What a night with Eleanor. She totally blew me away...

January 4, 2018

Well, almost…




An ongoing assignment for the National Grid took me to Dorset after the new year break. I am tasked with producing decent landscape pics (is that indecorous sniggering I hear at the back? “Tsss... What makes him think he can do that?”) of specific runs of pylon towers in several AONBs. These towers are earmarked for removal (and the HT cables they support scheduled to be buried underground). This project is a world-first technological and engineering initiative that will complete in 2019 at a cost of £500m...


I magnanimously offered to work for a mere 0.1% of the total contract value but, despite this selfless  generosity, they inexplicably declined that pro-rata method of remuneration...





So, on Tuesday Jan 2nd 2018, I was shown around the beautiful East Dorset landscape near Dorchester by The Grid’s engineer and made my plans for the next day’s photography. With the farmer’s permission, I parked my campervan off-road on farmland near the first set of pylons I planned to shoot and settled in for the night.


I love Viv... That's my campervan - a fully converted high-top Vivaro. With decent insulation provided by a steel shell that’s entirely internally shielded with that shiny, silver, space-age NASA stuff - and then fully lined on top of that with MDF and felt - the interior is a cosy place to be. And nothing beats having your own bed, duvet, pillow and coffee percolator wherever you go. Camera gear to one side, my campervan is the best thing I ever bought - I wish I’d done it forty years ago.


So, despite the emergent tale of personal jeopardy through meteorological peril in this blog, anyone out there thinking about buying one, just do it. You will never regret it - unless, as I say, you maybe go through what I just went through… then you might momentarily doubt your decision…


Anyway. There I was, tucked up warm and snug, zedding away, when Eleanor barged stormily into the UK  and pounced on me. And did she barge and pounce… Driven rains that sounded like a giant earth-mover was tipping gravel all over the roof, the side panels and the back doors - and with winds so violent that, at one point in the dark pandemonium of 2AM, I seriously thought the whole thing was going to tip over; it actually felt like it lifted two wheels off the ground several times... Pardon my language dear reader but, at 200 metres up, on a wet n windy wintry widge, I nearly pooed myself that night.


I was very relieved indeed to be present and correct - and alive in the vertical orientation - come the morning, I can tell you.



I did manage to get myself out into the mega blast of horizontal rain that morning at dawn and, in the gaps between the insane squalls that whipped across the hillsides and through the valleys, do some work. But even with VR and a tripod I still found I needed shutter speeds of 1/400 or shorter to eliminate the shakes.


















































I found out later on in the day that the Hampshire/Dorset hills were the second windiest place in the country, with gusts of over 100 MPH that night.


Statistics that were no doubt augmented, in no insignificant part, by the gusts that originated in my petrified pants.











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