We are delighted to share an Exclusive Interview with Martien Janssen from Travel Imagez, as we are huge fans of his work. Martien very kindly took the time to do our interview whilst he was filming on Mount Bromo in Indonesia, where he was spending a full month working on a very cool photo & time lapse project, trying to capture ‘time’. Martien’s work has left us speechless each time we see his new videos and photography. You might have seen Martien’s work shared and published on some of these sites (BBC Earth, Bored Panda, Daily Mail UK, Flipboard) to name a few, with much of his content going viral many times. His work is completely on another level in fact in another dimension, the time, the efforts, the creativity the dedication is just incredible. If you love travel, film and photography please read on to get an insight into our favourite film and photography genius. With great honour we will now hand you over to Martien.
Hi, my name is Martien Janssen, I’m 38 and from Utrecht, The Netherlands. I started Travel Imagez early 2016, which is my platform where I share my travel tips and photography. I’m a photographer & filmmaker on a photography trip of a lifetime. In the following years, I plan to visit all 7 continents and, depending on my income, I’ll keep doing this for as long as possible.
How this all started. I went on my first trip in 2003, backpacking for a full year to Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. I bought my first digital camera, which were quite new then. It was a mind-blowing 1.3 megapixel camera, really crap for today’s standards. It was the most amazing year ever and it was where I got my taste of travel and photography.
It took me a couple of years to pay off my debt. I spent quite a bit, thinking that I might never have that chance again -bungee jumping here, skydiving there. Ever since that year, I always said that if I’d win the lottery, I’d quit my job the same day and go traveling, taking photos of our beautiful planet. I bought my first DSLR in 2008 and became very active in photography, although what I loved most was travel photography. I did a couple of 6-week trips the following years, but it just wasn’t enough. So a few years back I decided to do it again – travel for a full year. But at some point, I just realized that I didn’t need to win the lottery to live that dream life I wished for. If I would save up money, sell my things and work while traveling cheap, I could at least live that life for a couple of years.
So that’s where we are now. I travel to create – that’s my passion, not to visit as many countries as possible. Although I will be speeding up my travels, so far I’ve only visited the Philippines and Indonesia in the past 16 months. Yes, sounds a bit crazy, but totally unplanned – I ended up staying at Siargao island for 10 months. Living the ‘island life’ was an unexpected wish and Siargao was just an incredible place for me to focus on my work, shooting tons of photos for my time lapses. I was able to shoot some really stunning scenes thanks to that. Currently, I am at Mt Bromo, Indonesia, where I’m spending a full month working on a very cool photo & time lapse project, trying to capture ‘time’.
IMAGE: Bromo SkyPattern
Preview of the project I’m working on at Mt Bromo, in which I’m capturing time in photos and video. What you see here is the motion of the sky over a 8 hour period, 25 minutes apart.
What tips of advice could you give our readers that may want to start a travel blog / travel video or travel photography?
Do what you love & love what you do. Put your heart and soul into it. It’s about creating quality content + getting your work out there + creating traffic, which doesn’t come easy. It’s a lot of work, but as long as you love what you’re doing, it’s not work; it’s pleasure. So if you can turn that ‘love’ into a lifestyle, it’s the best thing ever. But, like in my case so far, it might not be that lifestyle that will earn you the bucks to support it, you might have to find other ways of income to support it, or at least at first. Do whatever it takes.
Have you got any places on your bucket list? If so where?
Slow-traveling Philippines and Indonesia was on my bucket list. Visiting Batanes in the Philippines and Mt Bromo in Indonesia were my 2 main bucket list destinations here. And they have not disappointed.
There are a lot of places that are on my list to visit, but the main ones are:
New Zealand, Australia northern territory, Nepal, South Africa wildlife parks, Galapagos, Patagonia and Antarctica.
I have been to New Zealand before and saw wildlife in South Africa, but from a photography standpoint I want to go back to take amazing photos.
Batan Island (Batanes), Philippines
View on Mt Iraya from the Rolling Hills, see the UFO cloud that appeared the day I arrived. For 18 days I was hoping to witness it again, but never did. Glad I arrived when I did. I had only ever witnessed this on other photos and felt so lucky to see it, especially at this beautiful place.
This was the very first shot I took at Batanes, and it was such a great moment. You can see clouds covering the volcano, Mt Iraya, and on the left side a UFO cloud. I have seen many photos of these clouds, which often occur behind mountains, but had never seen them myself.
What are some of the best things about travel?
New places, new people, new food and endless freedom and for me, especially, the time to focus on my creativity and create great footage.
Have you experienced any downsides to travel?
Nothing is perfect, not even traveling. I hate getting ripped off, getting approached endlessly by vendors and needing to haggle all the time. And travel itself is just horrible, the endless waiting for and sitting on buses, planes, boats etc. Especially the long overnight trips are terrible and so tiring. But it’s part of it, so I’m not complaining. Without traveling, I wouldn’t have got anywhere, so it’s a necessary evil that I’m willing to deal with. But those people who say ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’ have never tried budget traveling in developing countries!
