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Photographs Archives - Simon Carter's Onsight Photography

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains.

Goddam slackers!

By | Photographs | No Comments

Goddam Slackers! Don’t they know I have work to do? But that’s right, “I’m a photographer”. And what better “excuse” to “slack off” for a bit — and get out and capture some of the sweet slack-line action that I’d been hearing about. This was a little get together of like-minded slackers — and it was right here in the Blue Mountains.

Of course, slack-lining is easy-peasey. Set that tape up just one foot above the ground, and I too have no trouble walking it like a boss for all of at least 0.57 seconds. But no. We’re talking about the long and high pant-pooping version of slacklining here — highlining.

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, Blue Mountains.

James Short stridently striding the length of a mega-long line, somewhere high above the Megalong Valley, in the Blue Mountains.

The first time I saw high-lining Read More

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Arapiles – 50 years

By | General News, Photographs | 2 Comments

It’s now 50 years since the first recorded climbs at Mount Arapiles. That’s right, The Siren (9), Introductory Route (5) and Tiptoe Ridge (3) were cranked out way back on 16 November 1963. And so Arapiles is now celebrating a milestone!

Canola dawn, Mount Arapiles

Canola dawn, Mount Arapiles

Having travelled the world for climbing, I’m sure Arapiles is one of the world’s best crags for easier trad climbing — and that’s significant. It isn’t quite the cutting-edge crag it once was Read More

Alien space invasion? Sleeping monster on a cold still night. Looking from Mt York towards Bell, 15 minute exposure, 24 October 2013. Nikon D3s with 14mm lens.

Bushfire

By | General News, Photographs | No Comments

Thursday 17th October was already shaping up as a bad bush fire day in the Blue Mountains. The winds were extreme and the large fire near Lithgow, that had started the day before, was fanning fast. Then I heard a fire had broken out near Springwood, later we learnt it destroyed 200 homes. Meanwhile we were working from home in Mount Victoria until a blackout put an end to that, so we were outside doing some fire prep work around the house. Little did we know that power lines had started another fire — less than a kilometre from our house. We smelt smoke, heard sirens nearby, and thought the Lithgow fire might have somehow spotted all that way. Word on the street soon became “GET OUT!!!”. We grabbed a few valuables, saved my slide collection, then I plugged the gutters, turned on the taps and drove away. We thought for sure our house would be gone. In a strange mixed-emotion kind of way I was at least happy to have saved the slides; I’d always assumed I’d never manage that, and years of scanning and digitising them just isn’t the same.

Alien space invasion?  Sleeping monster on a cold still night. Looking from Mt York towards Bell, 15 minute exposure, 24 October 2013. Nikon D3s with 14mm lens.

Sleeping monster on a cold still night. Looking from Mt York towards Bell, 15 minute exposure, on the night of October 24th — seven days after the Mount Victoria fire had started (the fires in the distance are from the Lithgow fire; The Mt Victoria and Lithgow fires had joined up). Nikon D3s with 14mm lens.

Some people in a street nearby had little or no warning before the fire was upon their homes; there were some seriously close escapes. Eight houses were destroyed there. Read More

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World Climbing Calendar 2014

By | General News, Photographs, Published | No Comments

Well I’m stoked to announce that our World Climbing Calendar 2014 is available now. This year is special, we are celebrating 20 years of Onsight Photography and this is the 20th annual wall calendar that we’ve produced! I find that a rather strange thought, and it brings with it some mixed emotions. When I started getting serious about this stuff over 20 years ago some people’s predictions weren’t entirely encouraging. Honestly I didn’t expect to be in the game for particularly long, I just had a burning desire to create a certain sort of imagery and decided to give it a serious go. Keeping the wheels turning takes a lot more than just taking and selling climbing photographs, but despite the bump and grind I do consider myself lucky to have found a way to make it work in a fast changing world. I feel extremely fortunate to have followed my dreams; to explore my vision of climbing and capture climbers doing their thing in many spectacular places. Obviously, I couldn’t have done any of this without an incredible amount of help from many climbers — as well as the amazing support of the greater climbing community. Thank you everyone!

And so let me present our special 20th Anniversary Edition calendar – the World Climbing Calendar 2014!

