Location Work – 4WDs and Photoshoots in Snowdonia
Behind the scenes on a commercial automotive photoshoot in North Wales
At the beginning of the summer we were contacted by renowned automotive photographer Nigel Harniman for a client project of theirs. The brief was simple – help find some locations in North Wales that matched their client brief, and then help with the unique logistical challenges of shooting commercial photography in the middle of nowhere!
After a couple of days of driving around North Wales and Snowdonia looking at dozens of potential locations they settled on two key sites – one below the Carneddau massif and one across the valley from Snowdon. After negotiation with landowners and relevant stakeholders we formulated a plan – and returned a few weeks later for the shoot itself.
This is not the first location shoot we have been involved with – but it is the first involving cars and access by vehicle, not on foot. It adds a veneer of problems that I hadn’t considered before… the first being access. Obviously permission was gained from the landowners – but we still had to get the cars up there! Lots of careful planning and route-finding was needed to make sure that the ‘star’ cars and the logistics vehicles (including our very battered but rugged Trooper) could get to the locations.
The next issue was ecological. These were brand-new factory-fresh vehicles so it’s unlikely that there would be any leaks from cars themselves, but still precautions had to be taken to make sure the vehicles were as clean as possible before heading off the track. I also spent a long time wandering about making sure that we wouldn’t damage any plants or head into terrain where we would leave ruts or damage the ground.
Then there are the problems of weather and lighting. The coastal location of Snowdonia makes for lots of cloud and dramatic skies – but not for stable weather conditions! The first couple of days saw us basking in bright sunshine, but by the end of the week we were dodging thunderstorms and at one point fleeing back down to the valley after an epic downpour.
As anyone who has been involved with any kind of TV, film or big media production knows – it isn’t necessarily the most glamorous of events off-camera, and there is a lot of hanging about. However it’s always fascinating to see how things are put together. The sheer amount of preparation and creativity that Nigel and his team puts into the shots is staggering, and as you can see from the Instagram posts below the end-result is worth it.
It’s also a little odd to see the end results in print in magazines ‘in the wild’ with the usual small print and banner titles overlaid on top. There is normally a professional understanding that we won’t really talk about the commercial TV and media projects we’re involved with until the finished product is broadcast or shared with the public. This is usually several months after the work itself, so occasionally they do take us by surprise when we find them in magazines or online in ads.
This wasn’t the only media project we helped out with in North Wales this summer – keep an eye out for more blog posts in the coming weeks as we get the all-clear to publish the behind-the-scenes shots.