A product company, a coffee roaster, and an astrophotographer walk into an Icelandic bar..

A collaboration coffee with Onyx Coffee Lab and a custom Fellow Carter Move 360 with artwork of my images?!

I am beyond thrilled to announce I have teamed up with two of my favorite companies, Onyx Coffee Lab and Fellow, for an incredible collaboration. Earlier this year, Jake and Hannah from Fellow, Bear from Onyx and I traveled to Iceland in hopes of brewing coffee under the Northern lights.

The plan was to brew a special coffee that Onyx would release for the project using Fellow gear and a custom carter mug with artwork inspired by photography from Iceland.  Honestly, that still sounds insane to me to type that out! 

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A Bit of Background

If you've followed my work for any amount of time, I feel comfortable assuming you've seen me talking about or even making coffee somewhere along the way. It might've been a post in my stories about a new single origin coffee I picked up, making some coffee out of the back of my car in the middle of the desert, or one of the many photos of me enjoying a cup of coffee under the stars. While drinking coffee and staying up all night certainly go hand-in-hand, my love of coffee goes well behind fuel to stay awake. That's exactly what made this collaboration so exciting. 

When it comes to working with brands, I've been fortunate enough to be very selective. I'm a firm believer that the brands you choose to work with as an artist should be a bit of a reflection. Well before this project, I've not only used Fellow products and enjoyed Onyx Coffee at home, but I've brought them with me all over the world. So, getting the chance to work with both companies was a bit of a dream.

If you're not familiar, Onyx Coffee Lab roasts coffee out of the Ozarks in Arkansas and has long been regarded as one of the premiere coffee roasters with a lengthy list of awards to backup the claims.  

I first came across Fellow Products after replacing my at-home with their Stagg EKG kettle. I'm not sure if the awards came first or the wide-spread popularity, but the release of this kettle quickly saw it become a standard for coffee shops and baristas across the country. The design and quality of the kettle immediately made me a huge fan of the company and over time my coffee related gear was replaced one by one with equipment made by Fellow.               

The Gear I Used

Camera Bodies: (2) Sony A7SIII - Known for their lowlight capabilities and with good reason. This would be the main camera for the aurora video, dome footage, and any slow-motion during the day.

Everything was shot in 4K at either 24 or 60fps, 10 bit 4:2:2.  Depending on what I was shooting the ISO would range from 640 up to 12,800.

Sigma fp L - I ended up using this camera for some of the b-roll during the day. I love the color it produces and is incredibly compact when paired up with one of the Sigma I series lenses.

Lenses:  Sigma 14mm f1.8 DG HSM | ART , Sigma 24mm f1.4 DG HSM | ART , Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN | ART, Sigma 20mm DG DN | C

Memory Cards: PNY X-Pro 90 - I've trusted PNY memory cards for a good number of years now, so I was excited to check out their new v90 cards. The cards I brought along were the 256GB X-Pro v90 SD which has write speeds that are quite literally essential in capturing some of the higher quality settings in camera.

Lighting: Admittedly not something I use very often! For a while now, I've kept a LumeCube 2.0 in my bag for a number of situations. For this trip, I ended up bringing along 2 of the LumeCube Panel Pros. They're about the size of a cellphone, charged by USB, and provide the perfect amount of control to light the scenes at night. I used these inside the dome and while filming the aurora along the coast.

Editing: Dell XPS 17 9700 - I started editing this on the road (I was too excited not to look at the footage) and just kept editing right on my laptop. Nearly 2 years later and this was probably the most strenuous test for my XPS 17 yet. Everything was shot at 4K 10 bit 4:2:2. No proxy files. Those files are no joke to work with when it comes to processing and it handled it like a champ.

The only time I really ran in to much issue was after using Neat Video a little too early in the process. Those specific clips needed to have that turned off or just have the selection re-rendered out to display smoothly in Adobe Premiere.

