Friday, 11 June 2010

Photo-Man Meets Weather-Man on a Foggy Hilltop

As I was needed for two days of filming on the latest BBC's "Weatherman Walking" series, I once again was given the chance to stay in my beloved Nant Gwrtheyrn, for the first time in maybe a year or so since my major book project there, "Y Swyngyfaredd - The Enchantment".

"Scudding Skyscape" - Looking out over the Llyn from the last hill top

We had just finished several hours of filming and interviews with founder and Trust  President, Dr Carl Clowes. My input was required the day after, to guide Derek over the summits of Yr Eifl, being the Iron Age settlement of Tre'r Ceiri, Garn Ganol and Garn For. I am not able to disclose too much before the show is broadcast in January 2011, but I can mention some basics about the whole experience.

 "Photo-man meets the Weatherman" - On Yr Eifl

Firstly, Derek was an absolute gem, friendly, funny, easy going, laid back and loves cake :-) I warmed to him as soon as I met him. It would make the whole shoot so much moire enjoyable. The crew were also all ace guys, full of laughs, bright, committed, ultra professional and thought on their feet. I'd worked with the main cameraman John before, which was great for both of us. He also knew that I'd know pretty much what was expected of me.

Camerman John and Soundman Nigel in Nant

The director Gareth Rees Rowlands was also very easy going but I had huge faith in him as he is also a very keen walker and know show to turn this walk into good TV.

Director, Gareth Rees Rowlands analyses the angles

This time, there was also a second camera, operated by Tim who reminded me of a Spanish gypsy and who ran up and down the hillsides like a terrier after a rabbit, unbelievable considering he was carrying a camera and tripod twice his size.

2nd Camerman, Tim

The day started very cloudily, with thick hill fog and low cloud scudding across the dank green hillsides but fortunately we didn't experience any actual rain. We really had a mixture of conditions and at times it was quite surreal and otherworldly. By the end of the day however we were blessed with blazing heat and bright sunshine which was a a real 'lifter' for us all. I hadn't taken my walking rucksack, the Lightwave 40, but used my LowePro Computrekker instead, perfect for this sort of walk with fast access to my Canon gear which I would be using for real throughout the walk. I used the 70-200 f4L for much of the day because the best images were cloudscapes and fog covered hillsides but towards the end of the day when the sun splashed across the peninsula, I was able to use the 16-35 for vaster compositions. Unbelievable for June, I was kitted out in full foul weather gear, from my Musto Race jacket to my Rab Goretex over-trousers!!

 "Mountain Flight" - Looking out over the Irish Sea from the last hill top

I spent most of the day hanging around as you do on these shoots but Derek and I were joking away most of the time, so it passed very quickly indeed. I won't say any more until after the programme, where you will see the full walk and some amazing moving images of rapidly swirling cloud formations, but I will leave you with a few images I shot of the crew and the location to whet your appetite.
 "Dusk Vapours" - Alone, after filming, over the Irish Sea

PS It was very strange over-nighting at Nant this time. I stayed in an en-suite room 'within' my old house! The original open plan self catering house is now all divided into smaller en-suite units, more like a modern hotel set up, with complimentary tea & coffee a small kettle and UHT milk! The bed was comfortable and the environmental design meant the house was very warm, too warm for me really, but for me at least, the one saving grace was that the view out of my window, out over the centre of this once deserted granite quarrying village, with the huge slopes of Yr Eifl behind, was exactly the same as the first time I ever stayed there, alone, in the winter, without radio, TV or mobile reception, in a primitively furnished Welsh cottage, and at that point I could smile nevertheless, Nant will always be an absolutely stunning and spiritual location for me.

 Weatherman Derek Brockway talks to
Dr Carl Clowes, President of the Nant Gwrtheyrn Trust

All words and images on this post are strictly copyrighted to © Glyn Davies 2010

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