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Crabbie’s Grand National Sand Art

Up at the crack of dawn to do an aerial photo at Lytham St Anne’s beach. We arrived around 7am to find the sign company well on with creating the Crabbie’s Ginger Beer logo using giant stencils made from thick plastic sheeting. Crabbies sponsors the Grand National every year and their marketing company Hatch are tasked with trying to find new and exciting ways of promoting them each time. This year the idea was to create a giant sculpture in the sand of the logo with huge, eight metre wide hoof prints leading from it into the sea. The overall finished sculpture was 1600 square metres and the only way of viewing it in all its glory was from the air.

Easier said than done. The first thing we needed to do was haul all our gear from the trailer over the dunes to the beach and then try and protect all the equipment from the sand. Luckily it was a hot, sunny day with no wind.

Once the sign company had more or less finished raking the sand between the stencils, we did some hand held film to illustrate the creation process and then waited for all the plastic sheeting to be removed to reveal the finished creation. It was the first time we had used our second Movi gimbal, which was rigged up with the film camera. It meant instead of half an hour to change from a stills to a film camera, it was a mere five minute job to just swap gimbals. Big success!

One of our biggest problems when it was our turn to spring into action was stopping joe public trampling all over it before we had time to get the micro-copter in the air. Our still shots were from two different angles – one directly overhead to read the logo clearly and the other from slightly lower to view the sea in the background. We asked James from Hatch to stand in to give the whole thing scale.

Once our job was over, the sculpture did not last much longer. By the time we had walked along the beach into Lytham with our puppy,Ruby, had lunch and walked back again, it had all washed away!

Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

The Arts Festival committee in Hebden Bridge likes to push the boundaries every year and come up with a shot to publicise the festival that sums up the town and its people. This year they wanted to emphasize the hillside and the fact that the town sits in a steep-sided valley. The banner headline was going to be ‘The hills are alive’.

Our job was to find an angle from the air that showed the hillsides towering above the town where the obvious Hebden Bridge elements, like mill chimneys and terraced houses clinging to the valley, were evident.

We tried taking off from several different locations - the market place, alongside the river down Old Gate and Salem playing fields, but none of them were quite right. We finally found the perfect spot at Stubbing Brink. At the end of the cul-de-sac, we took off and using a standard lens captured a view we hadn’t seen before with a mill chimney in the foreground, the hills in the background and the buildings cascading down and scattered in amongst the hills.

Our final shot was then effectively ‘cartoonised’ by The Print Bureau. The buildings have been made into cartoon images with coloured roofs, but the trees and hillsides remain photographic. The result is quirky and different – very fitting for Hebden Bridge!

Wedding at The Three Peaks Barn

These days weddings can be just about anywhere - in fact the more exotic or different the venue - the better! This couple chose for their reception venue a giant double-coned tepee in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales countryside with the Ribblehead Viaduct as the spectacular backdrop! We were commissioned by the farm owners, who wanted to show just how stunning the venue is, complete with a 7 bed cottage for guest accommodation and huge barn, which the couple decorated like a cathedral for their blessing. The venue caters for one hundred guests and it was one of the most unusual and impressive occasions we had seen for a long time. The weather could have been better and a little less windy, but we were kept on our toes with a few hairy landings!

Sometimes we get given really interesting briefs and here are a few examples of jobs that were visually creative and fun to do.