Altoona native to photograph Wallenda stunt

This Sunday at 8 p.m., famed aerialist Nik Wallenda will attempt to cross the Grand Canyon on a tightrope without a net or a harness, a stunt which will be broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.

Tim Boyles, an Altoona native, will be there, capturing official photographs of the event.

Tim, 53, a 1977 graduate of Altoona Area High School who now works as a photographer in Seminole, Fla., was hired by Wallenda as his personal photographer for his adventure. Tim is also bringing his father, Marvin, 78, a retired Ward Trucking driver who has lived in Altoona all of his life.

A seventh-generation member of the famous Flying Wallendas, Nik Wallenda, 34, – who also recently crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope – will walk a quarter of a mile across the canyon at a height of approximately 1,500 feet. The walk should last 20 to 30 minutes.

According to Tim, Wallenda’s stunt will be performed in a very secluded area of the Grand Canyon, a section of Navajo Nations land. There will be no general public on site to view the event, only Wallenda’s special guests, crew and production teams, making the Boyles part of a very select group.

“I think it’s going to be fantastic,” Marvin said. “I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, but I’ve never seen where he’s going to be.”

Tim first met Wallenda while shooting portraits of the famed daredevil for Getty Images in January. After shooting more photos of the stuntman a few weeks later, Wallenda asked Tim to photograph his attempt over the canyon.

“Of course, I said yes,” Tim said.

Tim met Wallenda on site Thursday to also photograph preparations and training. Marvin joined his son there on Friday.

“I knew this would be an event he would never forget,” Tim said. “It’s something I wanted very badly to share with him.”

According to Tim, Wallenda was “thrilled” to have Marvin on site.

“I have an idea Nik and my father will get along really well,” Tim said. “Dad is such a hard worker. I told Nik that he was free to put Dad to work, and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see Dad become part of the crew.

“I was really excited to be doing this shoot as soon as I got it, but having my father there with me makes it 100 times more special.”

Marvin, who has never seen any of Wallenda’s stunts before, is excited to witness it with his son.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Marvin said. “It will be exciting to see that walk. Not many fathers get to do that – or anything close to it.”

Tim is “incredibly honored” to shoot this historic stunt.

“[Wallenda is] an incredibly kind, friendly, humble, talented man,” Tim said.

Mirror staff writer Cory Dobrowolsky can be reached at 946-7428.