I have written about the actual shoot in another few blog posts but this is really the truth behind the polished look. Its not everytime a production goes to plan and certialy this wone didn’t. Importnat to note we did not do the production :). It could be an interesting read and would really like you to stick around and make oyur own oppinion on are all shoots great and do they always live up to expectations? I would say no, but maybe yours go better?
OOnly 8 months prior to my trip in Iceland I was visualising tan epic adventure to Iceland but no clients had yet made an offer. at all 🙁 I was reading the book The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield and working through my vision boards and The Law of Attraction! I was driving back from a shoot with my assitant and notice a plane taking off near to junction Chertsey close to Heathrow. Always a sticky spot as motorway drivers look skywards. I said Just imagine us on that flight there, we would be on our way to Ieland for that great trip I had always dreamed of, just imaging and we can be there!
So now, fast forward to July some few months later and I was by the pool reading the same book and soaking in the positive words. My son was having a problem with Snapchat and I grabbed his phone and said this is how you make it work for you. I contact 5 random people. Slightly bemused he went for a swim in a huff and I followed. On my return, I checked my phone and there was a reply from my producer friend in Germany,
What? how on earth could this happen, but it did and 1 month later I was flying into Keflavic Iceland to head up a team of 27 for the Lambertz campaign once again. So this is my alternative view on Iceland. I have another blog post here about the shoot itslef but really wanted run through an alternative view and my experience fo a photoshoot in the Land of Fire and Ice
So this really was a budget trip and budget production, we were all there for two reasons, to see the wonderful Iceland and to get a paid production, however, this, of course, meant less value in 21 days shooting. I sat in the airport for 9 hours waiting for the German producer to arrive and my assistant would arrive 3 days later as would the crew which gave me a 3 day view of the island on a recce.
On arrival day of the crew, I was asked to power up and set up the means for an video interview for German TV. An interview of Dorrit who was the Icelandic fist lady who was flying out of the airport. Pressure !!! gale force winds ouside also. You can see this inteview here
NNow I know by now you are thinking, where is the alternative Iceland however I am just about to start the story and of course it will be in brief and cover any anecdotes which I found interesting. If you have lost the will by now, spare just a little bit more time here and It could be of interest. I am not going to take you through a day by day account, although this might have been a great way to share,
Our epic trip was full of trials and tribulations, we travelled right around the coast to Hofn and the Ice lagoons at Jökulsárlón. We travelled around in 1 car and 4 large campervans stopping en-route at anything outstanding and amazing. The pictures below shows just a tiny slice of my personal adventure during my time in Iceland and each picture below has it’s own anecdote, trial or tribulation.
Tom, who was the official behind the scenes was often dragged from his post to assist the producer or was the atual gofer. Here he is shooting our return BTS from the taxing, cold, windswept and highy troublesome shoot on a glacier with the German singer Nena from 99 Red Balloons fame. A video has been captured by me of the absoluting pissing rain during and back to thes location, cold and extremely wet.
This is a view of me leading the team in the shoot with Nena, as the Profoto 7B location battery kit had failed and the producer marco had run back to the trucks to get the other. I simpleIt was a catastrophic moment for me. The talent was severely pissed off and cold. I was beside muself thinking shes costing 80,000 Euros and we need the shot and Marco had gone back for the kit. This was NOT a good place to be. The other crew were pissed too. However me and the assistant saved the day to a rallying round of applause and credits 🙂
Her we all are sheltered under ONE brolly for 10 people as a freezing cold squall lashed down icy chaffing hail, slicing our skin and freezing our asses to the floor on what was black quick sand near to zero degree water. Its great to actually pull off a funny moment and make the talent feel comfy.
This is the long road to the Ice flows. We had no accommodation booked at this time as Marco was trying out all the cheapest Air B & B accommodation around. At the end of this road in Vik we realised ther was no accommodation and had to drive back 170 KM back into Selfoss which had been our base on previous days as we shot in and around Selfoss and Pingvellir National Park.
