HOW TO PLAN A TRIP TO ICELAND : ICELAND - WINTER 2017 #1

This whole trip started because Nicole and I wanted to do something different from our normal lives and experience something new. 

At the beginning of the new year, I'm talking around January 2nd, we were talking about different places to see and when to go. I suggested going somewhere before the start of September when we would have more money and time to plan. Nicole said that would be too far away and she couldn't have been more right. Since we didn't have much money at the time I was thinking "what's the cheapest place we could go to right now?" Without looking at prices, Vancouver and Iceland were on the top of my list. I was at Vancouver last year and I loved the city so I wanted to experience more. I love the outdoors and being near the mountains. After looking at flight prices though, I quickly realized that wasn't happening. At the time it was around $800 to Vancouver from Toronto (where we are). My mom had been telling me how cheap flights to Iceland were so we looked into it. Nicole suggested using this site called Student Universe to look for flights. It's a site like Travelocity that gathers information from a bunch of different travel sites and finds the cheapest price. (You have to be a student to use it but the screening process isn't very strict.) We found flights for around $400 and how could you beat that? Different country and different continent for way less than a flight to Vancouver. I'm sure everyone has seen and heard how pretty Iceland is too so the decision was made. We're going to Iceland. 

This is a picture of the Suzuki Jimny we rented on the south coast of Iceland, near Vik. 

This is a picture of the Suzuki Jimny we rented on the south coast of Iceland, near Vik. 

With the plane tickets, the other biggest expense was renting a car. From doing a bunch of research online we saw that you pretty much NEED to rent car if you want to see Iceland (or just spend A LOT of money on tours). We planned on going at the end of February which is still winter in Iceland and this had it's pros and cons. The pros were that tourism in Iceland is REALLY popular during the summer which makes everything three times more expensive. Since we were going in the winter we didn't have to deal with that. The cons were that the weather is probably going to be bad (which it definitely was) and this meant we had to rent a vehicle that had all wheel drive. This made the rental car expensive. I used Travelocity to find us a rental car and we somehow found an amazing deal. It was around $30/day with unlimited mileage. We also looked into renting a camper van which would have been great because we wouldn't have had to pay for places to stay and just slept in the camper van but it was out of our budget. We went with a normal car. The company that Travelocity found for us was FOX Rent A Car and we chose to rent a Suzuki Jimny. We don't have this car in North America but it's pretty much like a small Jeep. At this point we have a flight and we have a rental car. The next step was to make a plan.


There's a couple things that we found out about Iceland from our research. 

The blue line is Highway 1 or the "Ring Road" that goes all the way around Iceland. We drove on this road for more of our trip. Although in winter, some of it gets cover and is inaccessible which we encountered. 

  1. Iceland is pretty much a big circle. The outside of the circle is mostly accessible using a highway called Highway 1 or the "Ring Road". The center of Iceland is mostly glaciers and only accessible during summer with big cars/ trucks on roads called "F Roads". These are unpaved, gravel roads and most rental car companies don't allow you to drive their car on these roads because they could be hazardous to drive on. 
  2. Unless you want to go to the Blue Lagoon, or do extreme things like walk on glaciers and scuba dive, you can see all the sites in Iceland if you drive there yourself. A lot of tour services post the places they visit on their website and if you just make note of where they go you can drive there, on your own, for free. 
  3. There's no admission charge to any of the natural sites. It's not like here in Canada where you have to pay to enter a national park. Everything is free. (That was our experience in the winter. Maybe it's not free during the summer?) 
  4. While flying to Iceland is cheap, everything else on the island is really expensive. Gas for example was around $100 for a full tank. A plate of fish and chips at a gas station, in a small town / not a tourist area, was $32 Canadian. Groceries however were relatively the same (we found this out when we were there).

With these things in mind, we decided that we would travel around Iceland on the Ring road, seeing the sites and sleeping in an Air Bnb every other night to shower, make food and charge camera batteries. For the nights we didn't stay at an Air Bnb we would sleep in the car. 

From the research we did using Google and Instagram locations we made a list places that we wanted to go, then scheduled and a mapped out the intended trip. We kept in mind how long it would take to drive to each place and added time we would spend at  each site. We made this rough schedule (below) on google docs so we could both edit it before we left and refer to it during the trip.

