Shooting climbing with bad light conditions

luca parisse

Today I want to share with you some tips to shoot good climbing pictures like those attached in the article.

Two weeks ago I went to Grotti (Ri, Italy) to shoot the strong climber Elias Iagnemma in action on the hardest climbing route in Lazio region: “Last Tango at Zagarolo” 9a/9a+.

To carry the equipment i used the “Tilopa”, a Mountain series 50 Liters backpack designed by F-Stop Gear.

Inside the backpack, i put the size L ICU (internal camera unit) with this tecnical equipments: 

canon 1dx mkii body, three lenses (canon 16-35mm f2,8L II, sigma 35mm f1,4 Art and canon 24-105 f4 L) and the Elinchrome ELB500 Flash with the action head and the Skyport Pro Transmitter. In the front and side pockets i put the climbing equipments:  harness , carabiners, handle ascender and a belay device. Outside the bag i fixed the rope.

Firstly, I shot the first section of the route that was inside a dark cave with a very bright sun outside. For this reason I used the flash with a big umbrella as diffuser in order to achieve both the proper light on the climber and the correct exposure on the background.

Eos 1dx mlii + 16-35mm f2,8 – 1/800 f4,5 iso 100 – Without Flash

I got the background exposure first and then i tuned the flash power to light up the cave and the climber.

Eos 1dx mlii + 16-35mm f2,8 – 1/800 f4,5 iso 100 – with Elinchrome ELB
Eos 1dx mlii + 16-35mm f2,8 – 1/800 f4,5 iso 100 – with Elinchrome ELB 500 + Umbrella + Lightroom PP

I shot with wide angle lens to capture most of the cave but without getting the poetic bokeh effect in the background.

So I also used one of my favourite lens: the sigma 35mm f1,4 Art Series. Thanks to the hypersinc function of my flash I was able to exploit the full lens aperture without ND filters. This way I obtained very cool painting-like pictures.

Eos 1dx mlii + sigma 35mm f1,4 – 1/2500 f1,6 iso 100 – with Elinchrome ELB 500 + Umbrella
Eos 1dx mlii + sigma 35mm f1,4 – 1/3200 f1,6 iso 100 – with Elinchrome ELB 500 + Umbrella

To shot the second part of the route i climbed about 20 meters using a fixed rope,  a handle ascender and a belay device.

I carried the camera with canon 24-105L lens in the small F-Stop Navin secured to the harness.

I hope you found these tips interesting!

Be creative and have fun!