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Each calendar has a bonus Anniversary poster inside (measuring 550 x 295mm), showcasing a collage of 90 favourite photographs. Read More

A trip to the Moon!

By | Photographs, Trip Report | 4 Comments

I’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind of trips lately, largely because I’m working on a new coffee-table photo book on Australian rock climbing. My 1998 book Rock Climbing in Australia has been out of print for several years, so a new book is well overdue. I’m really excited by this project, it’s a big challenge and I have been really really enjoying visiting and photographing some great Australian climbing areas that I haven’t been to for years.

So here’s a little, very overdue, report from a quick trip to the Moon a few months back. They just call it the Moon, it’s an appropriate name, but of course I mean Moonarie in the Flinders Ranges, about 5 hours drive north from Adelaide in South Australia. On the edge of the great Australian Outback, the Moon sure does feel a little out of this world…

A trajectory to the Moon...

On trajectory to the Moon…

The Moon. That tent bottom right corner was "Base Camp".

The Moon. The tent bottom right corner marks our “Base Camp”.

Read More

Oz gets grade 35 (9a)

By | Climbing News, Photographs | 5 Comments

In the last few months I’ve done photography trips to South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. Mostly working on a new coffee-table photo book of Australian climbing. I’ll have some pics from those trips soon (yes, I’ve been busy!) but first here is some breaking news…

Yesterday (18th August) 20-year-old German climber Alexander Megos capped off a productive visit to Australia by climbing the long-term open project known as The Red Project at Diamond Fall in the Blue Mountains. It took him three days of effort with at least 20 redpoint attempts. Alex has named the route Retired Extremely Dangerous. After giving it much thought, and comparing the difficulty of the route with other hard routes that he has climbed here in Australia (and of course also around the world), Alex has decided to propose the Australian grade of 35 (9a or 5.14d) for the route. Given Alex’s experience at that level (which includes being the first climber in the world to onsight a 9a graded route) I doubt there’ll be too much dispute of the grade. So this is the first grade 35 route in Australia!

From the guidebook. "The Red Project - open THE line still to go free here. It is route #26, the fully independent line.

From the guidebook. “The Red Project – open. THE line still to go free here”. It is route #26, the fully independent line.

The Red Project was originally bolted by Garth Miller in 1999, and since then has sat there as an open project free for anyone to try. Lee Cossey has spent some time attempting the route over the years and has made good progress on the route. Lee actually encouraged Alex to attempt the route and kindly offered some beta which may have proved useful.

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Alex Megos attempting The Red Project, now known as Retired Extremely Dangerous. Low on the route – one of the first hard moves.

On his first day of attempts Alex worked out all the moves and Read More

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Espanol 2013

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Well winter is truly upon us now in the Blue Mountains and I’ve got a bit of time between trips now. So it is a good to time to play catch up, pull out a few shots taken back in March in Spain, and dream a bit… Love it there, such a great place for shooting and climbing.

A good way to get over jet lag is to play tourist for a few hours. La Sagrada Familia is a mind-bogling must see, 130+ years in the making and still lots to do.

A good way to get over jet lag is to play tourist for a few hours. La Sagrada Familia is a mind-boggling must see, 130+ years in the making and still not yet finished.

No surprise, Oliana was the crag of our focus again. Monique got some fantastic projects on the go and there was so much going on...

No surprise, Oliana was the crag of our focus again. Monique started some fantastic projects and with a great crew and so much else also going on, well it really felt like the place to be (once again).

Read More

The Grapiles

By | General News, Photographs | One Comment

After a few months sweating it out in the office it’s good to be on the road again, this time to The Grapiles (The Grampians and Arapiles – you heard it here first?) for a few weeks – which is flying by all to quickly. We’ve been climbing of course but there is no such thing as a holiday for us really, we have been very busy with photography and a couple of different projects that I’m currently working on (more on those later).

Mount Arapiles feels like home in a way, I spent nearly eight months camped here just prior to starting my photography business nearly 19 years ago. The place still feels magic…

South Celestial Pole. 2 and 1/2 hour exposure.

Over in the Grampians Coco has been getting her bush walking game on…

Taipan Wall — so good!

And Monique has been doing her thing too…

The mostly trad, and insanely pumpy for the grade, Eau Rouge (23), at The Lost World.

More soon!

Mayan does Punks

By | Climbing News, Photographs | 2 Comments

Congratulations to Mayan Gobat-Smith from New Zealand who yesterday climbed her long-term project Punks in the Gym (32) at Mount Arapiles, Australia. A superb personal achievement, hers also happens to be the first female ascent of the route.

Punks” is a famous Australian test-piece with a colourful history. The beautiful line was first climbed by Wolfgang Gullich in 1985 and originally graded 31/32 by Wolfgang. The second ascent was by Stefan Glowacz and the third by Jerry Moffat who confirmed the 8b+ (32) grade. Despite that, for a while there the route was graded 31 whilst it was the subject of the NSW/Victoria grading wars in the early 1990s. Since then the route has seen numerous ascents and some years ago the grade firmly settled back at 32. So the route is not only the first 32 in Australia but it is often said may well be the first 32 (5.14a/8b+) climbed anywhere in the world. When Andy Pollitt was attempting the route in the early 1990’s a key crux hold disintergrated and so Andy recreated the hold out of sika. Some claimed that the recreated hold, since dubbed “the birdbath” (a harsh term given it’s only a 15mm incut edge), was bigger than the original but I think there are few people, if anyone, apart from Andy who actually know the truth of the matter. Andy eventually suceeded on the route in 1992 after three trips to Australia from the UK and a total 70 days on the route. If you think 70 days is a lot of time to spend on the route then spare a thought for Australian woman Jarmila Tyrril who moved to the area in part to be close to Punks; the route has been the main focus of her climbing for the last three years. With Jarmila spending a lot of time on the route and with Mayan making four trips to Australia with the route the main focus of those, there has been a lot of speculation who would snag the first female ascent. Recently someone was putting up posters around town hamming it up as a competition — “who will be first”? And so Mayan’s send has at last put an end to all the speculation. Successful punters are advised to make their way to the nearest TAB office to collect their winnings ASAP.

Last year I took some photos of Mayan on Punks when she was out here trying it for a few weeks. No doubt largely because of the reach factor Mayan’s sequence into the crux is entirely different to everyone elses. She links directly from the lower hard climbing straight up into the crux, entirely avoiding a really good rest just before the crux — the only good rest on the route. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Mayan’s sequence is a really hard way to do the route but obviously sticking to her sequence has finally paid off for her. Congratulations again!

Mayan on Punks last year.

Here’s one of my shots of Mayan on Punks that I will show you now. I hate to have to mention this but I ask that people respect my work and my copyright. I say this because recently someone who runs a very popular and somewhat commercial site on Facebook recently took one of my photos from my site without permission and sprayed it widely around the internet. If people like to help support my work by purchasing a calendar or book then I really appreciate the support. If businesses want to help promote my work and my publications then I am very open to proposals and I certainly like to support people who are doing good and valuable work where I can. But Apparently I need to point out to some that I do retain the rights to my work and say in where and when my photos are used. In short, you need my written permission before taking my photographs from this web site and using them anywhere else. Thanks to everyone for your support and understanding!

Whistling Kite

By | Climbing News, Photographs | No Comments

Monique has been on a bit of a roll with her climbing for the last 12 months or so. It has been great to watch her enjoy the process as well as do some really cool things with her climbing lately. In the last year Monique has climbed several “routes of her dreams” including Fish Eye (her first 33) and recently she won the both the Lead and Boulder Australian Nationals. You probably wouldn’t know it but she has worked hard to overcome several injuries over the years, no woe-is-me sob stories, she was patient and just got back on the horse. Success in climbing can be fleeting and only gets harder as you get older so I think you’ve just got enjoy the good times when you can.

Whist we were up in Queensland Monique found herself a really cool project, the classic Whistling Kite (32) which tackles a beautiful proud buttress at Frog Buttress. I believe this was the second 32 established in Australia. Monique managed to make the sixth ascent of this route which had not seen a repeat in five years. It really is the most incredibly technical route I’ve ever seen. A big shout out of thanks to Duncan Steel for his inspiration, I’m sure his encouragement was instrumental in getting Monique so psyched about the route. Monique blogged about it here and now belatedly here are a few more photos from me …

Entering the main crux…

Do you believe me now, when I said it tackles a beautiful buttress?

 

Rock Climbing Down Under: Australia Exposed is coming Order here now!