This was the Google doc that we made and referred to on the trip. 

Each star indicates a place in Iceland that we wanted to visit. The plane arrived in Reykjavik on the bottom left.

Another thing that we needed to plan for was food. Everything was really expensive so what were we going to eat? We decided to buy a bunch of food before hand that we could cook at the Air Bnbs and foods that didn't spoil very quickly. Things like beef jerky, pepperoni, bagels and pitas are what we ate on the days when we didn't cook. It's not a very good diet but we weren't going to live like this forever. (We're young! It's okay) We went to grocery stores when we were there and bought fruits and vegetables for some variety, also. 

Last thing that we planned was how to keep warm when sleeping in the car during winter. Well if you live in North America, like we do you have access to Walmart and Walmart has a great return policy... which we took advantage of. We bought sleeping bags and returned them. The idea was to wear lots of warm clothes and just hide inside a sleeping bag while trying to lay as flat as we could in the car. We also had these hand warmers that we bought on Amazon to give us some additional warmth.

This is how we planned our trip. I'm going to make a blog post every Sunday for the next couple weeks on the experiences we had day to day so if you'd like to see how the plan worked out and get some further insight into the places we saw and Iceland in general check the rest of the posts!

If you do plan on going to Iceland and booking an Air Bnb, or booking an Air Bnb for any adventure sign up with this link (www.airbnb.ca/c/craigb14041) and you'll get $50 off the price of your stay! I get some Air Bnb credit too so it's help me fund future trips. 

A few pictures of what's to come below! 

July Talk At Sheridan

It was an awesome night. The crowd had a blast. It was a great way to end a year of hard work.

www.julytalk.com
www.julytalk.com
www.julytalk.com
 

2015 Favourites

The name of the game for 2016 is MORE. I tried a lot of different things in 2015 but I'm going to work on created more frequently. These are all my favourites because of the different challenges they presented or the creative way we captured the images. 

Happy New Year!

Brampton portrait photography

2015 - Progess Report

A shot from one of my favourite shoots this year with Adrian (left) and Nonkon (right) from Angie's Models Toronto.

Last year I had so many goals and didn't really do work on them to completion. This year I only have three:

  • run a half marathon
  • $10000 from photography
  • Use a model for all school assignments

I only wrote 6 blogs posts last year too. What's up with that? That's all in the past though. I feel like 2016 is going to be a great year. I figured out a lot about who I am and I'm pretty happy about where I've put myself. The difference between 2016 and 2015 is going to be constant progress review

There's a lot of things I want to do and at time it can feel really overwhelming but I'm just going to break them down and chip away slowly. Progress over time is the new mindset. 

ALL the work I've done since my last post

FIRST test shoot work agency models. Ned, Zenon and Jhaleil From Peggi Lepage Model Scout

A fashion editorial I worked on with models Brent Williams and Kelly McGarvey. Hair and Make up by Cierra Lee.

Summer time shoot with Lelie from Peggi Lepage Model Scout. Hair and Make up by @toniquelounge

THE NEW COOL. A editorial with Marissa Fraggis and Courtney Conway. Hair and Make up by Saira Kowlessar. Styling by Ekta Ghosh. 

Shoot with Juzar Dean from Plutino Models.

Shoot with Alexandra from Plutino Models

Shoot with Kathryn from Peggi Lepage Model Scout

Shoot with Otis From Peggi Lepage Model Scout

CLEO - with Raquel Reid. Styling by Brent Williams. Hair and make up by @chrissy_ak

Shoot with Demi. Styling by Brent Williams. Hair and makeup by @chrissy_ak

Shoot with models from PUSH Management. 

Shoot with Shannon Voisin From Peggi Lepage Model Scout. Styling by Ekta Ghosh. Jewellery from UPANDARMED. 


Thank you for making it to the bottom! I've done a couple more shoots recently but I'm going to make those separate posts. 

Enjoy!

I'M BACK - "Where TF you been?"

#RNSphotography

I haven't posted since May 2015. SO MUCH has changed since then. Some really cool things have happened since then.

Before anything else I want to thank you for checking out my blog and my work. Whether this is the first thing you're seeing or you've been following since the beginning I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for the support. 