The Queen of rice terraces and man-made landscapes: Batad, Philippines. Panorama shot with DJI Mavic Pro drone. Created by shooting 3 rows of images, stitching up to 60 photos. Built over 2000 years ago by the Ifugao people at 1500m above sea level. Built higher and on steeper hills than any other rice terraces, an intricate irrigation system harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, elaborate farming system, make this amphitheater of rice terraces an accomplishment like no other. They are rightfully named as a UNESCO world heritage site. Batad would be one of the highlights of my trip around the world, I knew this before I was there. It lived up to its expectations and I dedicated 11 days to capture this place to my best of abilities in photo, time lapse and aerial video, dealing with all kinds of setbacks as a non-cooperating mother nature and 4 brownouts.
One of my other favourite images of the Philippines, shot at the Batad rice fields near Banaue, north of Manila. This place is incredible, there are no roads and you have to walk 15 minutes to get the town. It’s much less isolated than it was before, when you had to walk for hours to get there. In this region are many rice terraces, but none as beautiful as the amphitheater-shared rice terraces at Batad. Walking around is pretty intense, it’s all stairs and drop offs that can be pretty scary. I managed to capture this 360 degree view with my drone, I shot 3 rows of images, 60 in total, which I stitched together for this panoramic view.
Is there any advice you can give people who want to start traveling for the first time?
Be flexible. Don’t worry. Travel is so easy these days. With your phone you have access to any information you might need. Use it, research where you’re going, what to do, where to go and how to do it cheap. You can avoid getting ripped off just by doing some research and knowing what the price is, especially of an airport taxi for example. So wherever you go, buy a Simcard straight away. Travel bloggers are out there to help you with the best tips. Advice is free, so use it! 😉
Whats your favourite city or cities and why? What are the top attractions to see in each?
Let me start of by putting out a good word for my own city, Utrecht. It truly is one of the finest cities on the planet in many regards. It has history, gorgeous architecture, a nice and comfortable city centre, is lively and has one of the best bar & restaurants scenes you’ll find anywhere. The city itself is the attraction. Just spend an afternoon and evening wandering around, following the Oudegracht, have a dinner somewhere and pop into a few bars and you’ll know what I mean. If you have a chance, visit the Dom tower and walk to the top for an incredible view of the city. Utrecht is often named as one of the hidden gems of Europe, so don’t just take my word for it! It is 25 minutes by train from Amsterdam, so it doesn’t get easier going there;)
Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are 3 other amazing cities that have a lot to offer. All have heaps of activities and events, great bars and restaurants, good nightlife, friendly people, nice beach scene. All 3 have a wonderful vibe and are just excellent for spending a couple of days exploring the city and all it has to offer. Don’t miss visiting the Opera House in Sydney, going out in Melbourne and visiting the beaches of Perth. Sydney would be my favourite one though.
In Europe, very cliche, but for good reason, Rome and Paris are the most amazing cities with great history and architecture. Needless to say, the Eiffel Tower and Colosseum are the highlights. Go up the Eiffel at night or during sunset! And read up about the Colosseum to understand what happened there, or get a guide; it makes the whole thing come alive.
Budapest and Prague are 2 other great European cities as well, which are much cheaper and have many great locations to visit.
IMAGE: Utrecht Winter 2009
Utrecht at its most picturesque. I waited years for this moment to capture this at Christmas season when the trees are decorated with lights and when there would be snow. We don’t get snow so much, so to have at this time of year is pretty rare. But it’s great; everyone went out at night to walk around through the snow. The tower you see is the Dom tower, the tallest building in the city and the tallest church tower in the country. This is shot at the Oudegracht canal, which runs through the city.
Any recommendations for best beaches you have visited? where were they?, and what did you like about them?
I would love to start this with the story I sometimes tell people.
So in 2004 I was in Sydney, bought a car, visited the Blue Mountains, next day I’m driving towards the South. I was planning on visiting a National Park a few hours south of Sydney. But there was a heat wave (like 50 degrees Celsius), man it was so incredibly hot that day, that even in my car driving on the highway with my windows open, I felt like being in an oven. ‘This is a very bad day to go hiking’ I thought to myself, when all of a sudden I see a sign Hyams Beach. ‘Forget the park, I’m going to the beach!’ I thought. And there I found the most amazing beach I have ever visited. I have seen a lot of great beaches, all over Australia, in Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc, but seriously no beach can compete with Hyams beach. It’s a huge cove with still, warm and very clear water. It turns out to be the whitest white-sand-beach on earth, as stated in the Guinness Book of Records!
