This is Victor, he is a colleague and friend of Mike (#2) and this photo was taken during the same encounter so I will not recount my approach again. Suffice to say that they were climbing an archway wall beneath the metro bridge that runs past Newcastle’s Castle Keep.
Victor is from Northern Spain but I’m not sure exactly where (I thought I’d heard the name OK but then couldn’t find it on the map, it could have been Estruduero).
Both Mike and Victor are geologists and I wish I’d enquired further about this (and specifically whether his job and rock climbing were in any way linked) but that just didn’t happen as it was at this point that Victor got significantly near the top for the first time so I stepped back to take a photo instead and didn’t really get much conversation going again afterwards. By this time I’d been hanging around with them (bad pun intended) for quite a while and didn’t want to intrude too much as they only had a limited time to practice.
Whilst I was watching, only Victor climbed right to the top of the archway and only once, a lot of what they did seem to be focused around the lower half of the wall and was very much a training exercise rather than “conquering” the wall.
Victor confessed that Mike is the better climber but to me there didn’t seem to be much to grip at all, definitely strong fingertips required!
Victor provided a great random fact … he plays the bagpipes! As a Scotsman that really appealed to me ;).
On the technical side I’m a bit disappointed with my focusing – most of the images were a bit soft around the face. This one was by far the best but even then the sharpest focus was on the left eye rather than the “leading” right eye. The light was great though – it was a very bright day but because they were under a bridge the light was very easy to deal with and there was nice contrast in the wall showing the texture and lack (to my eye anyway) of areas to grip.
Thank you to Mike and Victor for being my stranger #2 & #3.
This picture is #3 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page