These are the things that have changed:

  1. Right now I'm sitting in a photography lab at Sheridan College in Oakville. I'm studying towards a Bachelors of Applied Photography.

    That's huge for me. I've wanted to study art for the longest time and always felt I couldn't do it but I'm here! I'm loving it. One day on my way to Humber I was sitting on a bus listening to "The 4 Hour Work Week" audiobook by Tim Ferris. I've listened to that book many times but this time was different. Instead of just listening, I truly understood what he was saying and I realized that life is short and it shouldn't be wasted. That's when I made the decision to take the risk and go to school for photography. It has been THE SMARTEST thing I've ever done.
     
  2. I've done a lot of cool work with some really cool people.

    Right after I graduated from Humber one of my goals was to start shooting with agency models. I searched up a bunch of local agencies and I called them on the phone. I was super nervous. Since then I've worked with beautiful people from Plutino, Peggi Lepage and Angies models. I've learned so much from talking with the agents and I know all the experiences I've had are setting a strong foundation for my future. 
     
  3. I recently decided to pursue running again (pun intended).

    This happened just last week. I used to run A LOT. It was around the time I got kicked out of Ryerson. There were times I would run for two hours without stopping. I now realize that I was using running as a way to escape the world I was in and forget the problems I was dealing with. Spending so much time running probably just created more problems, but that's in the past now. 

    I'm not running anymore. I'm chasing. 

    Now I'm not trying to escape anything. I have nothing to fear. 
     
  4. I'm working a lot more on expressing myself through my work.

    It has taken a long time to get here but I'm getting closer to understanding who I am and what I want to give to the world. Hopefully you'll see a shift in my upcoming work.

Darcy D.

IMG_20150514_222132.jpg

Hello! It's been a little while since I've written a post. Truth is I wrote a really long and personal post on my phone but I didn't save it properly and it was all deleted. Life, am I right? 

Here are photos from my shoot with model/actor Darcy D. Everything about this shoot went really well. The last shot where Darcy is shirtless was a little bit of a challenge to get because I was racing the sun as it was setting but I think it worked out pretty well. I'm really happy with what we got and I think that in terms of photography in general I'm beginning to develop a style and aesthetic of my own. Looking through my work now it feels all over the place but that'll slowly change. Hopefully in the next coming weeks and months you'll be able to see series of photos that flow together starting to form and not just one off pictures that stand on their own. 

My friend, Anna (from thereshegoes on youtube) helped assist me. We went to the location a couple hours early and walked around. We found ourselves under bridge that the go train passes over. The girders were so low that we were able to climb up and walk on them. Pretty scary. I'm not incredibly afraid of heights but that was scary just because there's nothing preventing you from falling. It was especially frightening when the train passed over the bridge. I felt my knees starting to give way because of the fear lol I even tried going yoga breathing just to calm myself. When I was up there it was like I was living a moment from an old movie. I live for that stuff. That experience was cut short because the police came to kick out these kids climbing on the other side of the bridge and we took that as a sign to run away. 

Model: Troy Thurston from Hello Amora

I couldn't be happier with how these photos turned out. I'm using one of them as the first picture you see when you open my print portfolio. The shoot was a challenge since we were shooting outdoors and I was assistant-less but we made it work! Check out Troy's band Hello Amora as they go up against other band's to play at Warped Tour! 

Nicole Pacilla & BeautyIsBold

Part 2 of me and Saira's (BeautyIsBold) series of shoots! This time with model Nicole Pacilla. Getting all the equipment to the location we had was a challenge but I don't think I would work that hard for anything else.

Do what you love. If you're going to bet on anyone, make sure you can bet on yourself. Pow!

Anais Rozencwajg & BeautyIsBold

Hello! It's been a little while but I've been working on things with school and other projects. Today I want to show you these photos that Saira (BeautyIsBold) and I worked on with awesome model/ actress/ director Anais Rozencwajg! Saira and I had two free days last week so we hustled to organize a bunch of shoots during those times. These photos are from the first one of four sessions that we did. 

Thanks for checking out the photos :) It means a lot. Be sure to check out the BeautyIsBold and Anais, as well! 

P.S. Would anyone care if I made a youtube channel? 

Dr. Marten's used my photo and got 20000+ IG likes without crediting me!

