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© 2018 by Andrew James Hargraves.

 

Battlecry is the epic tale of two characters at war.

 

For many years Queen Amelia of Harlech has ruled the lands through fear and tyranny with her large armies and towering castles. Ruthlessly laying siege to anyone who stands in her way she is known across the valleys as The Red Queen. 

 

Driven by revenge for the murder of her parents at the hands of the Red Queen, a brave new warrior rises up and challenges the her to a duel. Our champion, famed for her flowing red hair and archery skills with arrows of fire was known to the local villagers as Ivory Flame. This clash of swords would be the ultimate battle for supremacy and freedom.  

The two sworn enemies cross vast lands and encounter natures elements to arrive at the battle ground high in the mountains. Who will reign victorious, you decide. So let me hear your Battle Cry.

''Oh the hero comes, I can hear the drums
And our horses run to the kingdom come

Through the pale moonlight, Our hearts ignite to the call.
Oh, claim your prize, to the crown of stars
In the name of love, be the sacrifice
You and I will stand and fight, our backs to the wall.'' Elizaveta, Hero

 
 

This epic photoshoot took place over the course of four days in the stunning Welsh landscapes surrounding Mount Snowdon. You'd assume that the weather in late March would bring a flavour of the spring time to come but instead we got lashings of wild winter. At times everyone was battling a -10C windchill whilst trying to capture shots, with our models wearing heavy chain-mail and unwieldy armour half way up the Welsh Mountains. A challenge this certainly was for all involved, but an unforgettable experience. 

I have to say a massive thank you to the whole team of people who put this together, first and foremost Paul David Smith and Rhian Deacon who organised some of the most spectacular shoots any of us have ever been on.

 

To our unbelievable models Holly AKA Ivory Flame and Amelia Mary who braved the cold conditions, they really are the stars of the show, true professionals and lovely to work with through out. Thank you for your patience and perseverance. 

I wanted to share some behind the scenes moments from this photoshoot, so what follows are some stories and images below.

The second day brought the biggest day of shooting with a jam pack schedule to get through that really set the characters journeys in motion. Starting in the sand dunes of Harlech beach and then to the sweeping sands of the beach all the while in the shadow of the imposing Harlech castle. A little known secret is that whilst we were shooting Holly on the beach wearing the blue parachute dress (yes it really was a modified parachute) there needed to be two people hiding under it to hold it down to the ground. Otherwise our lovely model was likely to take off down the beach in any sizeable gust of wind. We would end the day on top the side of Mount Snowdon with the Snowdonia Riding school providing us the horses that would pose as our noble steeds. A pretty action packed day fitting in three location shoots and three main set ups of our characters travelling the lands towards their duel in the mountains. 

 

Day Three dawned and with it a think blanket of snow in the valley. The views from the cottage windows were stunning with the Mountains draped in fresh white snow painting an unbelievable back drop for photography. The only problem was we were now snowed in! Unable to leave the valley we had to improvise inside the cottage to continue to piece the story together. The two traditional head shots of our models were created during the time we couldn't leave the cottage and considering we made these up as we went with improvised backdrops and props they really add some drama to the saga.

 

Finally the blizzards subsided and snow melted sufficiently that we could get outside and shoot our finale...the battle scene. A short but sweet set of photos from this one, partly due to the freezing weather but there was only really one shot I wanted to get of the fight. It just had to the clash of swords shot that the series had been building up to. This is the final shot of the series and really encapsulates everything about Battlecry in one photograph. 

The edit for this shoot has been a lot of fun for me, it's taken over Eight months to finally piece together in the form you see now. I've used the project to learn new editing, colour grading and compositing techniques. I really felt like the location shoot had given us them most incredible photos to work with. I wanted the edit to enhance that so I've taken my time to hopefully give the photos a feeling of great scope and a cinematic quality. Inspired by the legend of King Arthur, modern fantasy series such as Game of Thrones and many other swashbuckling adventures I wanted this shoot to feel epic as possible. To this end there are now digital armies, digital flames and sword strikes all now present and correct.    

For more information please see the links below.

Ivory Flame 

Amelia Mary

Paul David Smith