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A love letter to the climbers of winter #FilmFriday

// Author: James // 0 Comments

Dear Winter Climber,

You’re really pretty and I’ve been watching you for a while. I take pictures of you when you’re not looking and sometimes post them online on my blog. Wait. Let me start this over.


Since sometime in March of 2008, I’ve been taking a camera into the woods and walking into random groups of people and interjecting myself into their weekend escape. Some years I’ve only gone out once or twice. For a while there I was flirting with digital. But, don’t worry, I’m back.

JamesJones_PRI_161_facebookIt is an escape for both of us. I know I should probably post more magazine work or commercial photography. But, it’s on this dirty playground in the woods that I explore new ideas and old techniques. JamesJones_PRI_053_facebook

The one constant since I started and now is that climbers have been almost uniformly friendly. This random dude who doesn’t climb walking up to them in the woods and asking to take pictures is not given the hairy eyeball too often.


These days it’s a bit funnier because I’ll get reactions like I did on Saturday (Wait, what was that sound? Film?!). I started this project with film at a time when it was already feeling a bit scarce and now…now it’s sort of back in vogue in its own way. But, I’m not shooting it for nostalgic reasons. I’m shooting it because it the best tool for the job.


Oh, winter climber, you’re an expensive date. This film business takes some dough out of my pocket every time I click that shutter. But, you’re so worth it. I try to play it cool but what you may not know is that there is a lot of guesswork happening. I’m shooting action in manual focus, I’m riding the ISO settings to push and pull the exposure around, and I’m making wild (educated) guesses shooting into the sun. But you like the wild – right winter climber? Heck, I think you appreciate the analog nature of what I’m doing out there.

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While you do your thing and feed me on occasion, I’m building my muscle memory. I’m also capturing some amazing people in the prime of their lives.

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See, in the short run I am excited about our relationship and where it’s going. I get to practice and share with you some of the results. But, in the long run – that’s the real thing. Someday you and I are going to go our separate ways. We’ll lose touch and drift outward and down the long path.

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Somewhere down that road will be a show of my work and an archive of the community I am capturing. 10 years, 20 years, 50 years down the road we’re going to laugh at the good times and the happy memories when we’re too old to even contemplate hanging upside-down from a cold rock. Some friends will be gone and new ones made. That haircut and nut bar that seemed like such a good idea at the time will be a relic of the past.


You don’t know it but you have allowed me to learn and expand my love of photography at my own pace. You keep doing your thing winter climber and I’ll keep trying to capture it in my own way. Thanks guys.


Technical Notes: All the photos are from this past weekend. Shot on a 645 – mostly Fujifilm 160NS 220 and some 400H 120.


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