Travel Journal: Iceland

If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: founder Tracy Foster recently jetted over to Iceland for a long weekend with her husband and her Antique Cognac Leather Bowery camera bag. Here’s a look at what they experienced as they braved the chill on this gorgeous little island in the Atlantic.

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While we weren’t lucky enough to see the Northern Lights (one of our big hopes for the trip), we were still blown away by the stunning natural beauty of Iceland. With only a few hours of daylight each day to explore, there was more than enough to see and do in this country of about 300,000 people in an area the size of Ohio. Sticking to adventures in Reykjavik and the Southern Coast, we were astonished at the sight of black sand beaches, basalt columns, rushing waterfalls and snow-covered scenery as far as the eye could see.

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The black sands and natural column-period rock formations of Reynisfjara Beach were simply otherworldly; a dusting layer of snow and the absence of other people contributed to the ethereal feel of the Icelandic coast.

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I was so excited to spend a little time with these adorable Icelandic horses that we encountered along the side of Ring Road. Native to Iceland, the small and hardy breed dates back to Viking Age Scandinavians. No other horses are allowed in the country, and exported horses are never allowed to return, maintaining the purity of this beautiful animal.

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Even though there were only four and half hours of daylight each day, driving down the southern coast was a pure winter wonderland. The streets, coated with snow and ice, made for a somewhat daunting but truly unforgettable ride.

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7D1A6251Surrounded by ice and snow, the mighty Skogafoss Waterfall looked and felt nearly celestial.

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Dog sledding at Skálafell was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. A fresh covering of snow made the trek a bit challenging for the huskies, but they seemed to love every minute, jumping up with excitement and anticipation every time the musher called. My fingertips are (literally) still numb from the five degree chill.

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Heading back to the airport, wishing we could extend the trip, we enjoyed views of a less snowy but still beautiful terrain. Thank you for an awesome (but far too brief!) adventure, Iceland. Until next time.

Where ONA Goes: Norway with Mark Weinberg

Each ONA bag is named after a place that founder Tracy Foster has traveled, all the way from Camps Bay in South Africa (where she came up with the idea for ONA) to her favorite neighborhoods in New York, like Brooklyn and Chelsea. The entire ONA team loves to travel, and we adore living vicariously through our customers who take ONA bags to new and beautiful places.

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg is one of our favorite photographers to follow for beautiful New York City images: he has a way of infusing romance and mystery into the skyscrapers, sidewalks and subway. But we were simply stunned by how gorgeous his photos turned out from a recent trip to Norway: rolling green hills, rushing rivers, breathtaking vistas, homes that are the very definition of quaint. Mark Weinberg + ONA Brixton in Norway

Mark carries the ONA Brixton Messenger Bag in Smoke.

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg + ONA Brixton in Norway

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg + ONA Brixton in Norway

Norway by Mark Weinberg

Mark Weinberg + ONA Brixton in Norway

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For more photos of Mark’s travels through Norway, check out his feature on VSCO.

 

Retailer Profile: Leica Store Miami

Although we sell directly from our website, ONA also partners with select retail stores throughout the United States and the world to sell ONA camera bags and accessories. Our retail partnerships expose us to a larger audience, as well as allow people to feel the bags before purchasing. Over the past few years, we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know our retailers and their customers and experience how they’re adapting to the changing world of photography. We wanted to give you a glimpse into these stores, and highlight each retailer’s unique personality.

ONA + Leica Store MiamiWe’re particularly grateful for our retail partnership with Leica: we’re currently sold in the Leica Store Washington DC (since it opened in May 2012 as the first dedicated Leica store in the United States), Leica Store SoHo and Leica Store Los Angeles. However, we were lucky enough to partner with the Leica Store Miami during the Miami Street Photography Festival; we were blown away by the store’s beautiful aesthetic, large gallery space and incredibly friendly and knowledgeable employees.

ONA + Leica Store Miami

David and Juliana Farkas, owners of Dale Photo & Digital, opened the Leica Store Miami in February 2013–congratulations on the upcoming one-year anniversary!

Located at 372 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables with more than 2,000 square feet, the Leica Store Miami features the entire range of Leica cameras, lenses and sport optics, a rotating gallery with shows from noted Leica photographers, a customer lounge and a selection of photography books for perusal and purchase. The store often hosts Leica Akadamie workshops, photographic lectures and hands-on demo events.

Sit back and relax with a made-to-order espresso, a glass of wine, German beer or a soft drink in the customer lounge. Meet and mingle with other Leica enthusiasts while thumbing through their growing collection of photography books, which are also available for sale.

David was kind enough to answer a few of ONA’s questions about the Leica Store Miami, as well as his own interest in photography:

ONA + Leica Store Miami

ONA + Leica Store Miami

How would you describe your store’s personality in one sentence?

A welcoming and friendly store where we encourage customers to not just look at what we have on demo, but to get hands-on.

