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Introducing Steve Flanagan, media volunteer for Flight of the Swans

Steve is a freelance cameraman. Here he tells us why he feels passionate about Flight of the Swans and how he plans to bring the adventure to life for those armchair explorers at home. 

Q What prompted you to get involved in Flight of the Swans?

All my life I’ve had a passion for the outdoors and before working in the media I worked for many years as an adventure sports coach and guide. I was also part of a canyon expedition team. It was while exploring the canyon systems across the Pyrenees and the Alps that I started to develop a serious interest in photography and film-making, so I became the team camera guy. 

Since then I’ve been operating as a freelance cameraman and although I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on some fantastic projects, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for what seems like my whole professional life. Flight of the Swans brings together all my passions, wildlife, the great outdoors, adventure and multi-media production, so once I’d heard about the project, not getting involved wasn’t really an option. 

Q What are you looking forward to most about the expedition?

I can’t wait to explore countries I’ve never visited before and meet the people living along the migration route. I’m intrigued by northern Europe and am looking forward to getting to know some of its wilderness. 

Following the migration of the swans on the ground and helping to work out the holes in the knowledge about them is a unique opportunity. I’m excited about the tech side of it too, using satellite and tracking equipment and of course all the different camera techniques I’ll be able use on the expedition. 

Q How hard was the selection process?

It was relentless. It wasn’t so much that the individual tasks were too extreme but that it was constant, going from classroom sessions to micro-navigation exercises to communications and first aid scenarios over three days and a couple of very long nights was pretty full on. I really enjoyed it though and having spent recent years working in the media the chance of an adventure weekend, especially one organised by such an experienced team of expedition pro’s, was a win for me regardless of the outcome. It was amazing to be selected though, especially as the competition was so fierce and now I’m really looking forward to working with a talented team on what is sure to be an extraordinary adventure. 

Q What are you hoping you can bring to the expedition?

Whilst working as a cameraman I have specialised in using the latest digital media techniques available. I’ve been waiting for a project to come up that would be big enough and bold enough to use the technology that I specialise in and as soon as I heard about Flight of the Swans I knew this was it. 

I am passionate about bringing the Flight of the Swans expedition to as wide an audience as possible but also bringing it to life by using time lapse, virtual tours and 360-degree videos to support the photography and films we’ll be producing along the way. 

By using the training platforms and the multi-media skills that I have developed over the years for other industries, I really hope to bring people, communities and countries together to work on this amazing project and create a collaborative platform that will get everyone sharing information and working together to help the swans.

Q What does the Flight of the Swans mean to you?

Over the years I have been lucky enough to enjoy all the great things that outdoor adventure brings – excitement, new skills, teamwork, adventure – but the most poignant moments for me have been the encounters I’ve had with wildlife. So this step into conservation feels like a huge moment in my life. Working with people who are like-minded, passionate about conservation and with similar goals is going to be amazing.

I am also especially interested in learning and introducing people to the natural world, so I hope I can help reach people that haven’t yet been reached through my media endeavours. It would be great to be able to excite and intrigue people who are yet to discover how amazing outdoor adventure and connecting with nature can be.