There were only about 30 people. The Australians know about it though, and during holidays this beach apparently does get packed, but otherwise it is a rather unknown beach. The sand was incredibly fine and soft and the view was amazing. The thing with beaches in Australia is that they often have pretty rough waves, so to have such calm water was great for a change. While swimming, I noticed one very dark cloud, but didn’t think much of it and went to lay on the beach, reading my book. Out of nowhere. it started to hail like crazy and everyone rushed away, hiding in the toilet and their cars. Too bad my wonderful moment ended so abruptly and painfully…
La Janusa island near Siargao, Philippines.
Surfing paradise Siargao is surrounded by many of these paradise white sand islands with gorgeous beaches and wonderful clear warm water. Boattrips to these islands are easily organised from Siargao and form a wonderful daytrip. Bring sunscreen.
This beach is close to perfect, it’s shot at La Janusa island and has Mamon island on the right. From Siargao it’s roughly an hour on a deafening boat, but it’s so worth it. Chances are very small that you’ll find any other tourists here, so you’ll have it all to yourself. In between the two island, is one of the best snorkelling spots in the whole area. You can swim or snorkel to the other island. The sand is some of the whitest and finest you’ll find in the country, the water is warm. A piece of paradise 😉
Whats your biggest travel achievement?
It’s more of a photography thing, but since my travel is all about that, it makes sense to share it. To me it was doing a time lapse movie at the Dedon Island Resort in Siargao, Philippines. Dedon Island is one of the most incredible resorts on the planet, filled with Dedon furniture designed by the greatest designers such as Philippe Starck etc. Staying in Siargao for 10 months, I quickly learned about the resort. Everyone knows about it, but no one has ever been there. It’s a very exclusive and expensive resort that you can’t just wander in to, it’s guarded and you either need to be a guest (roughly $1000 a night per person) or have an appointment with management. From the start I knew I should do something with/for this resort. When a couple of my Milky Way time lapses went viral I approached the resort to shoot a time lapse movie there, using their resort as a foreground with the Milky Way in the background. They loved the idea and we planned the perfect few days for it, when the Milky Way would be in perfect position and visibility would be best.
I spent 3 full nights there, shooting from sunset to sunrise and returning a couple of times for some great sunrise and sunset scenes. To shoot at such an amazing location was more than great, but best of all I shot some of the most stunning footage ever. The first night was a disaster, as a lightning storm (nice at first) turned into a huge never-ending rain storm and I couldn’t do anything. The second night, another lightning storm appeared. I setup my cameras, not knowing what would happen of course. Long story short, I ended up shooting one of the most incredible lightning storms ever, with the Milky Way in the background and red sprites appearing. Only a few people have ever managed to shoot a lightning storm with the Milky Way (storm = clouds..), no one has ever shot those 3 in 1 time lapse, and I even managed to shoot it with 4 camera at such an incredible location. You should really read my article about The Perfect Storm (which was also featured by Daily Mail) to understand the complexity and uniqueness of it. Watch the clip of that storm and full movie here below.
The Perfect Storm
Dedon ‘Between Dusk & Dawn’
What’s your favourite travel apps?
I’m a photographer, so what I use most are a bunch of weather apps that are barely ever right and never agree with each other and are actually completely pointless to use. But I guess Accuweather would be the best one. Although my advice is to never rely on just 1.
My most important app is Photopills that lets me plan my nighttime shots and shows me exactly where the Milky Way will be, what time the moon rises/sets etc.
I have a whole bunch of Flight apps, whenever I search a flight, I will try many of them to see what give the best price. Although, I usually end up booking from different apps/companies, the ones that have given me the best deals so far as Opodo and AirAsia.
When it comes to accommodation, I often prefer just showing up and looking for a good/cheap place. But when I do book, it’s mostly through Booking.com, Agoda and Hostelworld.
Tripadvisor, who doesn’t use that these days, I often use to check reviews on locations and see if they’re any good to visit. It’s especially great to read recent reviews. They might mention that currently a place is closed for example.
IMAGE Siargao Lightning
Lightning storm at Siargao; the reason I’m always checking my weather apps, hoping to shoot some terrific lightning storms. This is one of my favourite ones, shot at Dedon Island. You can see the Milky Way just moving out of the frame in the upper right corner. The little thing in the middle is the pagoda owned by Dedon, where you can enjoy sunset with a drink if you’re a guest, alsp a great stop while paddle boarding, or swimming.
