Julia Roger-Veyer

A climber celebrates their win, hanging from an ice wall far above the crowds on a snow-covered mountainside. Taken by Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer.

Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer says one of her favourite things about photography is that you can capture emotions that you couldn't describe in words alone. "This was the moment that ice climber Louna Ladevant won the world cup," she explains. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM) at 16mm, 1/160 sec, f/5 and ISO 400. © Julia Roger-Veyer

"I had frostbite in my toes a few years ago, I'm not very good in the cold – it's my enemy," laughs sports and action photographer Julia Roger-Veyer, who, despite her aversion to sub-zero temperatures, has built a career photographing adventure sports at high altitudes, often in extreme conditions.

Born and brought up in Paris, Julia and her family often spent holidays in French mountains, including the Alps. Her grandfather was always photographing and painting the dramatic landscape and he showed her how to use an analogue camera. "I always had a small camera with me on those trips," Julia recalls. "The first camera I bought was the Canon EOS 500D, and that's when I started taking photography seriously."

Julia developed an appreciation for nature in her early teens, and she remains in awe of the wonders of our planet. As soon as she could, she left the French capital and for nearly two decades has been living in Chamonix, in the foothills of Mont Blanc.

"I was studying to become a mountain rescue doctor, so I started climbing mountains when I was 16," she explains. "I moved to Chamonix to do more mountaineering and, when I was 20, I trained with a gendarmerie unit for mountain rescue. Unfortunately, I broke my shoulder several times, so I didn't get military accreditation."

A headshot of Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer.
Location: Chamonix, France

Specialist areas: Sports & action, landscape

Favourite kit: Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (now succeeded by the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM)
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM)
Snow-covered mountains rising up behind a line of orange-tinged trees reflected in the still waters of a lake. Taken by Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer.

Photographed at what Julia describes as a "magical viewpoint at La Flégère," this lake is in the Aiguilles Rouges, a mountainous massif opposite Mont Blanc. The autumnal colours help to bring the image to life. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens (now succeeded by the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM) at 24mm, 1/160 sec, f/9 and ISO 200. © Julia Roger-Veyer

Undeterred, Julia decided to become a nurse, a job she still does today, always carrying a camera on her many expeditions through the snow-covered landscapes.

Female photographers were a rarity while Julia was growing up, and she considers this to be her prime motivator. "When I was little, women didn't do things like this," she says. "So, I always want to improve my skills and be better each time I take out my camera. I want to challenge myself and evolve. It is important for me to show that women can work in the outdoors and be mountain photographers. If I can help young female photographers have self-confidence, that’s a strong enough message to me."

An ice climber in a red climbing suit hangs from two ice axes embedded in the blue walls of a vertical ice shaft, one leg on the wall behind him, the other in front. Taken by Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer.

Julia took this photo in a moulin – a vertical well-like shaft carved by meltwater from the glacier's surface. "Jeff Mercier is one of the world's best ice climbers," says Julia. "We spent two days exploring the glacier. I was at the same level as Jeff and asked him to freeze for two seconds. I love this photo – especially the geometric lines." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 17mm, 1/200 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 640. © Julia Roger-Veyer

A climber hangs from an ice axe, embedded into the roof of a circular cave, which frames the lake and hills in the background. Taken by Canon Ambassador Julia Roger-Veyer.

This photo of climber Pierre Boucher was taken in a rock cave above Lake Iseo in Italy. "Büs del Quai is a famous rock climbing spot," says Julia. "We were spending a day there so that my friends could try the hardest route. The climbers must lead the route with ice axes – that's what dry tooling is." Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 16mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6 and ISO 200. © Julia Roger-Veyer

Julia says the thing she loves most about taking photos is being able to freeze a special moment in time. In 2021, she and her friend, climber Jeff Mercier, spent two days exploring a glacier. "The first day wasn't great because the light wasn't good and we were a little disappointed with the results of the shoot," she remembers. "But at the end of the day, we went up the glacier and found a beautiful hole, which we decided to abseil down the next morning."

The hole wasn't very deep, about 20 to 25 metres, Julia recalls. "But the ice was so beautiful, so blue," she says. "It was freaky, though, because I didn't have much space to take photos. I wasn't in the most comfortable position, and it was dark. But then I saw Jeff use his ice axe beautifully, and the surrounding ice was gorgeous. I wanted that photograph [above left], and I got it."

The deep connection Julia feels with nature means she's constantly thinking about the impact of climate change. "It has been really astonishing to see how the Mer de Glace [the largest glacier in France] has changed over the past three years," she says. "Whenever I shoot there, it's sad to see more rock than ice. While moulins are big and deep, which is good for photography, it's sad to see the glacier disappear and this observation means a lot to me."

The message Julia hopes to convey through her photos? "To marvel at everything and everyone around us," she says. "There are a lot of photographers, and we all have something to share. If we are curious about everything and everybody, we can all do beautiful photography."

What's the coldest temperature you've photographed in?

"Last winter at the Ice Climbing World Cup it was -22°C. We were in a small valley that never sees sunshine in winter. It was very cold, and we were outside all day. I always carry several pairs of thin gloves and mittens so I can change frequently. At the end of the day, I was relieved that the camera's battery still had power – so it was more difficult for me than it was for the gear!"

How do you look after your gear in freezing temperatures?

"I've seen photographers carry brushes to clean snowflakes off their cameras and lenses to remove any risk of moisture, but I've never done that. I'm very confident with my EOS 5D Mark III because it's so sturdy. It has survived me climbing mountains and scaling ice walls."

Do you usually travel light?

"You have to. The gear is heavy, so I always pack one camera body and one or two lenses, but that also depends. I can't change a lens inside a glacier because it's wet and I'm on a rope, and I have to focus on that. I always plan what I want to achieve photographically from each expedition."

What's your favourite thing about being a photographer?

"Photography has shaped my view of the world. I don't know how others see the world but as a photographer, it's special. I've become more sensitive to my surroundings, to the finer details and to the people. That wouldn't have happened for me if it wasn't for photography."

What is your greatest achievement so far?

"The moment I was selected to be a Canon Ambassador. I wasn't expecting it, and I still haven't fully realised it. It was a beautiful moment, and it means a lot to me."

One thing I know

Julia Roger-Veyer

"Don't be afraid to miss shots. Be curious about mountains and nature; be adaptable to the place and the environment; and always be aware of the weather and changing circumstances. Most of all, be confident in yourself."

Instagram: @julia.ascentphotography

Julia Roger-Veyer's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs



Canon EOS 5D Mark III

"I really love my EOS 5D Mark III because it's unbreakable and the battery lasts a really long time," says Julia. "I've never had to stop to change the battery, and I've never had a problem with this camera."


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

A premium quality ultra-wide angle zoom lens, with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, for the highest image quality possible even in low-light conditions. "I love to use this lens for close-ups when I'm photographing climbers," says Julia.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

A standard zoom lens ideal for when you need to capture exceptional image quality, while travelling light. "This is my favourite lens for its versatility," says Julia. "If I only have to bring one lens, it's this one. It is bright, compact, and I can do everything with it."

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

A fast-aperture telephoto zoom lens that is a favourite with photographers in virtually every genre, engineered to perform in the most challenging conditions. "Large aperture, very bright lens, and good stabilisation – this lens is perfect for high-speed sports photography," says Julia. "I often use it for portraits when I'm far and hiding in the trees."

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