Earlier 2020 I followed some of the initial stages of the re-wilding two cheetah, Saba and Nairo, from the UK to South Africa with The Aspinall Foundation.
This is the first time two captive cheetah have been taken from the UK to South Africa with the intention of putting them back in the wild.
We left Saba and Nairo in Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary with the intention for the next phase to take place in April, however the Covid-19 outbreak has delayed their final release. So for now, they are safe and well at Ashia Cheetah Conservation.
I hope that everything falls in place and I can return to cover their final release. In the meantime, here’s their journey..
Golden Trek is a series funded by Cancer Research Wales as part of their 50th Anniversary. A Charity trek with over 20 fund raisers was set up, the challenge was to trek 50 miles of the Sahara Desert and to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research Wales in sponsorship.
Here’s a mini blog I wrote after the shoot and some of the images I took along the way.
I got involved in the series Golden Trek because I love the idea of travelling with my camera and capturing powerful stories. The idea of a team of fundraisers taking on the challenge for Cancer Research Wales with their own stories to tell, braving the elements of the Sahara Desert, was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.
The trekkers would have to walk 50miles over 6 days over dunes and lunar landscapes to complete their challenge, camping out each night with very little contact to the outside world.
Myself and my colleague Graham, our other cameraman, would need to endure the same journey but carrying our camera equipment as well as the thing that we would need to survive whilst, at the same time, filming the experience. The immediate challenges to us was the lack of battery power and filming in the sandiest place on the planet plus the extreme heat and freezing night time conditions, without ruining our cameras.
We collected as many batteries as we could and we pimped up our cameras with dust proof gear, packed our travel tripods and crossed our fingers.
The trekking team included a rep from Cancer Research Wales, our very own Doctor, our trek leader Eleni, two incredible local guides Boubker and Mohammed and some very special guests, fashion designer Julien Macdonald and weather girl Ruth Wignall, alongside the charity fundraisers.
The trek itself was definitely a challenge for the entire team. Highlights for us, the camera crew, were the sunsets/sunrises, the amazing scenery, sleeping under the stars and the hilarious camels who carried our tents and luggage to camp each day – all of which you will see in the series. There were difficult times, blisters, endless landscapes that could mentally mess you up, sand bugs, no toilets and the inevitable effects of the heat combined with lots of walking.
It was important for us to make sure we did the entire 50miles with the team, there were no crew vehicles or special treatment, what you see in the series is exactly what happened and the camera crew were completely involved at all stages. We shared the emotions of the team and the physical challenge and I hope that it is in being there throughout that we have been able to share with you an amazing story through an epic landscape.
Animal Sanctuary the series was created for Made in Cardiff, produced by Mariclare Carey-Jones, co presented by Dai Watkins, filmed by myself and edited by Rhian George.
The series follows Mariclare Carey-Jones and Animal Conservationist Dai Watkins as they visit animal sanctuaries across South Wales to find out about the great work they do. Each episode features a different centre, so the audience will be finding out about a whole host of animals from chimps and tortoises to owls and lemurs.
I enjoyed shooting the series so much I ended up rescuing two tortoises of my own! Here’s a video of Boris and Ron the Tortoise exploring their new home, just for fun 🙂
“Established in 1996, Sinfonia Cymru is a rare champion in Wales of young musical talent and now works in partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. By combining the most outstanding music students with young professional musicians, Sinfonia Cymru supports young musicians at the outset of their professional careers. With a full range of opportunities, from orchestral and ensemble performance to education and outreach activity, Sinfonia Cymru equips its players with skills and experience essential to the modern day professional musician.” http://sinfoniacymru.co.uk/about-us
Natalie has worked with Sinfonia Cymru towards production of their online video content. Producing both video with professionally recorded orchestra sound and one to one interview scenarios, the videos are showcased on the website to encourage others to join, attend or take part in Sinfonia Cymru’s orchestra and live events.
Made in Wales is a short series of films organised by media training company, Its My Shout. Each year 6 short films are created by a combination of new entrants to the industry and experienced professionals. Once the series is complete, each film is aired on BBC Wales, followed by a 30minute documentary on the production process. The experience culminates in an awards ceremony where all the films are celebrated and awards are given to those who have been seen to achieve great standards of work during the process.
Natalie directed and produced the documentary entitled ‘Made in Wales- The Making Of’. Created with the assistance of new industry entrants under Natalies’s guidance and co-produced by the BBC and Its My Shout. The 2011 documentary tells the story of 3 individuals who are beginning their careers and experiencing a professional short film shoot for the first time.
These individuals personal experience range greatly, from Taryn, supporting actress, who finds Its My Shout filming from the estate she lives, to Gavin Porter – a director who has a passion for documentary but takes firm hold of this fantastic opportunity to direct fiction for television. And finally Seimon who has participated with Its My Shout several times over the years and is finding his role progressing each year, even now, with his new freelance career in the Art Dept kicking off, he still values the experiences gained on the Made in Wales series. The documentary is tied together with first time broadcast presenter Kevin McCurdy whose enthusiasm for the scheme is evident.
The documentary covered a range of material from archive footage to location shooting, voice over recording and live event filming. It was edited offline by Natalie and assistant Marco Carini and the process was overseen by mentor Gareth Rees-Rowlands.