My favourite work of 14 months shooting (and chasing storms) in the Philippines. While shooting my time lapse movie at Dedon Island Resort this ‘perfect storm’ appeared, I was not only at the right place at the right time, but I happened to be at one of the world’s most amazing places with 4 camera’s. I got to shoot this unreal storm, with not only the Milky Way in the background, but even with a bunch of red sprites! Red sprites are very rare huge electrical discharges above the thunderstorm. This footage was more than a dream come true, it’s achieving a photography goal that I thought would be so hard to do, that I’d spend the rest of my life pursuing it. And even if I would find the right conditions and magically be in the right location, with my camera and tripod, I didn’t think it would be possible to capture properly, exposure-wise. All the elements were just right this night. The storm stayed at the same location for over 4 hours, at the just the right distance and just the right light, so that I was able to capture the extreme difference in light (dark Milky Way vs bright lightning) in a single exposure. This is nature’s magic at its fullest. To capture a lightning storm, red sprites and the Milky Way all in one frame is beyond my imagination. (Music: Scorpio by Simon Wilkinson, www.thebluemask.com) . . . . . #dedonisland #siargao #philippines #the_ph #ig_philippines #tourismphilippines #gophilippines #travel_philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #TraversePhilippines #ItsAmazingOutThere #best_timelapse #nikon #nikonphotography #natgeotravel #TimeLapseCentral #TimelapseCollection #discoverychannel #itsamazingoutthere #artofvisuals #createcommune #exploretocreate #awesome_photographers #main_vision #EarthCapture #visualambassadors #visualoflife #fatalframes #heatercentral #earthfocus
Philippines throwback: Siargao island. One of the reasons I ended up staying at Siargao for 10 months, was that I wanted to focus especially on my photography and time lapses, this was just a great place for it. Gorgeous night skies, wonderful storms, fantastic sunsets, all in a setting of a wonderful relaxing island surrounded by even more gorgeous little islands. Not to forget a great number of fantastic restaurants and a party somewhere almost every night. Altogether I created 5 movies of Siargao. For Instagram I created 5 short 1 minute versions: Milky Way, Storm, Dawn, Day and Dusk. This is the first in the series. Music by Simon Wilkinson . . . . . #siargao #philippines #the_ph #ig_philippines #tourismphilippines #go.philippines #travel_philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #TraversePhilippines #ItsAmazingOutThere #best_timelapse #nikon #nikonphotography #natgeotravel #TimeLapseCentral #TimelapseCollection #discoverychannel #itsamazingoutthere #artofvisuals #createcommune #exploretocreate #awesome_photographers #main_vision #EarthCapture #visualambassadors #visualoflife #fatalframes #heatercentral #earthfocus
Storms at Siargao, Philippines. This starts off with the scene of 2 das ago, but it’s a compilation of different storms. You should really really watch the full time lapse movie of this, called Night Light. Find it at YouTube @travelimagez! Or at Vimeo, my website or Facebook, wherever you want 😉 > Music by Simon Wilkinson. . . . . . #siargao #philippines #the_ph #ig_philippines #tourismphilippines #night_excl #travel_philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #TraversePhilippines #ItsAmazingOutThere #best_timelapse #nikon #nikonphotography #natgeotravel #TimeLapseCentral #TimelapseCollection #discoverychannel #itsamazingoutthere #artofvisuals #createcommune #exploretocreate #awesome_photographers #main_vision #EarthCapture #visualambassadors #visualoflife #fatalframes #heatercentral #earthfocus
Setting up for a great sunset time lapse at Seven Commandos beach… when all of sudden a boat decides to park right in front of my camera, of all places, to ruin my time lapse. Thanks… I hate doing time lapses some time. You won’t believe the amount of time people see me busy with my camera and just decide to walk right in front it, or go stand there taking their photo in my frame etc. %*+}$¥£^@ . . . . . #elnido #elnidopalawan #palawan #palawan2017 #philippines #travel #travelblogger #travelphotography #travelphotographer #traveling #travelimagez #seascape #sunsetsaroundtheworld #photo #photography #photooftheday #sunsetsky #igshotz #ig_philippines #ig_cameras_united #nikon #beach #beaches #discoverearth #naturelovers #traveling
Philippines throwback: Third stop in the country, Siargao island. I had read & heard great things about this laid back island, famous for being the country’s surfing capital. Although not a surfer, I thought I should check it out. Two weeks became 1 month became 6 weeks became ‘I’m just gonna stay here till the end of the year’, which was 10 months. Siargao messed up my plans, but I couldn’t have wished for anything better. To me this big trip around the world is about creating, not getting as many passport stamps as possible. Siargao was a great place for this, I shot tons of photos and time lapses, did some great projects, created 5 stunning time lapse movies and met a lot of great people. I had never shot the Milky Way before, this was a great place for it with little light pollution. Also it had great lightning storms, which I love beyond anything else. I’ve seen Siargao change a lot in those 10 months, it is booming for good reason. The surf attracts a lot of people, the surrounding islands are amazing, there’s great locations to visit (Sugba Lagoon and Sohoton cove to name a few), but most of all it is the vibe that makes people stay longer than they planned or just keep on returning. Here’s a few of my favorite shots, find them all ánd the time lapse movies at my portfolio at www.travelimagez.com. Interested in visiting Siargao? Read my ultimate travel guide at the blog section: www.travelimagez.com/asia/philippines/siargao-islandlife . . . . . #siargao #siargaoisland #philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #travel #travelph #traveller #traveling #travelblog #travelgram #instatravel #milkyway #lightning #sunsetsaroundtheworld #aroundtheworld #travelphotography #travelphotographer #travelphilippines #landscape #photo #photography #ig_exquisite #wtn_wheretonext #wanderlust #exploretocreate
