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One thing I can do is talk, one thing I can’t do is write. which is why my mind and hard drive are full of pictures and my blog is flipping empty. There we are, that’s the way it goes. So, in an effort to rectify that here goes with a series of blogs about the working day, the things I do that are interesting and the things that I do that are not, perhaps. First off – now and again I get asked to do some weird and wonderful stuff, now and again I just get asked to do stuff, so one of the cooler stuffs I got asked to do recently was to head up to North Wales, to sunny Snowdonia. Yr Eryri ( yn Cymraeg ) And photograph an interesting project called the endure project, headed up by Calvin Williams and his team from Gower College, Swansea who are very skilled and technical and maybe could be best described as boffins. If only they had white coats and not the very latest in downhill Mountain Bike gear on them.
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Anyhow, I met the team at the bottom of Snowdon at around half Seven in the morning on a bright sunny day, so everything was looking good, we we had high hopes of it being clear a the top, which is where we were planning to have the shoot.
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First of all we had to catch the service train train to the top of the mountain, which was pretty cool, I was quite looking forward to the journey to the top and I’m guessing so were the other lads. The staff on the other hand just spent the journey texting, snoozing and whatever and sat looking fairly bored as they have to do this commute, very bizarre commute, every day just to get to work. So we headed up the mountain, mountain bikes and ‘ special Enduro’ project mountain bike in tow. Now, the Enduro mountain bike is a special mountain bike designed for disabled people to be able to partake in the sport of downhill mountain biking. One of the lads with us was an amputee and would be taking the specially designed bike down the mountain. They are a bunch of really nice guys, I’m guessing they have been working together on the project for a number of years.
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The Idea behind the shoot was to grab some ‘action’ pictures of the lads on the way down the mountain, and also some posed stuff of them looking cool on top of a very crispy and mountainous Snowdon. Which to be fair was for the majority of the time. The rest of the time. Fog. Lots of Fog.
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It’s unfortunate that when your photographing people against a background of fog, especially of your shooting strobist style, with some lights on sticks the subject tends to look as if they were on a plain white background, standing on gravel. Which looks great, ff you need pictures of people on a white background standing on gravel. Not what I had planed here exactly. The only way really to combat this was to try and photograph the lads from a high an angle as possible in order to get as much of the scenery below in the frame as possible. Sadly, I had forgotten my step ladder. It’s not the first thing on your list of gear to take with you when your shooting on top of a really high mountain. Really, generally speaking you don’t tend to need a step ladder on the top of a mountain. They tend to be pretty high on their own. So failing a step ladder the only way to get enough height was to screw one of my D3 Bodies. ( along with 24 -70 ). to the bottom of a light stand, put it on a self timer and get as wide a shot as possible. Now really this kind of worked. It wasn’t too bad. Really. For a couple of pictures at least. Generally holding the camera as high as possible on my tip toes kind of did the job for the majority of shots. It was just too hit or miss. My flashes were working as hard as possible anyhow due to the bright sunlight ( yes despite the fog ) and I could tell the poor little AA Batteries were fading. ( eneloops BTW ). There’s not may places to go buy batteries on the top of Snowdon. ( Although i didn’t actually chaco in the shop! ) So with the little flashes working as hard as they could, me missing most of the shots as I was on my tip toes it wasn’t working out well at this point. But we got a few decent frames in the bag. Excellent.
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So then it was time to head down the mountain a little. The idea being to get some long shot of the guys heading towards us. Wich worked well. It was a one chance thing. But it worked out and I managed to catch the Enduro bike doing it’s thing.All in all it worked out well.
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