I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting projects to potentially work on, and this is how I stumbled across the Norway 75 expedition a couple months ago.
Having previously tried to help out on a different Royal Marines Charity project but unable to back in December, I knew when I saw this opportunity I had to see if I could help. Getting in contact with Captain Tim Pitcher who was heading the expedition, we put a plan together whereby I could head out on to their training trip to the Isle Wight in May, with their main ambition to practice some sea kayaking manoeuvres as this would be one of the few times before their expedition that the whole team would be together.
The brief was quite simple - capture some key aspects that the team may have to use/overcome that may happen out on the expedition. This included various things from learning how to capsize and re-enter the kayaks, to on land first aid as well as trying to capture moments that show the Commando Spirit. For me, this was quite simple. Let them do their thing while I linger in the background and snap away with the occasional more detailed shot.
For me however, knowing that this is predominantly a water-based exercise, I knew that I would need to get some shots out at sea. Tim was also aware of this and knew this would be key in to capturing some key moments so went ahead and organised a rib boat for myself and for a cameraman. For me however, having a boat was also a catalyst as it then enabled me to get some shots of the team not from on the water, but IN the water.
I had originally brought along a wetsuit for exactly this reason as well as bought a new waterproof camera cover for exactly this reason. Ironically, it was the first real test for the cover after a few submersion tests at home, but I knew the cover would hold up and help me get the shots I wanted. For me, it was essential. The only way to get the up close and personal shots that I wanted was to be in the water with the team, and I'm glad I did! I'm also glad that Dave (one of the team members) leant me his dry suit, as I don't think my wetsuit may have been thick enough for the cold English waters - despite smelling of fish!
Team dynamics had changed since their website had been made, so I was asked to take some fresh portraits in some of the new sponsor clothing they had recently received. The setup was quite simple. There were no interesting backdrops to use around the camp we were staying in, so the Land Rover became an interesting aspect, as they are a key sponsor for the N75 expedition. Having had a quick look around the vehicle, I saw that the headlights made for dynamic feature providing as small amount of backlight, but also a contemporary look that I thought worked well after trying to figure out a quick solution for a backdrop. I also had no lighting equipment with me as this was not originally part of the plan, but I made it work. Fortunately, the cloud cover and sun strength combined to make a lovely soft light that lasted long enough for this small shoot, and with some editing, I think the portraits came out really well. Very happy in fact despite almost missing my return ferry back to the mainland.