(SWIPE>>) Philippines throwback: Dedon Island Resort, Siargao. One of the highlights of my stay in Siargao was without a doubt that I had the opportunity to shoot a time lapse movie at the @dedon_island resort. This resort is one of the most stunning locations on the planet, decorated with the most amazing outdoor furniture by @dedon_official. A truly incredible location to shoot, run by the most fantastic crew you’ll ever meet. The initial idea was to shoot the resort with the Milky Way in the background, combining man’s creation with God’s creation, and also to showcase the resort and these fantastic furniture designs in a way that hadn’t been done before. But I wanted to make the movie into more than just that, I wanted to show the transition of light from sunset to night to sunrise. Everything was planned at the right time with the Milky Way’s position, I was there armed with 4 cameras for 3 nights, when something very unexpected happened. For 3 nights in a row there were crazy lightning storms that lasted for many hours. The first night was a disaster as it moved over the resort, raining for the whole night. But the second night the storm stayed at the same location for about 5 hours and I was able shoot some of the most incredible scenes I’ve ever seen with lightning and the Milky Way in the same frame. Read the full blogpost about this project on my website and watch the incredible time lapse. www.travelimagez.com/asia/philippines/dedon-island-timelapse . . . . . #dedonisland #dedon_official #siargao #siargaoisland #philippines #tourismphilippines #travel #travelph #resort #outdoorfurniture #milkyway #lightning #magicpict #travelimagez #traveling #travelasia #beachesandresorts #wow_destinations #passionpassport #bucketlistcheck #longexposure_shots #bestintravel #bestplacestogo #placeswow #beautifuldestinations
What are 3 things your travels have taught you?
1) Our planet is so beautiful and there are a lot of fantastic, friendly people out there, everywhere. And those people are ‘the icing on the cake’ of travel.
2) Being flexible makes life much easier and better. Don’t let the small things get to you. Take it easy, take things as they come, don’t complain, feel lucky.
3) You don’t need much (money or material things) to enjoy life. Life is about experiences, not things. And travel can be really cheap if you want it to be.
IMAGE: Coron Island
Aerial view of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Shot with DJI Mavic Pro, multiple photos stitched together as a panorama. Palawan island is named worlds best island second year in a row, it is an amazing island surrounded by many hundreds of islands. Island hopping is the main attraction here, and although El Nido is most famous, Coron is the real gem. The landscape is really visible and appreciated from high in the sky, when you see all the different rock formations, lagoons and hidden lakes. Be advised to organise your own private tour to avoid the big crowds that really spoil the experience.
Coron Island, one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever seen, even better from the sky. These 3 images were shot with my drone, each image is a vertical panorama, stitched from 5 photos.
Can you recommend any great places you have visited for our readers that has delicious food? What sort of dishes were they? Where were these places?
The Philippines cuisine is not really the best out there. But the area around Mt Mayon is known for their Bicol Express, they serve all kinds of spicy food, which are delicious. I even had spicy ice cream at Small Talk Cafe in Legazpi, one of the best restaurants there.
In a few of the big cities like Manila and Cebu they have this restaurant Vikings. Their buffet is one of the best you’ll ever have anywhere, with all sorts of Filipino food, Japanese, Chinese etc etc. It’s really fantastic.
The Philippines are known for Mango Float, made with Graham crackers, condensed milk and mango. You should really try that if you visit the country! They sometimes serve Banoffee as well, really great, but I believe it’s an English desert. Halo Halo is a weird kind of desert in a glass, with milk and all kinds of stuff in it like fruits, ice cream etc. It will be different everywhere you buy it, but usually has jellies and all kinds of other soft & crunchy stuff. Might not look great, but it is!
In Indonesia, they are of course known for their peanut sauce and I just love it. Anything with it is good, but one of my favourite is the Gado Gado, a vegetarian dish with all sorts of veges, add some satay sticks to it though. Indonesian food is generally quite ok, but it’s the same everywhere and their menu isn’t very large, so it does get boring quite soon.
In Ubud, Bali, there’s this French bakery Monsieur Spoon. I’m quite sure everything they serve is good, but they do this Salty Caramel pastry, which is one of the best things I’ve ever had.
Camiguin island, Philippines. The island born of fire. Camiguin was born out of volcano eruptions, there’s 7 volcanoes on this small island. It has the highest concentration of volcanoes anywhere on this planet. There’s actually even more volcanoes than towns (5). The last eruption was in 1951. Most volcanoes don’t have any craters and look more like mountains. About 80.000 people live here, the island is famous among Filippinos, does not see a lot of foreign tourists, it’s still quite a hidden gem, partly because it’s a bit out of the way to get to, although you can easily catch a flight if you want.