Not all of the parking was planned and at this drive in most people had a dose of the two trotts and felt a little weird. You can see the desparation as the campavans are dumped in an area not allowed for parking!
The moring after the night before, where producer Marco had managed to find one cabin sutable for 6 people, the ONLY problem we were over 20. You would think the camper vans would be great to use, No heating inside and most were driveable kit and costume taxis! Please remeber if you have to go out in the middle of the night into the unkown freezing wilderness to ALWAYS carry your personal toilet roll. Otherwise you may get into difficulty. ( this is another story)
This is the moment I realised I had a very bad upset tummy and I was going to not only share the whole experience with them but also they would have to bask in the ambience 🙁 The toilet was behind the wooden wall on the left behind Martina the blonde model as a point of reference.
Amazing what a little free booze can do, Booze is so expensive but we needed a break. Just alittle later Marco managed to book in most to a distant hotel which left 8 of us to share the cabin
Nice little shot of me prepping my Mavic for an early moring flight first thing the next morning. Marco finally relented and agreed to send all of the talent over to a distant hotel which really worked out. 4 lads slept on portable beds in the living room whilst styling and Marco had the large double rooms!!!
One of the videos can bee seen here and gives a general view of my flights in and around Iceland
Getting stuck in Iceland off road when the rest of the crew have left is not ideal. Everyone seems to be at this time a pro driver and know how to eleviate our stress. Truthfully everyone made it worse until we were really stuck. A few phone calls to our talent that day Rurik Gislason who is Icelands equvilent of david Beckham had called his dad to come and pul us out with his shogun. Here you can see BTS still gathering stock
This was the best place we were housed and here we have a 5 bedroom house putting up 27 people? Production team had sent one van from germany with all the kit needed plus 15 fold out mattresses. I dived in right for the room a few days before on the recce. Selfish I know but you have to be comfortable as the MAIN TALENT 🙂
However it all came crashing down when I realised my assistant was a prolific sleepless snorer with sleep apnea. Not great and many sleepless nights were had and plenty of time thowing pillows and dirty socks.
Concrete in a landscape with no other visual signs of inhabitation for miles. I asked my self why and when? It almost appears to be a long lost airport air traffic control post. A complete start contrast from man-made to the natural. It was this juxtaposition that appealed to me. Only one will win the long game however.
This location was one of my editorial styled shoot locations. I liked the simplicity of nature and pylons compared to UK version of pylons which seem far too extruded and complicated. In fact Iceland seemed to keep things very simple and efficient and this was the same with man-made and natural.
Our entrance in to the famous DC3 crashed aircraft was eventful. A trek of 2.5 miles to these GPS coordinates for the wreck are (63 27.546-19 21.887) We could not carry all of the kit by hand and so Marco and his great ideas on this occasion seemed to work. He had packed in Germany a large BMW motorbike int the back of the van which drove from Germany to Iceland. His plan was to transport everyone essential to the shoot by bike quickly which he did.
Of course one of Icelands iconic images. Pity it has been jumped on, ripped and heavily scratch with love signs and we were here etchings into the fuselage of the aircraft which was a retouching problem. Shooting here was also a problem based on the time. It was quickly approaching dusk. The weather was intermittently dreadful and too many tourists were all over and around the aircraft.
Always busy and a major tourist problem to shoot around at any time! Skógafoss is a waterfall situated on the Skógá River in the south of Iceland at the cliffs of the former coastline. The distance between Reykjavík and Skógafoss is 135 km. The road distance is 152.3 km. The Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow which is normally visible on sunny days.
Jökulsárlón Bridge. This must be another one of the most-seen bridges in Iceland. It spans the outfall river from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, and carries the island’s ring road, route R1. Pretty impressive if you go beneath it and watch the great icebergs splinter and crash into the water, they the roll across the bottom of the river, grinding and gouging and the noise is phenomenal