UKClimbing and UKHillwalking are proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Marmot Photography Awards.
An automatic selection of five photos from each of the catagories on site was made based on the votes from the previous 12 months. Users were then asked to vote for the overall winners of each catagory from this selection. In addition to the category awards we also have three overall winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd), which were selected by professional photographer Tim Glasby. Tim has worked closely with Marmot for many years, with images of all their key athletes to his name - Steve McClure, Lucy Creamer, Neil Mawson, Jack Geldard, and Leah Crane - just to name a few. Alongside his choices he will be including a paragraph on why he has made each selection, just to provide a bit of background on his thinking.
Sport Climbing Winner - Getting high on Digital Crack by Euan Ryan
Robbie's attempt on "Paciencia" on The Eiger North Face had been thwarted by bad weather and so our plans to film the route changed. We were faced with a choice between hanging around in Grindelwald waiting for better weather, or packing up and going for an explore in the nearby French Alps. Robbie had climbed "Digital Crack" the month previously and we banked on it being a great route to photograph and film for our project.
The route is an 8a, bolted sport climb that goes up the centre crack of a towering obelisk teetering in the middle of The Arete des Cosmiques on the Aiguille du midi in Chamonix.
We descended the ridge line from the cable car station to the foot of the tower, battling against the flow of guides and clients making their way up the ridge towards the lift station.
Robbie fixed a line for me, and I filmed sequences from above.
I then abseiled back down the route and re-climbed the ridge to the lift station, where I filmed wide-angle sequences to be cut in to the others. It was in this position that I decided to shoot a bunch of still photographs of Robbie on the route. The result being my photograph which I named "Getting High on Digital Crack".
Canon 5D MKIII, Sigma 70-200mm 2.8.
Winter Climbing Winner - Ben Nevis, Point Five Gully by Al Todd
A surreal day in July 16 where with well known snow patch observer Iain Cameron we planned to inspect the remaining snow on the Ben. From previous visits we knew an ice tunnel occasionally forms underneath Point Five Gully so we headed up towards the steepening and were presented with an obvious opening from which cold air and water poured out. Gear on, head torches out and ice axes deployed, we headed in. There followed an amazing 80m mixed climb up an inky black tunnel involving wet rock, two waterfalls and several mixed sections where the axes were variously used on the roof and the walls before we could go no further. We estimated the ice to be upwards of 10-15m depth above our heads in places, however not far into the tunnel the roof had melted out creating a natural window through which the lower slopes below Tower ridge could be seen. I looked down and with the natural light bathing Iain, it allowed the real beauty of where we were to be photographed without the need for a flash.
Panasonic GX8 with 12-35mm lens at ISO 400 f/7.1, 1/200 sec
Winter Walking Winner - Creise, Meall a Bhuiridh, Glencoe by Al Todd
We grabbed a midweek day in mid Jan 2016 after heavy snow had fallen the preceding 48 hours. The forecast was good although with high avalanche risk in mind we headed up to the top of Meall a Bhuiridh from the Glencoe ski centre hoping to find some good ski descents from the top of Creise. On the corniced ridge between the two tops, spindrift blew constantly, sometimes creating great clouds of enveloping snow and there was something very elemental in having to battle full with the wind. I glanced back to see Ben fighting his way up with an amazing sky behind and spindrift clouds pushing through and got the shot. I generally don't go out planning for a photo, the focus is still very much on the day, the climb or the ski, however the camera is always held by my side ready for any quick shots and that's exactly what happened here where several decent photos came out of a wild quickly contrasting day.
Panasonic G6 with 12-35mm lens (SLR equivalent 24-70) at ISO 160, f/13, 1/400 sec
Landscape Winner - The Tre Cime & Rifugio Locatelli by James Rushforth
This shot was taken at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites, Northern Italy. The building in the foreground is Rifugio Locatelli (Dreizinnenhütte). This was a planned shot as the milky way was due to pass over the towers at 11pm (calculated using SkySafari5 plus for IOS) and the moon wasn't due to rise until early the next morning, hence the skies were particularly dark. Sagittarius and the galactic core were still high in the sky, meaning they could be picked out above the towers. As an additional bonus Mars and Saturn were situated in the shot, located just right of the milky way.
This photo was achieved using two exposures. ISO3200 was used for the majority of the image but this blew out the highlights on the artificial rifugio light. Hence an ISO of 400 was used to capture to the building itself.
The highlighted paths are created by late night walkers on the Alta Via 4 and people from the rifugio coming to stare at the stars. The figure on the right is myself - the camera left on continuous shooting with a remote release whilst I enjoyed the sky.
Scrambling Winner - The Sorapiss Circuit by James Rushforth
This shot was taken whilst making a light (camera aside) and fast, quick one day traverse of the beautiful Sorapiss Circuit. The 26km circuit around Monte Sorapiss (3205m) links Via Ferrata Alfonso Vandelli (VF3C), Sentiero Carlo Minazio (VF1C) and Via Ferrata Francesco Berti (VF3B) to create a stunning itinerary with 2200m of ascent / descent and 700m of wire. The route is usually spit across two days staying at Bivacco Slataper or Bivacco Comici but it also makes for a superb 1 day fell run for those that enjoy that sort of thing. The circuit is remote and it's rare to see more than 3/4 people over the course of a day.
