Brinson+Banks on shooting an image library for Samsung in Hawaii and Iceland

“When we aren’t working, we’re dreaming up our next trip. Often, that’s just a couple of days exploring California in our VW Westfalia van with our dogs,” explain Brinson+Banks, who share their adventures on Instagram with the hashtag #WestCoastExplorersClub and on their website. “So last fall, when the amazing team at Edelman reached out to us to create images for them using Samsung Galaxy phones, and could shoot anywhere, we said what if rent a VW van and bring the #WestCoastExplorersClub to Kauai, Hawaii?

“They said yes, and until we landed at Lihue airport and hopped into our rented retro VW Westfalia, we couldn’t believe it was true. We were working our dream job—exploring a beautiful place with our cameras and taking advantage of the environment and light to create photos.

“Then, a couple of months later, Samsung got in touch and said, ‘Hey, do it again! But this time, with snow!’ So in January, we rented a 4×4 truck with a camper and toured the ring road in frozen Iceland. We photographed waterfalls and hot springs, and glaciers and an ice cave, and were just stunned and inspired by the awesome landscapes there.”

Below, some of the highlights from both shoots, plus a glimpse behind the scenes. See more of Brinson+Banks’ travel photography here.


Water crashes along the rocky shore, and jagged peaks rise in the opposite direction at Stokksnes, a headland on the southeastern Icelandic coast, near the town of Hofn and the Hornafjördur fjord. This image was shot on Auto at 64 ISO at 1/100th of a sec. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

Our arrival to Iceland was greeted in darkness, as this time of yea there is only 4.5 hours of daylight. After picking up our camper truck, we crossed the snow-covered lava fields at first light to reach the country’s most famous tourist destination, the Blue Lagoon. After stripping down and showering, we entered the lagoon’s vast and toasty geothermal heated water as steam rose from our bodies and the mineral rich clay squished beneath our toes. It is truly a proper welcome to the country. Shot on Pro Mode at 50 ISO at 1/120th of a sec. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

We arrived at Seljalandsfoss waterfall at night and shot long exposures of the falls against the night sky (on Pro Mode). The next morning, we were able to traverse the wet wooden stairway and slippery rocks to follow the path underneath the falls, shown here. On our next pass by this epic landmark, those same steps and stones were covered in sheets of ice that made the magical path beneath the falls impassible. This image was shot on Pro Mode at 50 ISO for a 10 sec exposure. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

We fell in love with this cute snowman while all the other tourists turned their lenses in the opposite direction towards Geysir, sometimes known as The Great Geysir, the first known to modern Europeans. The English word geyser derives from Geysir. Shot on Pro Mode at 100 ISO at 1/180th of a sec in the snow. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

Our local guide spoke of legends of trolls in love as the four-wheel-drive monster truck of a van she drove plummeted off-road towards the Vatnajökull glacier. Our small band included a couple from Japan traveling the world for one year and a soon-to-be world renowned opera singer, who belted out a few notes before leaving the our destination at one of Iceland’s famous ice caves. The windows of our off-road beast fogged as the first burning pink rays peaked over the mountains. The caves are stunning once inside, their compact ice ceilings and walls an unearthly blue due to the lack of oxygen. The weather and luck were with us as a freezing river sometimes fills the floor of the cave. This image was shot on Pro Mode at 1/4th of a sec at 50 iso. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

The small peninsula, or promontory, Dyrhólaey is located on the south coast of Iceland, not far from the village Vík. It was formerly an island of volcanic origin, which is also known by the Icelandic word eyja meaning island. The oceanside promontory’s majestic panoramic views stretch miles in either direction. This image was shot on Pro Mode at 50 ISO at 1/750th of a sec. Photo and caption by Brinson+Banks.

Photo by Brinson+Banks.

Welcome to Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Brinson+Banks.

Photo by Brinson+Banks.

Photo by Brinson+Banks.

Photo by Brinson+Banks.

Photo by Brinson+Banks.

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As I start packing for our upcoming trip to Iceland (how many layers is too many layers?), where we will be exploring the country in a truck with a camper, I can't help but reminisce about our trip to Kauai last summer. We rented a VW Westfalia and explored and camped in jungles and next to epic cliffs and by the ocean. We ate meals we prepared in the van with our headlamps on as wild chickens ran right outside the open door. There's no better way to get to know a place than to get out on foot and that's a lot easier when this is the view you wake up to. I can't wait for our next adventure @davidwalterbanks @brinsonbanks! Shot on the #GalaxyS7 for @SamsungMobileUSA #kauai #hawaii #homeiswhereyouparkit #sponsored #westcoastexplorersclub

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