The short story, ‘make sure you focus on the right one!’
Industry and Devon aren’t necessarily words that people see as synonymous but this 48,000 kg load along with its slightly smaller counterpart were heading from Centrax in Newton Abbot – South Devon to their destination in France. The commission was to photograph the loading and rigging and then attempt to shoot the trucks en-route.
As with any photography planning is all, prior to the commission we had travelled some of the route and indeed discussed parts of it with drivers. So my take was that I couldn’t see how the load would negotiate a certain roundabout in Honiton and indeed, on the morning of the shoot the drivers informed me that the route had been changed to avoid the roundabout. There’s an hour or so of my life padding around in rain-soaked fields that I won’t get back.
Devon being Devon threw indifferent weather at us early in the day, flat light, drizzle at times but nothing exciting. Most of the day was capturing the loading and rigging, firstly the smaller vehicle (smaller is relative) at by early afternoon we were ready to run; the weather was threatening to improve too.
The issue with photographing a load like this is to be ahead of the game, the problem is that stopping to photograph the convoi exceptionnel puts you behind the game so to speak. Once away from the factory the pressure was on to get back in front with Haldon Hill being the first photography vantage point, followed by Sowton in Exeter.
So Honiton was to be bypassed in favour of Stockland Hill and this size of road leave no possibility of getting back in front. This road was a leap of faith, passing trucks were used for practice but until the silence prior to the trucks appearing we were only ‘fairly certain’ we were on the correct road. Those old courier skills fade but persist, so once the convoy had passed we were tracking across well farmed roads we managed the seemingly impossible task of returning to the front whilst travelling safely. Ultimately the final vantage point was across in Dorset, a tight hill that would allow one viewpoint with the coast forming a backdrop, there was no possibility of other traffic spotting the view either.
Heavy Torque is a rare beast, a high quality landscape format well designed magazine dedicated to a niche market. Hat’s off to Andy Adams and the team at Nimble Media for not taking the obvious route here.
There is nothing like getting the counter-copy through the post and seeing one’s vehicle photography on the page pretty much as one had visualised it.