Usually I am based in the West Midlands but my job takes me all over the place, I was asked to cover Exercise Cambrian Patrol whilst the 160 Brigade Photographer was in Canada.
Exercise Cambrian Patrol, an annual event organised and run by 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales, is both physically and mentally demanding and is a highlight in the British Army’s training calendar.
Internationally, it is regarded as one of the toughest tests facing the modern-day soldier can face and some foreign entrants have to claim the right to take part by winning through their own domestic competition.
I started off every morning at 0700 at the assembly area in Crickhowell to meet up with the Wales Press Officer Gavin. We go into the woods where each team prepare their models before the patrol commanders give out their orders before the 55km march across the Black Mountains. Gavin interviews a member of each team for their local paper and I grab a portrait to go with it.
Usually I am not a portrait man and don't really tend to do them that much unless required. I like uncontrolled stuff, things that keep me on my feet and constantly thinking. After the first day I got into it and was enjoying doing the portraits.
At first I went for the bog standard, stood up, long lens, shallow depth of field shot. I used a Nikon D4 with a 70-200mm lens Nikon SB900 speedlight on a stand with a Lastolite EZYBOX triggered by the Nikon SU-800 commander. It is said that that for portraits you should try to use a lens that compresses the subject and keeps them in proportion. Using a lens with a focal length of 85mm+ usually does this.
These have been done millions of times before and the never seem to inspire me.
Portrait at 160mm
After a few of them I changed to a wide angle lens, the Nikon 14-24mm. It is probably my favourite lens. Here are the results from using that lens. I like this style of portrait because you can get the subject in their environment, showing the viewer what is going on, telling more of a story.
The patrol commander Chilean Army.
The patrol commander from the Australian Army
All these images were all shot with just one light (23 inch EzyBox with SB-900) with the shutter speed around 1/20th-1/30th sec at f4 and ISO 640.
update with Cambrian Patrol 2015 results/winners-
Congratulations to those patrols who were awarded the top award, a gold medal:
2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment
The King’s Royal Hussars
7th Infantry Battalion, Irish Defence Force
2nd Engineer Regiment, New Zealand
82nd Airborne, United States
8 Azad Kashmir Regiment, Pakistan
Bristol University Officer Training Corps
Silver medals were awarded to:
102 Logistic Brigade,
14 Signal Regiment (EW)
47 Regiment Royal Artillery
The Royal Lancers
The Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment
2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles
1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment
The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Royal Dragoon Guards
2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment
3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, two teams achieving silver medals
2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment
32 Engineer Regiment
The Grenadier Guards
1st Mechanized Brigade
The Royal Army of Oman
41 Mechanized Battalion, Czech Republic
11th Infantry Battalion Air Assault, Netherlands
Support Operations Brigade, Chile
Montanha Commando, Brazil
3/4 Gorkha Rifles, India
The Army Training Regiment Winchester
12 Regiment Royal Artillery
Bronze medals were awarded to:
1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
3 Logistic Support Regiment
9 Regiment RLC
104 Logistic Support Brigade
3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment
2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment
Bosnia and Herzegovina
1st Battalion The Royal Australian Regiment
Army Training Centre Pirbright
Infantry Training Centre Catterick
Certificate finishes were:
10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
103 Battalion REME
4 Logistic Support Regiment
4 Armoured Medical Regiment
6 Regiment RLC
63 Close Support Squadron RLC
1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment
29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards
26 Engineer Regiment
French Officer Cadet School, Ecole Militaire Interarmes
16 Regiment Royal Artillery
A total of 41 patrols did not finish