Scott Gable’s Odyssey for Brookfield Renewables
The sky in Portugal is dark, dense, with moisture-laden clouds. The wind howls at 40 miles per hour. Snow starts to fall. The odds of flying the drone now seem quite slim, but Buffalo, New York-based photographer Scott Gable is patient (and a little used to this weather). The weather and Scott have a roller-coaster relationship, and the teams at Specialist UK and Brookfield Renewables are waiting with bated breath for them to make up.
This was the first time Scott had worked with the London-based marketing agency. Specialist UK had happened upon a personal project he had done on a Bethlehem Steel facility. After visiting Scott’s website, they were impressed by his extensive drone work and his evident love for travel and adventure. He was the perfect fit for the three-month-long project shooting Brookfield’s assets.
Brookfield is one of the world’s largest investors in renewable power, and their assets are located in a myriad of locations. Pre-pandemic, Scott would visit a few of these locations in four countries: Ireland, Portugal, Brazil, and the USA. There the versatile photographer would shoot aerial stills and video for Brookfield’s website overhaul.
This was a dream job. We broke the project up into segments. The first leg was the European section: Ireland and Portugal.
Scott and his producer (and wife) Sarah headed out to two wind farms in Ireland and then swung down to Portugal for another. They allocated two days for each location and then a few in between for travel and resting up.
Once we wrapped in Portugal, there was a 5-week interval before the start of the next segment in Brazil. So we stayed in Portugal and explored a few cities and then ended up renting a beach house in the surfing mecca of Ericeira to relax, do some post-production, and, most importantly, surf!
After getting some much-needed R&R, Scott and Sarah were joined by Specialist UK’s art director in Brazil for the next leg of the journey.
After Portugal, we met the AD in Rio de Janeiro for a 3-location hydro-dam odyssey.
The agency assigned them a driver and translator as they traveled further inland away from tourist traps and fluent English-speakers. Keeping with their strategy, they scheduled two shooting days for each location.
The hydro dams were spread across two river valleys, and drive times during this segment were significant. Brazil is huge!
Due to the time-consuming travel, they hunkered down and worked 16 hours a day for six days straight, grateful they had been able to rest in Portugal.
Once the Brazil segment wrapped, we flew back home (which at the time was a Sprinter van). The final segment was spread across the US in California, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.
We scheduled the locations out as best we could, but weather/seasons were a constraint, and this had us hustling along to make the dates.
The weather was a constant challenge for these shoots. While wind farms thrive off of wind, drones have a little more difficulty navigating. On top of that, the spring in Ireland was unusually frigid, and for a while, in Portugal, the weather was much more inhospitable than expected.
We had to put things on hold in Portugal. This location was a wind farm way up in the mountains, and the weather was TERRIBLE — 40 mph winds, snow, and overcast.
Luckily, Scott and Sarah kept things flexible. While the AD had to fly back to London, Sarah negotiated an extended stay at their hotel, and they were able to enjoy some downtime while waiting for the weather to clear up.
Eventually, the sun did come back out, and I was able to get the footage the client was after.
Like I said, dream job.
Agency: Specialist UK
Director of Pictures: Lou Fenerici
Project Manager: Marissa Domizi
Art Director: AJ Howe (the intrepid AD who traveled with us for weeks at a time)
Producer: Sarah Grzeskowiak
See more of Scott’s work at scottgable.com.
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