I'm not even mad. We took these photos knowing they were going to go into our portfolios. The fact that they used them is good enough in my books. 

It was so cold that after we were done we burned out props for warmth. Definitely one of those "is this really happening?" moments. Loved every minute of it. 

IG: @craigbagol

Clearly, the concept behind these photos (below) is conformity and fitting in. I'm just going to be real with all of this but I find that even though everyone is different there are still so many ideas or paradigms that we share. Personally, the biggest thing I'm struggling with is the idea that we have to live life safely. To me, that means going to school for something that makes money instead of pursuing something I'm truly passionate about. As crazy as it sounds I'm one of those people that wants to make their part time hustle their full time job. I don't understand why our thoughts and our society or culture holds us back from pursuing a life we want. This comes from a place of being around so many people that are doing things day in and day out, not because they enjoy it but because they have to. I mean sure you have to do things to get by because your passion isn't enough to support you (it isn't for me right now either) but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try? Maybe I'm just an idealist? I believe that you deserve a life of happiness. Recognition. Acceptance. Passion. Gratitude. Those are things I feel when I do what I enjoy. If you're good enough it'll eventually include money. It's so tough. There's no cookie cutter way to the life you want. It's smart to do what keeps you safe but some of the most successful people didn't do what was safe. To stand out you need to do what other people aren't doing so why think like everyone else? 

For me, I'm stuck right now. I have to do something that will support me even though I don't enjoy it. I think the best thing I could tell myself is to just do my best in everything that's going on. Keep your options open. It'll take longer but eventually things will happen and you'll get to where you want to be.

Here's the awesome team that took these photos with me:

Stylists: http://www.stellaandvik.com/
Models: Kevin Crane & Maria V.
Photo Assistant: Daniel Dortas 

**Update**
We took these photos in a crazy location and it was super cold. At one point we were walking over ice that covered a deep flow of water and we didn't know if it was strong enough to support us. Looking back that was a really bad idea lol. One of us could have fallen in but at the time that wasn't really a concern. At least for me, it wasn't. The passion and wanting to get the pictures took over and that's all I was thinking about. Here's to more bad ideas and awesome photos!

"Mind Schedule" / You're not a robot

I've been all over the place. I find that I've spent more time trying to figure out what needs to be done instead of actually getting things done. I can't stand it anymore so I came up with this. I don't know if this exists already (I'm sure it does) but I call it a Mind Schedule. 

How it works is each colour represents a general theme that you have to work on. For example, I have school, photography, non-profit organization, fitness, social media and relaxing/reading/movie/tv watching on mine. Each of those correspond to their own colour. The purpose of this is to give you a general structure to your entire day. It helps you effectively focus your attention and time on one thing as apposed to trying to juggle so many things at once. You're able to focus on the one thing because everything else already has it's own dedicated time slot. It will be take care of! 

I got this idea because just like when you're in school you have a schedule to follow. Your class time is dedicated to following along in the class (or a job). You focus on that one thing. Now just image if you managed to be that productive in all of the other aspects of your life. I know there's thing you want to do for the new year. It just started. Use this to help you and hopefully that helps!

If you think you'll turn into a boring robot by following this keep reading. That's not the case at all.

So, I'm a creative person. I used to make decisions by "going wherever the wind blows" or doing whatever I wanted at the time. It was nice but that fantasy ended quickly. As things kept piling up I realized that I needed structure in order to do the things I want to do and become the person I want to be. When I first made this, I looked at it and it made me feel like I'm getting old. Like the child in me died and got replaced with a boring old man. 

A very good friend of mine helped me see that that isn't the case at all. I'm not crazy. I'm not a robot. What I'm doing is something that needs to be done and it's helping me accomplish all things on my to do list. This schedule is just a tool. I'm not losing my freedom. I'm providing myself a way to have much more freedom than I ever had. 

Multitasking doesn't work. Make a mind schedule and let me know how it goes!

BTS Photos / Doing what you love.

I love seeing photos of the work in progress. I asked myself why I like them so much (I reflect a lot) and I think it's because they remind me of where I started. I used to use plants as my models to test different types of lighting. My first "studio background" was a white cloth I bought at Fabricland and hung up using a PVC rod I made that attached to my tripod (Right). I would DIY so many things because I couldn't afford them and didn't know how to use them. I was so proud of my gear at the time that I posted a picture of it (Right). That's only one light stand, tripod and my DIY PVC things that I built. Now I literally have like 7 light stands and no need for that PVC mess because I have the real thing. 

