Heroes of the Storm

 Posted on February 27, 2014      by admin


It’s not often you get a chance to work with real heroes. Over the past few weeks, Ireland and the UK have been wrecked by a whole series of powerful storms. More than 150,000 homes in Ireland lost electrical supply.

Men like these men, worked day and night with great personal dedication to restore power to the homes and businesses around Ireland. Often working from seven in the morning till past midnight These men braved the elements to bring power to the customers. Cows were going unmilked,homes were going unheated,and businesses were in the dark. We all started to realise how much we rely on electricity for the humdrum and ordinary tasks for day-to-day life. Once the lights went out we were literally in the dark. We couldn’t use our computers, We didn’t have TV, we couldn’t cook food, couldn’t even heat the bed.

Out in the dark, sometimes up to their knees in mud, sometimes having to cut their way through a forest to get to the Powerline. These men worked tirelessly and selflessly to restore power to us, to families, and to businesses. These are the stuff that heroes are made from.

When I was asked to drive to West Cork and meet these guys I was delighted. I would be getting a chance to meet men that I consider heroes, but men who would consider themselves just ordinary guys. In arranging this picture I wanted to bring out the team spirit in their work. I found this particular group of guys working at the edge of Millstreet, a small town in Cork in southern Ireland. Between downpours and hailstones they agreed to give me 10 min of their valuable time to allow me create this image.They were tired after days and days of non-stop work but they were cheerful and so nice to work with.

I wanted to show them as a team, to show their ruggedness and their dedication to the work. To do this I used a battery electric strobe light, on a lighting stand. I lay on the ground with a 24 mm wide angle lens. I was using a quantum radio slave system to trigger the flash wireless from the camera. I took a test exposure of the sky to get the last of the evening light and then I did an exposure of the guys. Selected high shutter speed to darken the sky and clicked this shot.

men on hill
A few days later I was working with another network crew in the depths of Connemara along the West Coast of Ireland. I saw the men having to manhandle a transformer across sodden fields correction on a electricity pole. The land was too remote for any machinery and the men had to wheel a small bogey with a transformer on it to the base of the pole referred to be hoisted up and put in place.All this to restore power to a very remote house in the Valley near lenane, Co. Galway

Later I travelled with the crew up to mountaintop outside Clifden, where a pole had succumbed to the pressure of the wind and had nearly fallen over. Here the team of men pulled a rope attached to the pole to bring back into the vertical. It’s not often I have to use my four-wheel-drive power
to climb a Hill to get to a location, but I did on this occasion. I can honestly say I was scared during my descent from this mountain hoping to God that my brakes wouldn’t fail.

It’s not often you get a chance to work with heroes, I am so delighted and honoured that I did get that chance and had an opportunity to record their efforts to restore our power to us.

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