Harni-Man-Of-Action…a lifetime of creating action shots!

Harni-Man-Of-Action…a lifetime of creating action shots!

Harni-Man-Of-Action…the label I was given by the first AD on a shoot…
I don’t refer to my business as ‘Octane-fuelled Brand Building’ for nothing. Having waxed lyrical recently about my experience handling in-studio shoots, I thought I’d get everyone’s energy levels up again with a trip down ‘amnesia’ lane on some of my most amazingly epic location action shoots.

Mitsubishi in the Desert

As you may remember, this was an unusual shoot for me and my crew. A road-trip – Cirencester to the Sahara and back. We were out creating imagery showcasing the new Mitsubishi L200’s capabilities by putting it in extreme situations en route to the ultimate extreme situation – the desert. The caravan comprised two L200 shoot cars, support vehicles for the cameras & grip kit and about a dozen crew, varying from country to country. The whole trip covered around 5,000 miles in just under three weeks and crossed the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and then to Tangiers. Here we ran into an early roadblock – we hadn’t factored the Muslim Ramadan holiday into our trip timetable and on arrival at Tangiers Customs, pulled up only to find the customs officials all leaving for the evening to eat…..on arriving back the next day, we were told clearance would be about another 24 hours! The thing they were most interested in was making sure we had no drones, so the take-away from this is – rent one locally! Once we did manage to get our caravan-style convoy approved we headed into Morocco down through Marrakesh and out into the Sahara desert.

Once there the crew and I were like kids at a beach with our life-size R.C. cars and we had the precision drivers showing off the performance capabilities of the vehicles in spectacular style.

Mitsubishi Sahara press ads

One of a series of Mitsubishi Sahara press ads

For one particular shot I wanted the L200 launching off the top of a sand dune – who doesn’t though, right? The suggestion was to the driver about how to achieve the shot and left him to negotiate to the peak of the dune, which he did at a thundering pace, came off the top of the dune, like a rocket. With the money shot in the can, what he hadn’t told me was that up until he hit sand again, he couldn’t actually see anything! Going vertically up the giant sand dune all he had as a viewpoint was the clear blue sky until the Sahara sand filled up the windscreen again!

Namibia – Land Rover Discovery and something large and hairy…

Another epic location shoot took me and the Spark 44 guys out to the Namib Desert with the Land Rover Discovery. Plenty more sand dunes to play on this time too, but with the new LR model.

Namibia – Land Rover Discovery from Harniman Photographer on Vimeo.

Later that evening, myself and the crew are getting ready to bed down for the night at the fantastic Epacha Game Lodge in Etosha National Park when some of the local wildlife decided to pay us a visit… inside one of the teams tent occupied by Nick & Justin…in the form of a large, hairy (no – not me!) spider. Nick and Justin were not impressed to be sharing their digs with a large hairy spider and possibly his family & friends, so after a considerable amount of ribbing, myself being the bravest (ahem!) of them, I took a look. The size and speed of the monster I came across surprised me and, in my haste, to retreat I knocked the only light source off the table! Plunged into pitch darkness I could only imagine where our eight-legged friend had decided to make off to! Part of any Creative Director’s job is knowing when to hand over responsibility to someone more appropriately experienced so… we called the lodge staff for assistance. However, when they showed up, no trace of the beastie remained. Couldn’t really blame the boys for deciding to spend the rest of the night kipping in the shoot cars, can you?

LandRover Discovery Namibia Harniman

Sand bashing in the Namib desert

Another anecdote from the same trip was the day I’d spent getting drone footage in the Namib desert. Hot, tired and dusty the expedition leader headed out in the lead vehicle to the next location. Shortly followed by all the other vehicles…. none of which stopped to collect me! Thinking quickly, I decided to use the drone to follow the errant convoy – at least I could see them on camera and then I walked the few miles back down the trail to the village of a local Namibian tribe to try and garner assistance. They were surprisingly accommodating considering I must have looked like a Martian, wandering up to them in my sand-gear and carrying a drone. (They did keep a healthy distance away from that, however!)

Meeting the locals...Harniman Sahara Mitsubishi L200 Roadtrip

Meeting the locals…

Eventually the crew realized their mistake – like pass the parcel, each car thought the one behind had collected me, and they returned to rescue me from dehydration, thank goodness!

Helicopters are exciting but…!

By helicopter - the only way in...or out!

The North Sea. By helicopter – the only way in…or out!

All-weather gear – it’s a photographer staple. At some point or other you are going to end up soaked to the skin in minus-appendage inducing temperatures. Here I was hot on the chase of some footage from a project out in the North Sea. Not really a lot of equipment to wax lyrical about on this shoot, all my equipment and myself had to fit inside the cabin of the helicopter along with supplies for the oil rig. Talk about packing light! It was wild, wet and windy although the crew assured me, they’d seen worse, the survival drills I’d been required to practice really started to come home to me. I’d recently become BOSIET qualified and was well aware of the procedures that may have been required for me to survive a deep-sea emergency.

harni-man-of-action Kings Cross Square by helicopter

Kings Cross Square by helicopter

However, nothing can prepare you for hovering 500 feet above London’s Kings Cross. (don’t try this at home, kids, we had to get special permissions ourselves for this stunt) Hanging out of the side of the open helicopter doors, travelling at over 100 mph I was all too aware of the logistics of where I was in order for the shots to work. But, what can I say…it’s all in a day’s work for Harni-Man-Of-Action! The label I was given by an AD – if the cap fits, I guess I’ll carry on wearing it… 😉

Cue Theme song….

Saatchi & Saatchi shoot Morocco

BTS Shogun Shoot

In ‘Shogun territory’

Behind the scenes on L200 shoot

Behind the scenes 

Getting down & dirty on the X5 off-road section

Getting down & dirty on the BMW X5 off-road section

Harniman Land Rover Discovery Namibia

Fun at the waterhole

Harniman Sahara Mitsubishi L200 Roadtrip

Sahara sunsets…

Harniman Sahara Mitsubishi L200 Roadtrip

I’m sure the car is here somewhere…

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