I still say that if you told me I would have all of these things or be doing all of the things I do now I wouldn't believe you. It's kind of like I'm living a dream. I'm really happy I'm able to even say that. Maybe that's what happens when you do something you love.

These behind the scenes photos are from a shoot with clothing designer Richard Le. More photos will be up soon. The photos below are from Richard (@richardbyrichardle) and Veronica (veroni_cuh), one of the models.

2014 Recap - New Year New Me

Hello beautiful people! It's been a while but I wanted to take some time to really reflect on the past year and think about how to make this new year the best one yet. This year was great! In terms of photography, I met and worked with really talented people. Most of my portrait portfolio pieces are from shoots done in 2014 which is awesome! School was pretty good too. I managed to get a higher average than I was expecting and managed to reignite my desire to put effort into my studies. (If you know me, you know I used to barely try in school. I'm in Electrical Engineering at Humber if you didn't know already) So two of the biggest things in my life are going pretty well and I'm thankful for that. 

To reflect on the year I asked myself three things:

  1. Did I do everything I set out to do at the beginning of the year? 
  2. How can I improve and add to my list for this year?
  3. (The most important one) What have you succeed at? (the little things especially)

If you haven't already thought about any of these I strongly suggest that you WRITE THEM DOWN! Writing them down makes it real and will help you focus. I was never really one for new years resolutions but I they've been incredibly helpful. 

I'm going to share my "new years resolutions" with you. 

  • Run a half marathon and be more healthy. Two years ago I used to run. A LOT. I used to run for hours. I ran because I needed a way to clear my mind and just relax. Since I was running so much I figured I might as well do a half marathon but eventually those problems went away and I had no use for running anymore. I've been focusing more on body building lately (which has worked) but now I want to do complete the race for myself. To do something I said I would do but haven't finished. 
  • New hobby. Calligraphy! I think that's what it's called or maybe typography. Regardless, I just bought a brush pen and used it to make the "New Year New Me" picture! Now don't expect me to be making pretty cursive letters. You should know I have terrible, doctor writing. I've heard that an artist should do art that represents them and not a style of anything they've seen so I'm using it as a way to express myself and hopefully that will flow into my photography work too.
  • I have two photo projects that I want to do every month. One is to add to the portfolio but do more creative things. You know, a model standing in front of the camera is all good but there isn't any substance. When people see my work I want them to feel something. I want to inspire emotions and tell stories. The second project is to eat more food and take pictures of myself doing it! I've been thinking I should start a food blog that incorporates my interest in food and photography. I'm super excited to do that and share it with everyone!
  • Be more wise with moneyyyyyy!!!!!!! I can't be the only one that's thought "Man if only I didn't spend that $5 2 weeks ago". I spend a lot of money on food at school. The laziness and unwillingness to get up early has been killing my wallet but no longer! (hopefully)
  • Read more. I hate reading but smart and successful people read and if I want to be like them I should read too! Right?! Well I also want to become a better writer and see how other people tell stories in hopes of improving my story telling abilities. If I'm going to have a food blog I better be able to write!
  • Stay neat and organized. For the longest time my room has been a DISASTER. I was turning into a hoarder like on TV. I straightened everything out (desk, school supplies, clothes) and got all my gear in order so now I just have to maintain it. I've put so much work into it that when things get messy I feel to urger that I just HAVE to clean up now. 
  • Network. I've realized recently that networking is the one of the major keys to success. I'll save that for another blog but basically the say "it's about who you know, not what you know" may not be 100% true in all cases but it never hurt to know a lot and also know a lot of people.
  • Make time to for myself to relax and recharge. This year I went crazy with doing a lot of different things. My mind was all over the place and it was hard to manage. I now realized that you need to make time for yourself. A good friend said something along the lines of "you want to do all these great things but in order to do them you need to make sure that you're okay". That couldn't be more true. You work to live. You don't live to work. 

That's all for now folks! Hopefully you've gained something and maybe even got some inspiration for your new years resolutions. I'd love to read what you're resolutions are (comment below)! 

