Photo of the Week | Highliner in the Desert

Every Friday I will be posting a Photo of the Week. Here I’ll be sharing the details on how I got the shot, where I was, and the backstory that went into it. I hope you find this enjoyable, and helpful in your own photography.

Camera: Panasonic G85
Lens: Lumix G Vario 45-200/F4.0-5.6
ISO: 200 75mm f/6.3 1/500s

Spending as many weekends down on Moab as I have, you’ll no doubt see some really rad things. From massive jeeps crawling over giant boulders to power paragliders dropping into our camp from the sky. Last month, I finally saw something new. Something unbelievable. Something I had only seen before in YouTube videos. Just as my girlfriend and I were driving back to our camp, after having some lunch by the river, we noticed something down a canyon. It was a highliner!

If you look closely, this picture isn’t just of some sweet sandstone walls. 2/3rds of the way up the photo you can see a line stretched across the canyon walls with a highliner standing on it. What is high-lining? Well it’s like slack-lining, but way, way high off the ground. Everything about high-lining freaks me out. From having to set the line up, getting proper tension in it, to watching a highliner fall off and take a guaranteed whipper from a small 3ft tether attached to their harness. But watching a successful walk from one side of the canyon rim to the other is quite insane!

We had no idea that the cars parked near us were all for the group that was dancing in the sky high above us. I looked over to Court and said, “should I turn around to get some pictures?!” Immediately made the U-turn and got out the camera. I reached into my camera back that was tucked behind my driver’s seat, and pulled out my 45-200mm lens. The two of us, with cameras in hand, headed across the road and over the railroad tracks to get a better view. The line had to have been 300ft off the ground and there was one guy attempting to walk across it from left to right. I zoomed in and watched with bated breath. It was exhilarating to watch and I was standing on the ground.

After firing off a few photos of the highliner walking, falling, and getting back on the line (somehow), I wanted to get the perspective in a photo. So I zoomed out to capture the vast air below the line. This isn’t your backyard slackline session, this was high-consequence fun. The amount of balance, precision, and general craziness captured here is what I was going for. That being said, if I ever was climbing back here and was offered the chance to try… I probably would. Except I would need an extra rope belay to even feel comfortable stepping into the void!

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