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At the beginning of 2014 a friend of mine, Charlie Turnbull, who works as an international adventure guide for a company called World Challenge proposed that we share a journey. As a man who has rafted from Mongolia to Russia, scaled mountain peaks in South America and tamed the rapids of the Grand Canyon, I knew his adventure wouldn’t revolve around the realms of easy & short....or warm, as I would soon discover.
Charlie Turnbull in the Icelandic Highlands
Inspired by a previous mission completed by fellow Australian adventurer Alastair Humphreys, Charlie informed me he planned to cross Iceland on foot and by kayak with another friend Oliver Chiswell. A journey that would take roughly 20 days to complete and would see us experience the full wrath of the Icelandic weather conditions. If not enough, this trip was also to be preceded by a ten day, 600km cycle from the north of Finland through the fjords of Norway to the artic circle city of Tromso.
En-route to Norway through the never-ending stretches of Finnish woodland
I was invited to join the duo as a filmmaker, on board to capture the journey from beginning to end and eventually create an episode-based documentary. I knew during preparations that my gear would have to be reliable and tough as it would inevitably take a beating. To capture the cinematic landscapes as best I could I decided to upgrade my regular DSLR rig to something with more dynamic range. The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera was an easy choice due to its price, size and gorgeous picture quality. To cope with the large amounts of footage I’d be capturing and the inability to dump it during the trips, I relied solely on the Atomos Ninja Blade along with 3 SSDs. Of course I also had my trusty on-camera RØDE mics (VideoMic Pro and Stereo VideoMic Pro with accompanying DeadCats) I had constructed not only a reliable and quality rig, but also one made entirely by Australian companies.
Capturing the solitude of one of Iceland’s many waterfalls
Throughout the course of a seven week journey we experienced snow, gale-force wind, relentless rain, waterfalls, broken camping gear, capsized boats, two degree water and the B-camera bag getting soaked! My rig was thrown into the midst of it all, I was there to shoot and whenever the weather permitted my camera was out of its bag. The camera body, lenses, EVF and microphones all got wet from rain and sleet, every turning component would grind and crunch from being littered with dust and dirt. Condensation haunted every glass element and freezing temperatures ate away at my battery life. But bar a few scratches and a broken lens protector, nothing faltered or died throughout the entire trip and the footage eventually found itself a safe home on a laptop after crossing Iceland.
Sam Brumby is a Sydney-based filmmaker, musician and producer. As a member of the RØDE team he curated and produced every component of the "Live at Clevelands" music series. Currently Sam is now shooting the "Tales to Tell" series in far northern Australia for Toyota.