Sunset at the Sunken Cemetery at Camiguin Island, the island born of fire. My one week Milky Way mission here was a complete disaster, in 7 days I only managed to shoot 1 scene in between clouds and rain showers. But at least we had found Casa Roca, one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been at, great food for a great price. A whole jug of Pina Colada for $5, so that sure made up for it. I had the best spare ribs I’ve ever had.
Have you had any scary travel experiences? if so what happened?
Fortunately I’ve never had anything bad or scary happen to me. The only thing that comes in mind is when I was in Batanes. I had to step from the boat onto the ‘pier’ at Itbayat when the waves were extremely rough that day. It’s not really a pier and they couldn’t even tie the boat to it, so it was crashing into the concrete pier the whole time, moving back and forth, up and down, really violently. There were 2 guys on the pier holding the passenger, but a wrong step would be deadly and timing was essential. Even the locals were freaking out. It was the scariest moment of my life and my knees trembled like never before. The boat was badly damaged as well and took them days to repair it, so it was anything but an ordinary day.
Have you got any tips for our readers to save money whilst travelling?
I recently participated in an article about it, can’t say it any better than that! Check it out here Travel On a Budget.
Mayon volcano, also known as Mt Mayon; worlds most perfect cone shaped volcano, located near Legazpi in the Philippines. It is the most active volcano of the country, erupting over 49 times in the past 400 years. Getting some good shots of this volcano was high on my photography ‘to do list’ and I spend 3 afternoons/evenings here capturing photos and timelapses. I followed the river towards the volcano until I found this green area with a nice stream of water, allowing for some nice long exposure shots. The first shot of this series of 7 was taken at the nearby Cagsawa ruins, an area that was destroyed by the 1814 eruption.
Photography is an expensive hobby, but at least when I’m shooting certain projects I don’t spend much money! I spend (only) 3 days at Mt Mayon (Philippines) to capture some nice photos and long exposure sunset time lapses near the river. I’d bring a few a few drinks and snacks, pay for the room, a ride and the meal, and that’s it. Cheap days. Wish I had stayed longer here, but I had a flight to catch. Mt Mayon is the country’s most active volcano and one of the most perfect-cone volcanoes there is. Great for hiking if that’s your thing.
Do you have any tips / ideas on how our reader can earn an income whilst travelling? Do you any methods in your blog?
I am lucky enough to do freelance work for some of my clients back home, mostly graphic design and photo editing etc. But it means I earn euros, which is great, 1 hour of work pays for a day of travel. If you’re able to do that, then you’re in a good position.
I have met many people who earn income from websites like Upwork.com. There are many different kinds of jobs you can do, but the main trick apparently is to build up a profile with good reviews. That takes a lot of time and effort, because you are competing with many people, many that can/will work for less. But once you have good reviews on your profile, there’s plenty of work they say. So don’t get discouraged, be persistent. And it might mean that in the beginning you’ll have to work for little money to get those reviews.
If you can, do something that makes decent money or doesn’t have as much competition. If you are planning to do writing for example, you’ll have a hard time. There’s so much competition with people who write for very little money, people who live in cheap countries like India. Focus on something that will earn you better money, like SEO and Social Media. There’s a lot of need for that.
Teaching English or becoming a diving instructor are other great ways if that’s your thing. South Korea, Vietnam, and China pay pretty good. But you can’t really do it while traveling; you’ll have to stop your travels for a while to work.
I’d like to give this tip though:
A lot people go traveling with a small budget, meaning they have to find work rather soon, they end up fruit picking in Australia (sounds great, it’s not!) or whatever crappy job. My advice often is: spend some more time back home at your job, save all the money you can, so you don’t have to work at all or at least don’t have the pressure to find work soon. You’ll probably find better jobs too if you don’t have to accept the first one that comes along. Some people find amazing jobs, but it takes time and effort.
IMAGE Indonesia Bali
Sunset above the rice fields at Ubud. I drove around for days looking out for a nice rice field with a view on the sunset. It was one of my photography goals to capture a good rice field sunset shot. But when I found it, it still took 3 days for have a nice sunset to shoot it at. A good sky makes all the difference when shooting a landscape! Editing was a real challenge though, because the original photo looked horrible, shooting into the light really shows the limit of a camera’s sensor. That’s why I always say editing is as much part of photography as the shooting itself. You simply can’t get in-camera results like this.
Your top off the beaten track places to visit & why?
It’s not easy these days to go off the beaten track, but especially in the Philippines you can find places. Batanes was one of them. I spent 18 days there and only saw 1 other backpacker. Batanes is stunning; it’s the Scotland of the Philippines. It is way out, isolated by ocean, terrorized by typhoons, but the landscapes are amazing and the people are so nice and friendly. And there is no crime! You have some shops like the Honesty Shop, where you put money in a box for the things you take. If you lose your wallet or camera or whatever, the people will find out who lost it and return it to you. I honestly felt safer there than in my own home. Funny detail, the people at my home actually hung the door key on the outside, imagine that.
