I'm with you guys on the smilin' all the way. But let me see if I can mentally build my favorite picture ever.
It's gotta be in wild beauty, preferably with a storm coming, but far enough away that it's drama outweighs the real danger. It should be in a risky situation, where the guy (or preferably, gal!) made it to that place via skill and nerve. And of course the exit to the risk can't be visible. Take an Alaskan steep snow climb, you can't show that he's near the top...the continuation must look as unforgiving as the terrain covered so far. If he's smiling, it's too easy, or he's home free. Why should I be nervous if he isn't? A rule of thumb is that the boots or rock shoes can't be fully supported by earth, rock or snow: it's just gotta be the front points or the toes. This is engagement. If possible, there should be multiple "backgrounds." Even as I see the iced up rock surrounding the poor fella, I like to get a glimpse of the deep forest below, lousy with bears. Or the too-perfect alpine valley, whose fondue and gemütlichkeit is achingly out of reach, serving only to show HOW FAR OUT you are!
Yeah. That would be a *good* picture