"OX Outdoor Excursions - MTB Tour Guatemala" is the result of a collaboration of several individuals who came together in Antigua, Guatemala.
For me it all started when I came to Lago de Atitlan in Guatemala while traveling through Central America early 2013. There I met Victor Ferrell, Manager of OX Outdoor Excusions and Martina Sturm who happend to have studied Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in California.
Since I had a stress fracture in my foot, Martina offered me acupuncture treatment which then led to getting to know Martina and Victor better. As it turned out, Victor was planing to do a promotion video for OX Outdoor Excursions and was expecting a friend of his to come to Antigua - Chris Hilleke, Director and Documentation Filmmaker from Alabama.
Victor quickly noticed my affection for photography and filmmaking and asked me if I wanted to contribute to the project and this is how I came to be part of this collaboration.
Together with Bertram Ferrell, Victors brother, Chris Hilleke and Victor we set up production base at Victors place in Antigua. We would meet every evening to discuss and plan what we wanted to achieve the next day.
With the help of Victor, who is a great guide, we all scouted the surrounding hills and volcano slopes of Antigua to find suitable locations to shoot. I assisted Chris in creating the shotlist and gained his trust to operate on his cameras. The schedule roughly gave us 2 days of preparation, 3 days to shoot in the Antiguan hills,
2 days of climbing and filming from Acatenango, 3880m high beast of a Volcano and if time allows for it move to the Pacific Coast for some surfing shots. So day one was location scouting, day 2 still a bit of pre production and testing.
Chris brought all his cinematography equipment with him including a cable cam rig we needed to test prior to production. It turned out the cable cam rig only needed little adjustments and worked just fine. So day 3 we could finally start shooting.
Victor Ferrell(l.) and Bertram Ferrell(r.) setting up the cable for the cable cam shots.
Chris Hilleke (r.) and me (l.) setting up the camera crane Chris would use extensively in this production.
Left: Victor making "funny" jokes and me paying him back with the international sign for appreciation. Right: Victor not so happy with the progress and having to wait in the heat of the sun.
Day one was pretty much spent with the cable cam shots on a lower part of the slopes until the sun went down. Chris would make sure we were keeping up the pace because "we are racing the sun" as he would say.
Day two was shot in a different location, again with the cable cam and some locked of cameras. Day three was shot in the same area but further up the slopes that we scouted out days before. It was a spot where lava once ran down the hill and could be used to race the bikes down on.
Shot discussion with Diego Colombi (l.), Chris H. (m.)and me (r.).
Diego was one of the bike riders, a local from Antigua who Victor asked to contribute as well. Since Diego is a filming enthysiast his input was greatly appreciated.
Not seen in this picture but very prominently present were the bags full of water we carried up the hill. I feared we would not have enough in the glazing sun and pushed everyone to carry a few bottle extra that we would not use... sorry, my bad ;-)
Overly proud of the achievements in such a short time and thrown together crew. Chris H. (l), me (r.) and Lorenzo Chavez Vasquez(m.)our security guy to protect the gear and us from oportunistic wannabe criminals.
According to schedule the next step was Acatenango, a local Volcano. Unfortunatelly the production had to continue without me as I simply could not hike up a volcano for multiple hours with my fractured foot. Martinas acupuncture treatment worked well and it made my contribution possible in the first place but my foot just didn't have enough time to heal good enough for the volcano hike.
Eventhough I could no longer contribute to the production I was very happy I had this opportunity and even more glad everyone was happy with my results as camera operator and assistant to the director. It was a fun endeavor and worth extending my stay in Antigua. Considering the fact that there was only one professional filmmaker on this production (Chris Hilleke), it went really smooth!
This credit goes to the thorough planing of Victor, the helping hands without them we would not have made such a progress. I continued on my journey through Central America and stayed in contact with Martina, Victor and Chris.
Visit Ox Expeditions to see more of the region and volcano hikes.www.oxexpeditions.com