Make 2015 your BITCH! 

Real Talk Hour 3 - You're Only Human

As I learn more about the industry I come across other people that are making it. They do good work and are getting the recognition they deserve and that's great! But for some reason my first thought is to copy them. Why? Is it because I'm so anxious to be successful? Maybe to finally get the acceptance and recognition I want? 

Recently my mindset has shifted. I could be one of those photographers that just pictures of pretty girls or I can be myself. I want to be different. In a world where we're all connected there are a lot of people doing the same stuff differently. Why can't we just do different things? My life hasn't been be like anyone else's. How I grew up, my family, friends, experiences and all of that is unique to me. There needs to be a way to mash all those things together and create.

Sometimes you just need to stop and breathe. You're only human. You may think you're indestructible but you're not. Be patient. You'll probably fall down a lot and that's just part of it. 

Model: Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams and I recently got together again to capture photos that were a little different than the shoot we first did. Here are some images from that shoot:

Brandon actually approached me with the concept for this new photo shoot. He said he wanted to do something in a dark, run down location. He also wanted to wear a suit that would help create more emphasis on him with the contrast of sophisticated to dirty. I loved the idea so we got to it right away. From exploring with some friends I met from long boarding, I knew the perfect location. 

The difference between this shoot and the others, and the reason why I'm so proud of this shoot, is because we worked together to create some sort of story. My previous work has just been people standing in front of a camera and while there's nothing wrong with that I want to do more with my work. If you have a story I could help tell connect with me! 

Brandon was awesome in this shoot. He braved the cold while we set up, was really easy to work with and was able to give me good poses quickly. Here are ways to connect with Brandon:

Website: www.brandonrwill.com
Instagram / Twitter : @brandonrwill

 

How to step up your Social Media GAME, son!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion with some amazing people that work in social media marketing. They work with some huge companies like Yahoo, Virgin Mobile, MasterCard and Wonderland to name a few. They gave us a bunch of tips on how to utilize social media in more effective ways for business. Thanks to HumberLaunch for hosting such an awesome event! Below are the things I wrote down. Hopefully they help! Let me know how it goes (@cbagol - Twitter)

  • You need to engage the people that engage with you. Show them that you appreciate them for viewing and interacting with your posts. 
  • Don't just yell and hope people will listen. People will listen and appreciate it more when you talk with them one on one.
  • See what your competitors are doing and be different from them. You'll get noticed more often.
  • Be a business or be a human? You need to find a balance that makes sense for your brand. Some businesses require less of a personality. Some do. 
  • Post things that are relevant to customers but matter to you, as well. Don't just post things just for the sake of posting. 
  • Quality >>>> quantity/frequency
  • Ask yourself who are you trying to reach out to and what is the best way to do it?
  • You need to invest in social media. Monetary wise or with time. 
  • If you have a $0 budget for social media play to your strengths and cross promote with other brands. 
  • Engage and show your appreciation for people that are passionate about the brand. They can be turned into brand ambassadors. 
  • Find what makes you different and take advantage of it.
  • You don't have to use all the different types of social. Do what works best for you. Stick it a few and do them well. 
  • Tailor the things you post to social media to each platform. Each platform can be used to target a different demographic. 
  • Have a solid personal brand and build a good following for yourself. You can use it to leverage yourself over others. 
  • Marketing yourself serves your personal brand. 
  • Be specific when you reach out to other people to connect. Why are you talking to them? What's your purpose?
  • Facebook ads are super important.  Using Twitter is super important.

Here are the people that were speaking:
 

  •       Edwin Frondozo- Marketing & Business Development for Slingshot, @drgnmeme
  •       Shannon Hunter, Social Media Manager for Virgin Mobile Canada, @shananigans
  •       Alanna Glicksman- Digital Marketing and Community Manager at MasterCard Canada, @aglicksman
  •       Shannon Kelly- Manager of Public Relations and Special Events at Canada's Wonderland , @shankell
  •       Lindsay Lynch- Entertainment and Lifestyle for Yahoo Canada, @lindsaylynch
  •       Melissa Feeney- Social Media Manager for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), @melissafeeney
  •        Sophie McNabb- Social Media Strategist, @sophiemara88