School of Adventure – Alpkit Big Shakeout

Last year I was lucky enough to be part of The Big Shakeout at Thornbridge Outdoor Centre in the Peak district. I was there to document the event for the team at Alpkit, and to enjoy the film, music, outdoor activities and friendly banter on offer. I even ended up in a late night rock jumping competition with Johnny Dawes! I went with my 6 year old, Leo and my partner Hel, and we all had an amazing weekend, with activities tailored for everyone. The events and activities for kids were especially good. The highlight for me was standing round a roaring fire with a bottle of fine ale listening to this man, Rick Warren singing the blues – 

There is no way we would miss The Big Shakeout this year and I’m very happy to say I will be running one half of an Adventure film and photography school with Alex Ekins, a talented and well respected climbing photographer.

The course will be tailored for keen amateurs who hope to take their skills up a notch or two. Together we will capture the many activities that will be ongoing thoughout the weekend. As well as many ‘on the go’ topics that come up, we will look at:

~ What kit?

~ Using and protecting your kit in harsh environments.

~ Basic capture settings and frame speed.

~ Composition.

~ Dynamic shooting – movement and style.

~ Engaging your viewers! Subjects and stories.

~ Behind the edit. What the viewers don’t see!

Participants will be expected to bring their own equipment along, preferably a DSLR or high end compact and lightweight tripod. As we all know though, it isn’t the technology, its the person using it. So if you don’t have a spangly camera, just bring something that records video and plenty of creativity and adaptability.

Here is an example of my work – 

My Own Hands from Land and Sky Media on Vimeo.

You can see a list of available courses at this years Big Shakeout here –

And here is the video I made  from 2011, hope to see you there this year!

The Alpkit Big Shakeout 2011 from Land and Sky Media on Vimeo.

Dave MacLeod on The Indian Face, Clogwyn D’ur Arddu

I haven’t written anything on the blog for some time now, things have been manic since finishing my degree and embarking on the final edit of my film for Kendal. I have been taking on little bits of work here and there, and approaching other projects as the months have rolled on. Now the dark is coming and the endless days of rain, come on ‘negative North Atlantic Oscillation’, bring us some white stuff!

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Paul Diffley of Hot Aches who wanted to push an editing job my way, which I gratefully accepted. The hard drive arrived in the post containing 500gb of footage for me to piece together. Would you believe it, it was Dave Macleod on one of the most iconic traditional routes ever climbed in the UK, and the stuff of climbing folk lore, Johnny Dawes’ epic mind bender, The Indian Face. Suddenly I felt a bit of pressure!

Johnny Dawes and Nick Dixon discuss The Indian Face (and many many other things!)

It was real pleasure to edit this piece, and quite challenging too. To receive a load of footage that was captured by other people was new to me, so I struggled to make a start but a logical narrative soon began to show.

Dave about to mantel onto the infamous Indian Face foot ledge.

To see every detail of the route was amazing, few people have, and only four people have seen every inch of it. Johnny, Nick Dixon, Neil Gresham and Dave are the only people to have topped out on The Indian Face, Johnny Redhead got very close but took what must have been the fall of his life, and very nearly his death from the crux, 70 feet down on to a dubious collection of filed RP’s.

The loneliest place in climbing - the foot ledge at the start of Indian Face crux

Its always interesting to watch Dave climb, and this edit gave me a good chance to observe Dave’s careful, methodical approach (to a route that could potentially kill him). It was hugely impressive watching him prepare, and pick through the information and the ‘hype’, setting aside the stuff he didn’t need to focus on, and using the rest to his advantage. I could take a leaf out of his book.

In Johnny’s words, “Theres so much hype surrounding this route, that you feel like a dragon is going to fly down and eat you half way through the crux”.

This film will be an extra on the upcoming Hot Aches DVD, ‘The Long Hope’, which will be showing at Kendal Mountain Film Festival and will be for sale on DVD. Check out Hot Aches for more info –