TOBY STRONG

Lighting Cameraman | Photographer

Portraits. Roami

Ive been planning on doing some portraits for a while, a long while. I wanted to try and follow the lead of the old Dutch painters. a dark, soft feel with single light source.

Lovely Roami agreed to let me snap. I like some of the results here. more to explore.

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Devious Nature

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Filming passes so quickly. Somebody somewhere has had a baby in the time I’ve worked on this series, but it barely seems a month ago I started.

 

I got to play with my old friend Gavin on this series about animal deception; in fact the whole team was inhabited with passionate, creative, heard working people. This isn’t that common and is a huge pleasure.

I’ve learnt the world’s greatest locations aren’t made special by geography they are the people your with, so these last months have been great fun, bloody hard work, but fun.

Working with Chris Packham as the presenter was also wonderful. He is the most professional, charming, funny guy. An absolute pro.

 

 

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I got to shoot in a number of great places. Our journey started in Malaysia and Australia with bowerbirds and leaf-tailed gecko’s. We dabbled with monkeys in Panama. Cuttlefish and Mussels on the eastern seaboard and rattlesnakes and burrowing owls on the west.

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We Compared butterflies in the Natural History Museum and colour deception on a West Country beach.

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 We committed to shooting on the Arri Amira with my canon primes for the series. We didn’t use a gimble but I did use my Easyrig a lot.  This allowed for a more floating immersive feel.

 

I also played with my slider, giving scenic’s and pieces to camera a more cinematic feel.

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It’ll be fun to see how this turns out.

Some great ideas from Gavin and team going into post production. Cant wait.

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Undercover

I have been working with some old friends to make a  hard hitting documentary .
As the film hasn’t been realised, I cannot write on it yet.
The shoots have been hard, challenging, dangerous and sad.
It feels good to be working on something that may well change things, even at this 11th hour.
Here are a few photos of some guys on the front line making a real difference and risking their lives every day.
I salute them.
More details on these incredible men and the story when I can.
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New Toys

Ive been slowly building up kit that allows to me to achieve the shots I’ve always wanted.

After a very brief and very expensive trip to BVE last month. We have some new bits of kit that are going to be incredible.

Painful though it is i am letting go of my beloved TOVI gimble and jumping into bed with DJI so we have a shiny new RONIN gimble

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there has always been the problem with gimbles with the up and down movement as you walk….until now ! flowcine have brought out the serene and puppeteer. brilliant bits of kit that attach to my easirig and eliminate that movement and give us exquisite smooth shots.

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for a long time I’ve been looking for a crane and finally found what i was after.

its a 6m ABC lightweight crane that comes in a single bag, including the tripod. It will take 13 kg so we can slot the ronin on the end with a red, f55 or  arri mini and we have a hot head. brilliant.

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lastly… my old phantom has been replaced with the new incredible inspire 1 from DJI a 4k drone whose image and stability has to be seen to be believed.

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roll up, roll up and play with the toys !

Photography exhibition

 

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Coming up !

From this 9th March, i’ll be showing a selection of Photographs from the last fifteen years filming.
It will be held at North St Gallery, Ashburton, Devon.
Do pop in.

life story

Well the wonderful ‘Life story’ is airing and if you get the chance please try and watch this Thursday. Its the meerkats and cobra sequence I’m really proud of.

Here is a bit about it and a clip

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4gQTvxBpBzT0SN6xPT0JSRY/how-we-made-it-the-meerkat-s-outdoor-classroom

Deadhorse, Alaska

 

 

 

 

For the Alaska series Tuppence, myself and a gentleman called Johnathan headed North, way North, all the way North.

 

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And we drove, it was magical. We headed up the famed ice road from Anchorage to Deadhorse. It took two solid days and all of it was on ice. We had vast trucks hurtling past us the whole way. we headed through forests of pines until we travelled into the arctic circle and the trees gradually stopped and infact we past a sign claiming the last tree.

We climbed a pass onto the top of the world, the snow and wind were howling. We stopped to film and very quickly I realised that this wasn’t playing, within minutes my fingers had gone, my face had frozen and I sat in the vehicle rocking in pain as the blood slowly crept back into frozen extremities.