ONA + Leica Store Miami

ONA + Leica Store Miami

For your own photography, what are your favorite types of photos to take?

I love travel and landscape photography, which are two very different experiences. For me, travel photography is all about exploring a new city on foot, camera in hand, attempting to capture the feeling and personality of the place – the people, the architecture, the textures, colors and culture. And with landscape photography, nothing can compare to the serenity of standing in some of the most beautiful places on earth, quietly waiting for the light and knowing that no image can ever compare to the beauty surrounding you at that very moment.

ONA + Leica Store Miami

ONA + Leica Store Miami

What keeps customers coming back?

All of us at Leica Store Miami are photographers ourselves. We take pride in our honest enthusiasm for photography and love of top-quality photographic products like Leica cameras and ONA Bags. Our customers know that they will always get friendly, straightforward advice and exceptional service catered to their photographic needs.

ONA + Leica Store Miami

ONA + Leica Store Miami

Where’s your favorite place to take a break in the neighborhood?

Coral Gables is such a great neighborhood with lots of restaurants, shops and boutiques and is very pedestrian-friendly. There is a cute little juice bar called The Market around the block from us. The folks that run the place are super nice and they make the best green smoothies.

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Photographer Profile: Tec Petaja

Ethereal is the first word that comes to mind when describing Tec Petaja’s photography: “extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world,” as the dictionary puts it. As a film shooter and wedding photographer, he’s particularly attuned to capturing natural light and beautiful landscapes, fleeting moments and lasting love.

Tec Petaja + ONA Leather BoweryTec carries the Leather Bowery in Antique Cognac.

ONA: How did you get into photography/videography?

TP: After graduating high school I traveled throughout India and Nepal for 3 months with a mission program called YWAM. While I was there I had an old 35mm camera that my parents gave me and I shot as much as I could and had everything developed while I was in Nepal. It’s funny because some of those images are still my favorite images and it was an old lab that processed everything. I couldn’t tell you to this day what the lab was called. Now I use Richard Photo Lab which I love.

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

TP: My go-to camera is the Contax 645 with the 80mm 2.0 Carl Zeiss lens along with the Contax G2 which is a 35mm.

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?

TP: I’m the most creative when I traveling. If I don’t have anything planned I think of places I dream of and start putting together a trip as well as lifestyle shoots I could do along the way. My dream project is working alongside Travel & Leisure shooting a destination for them. My big trip this year is Iceland. I’ve dreamed of that place for a couple years now.

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

TP: The business of it all! If I could just shoot and not have to deal with anything else I would love that but that’s just part of owning your own business.

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

TP: Natural. Because I shoot film I try and find the beauty of natural light which I love.

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

Tec Petaja + ONA

ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?

TP: Hire your weakness. A few years back I finally hired an accountant and it’s been something I don’t need to worry about nor think about which allows me to focus on my strengths.

Tec Petaja + ONA Leather Bowery

Tec Petaja + ONA Leather Bowery

Tec Petaja + ONA Leather Bowery

ONA: How did you hear about us?

TP: This past summer I was in the Leica store in Los Angeles and I noticed ONA Bags and became obsessed with them! I love a good bag and so far my Bowery has been perfect.

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What’s in Mat Rick’s Brixton

Between product and lifestyle photo shoots, we have plenty of chances to experiment with how much gear can fit in each ONA and how to style each bag. But we’re always inspired and impressed by how real-life ONA owners manage to make the bags work for them (keep sharing your photos with us on social media!), so we decided to highlight how some of our favorite photographers make their bag work for them.

Mat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin Conger

Mat Rick is an editorial and commercial photographer based in San Francisco. After working on the business side of media and publishing for 10 years, he finally gave in to his life-long love of photography that started the moment his archaeologist dad put one of his old 35mm SLR’s into his hands more than 20 years ago. He left his position as Director of Business Development at The Bold Italic and picked up the camera for good. He’s passionate about film, digital and mobile photography–whatever lets him capture the moment. Although he admits to taking too many photos of his dogs, as long as he keeps putting his corgi in his Brixton–we don’t mind!

Corgi in ONA Brixton Bag, by Mat Rick

What's in Mat Rick's ONA Brixton Bag

Here’s the all-purpose gear that Mat carries in his Field Tan Brixton Messenger Bag:

  • Canon 5D MkIII camera
  • Lenses: Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II
  • Mamiya 7II medium format camera with 80mm f/4
  • Kodak Portra and Fuji Velvia film
  • Apple iPad
  • Tascam DR-007 MkII for digital sound

What's in Mat Rick's ONA Brixton Bag

Here’s what Mat carries for day of shooting film:

  • Mamiya 7II medium format camera with 80mm f/4
  • Yashica Electro GSN 35mm Rangefinder
  • Polaroid SLR 680 SE instant camera

Mat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin Conger

Mat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin CongerMat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin CongerMat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin CongerMat Rick and his ONA Brixton Bag, photo by Erin Conger

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Note: photos of Mat were taken by Erin Conger