Iceland to America: Tom Terlaak

Iceland has always been interesting, especially as a Photographer. The insane landscapes and how different a place can feel and look only 10 minutes away is what drew us both in.
Name: Tom Terlaak
Occupation: Sales at Commonfolk Coffee / Photographer
Hometown: Somerville, Mornington Peninsula
Destinations: Edinburgh, London, Iceland, Maryland, Seattle, Portland, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Chicago, Detroit, Windsor (Canada), Toronto, Boston, New York, LA


Where have you been travelling to recently?
This trip was first planned around out going to our friends wedding in Seattle, we decided why not do a little more while we are half way around the world. So Danny and I started talking about Iceland and doing a photography show.

Why did you choose these places?
Iceland has always been interesting, especially as a Photographer. The insane landscapes and how different a place can feel and look only 10 minutes away is what drew us both in. The sheer isolation of a country that has only 350,000 people is insane too. Traveling to America was a mix of seeing friends ad exploring one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. I don’t think America gets enough credit as a beautiful place, people tend to think of it as a concrete jungle but it is much much more than that.

Did you go with anyone?
I went with my good mate DannyDot, Daniel Francesco, Danny Milo, #Dannyontheedge, The Paleo Gunshow (@danny.millo)….. the guy has a lot of nicknames. Danny is an extremely talented Wedding and Travel photographer and was the biggest influence on my photography (I even bought my first big kid camera off him). We both travel really well together, both want to see and do similar things, both have the same style of travel where we just wing it each day, not knowing where we will end up.

What was your soundtrack to your travels?
Heaps of stuff, loving heaps of Blood Orange, Knxwledge, NxWorries, Ainslie Wills, Boomgates, Dick Diver, The Cool Kids, Foals. But a go to massive playlist we have playing most days in The Snakehole never goes wrong when you are stuck on what to play.

What was your favourite cameras/ lens/ gear to use?
Canon 5d mk2 at the moment, thinking about making a change soon though, love the things Sony and Fuji are doing with mirrorless technology. Love the Sigma art lenses though, I pretty much shoot with the Sigma Art 35mm all the time. It is so sharp and clean, love it and it is under $1000 for a killer lens, recommend highly.

What were your travel essentials?
Headphones: Great for planes and trains, but also when you just need a little alone time, you can shut the world out while your mate is driving and zone right out.
Internet: Everywhere I go first thing is getting a sim card with a million GB of data. It’s your map, guide, planner, social media, everything to help you do what the locals do.
Camera: Duh

Any hiccups along the way?
Always, the nature of not really planning ahead will do that. A great one was us leaving a friends apartment in Edinburgh one morning to catch the train to London. We had a 20 minute walk with packs on and we managed to arrive on the platform with 1 minute to spare. However the conductor asked to see our tickets as we watched the doors close and the train leave without us. 1 minute early is apparently late in Scotland he said, so we had to purchase another ticket for £200, not ideal traveling on a budget, but a ripper story. Another one is me missing my flight home so getting an extra 24 hours in LA, got some good shots so its worth it hey?

Any advice for budding travel photographers?
Do it because you love it, not for the money. Everyone sees the amazing Instagram post and thinks the lifestyle is travel all year round, chasing the fun times and sunshine, reality is it can be tough trying to fund your travel. I found working full time in coffee and only having 4 weeks of leave tough, but it means I try to very efficient with my leave and pack heaps in all in one go. My goal is to travel more and shoot more, if I can reduce the cost by running shows that’s great, but my drive isn’t to make money.

Is this your first exhibition?
I had a show last year at The Nook called ‘Subways and Sidewalks’ featuring my shots from New York. It went really well and i realised I love seeing my work in large format. I feel shooting for an exhibition really gave my work some focus and direction. This time around was interesting shooting landscapes rather than buildings, nice to keep thing interesting.

What’s the story behind the exhibition name?
Good old Google translate. RADLJOST means ‘enough light to navigate’. It seemed to fit, as photographers we are always chasing light, we are the idiots praying for cloud on wedding days. When we were in Iceland it was Summer so the days where like 22 hours of light and never truly dark. This meant amazing extended sunrise and sunsets which were amazing to shoot, and alternatively 10 hours of blearing noon which without cloud was a nightmare to shoot in. Fun though.

When and where is your exhibition?
The Exhibition runs from the 3rd of February at The Nook Gallery in Mornington, my desk space is at the back of the building in The Snakehole making things easy. We will have 60 total pieces between Danny and I, and the show will run for a week. Opening night we have some amazing Gin cocktails provided by our sponsors Four Pillars Gin, and some tasty beers from Mornington Peninsula Brewery. Thanks to our other sponsor too @palms_and_pines_agency who provided us with heaps of amazing Hurley gear to wear and shoot on our trip.


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