In April 2014 I was privileged to be part of the 4 People 6 Legs team that attempted a world first expedition in Iceland. Our goal was to become the first team, including a disabled athlete, to snowkite across Vatnajökull, Europe's largest icecap. In doing so we aimed to support the pioneering work of Wings for Life, Spinal Cord Injury Research Foundation. wingsforlife.com/en/
Over the last three years I have been working with paraplegic athlete Sean Rose, on a project aiming to prove that no matter the obstacles, great things can be achieved. We had to develop our own equipment, we had to tackle learning curves both expected and surprising, we had to trust each other in a potentially deadly environment, and along the way overcome countless setbacks. At times we despaired: after months and years of work March 2014 arrived, and there were still doubts; would we actually get to the glacier?
Throughout it was Sean's unquenchable determination that saw us through. Infectious beyond measure, his ability to challenge perceptions and forge ahead kept the team on course and was without doubt the glue that bound us together. The team was strong as a result, overcoming every hurdle in our path, and so it was that on the 8th of April 2014 we set foot on Icelandic snow to begin our adventure.
Vatnajökull showed us its fickle nature in the first two days: one was spent battling difficult terrain and winds, and the other trudging through dead calm air over flat ground. The third day though, was one of those magical days that all kite enthusiasts wish for, every time they fly: perfect clear skies, a steady wind and an empty horizon to head towards. We flew forward toward our goal, that seemed to hover and dance ahead of us, making us forget all the difficulties and all the toil, of not just the first two days, but the months and years of preparation.
However, it wasn’t to be. By the end of that third day we feared our adventure was coming to a close, and on the morning of the fourth, it was confirmed, when Sean woke with a 40 degree temperature.
Despite our excellent progress we were forced to call the rescue services, having been defeated by illness, the one thing we could not legislate against. What followed was a roller-coaster, both physically and emotionally, as the reduce services moved heaven and earth to get us to safety (icesar.com). By the time we were back in civilisation, and Sean tucked up in hospital, we knew that this would not be the final word; there is unfinished business to be done in the east of Iceland!
This short film, which tells part of our tale, could not have happened without the generous support of DJI dji.com who gave us a Phantom 2 UAV for the expedition, and GoPro gopro.com who provided the army of cameras (the film was shot entirely on GoPro Hero3+ cameras).
Find out all about the project on our website 4people6legs.com and Facebook page facebook.com/4people6legs
The music in this edit was found using the Vimeo music store: "BACK TO THE WOODS" by Jason Shaw (audionautix.com/index.html) and is used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States licence - creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/ The music has been adapted for the video (looped).
We could not have achieved so much without the unselfish and endless generosity of our sponsors:
Our amazing expedition clothing was provided by Cotswold Outdoor: cotswoldoutdoor.com
Our brilliant ski equipment and goggles were provided by Salomon: salomon.com/uk/
Our fantastic kites came from HQ Powerkites: powerkites.de/?newLanguage=en
Sean's unique snowkiting rig was built by Draft Wheelchairs: draftwheelchairs.com
The extraordinary UAV equipment used in this film was provided by DJI dji.com and the cameras attached to it (and everything else) were provided by GoPro gopro.com
Vital expedition equipment came from Vango vango.co.uk/gb/ and Force 10 forcetentents.com
Fantastic camera equipment and lenses were lent to us by Canon: cpn.canon-europe.com/content/index.do
And finally, Icelandair helped us with our international flights: icelandair.co.uk
Please take a look at my new project:
I am now able to offer Arri Amira hire at significantly reduced rates for projects where I can accompany the camera and either assist or shadow an experienced Director of Photography. Please don't hesitate to contact if you have an interesting project for which you need equipment.