Q&A: Photography Team Completes Grand Tour of Ireland with Help of OWC

Achill Island Lobster fishing

Last month, we introduced you to internationally known photographer Florian Wagner and his team’s tour of Ireland via horseback following Celtic paths to ancient Places of Power as ambassadors for Natural Horsemanship. Wagner and his crew set out at Mizen Head with the goal to reach their destination at Malin Head after about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) and five weeks of travel. A wide selection of OWC gear was along for the ride, providing Wagner with high-performance storage solutions as the team captured the memorable expedition through their camera lenses.

Recently, the Rocket Yard caught up with Wagner after his team’s completion of the trip. Here’s what he had to say.

Rocket Yard: Firstly, which OWC products do you currently use, and for what?
FW: We use the Envoy Pro mini for press, Mercury Elite Pro Dual for preparation of all media, ThunderBay 4 for final preparation and storage, and the [On-The-Go Pro] with 1TB for storage plus backup of all media during the trip.

RY: What would you say are your OWC ‘Must-Haves’?
FW: Because we are travelling so much, the Envoy Pro mini, Mercury Elite Pro Dual, and the portable hard disk are the most practical while maintaining high-performance. When we are back home, the ThunderBay 4 is a necessary tool to backup and store all media and data and finally, prepare them for the coffee table book and documentary.

RY: After traveling through Ireland on horseback, we imagine you have some interesting stories to share with our audience. Is there any moment in particular that stands out as most memorable? Why?
FW: Yes indeed. We stayed with trailride legend Willy Leahy at Dartfield. Willy took us on the Connemara trail, which is a pretty tough one on the horses since it is rather rocky terrain and lots of bog, in which the horses can sink in up to their belly. Exactly this happened to me with my youngest horse Mara, a 6-year-old paint mare. She got frightened and jumped through the bog, trying to free herself. It was the purest form of Rodeo one would imagine. Thank god, I managed to stay on since I was wearing a $12,000 Leica camera to capture the ride.

Florian2

RY: Conversely, were there any unexpected challenges that arose from such a demanding travel schedule/method of travel?
FW: We originally planned to ride all the way from south to north, but the previously mentioned bog in combination with loads of fenced private land and even more tar to compensate we were forced to change plans and trailer the horses for the dangerous yet boring parts on roads on which trucks would pass with 70 miles and less than 50 inches between us.

RY: How did you integrate OWC products into your workflow while traveling? What did you find most appealing about OWC products?
FW: In total, we took about 38,000 images with an average size of 65MB per image alongside 72 hours of film material. We stored them on several 1TB OWC Mercury On-The-Go Pros and backed them up on a 10TB OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual which was transported in a different car. The Envoy Pro mini we used e.g. for press taking images from our camp for their office to integrate our work into their reports. In projects like this, you want 100% reliability for your data. Imagine riding for two months with a team of 6 and 5 horses, working for up to 20 hours per day and then loose the footage. We never had any problem with the products mentioned above and certainly will rely on them in future projects.

RY: Traversing a landscape steeped in history and culture, it’s assumed you were exposed to an array of local customs. Is there a custom that you found most
interesting? Any local lore to share?

Wagner QuoteFW: Ireland has a history of hard lives and harsh conditions. The weather can be cruel and people went from occupation by Great Britain through hunger from the potato famine. Pubs always were a place to warm up, come together, have a Guinness and sing together. We experienced a number of beautiful evenings in pubs, where people reminded everybody of the old times by singing old songs together, usually after the pub was closed and the tourists were gone.

RY: To you, which parts of Ireland were the most picturesque? Is there a location you wish you had spent more time at?
FW: Oh Lord, there where so many!! Mizen Head was great, the Cliffs of Moher were stunning. At the Slieve League Cliffs, we had a sunset and a moonrise at the same time. I loved riding at O`Connor Island in Grange, and we had a spectacular finish at Malin Head. I would have loved to stay longer pretty much everywhere we stayed.

RY: Give us your final thoughts after eight weeks working with OWC’s industry-leading products.
FW: I loved it. Seriously, I had not heard about OWC before I met [OWC Founder and CEO] Larry [O’Connor] at Necker Island. Working with the products mentioned above made me change my whole back-up system of 25 years of professional photography. Do I need to say more?

For more of Florian Wagner’s work, please visit: www.wagnerphoto.de/. And see more photos from the team’s journey below.


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