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We learnt that up here you really had very little time to film before things start shutting down.

We broke our journey in Coldfoot, a truck station, motel and restaurant. Full of huge truckers, eating huge pies. This was the last habitation before deadhorse. The next day we dropped onto the great north slope and the views became truly epic and almost brought on vertigo, there was literally nothing to stop you until the north pole.

We glimpsed musk ox out beyond the oil line, that endless silver line snaking its way from oil field to Anchorage.

Deadhorse emerged from the low cold blue light. Hulks of drill rigs, storage containers, blocks of accommodation , flames burning bright from the drilling sites, the endless horizon broken with clumps of mans tenacious ingenuity. it was both beautiful and horrific in equal measure .

We were here to try and find the arctic fox. that ghost, that talisman of the far North.

 

He lived on the fringes of habitation and snuck in for easy pickings discarded by man. The problem was that the red fox was here too, bolder, bigger and more powerful.

like the camp followers of the old armies, the Rat, the Fox and Crow followed man as he blazed his way into the wildernesses and now they were here as far north as it is possible for them to go. When the red fox finds the smaller arctic fox, he chases , catches and kills it.

We didn’t realise how rare the arctic fox had become around deadhorse until we got here.

We were here for two weeks and were out for 14 hours a day, nothing. We talked to everyone, we put out calls over the radio network to enlist the help of the truckers and workers up here.

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The little white ghosts had vanished..

We were able to film a little with the red foxes, The beautiful, larger cousins, occasionally there would be a report of an arctic, we would bomb over to the other side of town, but to no avail, we found the odd track , we sat up at night at the back of the hotel by the bins. Nothing .

It was demoralising and tough. the temperature dropped to around -50. operating at that temperature was brutal. cables just snapped, batteries lasted minutes. fingers stuck to metal tripods.

It was a unique difficult  life up here that attracted strange and wonderful people.  We met a few.

There was little to break up our day, apart from the one coffee shop and comparing snoticles on our beards.

Then a day to go we got our sighting..

A stunning white bundle of fur. I think we got about two hours with him as he scurried under buildings and ducked behind snow plows. he stopped at a digger and spent time defrosting some morsel of frozen food with his warm little tongue. he allowed me to get within four or five metres . I felt humbled and privalidged .

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We didn’t get a lot with him but we did manage to tell a little of the story of this incredible mammal and his trevails trying to co habit with his larger lethal red brethren.

We watched one of the worlds largest moving objects, a drilling rig drive through town one morning . It took hours . It blocked the sun, It was bigger than most buildings it was beyond description , it awed me and horrified me.

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Our drive home was wonderfully interrupted when we came across a group of guys blasting snow of the mountain passes with a vietnamese howitzer.

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They let us film and play. What fun.

A tricky, arduous , difficult, frustrating shoot but I feel blessed to have seen the far north and spend a little time with the incredible arctic fox.

Sadly my abiding memory though was of that exquisite wilderness being rapidly destroyed by us. Again.

 

 

Hokkaido.

Just a few pics from my Phone after our first ten days in japan.

We’ve got down to -20 and the sea is freezing.

quite quite wonderful to be somewhere where Nature is really doing her thing.

 

 

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The Alexa really does play well at the hot and cold bits of the planet.

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The three girls on the way to the office.

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The sea started to freeze and we got this wonderful pancake ice forming.

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Evening yoga session

 

Hello Tokyo !

Shattered, jeg lagged and so excited to land in Japan for the first time.

Before our flight north to Hokkaido we got a few minutes to stroll through downtown Tokyo.

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Loved it.

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Everything exotic, no cultural commonality. so refreshing.

surprising peaceful and quiet.

 

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New controller for the TŌVI…

 

 

 

Marcus my magical electronics genius has nearly finished the new custom controller for my TŌVI.

So instead of the usual full on radio control two handed  handset.

You will now have this small unit that can be independant or will bolt on to the base station.

brilliant !
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