Filming in the dome<br />
A7SIII - Sigma 24mm | A7SIII - Sigma 35mm <br />
PNY V-90 Memory Cards<br />
2 LumeCube RGB Panel Pro

Filming in the dome
A7SIII - Sigma 24mm | A7SIII - Sigma 35mm
PNY V-90 Memory Cards
2 LumeCube RGB Panel Pro

The Dream Shot

After filming the segments inside the dome (see video above), we wasted no time and made our way out. I had one location in mind that I knew for sure would work, but had an idea for a stop along the way.  

This coastal spot would be perfect for showing off the aurora that was becoming more and more active. We pulled up, grabbed all the equipment and prepped the coffee gear. I set up the first A7SIII with the Sigma 24mm f1.4 DG HSM | ART and the second with the more recent Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG DN | ART. 

I was first planning on using two of the LumeCube Panels to add a bit of light to Jake brewing from both sides, but the wind was ripping and had other plans. One light got knocked over, so I ended up just going with a single light that could be secured a bit easier.

There wasn't a lot of time for shooting and reshooting as the aurora wouldn't line up from shot to shot. So, this was all done in a single brew. This is definitely some of my favorite footage I've ever shot. I hope you enjoy it!                 

The Rest of the First Night

All of that, the dome and coastal aurora in the first night. Not a bad way to start the trip, right? 

The aurora died down for a short period of time while Bear and I were on our way to the Sellfoss area where our AirBNB was. As we got closer, I could see it slowly becoming more and more active again. It was incredibly difficult not to pull over on the way, but I knew there really wasn't much to shoot other than just the sky. Driving while the aurora is active seems like one of the dumbest things you can do, but sometimes you need to cover ground and get to your next location.

We made a quick stop at a few Elf Houses and then finally got to our destination. I ran shooting live video and a handful of stills in every direction. It was one of those moments that just felt like pure magic. I kept yelling to Bear in excitement. I was so excited to be sharing this awesome moment.

After a while, I ran and grabbed my Real Madrid Marcelo jersey and stood as still as possible in short sleeves with the single digit temps outside. My little tribute to a legend.

I think I set my last timelapse to start shooting around 4am. The aurora was moving quickly and flickering as well before slowly fading. Finally time to stop and get some rest.

Icelandic Weather

Weather for the rest of the trip took a sharp turn for the worse. Travel warnings and winds forecasted to hit over 80mph had us changing plans a bit. If you've never been to Iceland in the Winter, the most important thing to know is that whatever plans you have are likely to change and that Google Maps estimated travel time is a big lie. Travel commonly takes much much longer to rapidly changing conditions and often requires flexibility in your agenda.

We managed to do a bit of sight seeing during the day around the Golden Circle area while waiting on more severe weather in the Southern part of the country.  While there's so much to see in Iceland, the classics never get old.

While the weather improved the winds stayed quite strong. We made our way along the ring road to catch the iconic and breathtaking waterfalls Seljandafoss and Skogafoss while making our way to the black sand beach near Vik.

One Last Aurora Chase

I dropped the group off for their flights back home, but still had two nights in Iceland where I'd be traveling solo. After looking at the weather in different areas of the country, heading back toward Vik seemed like it would be my best chance at better weather and with any luck a bit of aurora.

After a night of mostly cloudy skies my last night delivered. I arrived at Skogafoss and had the place to myself (the joy of visiting in Winter).  

Night fell and the sky was perfectly clear. I snapped a few photos and then had nothing to do but wait.

After a few hours, I noticed the a slight tint appear in the sky. Sure enough, the aurora was starting to make an appearance. A few pillars here and there along with green and red visible in the sky. I've never had clear skies at night over Skogafoss, so I made sure to shoot a variety of compositions. 

Finally Time to Sleep

Normally when a project wraps up, the excitement of sharing the photos and videos start to set in. Having to not only wait to share all of the images and the epic aurora brew footage, but also wait to announce the collaboration has had me on the edge of my seat.

I want to send a huge thank you to everyone at Onyx and Fellow for being up for this idea and making it happen. It honestly didn't feel like I was traveling with a group of people I was meeting for the first time, but friends I had known for years. So, thank you to Bear, Hannah and Jake for being such awesome people. That really made this project even better. 

Be sure to swing check out the Fellow and Onyx websites to grab this special set while it's available! 

You can check out a full slide of images from our adventure below or check out the gallery here.

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