to the next limit.
And in the end, I take pictures because I love to, because I cannot think of anything more full filling nor rewarding. So all the little maybes that add up to the final result are really just the quiet little gifts of life.
© /skin/ /ˈpōətrē/