Driving along the chalk white cliffs of the Seven Sisters at 5am really makes you appreciate the beauty of the world that we are blessed enough to live in. I am not a natural morning person, but watching the sun begin to peek its head over the horizon across the calm ripples of the ocean is an excellent way to spend those hours I am usually in the depths of slumber. We arrived at the Beachy Head pub half an hour before sunrise, too early for even us Brits to have a pint, and set up in preparation of a long day ahead. Tripods, cameras and drone out of the Gearing Jimny, we headed into the gentle beams of light to catch the morning golden hour. Our camera guy Nick did a great job working with the beautiful lighting, capturing the glow on the sea, the sand and the models as they descended down the coastal path. We had to work quickly here; the sun was rising quickly and there were no clouds in sight - soon the light would be too white to shoot any longer.
The sun rose and the sky filled with blinding light. We headed back to the car for tea and scones (how quintessentially British of us) and planned out the rest of our day. We knew it would be a long one, but we had limited hours of perfect lighting and we had to have our timings right. We decided to spend the brightest hours photographing the products in a variety of locations across the coast line, hopping from the cliffs to the beach and through the fields of flowers.
We began again after our breakfast break, taking to the steep cliffs where we found a beautiful marriage of white chalk and green grass. The tripods showed up beautifully, contrasting against the two backdrops. We also decided to spend some of our time in the morning focussing on featuring our partner brands for our shoot. WANDRD, an incredible camera bag brand out of the USA, and Patagonia, arguably the biggest outdoor clothing brand in the world, provided us with our bags and clothing. The team at Leica helped us out with a beautiful camera, and we wanted to ensure that their generosity was appreciated by showcasing their products to the highest level. We chose our partners based on their ethos, sustainability and attitude towards the environment, and we were really happy that they were keen to support us in our endeavour.
After we had a strong mix of images from the top of the cliffs at Beachy Head, we jumped in the Jimny and headed towards the beach at Birling Gap for some sand and sea. We chose the beach for our time lapse as the clouds were really performing for us, and reflected beautifully on the waves. We set up our Gearing tripod on the sand, ensuring we had the perfect field of view through the Leica. We decided to go for a 9 minute time lapse to capture as much movement of the sky and sea as possible. As we had headed out on the shoot as a team of four, we decided to split at this point. Two stayed on the sand for the time lapse, while myself and my colleague Max headed up to the chalk cliffs for more product photos of the tripod. The starkness of the white backdrop made our scenery look like another world, and it really brought the tripod to life. Once we had got enough photos and the other half of the Gearing team had joined us, we headed back up to the top of the cliffs for an ice cream in the sun.
The heat was blistering by 1pm, and we sought out as much shelter as we could. Nevertheless, we still had a job to do. 4 melted ice creams later and we headed up the cliffs to the Beachy Head lighthouse. A slightly precarious walk up, given that just the day before several tonnes of cliff face had collapsed onto the beach below, but we made it. The views were spectacular, and after another shoot we enjoyed a quick sit down and sunbathe. Once happy with the photos we got, we headed back down to the Jimny and returned to the pub for a round of cheesy chips. The blazing sunlight was beginning to dim and we had to ensure that our next golden hour was planned to perfection for optimum footage and photography. The sun was setting at 8:45, giving us an hour and a half to film Nick introducing the products, the rest of the promo video footage, and the drone of the Jimny and the cliffs. It was going to be tight, but we worked as quickly as we could.
We began with Nick’s visual description of the products, taken on the coastal path looking onto the sea. Nick gave a great insight into the Gearing products and the endless opportunities that they provide. Ellen, the Gearing Company’s manager, gave brilliant direction and prompting, speeding up the process and allowing us to spend more time on the rest of the shooting. We swiftly moved back to the filming of the models once the golden glow was at its peak, as they were followed through the long grass and onto the cliffs, Gearing trekking poles in tow. As the sun was beginning to set, we grabbed the drone and flew it over the girls and across the cliffs, soaking up the beams of orange and red that exploded across the sky. It was the most incredible sunset, and one that I was so grateful to be able to appreciate as fully as I did. Our final setup was driving through the stunning roads around Beachy Head, being followed by the drone. Ellen and I jumped in, and Nick followed us on the drone. The roads ebbed and flowed all around the top of the cliff, reminding me of summers in the highlands of Scotland.
With all of the gear packed back into the Jimny, we ended the day with a celebratory drink at the pub. The team at Gearing are small and young, but we are so proud of what we managed to achieve that day. We left the pub and the drive home was magical, our heads and our hearts sleepy but happy as the night won again and the sky descended into darkness.