Happily, we once again found ourselves working with the BBC NHU on a new 6 –part series, filmed over 3 years, called “The Great British Year”.
Winter (February 2013)
Our first shoot was in the depths of a wintry February with freezing fog, snow and frost at dawn and dusk – all on the same day. The images were extraordinary and none of us had ever seen anything like it before. Trying to capture a hare in the winter landscape on a 880mm lens from a helicopter proved to be an interesting challenge but the opportunist shots looked great when we looked back at the rushes. Flying over the clouds covering London whilst heading for snowed-in Suffolk and Norfolk was fabulously serene and beautiful. After the frozen darkness below it was lovely to be floating above the cloud with the blue skies and bright winter sunshine.
Spring (May – June 2013)
Our “Spring” shoot was down in the West Country with shots of Glastonbury Tor, rookeries, rivers and the orchards coming into bloom. The early morning mists and backlight just seemed to emphasise the beautiful, mythical quality of the region. The next leg took us up north to the Farne Islands to shoot the bird colonies. The weather had been dreadful but luck was on our side as we had timed our shoot to perfection and with a refueling stop en-route in a field that we had organised, we arrived at the best part of an already gorgeous day and got some stunning footage of the islands and the colonies.
Summer (July 2013)
“Summer” was shot mostly down in the South West and Wales with the beautiful Arne peninsula in Dorset, featured. The first evening the wind was blowing a particularly un-summery 45 knots, which made for extremely hard work. Before we called it a day, we did manage to get an incredible shot of a thunderstorm at sunset. The colours and backlit rain looked extraordinary. Thankfully, the following morning dawned calm and the towering clouds reflected in the sea, together with the heather that was in bloom and the herds of deer, all made for some lovely footage.
Autumn (September 2013)
“Autumn” was shot in the New Forest and the Wye Valley which always look breathtaking, whatever the season. Flying as low as possible enabled us to present the forests as massive and continuous swathes of colour and we managed to get some beautiful autumnal colours. The mist floating through the Wye Valley and swirling in amongst the trees lent even more atmosphere to a magical autumn landscape.
It was a real privilege to work on such a comprehensive study of the seasons of Britain and was a reminder once again of what a richly varied and extraordinarily beautiful country this is.