I’ve never felt so simultaneously anxious, excited, frantic, elated, pressured and exhilarated in my entire life! Adell had hoofed it up Corn Du (873m) meaning she had to wait a long 45 minutes in the cold blistering wind whilst I sludged around marsh land about 2km west of her up on Y Gyrn. I was trying to get myself into the precise position to capture the moon rising behind her.
Everything was stacked against us; in complete darkness, I had nothing to focus on and pretty much zero experience at the 1200mm focal length, whilst she was battling the elements upon the snowy peaks in not exactly the most enduring of attire.
Trying to orchestrate the shot proved difficult. It was a last minute idea so we had no time to practice beforehand and I found myself relying on an unreliable GPS signal to get into a position within an error margin of a couple of meters. On top of that, the phone signal itself was very intermittent, so communicating with each other was annoyingly difficult. Call, answerphone, hang up, redial, connection lost, grunt in frustration… you get the idea.
With just a few minutes to go, I managed to get everything into position and we managed to make contact via telephone just in time. A slither of gold pops up from behind Penyfan mountain. Hands trembling, I frantically tried to get focus but I couldn’t see Adell! Like an intense long range game of crystal maze I start barking orders at her down the phone, “MOVE BACK, LEFT, LEFT, NO BACK A BIT! YOU NEED TO COME CLOSER!” This caught somebody else's attention as about 100m away from me a red flare lit up the land and I could hear a stern male voice shouting in my direction. "I'M JUST A PHOTOGRAPHER, IT'S OK!" I yelled in response.
At the same time, a hiker had started to approach Adell right at the crucial moment so she’s shouting “GO AWAY! GO AWAY!” to this poor unsuspecting guy who must have had no idea why some yogi, alone and lightly dressed on the top of a snowy mountain, was going crazy on him for no apparent reason before casually throwing her leg over her head in a King Dancer’s pose!
It was such an adrenaline rush! At that focal length the moon moves so quick across the camera’s viewfinder but we somehow managed to synchronise and orchestrate a shot with just seconds to go.
Oh and that guy who was yelling at me... turned out to be the SAS out on training! We later joked about how they all thought I was a drill sergeant hitting them with an unexpected surprise.
The resulting image is a bit out of focus and very low resolution (as it’s ripped out of a 1920×1080 video clip), but the story of its execution is what makes it the most nerve-racking photo I’ve ever taken and easily the most memorable.