In Destination Adventures

Through the Lens: The Master Photographer Behind Our ‘All Exclusive’ Campaign

Our recently unveiled “All Exclusive” campaign is designed to encompass all the wonder of traveling the world in the utmost luxury that is inclusive with a Crystal vacation, and exclusive to a Crystal vacation. What truly brings this wonder to life and transports you to another place, somewhere on the vacation of your dreams, is the astounding and artful photography that punctuates this philosophy. Today, the masterful photographer behind the camera for those images, Erik Almås, is sharing a few of his favorites, and the stories that reach the ends of the earth – literally.

Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal's All Exclusive campaign
Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal’s All Exclusive campaign

Photographed to represent all the wine regions Crystal visits, this vineyard moment was captured right in my own back yard.

I’m from Norway, but I have established myself in the California Wine Country of Sonoma.

It was fall of 2015 and the harvest had taken place for most grape varietals in the northern hemisphere. Shortly after harvest, the vines lose their leaves and become barren. This is not ideal for a romantic moment, so it was with a true sense of urgency we needed to find the location and make this image happen. The very best option, when short on time, is to stay close to home. A 15 minute drive away from my house is this magical vineyard that became our location and representation for a very special Crystal moment.

Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal's All Exclusive campaign
Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal’s All Exclusive campaign

Among all the adventures I had in creating this campaign for Crystal, the one capturing this moment in New Zealand stands tall as the most extraordinary experience.

We had landed in Queenstown, on the south island, and from there drove four hours towards Fjordland, where we had a helicopter waiting to get us to our location. During our travels into New Zealand, the forecast had turned for the worse and when we arrived, our helicopter was grounded because of weather. In looking at the forecast and weighing our options for our four days in New Zealand we returned to the North Island and headed to Napier where the weather was better. Spending two days capturing images in what felt like The Shire from Lord of the Rings movies, we again turned south hoping for a clearing between the storms rolling in.

We arrived in Queenstown to massive rains and at this point, we were running out of time. Our last chance at capturing our moment on the mountain peaks was the very same morning as our flight onward to Argentina.

On that last day, we woke to a stunning morning and I boarded the helicopter with a big sense of relief. In our last three hours in New Zealand it would happen…

During our 90 minute helicopter ride, however, the clouds started rolling in again, pushed forward by the next storm. As the pilot let me down on the ground, the sky had clouded over with snow flurries in the air, but just as I stepped to the edge of the cliff the skies parted and the sun came through, creating what might be the most extraordinary moment I have had as a photographer.

The light and the drama unfolding over the next 20 minutes was just extraordinary. All the travel, waiting, and anticipation were worth it when standing among these lakes and mountains watching the sun trailing in and out of the clouds.

It quickly turned into dark clouds and the sun disappeared. But, those moments were all we needed and we were off to make our plane to Argentina.

Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal's All Exclusive campaign
Erik Almas Photography, Inc. for Crystal’s All Exclusive campaign

This image is to me the biggest visual surprise in the Campaign.

We arrived in Rome to create our photograph at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, but found them fenced in for renovation. The Trevi Fountain, however, had just finished its renovation and been unveiled the week prior. So, we joined the crowds to look at what might be one of the most spectacular landmarks of Rome. As we got there, there was barely space to walk on the streets, let alone get a glimpse of the actual fountain.

So, we set our alarm clocks and went back at 4:00 in the morning. With the fountain to ourselves, but for a few other photography enthusiasts, we got to create an image that, at night, lent a depth and mythology to the fountain and the surroundings that I found perfect for our moment on the scooter.

In improvising there’s always room for surprises and creativity and I feel this photograph speaks to this.

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