It has been an incredible year of opportunities & before launching into some exciting new chapters, here’s an update of what’s been going on recently & some news about what’s on the horizon including:

  • release dates & premiere screenings of Mira Rai
  • shooting some overseas races including the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa
  • commercial assignments including The North Face in Hong Kong

Dragons Back

Dragons Back Race [photo: Angela Mary Foster]
Dragons Back Race – Day 3 [photo: Angela Mary Foster]

For years, I have wanted to take part in the Dragons Back Race. This legendary race follows the mountainous spine of Wales over 5 days and 300 kilometres with 16,000 metres of ascent across wild, trackless, remote and mountainous terrain. I was under no illusions about what lay ahead and trained hard. Harder than I have ever trained before. Balancing training with work felt like having two full time jobs. The last 6 weeks of training before the race involved around 6-8 hours of running each day, 5 days a week, on the hills of Lantau. That amounts to around 40 hours a week which is pretty much a full time job.

Trying to find time to head onto the hills before & after photography work was tough and most of the time, I could be found in the early hours running by headlamp. I won’t offer a blow by blow write up of my experience of the Dragons Back Race for two reasons: firstly, it’s one month later and I am still processing my thoughts and emotions and secondly, I want to keep my writing here focused on my photography & filming & if I am brutally honest, I rarely find race write ups interesting enough for me to attempt trying to describe a 5 day race.

What I will say is that with 300 applications, 144 accepted competitors, 128 starters & 65 finishers, the Dragons Back Race was the toughest foot race I have encountered.  After 200 miles of running over tough terrain across Wales, I am chuffed to say I was one of the 65 who made it to the finish at Cerreg Cennen Castle in 2015.

In 2016, I will attempt a traverse along the mountainous spine of another country. More details to come.

Highlands Road Trip

On the road with Ziggy [Photo: Anya Belcher]
On the road with Ziggy [Photo: Anya Belcher]

Dragons Back was the culmination of months of training while pouring myself into a number of film & photography assignments.  I love my work and count myself extremely fortunate to wake up each day and start working on something that I am passionate about. But there comes a time when the batteries need recharging. We all have different ways of drawing energy and for me it includes exploring new places & heading onto high ground to run, hike & shoot images. And what better way than to explore the stunning Scottish Highlands in Ziggy, a 1973 classy Volkswagen that was to be my home. Driving & running by day and sleeping in Ziggy by night.

Wild Camping in Ziggy near Cape Wrath
Wild Camping in Ziggy near Cape Wrath
Isle of Skye [Photo: Anya Belcher]
Isle of Skye [Photo: Anya Belcher]

Exploring the Scottish Highlands was also a time to kick back with family and enjoy this adventure together. During this time, my daughter Anya continued to hone her shooting skills & showed some creative flair with some images she took in the stunning Scottish Highlands. All the below images were shot on my Canon 5d MK2 with Sigma 35mm glass and totally in manual mode.

Running above Glen Coe [photo: Anya Belcher]
Running above Glen Coe [photo: Anya Belcher]
Striding out above Glen Coe [photo: Anya Belcher]
Striding out above Glen Coe [photo: Anya Belcher]
Glen Coe [photo; Anya Belcher]
Glen Coe [photo; Anya Belcher]
Glen Coe [Photo: Anya Belcher]
Photo: Anya Belcher

I am really buzzing about some exciting new chapters on the horizon. There’s a few that I have to keep under wraps but here’s some developments that I can share:

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa

I will be heading to shoot the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa race that takes place from August 20-22 2015. This 150km mountain ultra marathon encircles Monte Rosa and starts from the village of Grächen high on an alp above the Matter Vispa and finishes in Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. I will be shooting this race that is headed up by Lizzy Hawker. By the way, if you have not read ‘The Runner’ by Lizzy Hawker, then get a copy & thank me later. A top read.

Ricky Lightfoot Spitfire Challenge

I will be back in Sabah at the beginning November 2015 to shoot the inaugural Ricky Lightfoot Spitfire Challenge – a 65km ultra trail marathon through the jungles on the eastern ridges of Mount Kinabalu and through scenic areas of the Ranau district of Sabah.

Commercial Shoots

Most of the developments this coming year involve working more closely with brands. Although I will continue to shoot events, this part of my work will decrease as I take hold of some exciting commercial assignment opportunities that have come my way.

The North Face

After a shoot with Stone Tsang for The North Face earlier this year, more shoots with other athletes are planned. You can see images from the shoot with Stone here

The North Face Assignment [May 2015]
The North Face Assignment [May 2015] – photo: Lloyd Belcher
Peak Design

I am chuffed to be on board & working with Peak Design as a Brand Ambassador. I have have always said that I would go with sponsorship when I would genuinely use a brand’s products even if I wasn’t sponsored. I tested & used Peak Design camera gear [the ‘Slide’ & ‘Capture’] on quite a few shoots from studios to mountain tops before deciding to partner with them. I am looking forward to more adventures.

Peak Design Article [July 2015]
“Because his hair & his beard are constantly high-fiving life”
Check out the rest of the above recent blog article on the Peak Design site here

Mira Rai Release

It has been a huge amount of work wading through all the footage from filming Mira Rai in Nepal, Hong Kong & Australia. Post production is in full flow and we’re buzzing about the material. I am careful not to rush the process and am systematically working through it at a careful pace. The official release date is December 7th 2015 and a trailer will be released at the end of September 2015. Plans are also afoot for premiere screenings of ‘Mira Rai’ in a number of countries around the world so watch this space for more news shortly.