Matthew Williams-Ellis is kneeling down before a carpet of sea-beaten bluebells, capturing pictures of puffins flying across the cliffs, and the air is a cacophony of seabirds and wind.
I’ve joined Matthew on an extended and unique trip to Skomer, now not handiest to glean his image advice, however, to help film a Photo Escapes video with his expert partner John Alexander.
The duo is here for a four-day stint to movie their contemporary cinematic quick video – suppose travel photography and picture demanding situations, offered with a hefty dose of Top Gear-style banter – filmed using Nikon DSLRs.
Matthew himself is a journey photographer, which leads him to shoot documentary and nature snap shots global, but he to start with skilled as an accountant after finishing his diploma.
Driven to succeed, Matthew constructed up a portfolio in his spare time when not running or analyzing, and led his first travel excursion in 2018.
“I love exploring the sector, both on assignments and for non-public projects. I’m passionate about the demanding situations that touring gives.”
Video has ended up both extra advanced and more available to DSLR proprietors in current years, but it is able to require a different mindset to capturing stills.
I ask where the concept for Matthew and John’s films, Photo Escapes firstly got here from. “John knew of me from college, and were given in contact several years later to talk photography.”
The dynamic duo quickly started filming collectively – before everything covering UK places which include the Antrim coast – looking for the appropriate locations to steer photography vacations. During a ride to Kerala, India, in 2017, their pilot Photo Escapes film changed into created.
Moving returned to the existing for our journey, we’re hoping to see and shoot puffins, in conjunction with the rugged coastal scenes that Skomer is known for. The island is only on hand by using ferry – and way to Storm Hannah, our first day becomes not on time, because the crossing was too rough.
Fortunately, using a remote AirBnB in Wales as a base, shooting still commenced, to set the scene for the ride. I then started out to peer how the magic happens behind the curtain…
Behind the scenes of a Matthew Williams-Ellis shoot
Matthew and John are continuously deliberating ways to structure, supplement and expand their short movies.
Using cinematic camera drone photos is a key part of Photo Escapes, however as Matthew had checked in advance for permission to fly on Skomer (lamentably not), our extra day on the mainland changed into used to seize plenty of aerial scenics and using photographs using the smartphone-operated DJI Inspire 1 and Mavic Pro.
During the following morning, on our crossing, Matthew kept out a camera to document the adventure to Skomer. He understands how important it’s far to create a story with video and to hyperlink up every phase of the trip for the viewer.
Once we’d arrived, a take a look at of the island gave us a danger to talk logistics over tea, then we bounded out to shoot the island’s spectacles.
Day two on the island remains overcast, however, that doesn’t prevent us taking pictures of our first puffins and lots of B-roll video (supplemental pictures intercut with the main photographs).
There’s a superb amount of effort (and footage) that is going into creating a proper and immersive video, consisting of on foot photographs from one region to the subsequent – arriving and departing. Continuity is fundamental, so the pair try to preserve the same jackets and garments throughout.
On our last day, the focal point is on filming the puffins in flight, this means that panning throughout the display screen with long lenses and perfecting the monitoring method.
Matthew practices following the puffins with his Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens, prefocusing on wherein they have been possibly to fly after which expecting their movement. He attempts it with and without a tripod.
“The tripod method much less flexibility, however more strong motion. We tried 4K for a while inside the D850, leaving room to crop in on photos.”
Stills pictures and video are very specific media to create, and Matthew knows how essential it is to report great audio.
When he’s speaking to camera or accomplishing interviews, Matthew attaches a small Røde lapel mic to a Zoom recorder internal his coat, keeping it relevant so the ranges gained’t be affected if he turns his head.
Before recording, he checks and checks the levels to make certain the audio isn’t clipping.
At the stop of a long piece to digicam, a noisy clap manner that the audio is synced, which in turn makes modifying extra straightforward.
“One factor we haven’t executed but is to seize a ‘wild song’ [recording of ambient noise] of in which we’re capturing,” Matthew tells me. The wild tune might be laid over the very last photos in a while for an extra real outcome.