The shot was taken during a late autumn/early winter (December 2nd) sunset at probably one of the most photogenic and photographed lines in the U.K., Lowrider (Stanage High Neb/Far Left). A crew of strong ladies (Melissa Le Neve, Leah Crane, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Gracie Martin, Rachel Briggs & Shauna Coxsey) had planned to head up there whilst conditions were good and I was drafted in for photo duties. Leah and Mel were super close and making great links.
I had been up there before to do Chip Shop Brawl and knew how aesthetic the line was... of course I had seen a load of photos of the bloc before, but I had envisaged a shot looking straight out (as pictured) with a different body position & composition to the usual versions that are seen (cover of Peak Bouldering guide for example). On top of that, the landscape is so beautiful in that part of the Peak I wanted to try and incorporate it into the shot.
We arrived at the bloc with VERY flat, dark light. I spent a while working on some shots using strobes to add depth & some energy to the images and they came out well, but it wasn't what I was looking for. About ten minutes before Mel pulled on for "one last go", (she had to catch a flight back to France) the clouds parted a bit, the sun was just low in the sky and the light changed from crap to cracking in about a second, there was a rainbow for a few minutes and then everything turned gold. It was amazing. I quickly dialled in some new settings and shot one of Leah's attempts ... then Mel pulled on, climbed well through the first section despite being cold and pumped. As she went to slap to the lip her foot popped - she tried incredibly hard to stick the move in a way only Mel can and so this is what you see here.
Canon 5DMKIII, 16-35mm, `1/250, f8.0
Alpine Winner - Maciek Cieseilski on the Pointe Mediane of the Arete du Diable, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Chamonix by Ben Tibbetts
I was on the Arete du Diable route with my girlfriend trying to get photos for the book I am working on of the finest routes on the 4000m peaks. We had the good fortune to have a Czech guide, Maciek, just behind us. He was friendly and helpful, allowing us to stay just ahead to get photos as he climbed up. To get this image I was hanging out from a cramped stance, but it gave a very dramatic perspective on the Maciek climbing the crack system below.
I had planned the shoot, but the individual locations on the climb that were most photogenic required a bit of forethought as to where best to take a belay.
Trad Climbing Winner - Gargoyle Flake by David Maddison
I was attending the annual CUMC (Cardiff University Mountaineering Club) freshers weekend trip to the Peak District, as a club old boy. It was my second trip to Bamford Edge and to the location where this photo was taken. I had assumed that this was the exact spot that everyone had taken photos of the route from until going back home and looking on UKC, I found that it was a slightly different angle to everyone else's. The day started off cold and gloomy and we were huddled in layers of down for warmth, yet we managed to glimpse some patches of sunlight towards the evening and catch this dramatic lighting for the photo. My only worry about the photo is that the climber, Sam, was confidently enjoying himself and didn't place any gear towards the end of the route, despite the crack begging for a cam!
Hillwalking Winner - Ian McIntosh
We were in Glen Shiel on a superb winter day in February, walking over the Munros; Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Meadhoin. There was lots of snow and great overhead conditions but a strong wind, which made the day a bit of a battle. I took this shot of Cags coming up the last top, Sgurr an Fhuarail, just as she was hit by a strong gust of wind and spindrift, hence her rucksack being blown to one side and her hanging on to her axe until it subsided. I processed the shot with Nik Silver Effex pro 2 and brought out the colours of her hat and jacket just to make her stand out a bit. I used a wide aperture to blur the background and try to keep the focus on her and the moment. Keeping the lens steady in the wind was not easy so I focused on her hat and hoped for the best!
Canon 6D, 70-300 f4-5.6L, f5.6, 236mm, ISO 200, 1/1000th.
3rd Place - Thin early season ice on 'La Spada fella Roccia' by James Rushforth
Another great image from James and a great example of placing a strong colour (the climbers jacket) in an otherwise virtually black and white image. The body position is perfect and the way the light bounces off the Red jacket really makes the climber stand out, your eyes are immediately drawn to them - its all about contrasts. Sometimes the real skill of taking a photo is almost hidden in the subtleties, the dark rock, offset against the white ice. The Red jacket contrasting with both of the other elements, the placement of the climber two thirds of the way up the climb - The devil is in the details. Great image James.
2nd Place - Devin giving Thunder Ridge the eyes by Christopher Bellamy.
Portraying what a sport is all about in a single photograph is an exceptionally hard thing to do and Christopher has managed to do "just that" For me he's totally captured both the physical and mental aspects of climbing with his image. The colours are true and although not classically framed, putting the climber in the centre works because the crack leads your eye in to Devin. You have eye contact, the "almost there, but not quite" reach for the hold and a great angle on the climber which shows the body, foot and hand positions - its a great climbing image Christopher, worthy of any climbing magazine front cover, congratulations.
1st Place and Overall Winner - Marguerite Bay and Mount Liotard under the midnight sun, Antarctia by Ben Tibbetts.
I think Ben has done a great job of capturing the subtle beauty and drama of this complicated landscape. His framing of the subject is spot on and the exposure has detail in both the highlights and shadows which takes skill. I love the fact that he hasn't over saturated this image in post production, which would have been very easy to do - great job Ben.