Tightrope artist rolls across a 1,000-foot rock face to get the shot

Written by By Jaina Clark, CNN Washington, D.C. Even in an effort to traverse an unknown building, some people still find it challenging. Photographer/designer Scott Tankersley met a group of climbers as they reached…

Tightrope artist rolls across a 1,000-foot rock face to get the shot

Written by By Jaina Clark, CNN Washington, D.C.

Even in an effort to traverse an unknown building, some people still find it challenging. Photographer/designer Scott Tankersley met a group of climbers as they reached a 1,000-foot rock face to sketch their climbing.

Tankersley, who works at New York-based magazine Numéro, didn’t have a single set of steps or a ladder to help him make his way from the ground up the steep rock face in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.

Instead, he was tied to a climbing rope and had to reach above the ledge to strategically crouch.

“There were no stairs,” Tankersley said. “It was a vertical wall and three or four steps above the ledge, which I had to get between.”

He used limited materials to get the picture he wanted. For Tankersley’s photographs, he placed locks on chains.

“I basically put a bunch of locks on a chain,” he said. “I fixed the chain to the top of the wall and put a safety harness on my back. The only thing I’ve got was a little camera, because there’s no lens with a big body of glass behind it.”

As he found rock, Tankersley attached the chains from his arms to his legs.

“I’m on my back with my arm outstretched, which is really narrow,” he said. “A lot of the time I got stuck, it was just above the ledge and I was digging my head out of that crevice with the camera.”

He added that one of the most memorable experiences was when he shot someone walking back from the summit to turn around.

“That was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

He kept his camera on and started shooting.

“I just wanted to get the same shot with one element, that’s all,” he said. “It can be a hairline crack in the side, or it can be this giant chasm. I don’t really care. The point is just to get a good shot and do it safely and creatively and not be controlled by camera angles.”

He said the final photos speak for themselves.

“The visuals are pretty amazing,” he said. “I was happy with it.”

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