I also spent a few days in Balabac in the south of Palawan that only get a handful of visitors a year! There’s not even a guesthouse or restaurant, so a friend and I stayed at someone’s house. To experience that genuine lifestyle and seeing those surprised looks by all the locals was great. We went fishing and island hopping. `The 2 boatmen made a fire on a deserted little island and cooked the fish for us, which we ate with our hands ‘cowboy style’. It was great and so laid back. Also on the other islands we visited, the people were so happy to see us. Barely anyone goes there, because the area is red alert zone: drug trafficking and presence of Abu Sayaf who kidnaps people for ransom. We had to register at the marines and go on our boat trips with a bodyguard (we had a guy who was an old marine). It sounds very dangerous, but over the past 13 years only a few incidents have occurred. I wasn’t very worried.
IMAGE: Philippines-Palawan-Patawan Island Aerial
Patawan island near Bancalan at the Balabac region, south Palawan, Philippines. This gorgeous deserted island is a short boat ride away from Bancalan island and is a popular destination among the locals who like to stay overnight during a full moon. We went here during a island hopping tour, left at 5am, went fishing for a few hours, stopped at this island where our 2 local friends cooked us the fresh fish and we ate it ‘cowboy style’. Great people and a great day!
Aerial photo shot with DJI Mavic Pro.
This is Patawan island near Balabac. It’s the deserted island we had our fish-lunch. It’s a popular destination for locals who like to spend the night at a full moon.
What equipment do you use to blog? (drones / cameras / programs to edit)
I have a Macbook Pro, Nikon D800 and D750 with a few lenses, a Sony RX100iv, a Syrp Genie for motion video/timelapse, a GoPro for underwater recordings and a DJI Mavic Drone, which I think it is the best gadget I’ve ever had. It is so awesome to see/document things from the sky. I now have DJI Osmo to create smooth handheld video as I’m starting to do more of that.
For editing my footage I use Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, Starstax, LRTimelapse and After Effects. I also use Nik filters and Raya Pro to edit my photos.
I carry a lot of gadgets, it sucks when traveling and it’s very stressful with flights, because my carry-on is way over the limit. I always wear pants with many pockets and a jacket with some pockets. I have a separate small camera bag and laptop bag. Usually, you are allowed a small bag and maybe even a laptop bag. If they make a problem of the weight, I put as much stuff in my pockets as I can, carry my cameras around my neck and stuff the small bags. But I must say, it’s only happened once before in my whole life, when flying to Batanes.
For anyone else wanting to travel with a drone, you need to be very aware of the rules in each country. Some countries will not even allow you to take a drone into the country and you might end up paying heavily, just to get it back. Do your research. Some travellers say it’s the worst decision they have made. Southeast Asia is fine, but Africa and Central/South America is a real problem.
Do you have any good photography or video tips for beginners you can share?
I’ll be posting an article on that soon. There’s so much tell about photography, but in a nutshell:
1) Photography is about light – capture things in good light. Wait or return until the light is nice. Light is softest at/after sunrise and before/at sunset.
2) Timing is very important, not just for the light. If you’re shooting something, wait till the right moment – maybe for people to leave, for a bird to appear, for bicycle to pass by, a kissing couple to appear, whatever. With good timing you can remove disturbing elements or add interesting ones.
3) Composition and angle: the worst thing you can do is shoot something from where you stand, eye height, centre the subject and put the horizon in centre. Once you see something you want to capture, you first thought should be ‘where to capture it from’. Use some tree branches as a frame, get some flowers in the foreground, hold you camera right above the ground, focus on the landscape or the sky, play around with your subject, but always make clear what the subject is. It should be clear directly what your photo is about. Don’t take 20 photos of different things; rather take 20 photos of the same thing, using different angle and compositions, because that way you will create the best image. By studying those images, you will learn to understand what works best for the future. Photography is experimenting, even for the pros.
Once you’re able to get these 3 elements right in a photo, you have a real winner!
IMAGE: Guyam firedance
Fire dancer Kevin Jay Rama of Isla Kalayo (Fire Island) at Guyam island, Siargao Philippines. After shooting the Milky Way at Guyam island and taking some photos of Jay (fire dancer) at Viento del Mar, I want to improve my shot of both. Finally I came up with the idea to combine them and thus take Jay to Guyam.
One of my favourite images I’ve shot at Siargao. I took this on Guyam island, a gorgeous deserted island off the coast. I had shot some time lapses here that went viral. Later there was a party at Viento del Mar with fire dancer Jay, I took some nice long exposure photos and decided I wanted to experiment more with it. I ended up going with Jay and other friends to spend a night at Guyam, timing it with the Milky Way. It was even featured by Petapixel, which was so cool.
