Irish Climbing Calendar 2014 - OUT NOW!
31st October 2013
I spent a lot of the earlier part of this year focused on getting good climbing images from around Ireland. While I'm quite happy to go out and make photographs for the sake it I had a use in mind for these images; a calendar of Irish climbing for 2014. I love climbing and I love photography and I wanted to portray some of the best of Irish rock in pictures in the hopes of encouraging people to get up and out and be excited about Irish climbing. It also gave me a goal to aim for, which always improves one's understanding of whatever it is you're at and keeps you pushing for better.
There are all sorts of things to try and capture in a climbing photograph; facial expressions, a sense of movement, of exposure, the surroundings, the weather, the line... It's hard to get them all in one image. As well as that there are different disciplines within the climbing world and I wanted to show off some of that too. In Ireland we have a decent mix; trad and bouldering, mountain crags and sea cliffs, long routes in the bigger hills and shorter, roadside venues too. In trying to produce a set of 12 images that give some kind of overall idea of what climbing is like in Ireland I wanted to portray all the different styles and destinations we have. I also included dates of climbing competitions (I hope these don't change!) to remind people of the many events on during the year.
From a photography point of view climbing can be tricky. Firstly, I decided I wanted the calendar in landscape format. Climbing being almost always a vertical pursuit means the best images of it generally also tend to be vertical. For the most part it's harder to make a good climbing photograph when you're shooting horizontally, but that was a challenge I enjoyed. Secondly, it can be hard to get the right mix of conditions. I wanted pictures of people climbing in good light, on great routes, and with bright clothing! Rock coloured layers are far too common in the climbing community! A good image requires the climber to stand out and be seen, not to blend in like some drab, camouflaged moth. I may approach Mountaineering Ireland about initiating some kind of Ban Black Clothing campaign in the future...
I couldn't have done this without the help of friends. A lot of the images in the calendar are the result of me asking somebody to try a particular route, at a particular time of day. Organising a shoot felt a bit selfish at times. As nice as I tried to be about it I couldn't help feeling like I was telling people what to do, on their days off when they probably had their own ideas. Suggestions like "How about we get up before sunrise to be there in time for the best light?! Hey, how about trying that route instead? Can you stay there for a second, the sun's gone behind a cloud! No, no, no, that colour won't work! Here, put this on instead! Nah, that didn't turn out right, shouldn't have bothered..." probably sounded a bit too common to my climbing friends this spring and summer. Sorry! I hope I wasn't too demanding.
I also have to give a HUGE thanks to the 12 sponsors who helped get the whole idea off the ground. I couldn't have done it without their great generosity. I can't imagine something as obscure as sponsorship for a calendar of Irish climbing is a very high priority when trying to run a business so I owe a massive thank you to all those kind enough to back it up. Gear shops, guides and all the other relevant companies are part of our climbing community. We need them as places and people to train us, organise events, provide funding and supply gear. Without these services the climbing community in Ireland would be flattened. PLEASE go out and support those who've helped me next time you need something. It's good will like that that keeps things going around.
Kerry Outdoor Sports - Gear shop based in Killarney
Gravity - Climbing centre in Inchicore, Dublin
Simply Mountains - Guiding by John Healy
Edelrid - Great outdoor gear
Unique Ascent - Guiding by Iain Miller
Kerry Climbing - Guiding by Piaras Kelly
Hillwalkers - Gear shop based in Cork
West Coast Climbing and Adventure - Guiding by Carl Maddox
Great Outdoors - Gear shop based in Dublin
Awesome Walls - Climbing centre near Finglas, Dublin
Mountaineering Ireland - Ireland's NGB for climbers
Alpine Sports - Online gear shop
If you'd like to buy a calendar (€10 + €2.50 p&p in Ireland) go to the shop (now closed). This being the first thing I've sold through the website, I apologise in advance for any teething problems. If you don't have a PayPal account you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange something else. I'll also be selling at some of the upcoming climbing competitions.
I'd like to do this again next year. If you've a route in mind that you think deserves being photographed feel free to get in touch.
By Sophia: Awesome idea!!! Good memories...
By jono: cool, good job richard, pictures look great! ;-)