Fool On The Hill

In July this year I undertook a review of a tripod and part of the exercise required me to take photos of myself using it. I decided the best location for this would be Cley Hill near Frome (very close to Longleat) which would allow me to get dramatic skies in the background.

As anyone local knows, Cley Hill isn’t a huge mountain; it’s not even a huge hill, but it’s big enough and a very steep climb. Which is fine on an ordinary walk, but to get photos of myself using the tripod I had to take two cameras and an extra tripod so I could have a camera on the test tripod and one mounted and aimed at myself to get the self-portraits.

The plan was then to trigger the remote camera using my radio triggers. Which I forgot to take with me. This meant resorting to the self-timer function of the camera, which only gave me 10 seconds to get from the “taking” camera to the one on the test tripod. That’s not easy when you’re trying to line up a shot at the top of a very steep hill, the wind is blowing, and cows are starting to take a close interest in what you’re doing.

I wanted to use evening light to get the best drama from the sky, but what with having to get to the top of the hill and set up, time was ticking by and things weren’t helped by the fact that I had to keep changing my location due to one factor or another.

Once I’d finally found the spot that would work best I was able to get cracking, but 10 seconds isn’t that long when you have to dash up a last steep section to get to the location before the shutter clicked and as you can see from the photos below, I slightly mis-judged the timer…

Cley Hill cows on a path

Originally I’d wanted to use this hill crest, but the curious cows wouldn’t shift

View of Tim Gander's back as he fails to get into position before the camera fires

I didn’t quite get myself in place in time for this one

Photographer Tim Gander sits with his camera on a tripod on the side of a hill

Just made it, but if I look like I’m panting for breath, that’s because I am

Back view of Time Gander scrabbling into position for a photo on Cley Hill

The light worked better on this set up, but I missed the timer again!

silhouette of photographer Tim Gander atop Cley Hill in Somerset with his camera on a tripod.

Finally! I look like a heroic, adventurous travel photographer. Truth is, I can almost see my house from here

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  • Ross Merritt November 5, 2013  

    Very funny read – I know this scenario well! Need to get myself some radio shutters… that’s if I remember to take them out..!

    • Glass Eye November 5, 2013  

      Thanks Ross 😀 Indeed, they’re very useful. I rewired my standard Canon cable release so I could plug a Pocket Wizard into it, connect it to camera and trigger it with the PW transmitter. Much cheaper than the “proper” options!

      • Ross Merritt November 5, 2013  

        Oooo! Sounds fantastic! I’ll keep that in mind! Is there an online tutorial you followed or are you an electronics wiz?

        • Glass Eye November 5, 2013  

          I worked out the wiring and I’m not bad with a soldering iron 🙂

  • Ross Merritt November 5, 2013  

    *radio shutter releases!