This is a good example of a photo with various elements: 1) the location: deserted island, 2) timing: the Milky Way 3) Add subject: fire dancer
What are your travel plans this year? any thing exciting?
Right now, I’m in Bromo where I have been staying for a month already, which has been awesome to create all my time lapses. I’ll be spending 2 months in Maluku and Sulawesi, I’m really looking forward to that, it’s fairly off the beaten track.
How do you plan your trips?
No, just google, but I read travel blogs mostly. I think they often give the best info, but to get a complete picture, I read several blogs about the same locations.
What 5 things do you always pack?
Cameras + Lenses + Batteries + Clothes + Toiletries 🙂
Solo travel – what are some the best and worst aspects of this?
You get to meet a lot more people when you’re solo, but also sometimes you just miss company. Nothing’s perfect! At least, sometimes, I get to travel with my lovely girlfriend, so I get the best of both worlds.
Do you have any great websites to share with our reads to help them with blogging or travelling?
Travel Blog Success if you want to get started with your blog. I believe it gives the best information, comes for a price, but it’s worth it. There are so many blogs and Facebook groups out there to help you. I couldn’t name any in particular, because it depends on what you’re after at that moment.
We loved your time-lapse: Siargao ‘Night Light’, part 3 of my Siargao time lapse trilogy. What was involved in getting such an amazing timelapse?
A lot of time, huge dedication and great timing! Some skills as well, which come from experience. Hundreds of hours went in that movie.
Night Light time lapse
Shooting the Milky Way is the easiest part, you can time the Milky Way, but the weather is always the challenge, for any type of landscape photography. You want a clear sky, but sometimes a little bit of clouds can be nice. It often happens that the sky turns too cloudy, or it starts raining or whatever. For the first scene, for example, I took about 5 timelapses of the tower, before I found the ideal angle. But that was in the water, so I had to time it at low tide on a dark night. But what happened the first night,] was there were some locals who went around at night looking for crabs or whatever. They have these huge flashlights and several times they would notice me and point their light at me. The light coming into the lens would overexpose the image completely, ruining my shots and eventually my whole time lapse scene. So I had to do it all over, just because of that. It’s frustrating.
You can only properly shoot the Milky Way when moonlight is minimal. The season to timelapse (the center of, to be precise) the Milky Way is basically only 4 months, so to get shots like these, there’s not a lot of time in a year, timing is essential. My Photopills app helps me to plan these moments and know the position of it.
Capturing lightning storms is the hardest part, you can’t plan it, you need to be there at the right place at the right time doing the right thing. So it’s why I’m always checking my weather apps. But as I said before, weather forecast is pretty useless, so at Siargao for 10 months most nights I would drive around to different sides of the island to see if there was lightning. There were plenty of lightning storms, but often too far away or you wouldn’t see any strikes, only flashes. Shooting a photo of lightning isn’t very hard, but to capture a good timelapse is seriously hard. You need a good storm and need to find the ideal settings, then leave it at that for the whole time hoping the light doesn’t change too much. You don’t want the lightning strikes too overexposed, but you don’t want the dark shots too underexposed. Every storm is different and needs other settings.
To give you an idea of shooting time, I shoot the Milky Way at a 30 second interval, one battery takes about 400-500 shots and you need 24 shots for 1 second of video. So for 4-5 hours of recording you only have roughly 20 seconds of video. Lightning is different every time, it all depends on the amount of light, the type of flashes, duration of the storm etc.
Editing Milky Way timelapses is fairly easy, you give all photos the same editing and you’re done. But in some cases you might have to fix things, then it becomes a lot harder. Maybe your tripod moved a bit, maybe flicker occurs, maybe there are people or lights that disturb the scene or whatever. You’ll have to edit those frames and it’s just a lot of work.
Editing lightning timelapses can be quite a challenge. You give all images a certain edit, but depending on how under- or overexposed certain frames are, you might have to edit all those frames separately. Rendering the scene takes hours and often you’ll want to make some changes, so you’ll have to render again, and again… Another challenge is really that I just want to sleep at night; sometimes I go out at 12 at night to shoot for 4-5 hours, while all I want is to sleep. Or I’m just about to go to bed when I hear thunder, then I ‘have’ to go out. And sometimes I spend hours on shooting a scene that’s worthless in the end. Most of the time you return with nothing. That works quite discouraging.
Can our readers buy or commission any pieces of your work? If so how?
Yes, my portfolio is built in Smugmug and each image is available as a print by clicking the Buy button and selecting the type of print you want. For other use of photos or for using videos just contact me at [email protected]
Share a travel quote you love one of your own.
Travel to Live, Live to Travel
A few places with links where Travel Imagez has been featured.
Flipboard (Travel Imagez was featured on the front cover)
Leaving you with some more videos to check out.
Batad Time Lapse:
Batanes Time Lapse: