Video of the Day – On Assignment in Yosemite

We’ve all done it. Nestled up on a nice warm couch, leafing (or scrolling) through a National Geographic magazine, you suddenly notice a beautiful photograph and wonder “how did they get that shot?”. Then, without pause for a second thought, you turn the page and continue browsing – for the most part taking all of the hard work that went into producing those images for granted.

If you’ve ever wanted to see just what goes into getting some of the incredible shots that make it into magazines like National Geographic, today’s Video of the Day gives a thrilling inside look at one photographer’s assignment in Yosemite. Produced by Renan Ozturk, this 6-minute piece follows climber, skier, and photographer Jimmy Chin as he captures some of the most innovative climbing happening in Yosemite today.

Do you put everything on the line to capture amazing moments? The world wants to see it! Submit to our Flickr Pool or leave a link in the comments below and it could be Gadling’s next Photo/Video of the Day.

Nat Geo explores Yosemite’s climbing culture

Yesterday we posted a story on five ways to explore national parks without using a vehicle, and one of the items that made the list was a suggestion to go climbing in Yosemite National Park. As noted, Yosemite is one of the greatest climbing destinations in the world, with towering granite walls that attract the best climbers from across the globe, something that National Geographic discovered recently when they visited the place.

Writer Mark Jenkins went on assignment in Yosemite Valley for a cover story in the May issue of Nat Geo. While there, he discovered some amazing athletes pushing their skills to the limit on Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most well known and iconic big walls in the rock climbing universe.

Chief amongst these athletes (NG calls them “superclimbers”) is Alex Honnold, a 23-year old who has made Yosemite his personal playground over the past few years. Back in 2008, he stunned the climbing community by free soloing the 2140-foot tall Half Dome. For the uninitiated, when someone free solos they are climbing with just their chalk bag and shoes, and no ropes of any kind. For an encore in 2010, Honnold tackled both Half Dome and the 3000-foot El Cap, back-to-back, in just 8 hours.Honnold isn’t the only great climber that frequents Yosemite however, and Jenkins found a number of them on his visit. He reports that one morning while walking through the park’s notorious Camp 4, a popular site for climbers, he heard over a dozen languages being spoken, which is a testament to how popular the region is with the rock climbing crowd.

Jenkins, who first climbed in the valley back in the 70’s, discovered that things have changed dramatically since he climbed there. He found that amongst today’s climbers, it is all about speed, and they’ll eschew certain gear, such as backpacks, helmets, and other items, just so they can move more quickly up the rock face. This is quite a departure from the old days, when climbing legend Royal Robbins first climbed Half Dome. Back in 1957, it took him, and his partner, five days to complete the route. Today, Honnold can do it solo in just a little over 2 hours.

The full National Geographic article is available online by clicking here. It offers some great insights into the climbing world, which can be a bit mystifying for those who don’t “get” it. The story is actually a good read for climbers and non-climbers alike, holding up well to Nat Geo’s usual high standards. The article is also accompanied by a gallery of great photos that were shot for the story by by Jimmy Chin, one of the best adventure photographers working today. They capture the spirit of climbing in Yosemite very well and can be found here.

[Photo credit: Mike Murphy via WikiMedia]

Outside Magazine offers photography workshop in Santa Fe

This October, Outside Magazine will give amateur and professional shutterbugs the chance to hone their skills by working with some of the best photographers in the business today. The iconic adventure mag is hosting a 4-day long workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico that promises to blend classroom instruction, in depth discussion, and real world application with a sharp focus on improving your photographic skills.

While a number of Outside editors and creative directors will be on hand for the event, the real stars of the show are the professional photographers they have lined up to share their insights. Joining the Outside staff members will be Jimmy Chin, who specializes in adventure and expedition photography, Robert Maxwell, who is considered one of the best portrait photographers in the world, and Kurt Markus, who is a versatile, all-around shooter who covers everything from fashion to cultural images.

Beginning on October 19th, and continuing through the 23rd, the workshop will offer everything from hands-on sessions with Jimmy, Robert, and Kurt, to in-the-field shooting assignments for the attendees to complete. There will be lectures, round table discussions, and breakout groups to focus on how to best optimize your digital workflow. Attendees will have the opportunity to visit local Santa Fe art galleries and share their portfolios with evening image presentations, while bonding with one another over three shared meals per day.

The workshop is limited to just 45 seats, so if you’re interested, you’ll want to apply as soon as possible. For more information and to register, click here. The cost for the event is $1850.