Mesmerizing images capture daredevil climbers hanging from ice caves and rock faces against a stunning backdrop of the Northern Lights


These jawdropping photos certainly take the saying ‘lights, camera, action’ to a whole new level. 

Photographer Paul Zizka, 44, from Banff, Canada, specializes in capturing auroras in some of the region’s most picturesque parks, but he throws gaping ice caves and daredevil climbers into the mix to add to the magic.

One of his new images shows a climber on an arched ice wall, with the Aurora Borealis shimmering purple and green amid a peppering of bright stars.

Another photo shows two climbers’ silhouettes as they scramble up a large rock face in the night sky, with their head torches illuminating their bodies.

Paul Zizka, 44, from Banff, Canada, specializes in photographing auroras in some of the regions most picturesque parks

But the cameraman throws gaping ice caves and daredevil climbers into the mix to add to the magic

But the cameraman throws gaping ice caves and daredevil climbers into the mix to add to the magic

Zizka captured the images in the Canadian Rockies and at spots around Jasper National Park. The above shot was taken in Banff

Zizka captured the images in the Canadian Rockies and at spots around Jasper National Park. The above shot was taken in Banff

In this shot, also taken in Banff, a rock climber can be seen with a headtorch as lights from a road and houses shine below

In this shot, also taken in Banff, a rock climber can be seen with a headtorch as lights from a road and houses shine below

To achieve the compositions, Zizka used a variety of different Canon camera bodies

His distance from the climbers varied from 4ft to one mile and in some cases he needed to communicate to his subjects via a radio

To achieve the compositions, Zizka used a variety of different Canon camera bodies. His distance from the climbers varied from 4ft to one mile and in some cases he needed to communicate to his subjects via a radio

Meanwhile, a climber tackles an ice-clad rock face above water in another capture, with the scene reflected in the mirror-like surface.

Zizka captured the images in the Canadian Rockies and at spots around Jasper National Park.

To achieve the compositions, he used a variety of different Canon camera bodies.

His distance from the climbers varied from 4ft to one mile and in some cases he needed to communicate to his subjects via a radio. 

‘The distance from the subject varies between a few feet and over a mile, depending on what best tells the story and offers the best composition’, Zizka explained.

‘In the instances where the climbers are a considerable distance away, I communicate with them through radio.’

The cameraman says that ‘the circumstances around each of these images varied quite a lot, many of them are taken in the moment during a climb.’

He continued: ‘Whereas others are more pre-visualized with a lot of factors coming together. 

'The distance from the subject varies between a few feet and over a mile, depending on what best tells the story and offers the best composition', Zizka explained

‘The distance from the subject varies between a few feet and over a mile, depending on what best tells the story and offers the best composition’, Zizka explained

The cameraman says that 'the circumstances around each of these images varied quite a lot, many of them are taken in the moment during a climb'

The cameraman says that ‘the circumstances around each of these images varied quite a lot, many of them are taken in the moment during a climb’

At times, Zizka said the quest for the perfect shot required him to move

In other instances, he asked the climber 'to move safely to a particular spot and hold a position for a few seconds' so that he could capture it

At times, Zizka said the quest for the perfect shot required him to move, while in other instances, he asked the climber ‘to move safely to a particular spot and hold a position for a few seconds’ so that he could capture it

‘For instance, I might track the Aurora Borealis and then call on my climbing models to join me for a shoot.

‘It’s a collaborative effort with the climbers and involves a lot of communication to get the right positioning.

‘Compositionally speaking, I need to look at the elements in the frame to see where I need to position the climber.’

At times, Zizka said the quest for the perfect shot required him to move, while in other instances, he asked the climber ‘to move safely to a particular spot and hold a position for a few seconds’ so that he could capture it.

Some of the images were more complicated to execute than others, and Zizka said this was especially the case with those ‘taken at night with artificial light sources lighting the scene.’

While Zizka shot these particular images in Canada, he has traveled to all seven continents documenting Mother Nature and extreme adventurers. 

Some of the images were more complicated to execute than others

Zizka said this was especially the case with those 'taken at night with artificial light sources lighting the scene'

Some of the images were more complicated to execute than others, and Zizka said this was especially the case with those ‘taken at night with artificial light sources lighting the scene’

'Compositionally speaking, I need to look at the elements in the frame to see where I need to position the climber,' Zizka says

‘Compositionally speaking, I need to look at the elements in the frame to see where I need to position the climber,’ Zizka says

Revealing what drives and inspires him, the cameraman said: 'Climbers love to see the final image, and it's such a fun process to collaborate with them to pull it off'

Zizka has published eight books and his images have been featured on countless book covers and in a variety of highly publications, including National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer

Revealing what drives and inspires him, the cameraman (pictured right) said: ‘Climbers love to see the final image, and it’s such a fun process to collaborate with them to pull it off’

Revealing what drives and inspires him, he said: ‘Climbers love to see the final image, and it’s such a fun process to collaborate with them to pull it off.

‘Seeing such tiny figures in vast and daunting landscapes shows just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.’

Zizka has published eight books and his images have been featured on countless book covers and in a variety of publications including National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer.

He says that the general response to his images ‘is one of awe and appreciation.’

‘I often hear people call the images otherworldly,’ he concludes. 



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