by Brandy D. Anderson
Wanderlust is a mighty powerful thing, whether you’re actually out there having the adventures, or you’re stuck daydreaming in your fluorescent cubicle. Years ago, those bound in one place had to scour the local library for travel books, and if they were unlucky enough to live in a rural area, well then, the pickings were probably pretty slim. Now, we have the luxury of being able access anything we want online, and travel photography sites are one of the best perks to be found. Tumblr is a convenient way to get your travel photo fix! Here are the four best travel tumblrs out there:
About: “I can never get enough when it comes to travel. I love the exploration, the adventure, and sharing my experiences through photography. Images are my own unless otherwise indicated. […] Whether on the far side of the planet, or on the boardwalk of Coney Island, capturing the moment, nailing that perfect shot (I haven’t yet, by the way), has become an addictive artistic challenge and a new kind of adventure, all in one. My day job revolves around communications, public relations and social media. My dream is to become independently wealthy and travel 24/7. Until that happens, I’ll travel when I can, and take pictures along the way.”
This photographer is amazing and I’ve honestly never seen photos like hers. She manages to capture her subjects, mostly portraits, in such a way that the image almost looks painted. I also dig how she adds a nice write-up for each shot, explaining who the person is and what she learned from the experience, with a little technical detail thrown-in as well. For instance, there’s a beautiful photo of a young girl with this narrative: “Traveling and learning about photography is a heady combo. It’s why I often opt to explore new cultures on small photographic tours/workshops led by people whose work inspires me. I find such trips are a creative shot in the arm, a boost in my mojo that carries over when I’m traveling solo. I find I learn so much when I have someone there in the moment to answer questions and help me achieve my goals”.
She goes on to say, “On my recent trip to #Mongolia, I learned to shoot portraits with single source light, of which I’ve always been a fan. In this case, the single source was sunlight streaming through an open door of a dark ger in the middle of the Altai Mountains. Pro photographer, Timothy Allen, was leading the charge and helped me become more confident with the process. This image of an eagle hunter’s daughter is one of my favorite photos from the trip. (at Mongolia)”, Another shot features a crowded line-up of horses along a prairie, cloudy blue sky behind them, the riders are donned in dark jackets, most of them with hats: “Do you ever find yourself thinking, I feel like I’m in a movie? I did at this very moment. Something about seeing this line of Kazakh men on their horses made me flash back to the westerns I’ve seen throughout my life. You know, that iconic moment when the heroes stand side by side on their horses looking off into distance, big bold clouds filling the background. The first that came to mind was The Magnificent Seven. Second was Tombstone – a movie I highly recommend by the way. ~Altai Mountains, western #Mongolia. (at Mongolia).” The human stories accompanying the photos makes this one of my favourite tumblr sites.
About: “Amateur photos taken while travelling the world… I created, own, and ©opyrighted all the photos on this tumblr… If you want to know more about a specific photo, or are looking for backpacking tips, feel free to ask…My name is James and my great passion is travel with a little photography thrown in. I try to visit new and exciting places, and my current tally is 51 countries visited. I enjoy taking my backpack and travelling on the cheap as I believe it’s the best way to really experience a culture (and you end up with more exciting stories!)…If anybody would like advice or recommendations on certain countries I’ve visited, or general tips on budget backpacking feel free to ask!”
I love this site because of its unique format, its high contrast photos, and because the photographer always tags each photo with a neat title and the location. The tumblr background is basic and black which is perfect to frame the colourful shots. The photos are set side-by-side, and when you hover your mouse over them, the corners are lit with triangular tabs making it look as if you’re flipping through an old scrapbook. It’s a gorgeous display. To the right of the page is a fixed menu containing these options: “Ask”, “About Me”, “Cameras”, “Archive”, “Travel Map”, and “On the Road”.
I absolutely love the “Travel Map” where you can see the countries the photographer (James) has visited (fifty-one so far). A map of the world shows each spot he’s covered in red, the yet-to-be-discovered countries are in white, and there is a handy list divided by continents below. If you click “On the Road”, you can read all about how “Backpacking is about immersing yourself in a certain way of life, doing it on the cheap and rough… You meet people you would never normally have met, make some friends for a week and others for a lifetime…You push yourself and do things you would never otherwise have imagined…This is a small selection of memories from my time on the road…” Below the text are photos from around the globe with enthusiastic captions. If you look through the home page, you’ll see a myriad of colourful photos from around the world interspersed with questions to the admin, along with his heartfelt and detailed answers. Most of these questions ask for travel tips and James’ answers are a goldmine for those looking for help as they plan their next big adventure.
About: “A collaborative effort of original content from a handful of adventurous friends.”
The cool thing about this tumblr account is that it’s not just one photographer, so you can really see some different perspectives and styles here. On the top of the page you’ll find options for “Instagram”, “Website”, “Contact”, “Chipmooney”, and “Spotify”. “Chipmooney” is one of the contributing photographers with Radventurers, and this link brings you to his personal page. The “Website” link takes you to a page very similar to the tumblr account, the chief difference is that you can purchase limited prints of the photos from the “Store”. I’m not sure why there’s a link to music site “Spotify”, unless the company is sponsoring them in some way, since there’s not a clear connection between them, the link simply takes you to Spotify’s registration page.
The main page features a scroll-down option to view the photos, and if you click on the image you’re taken to a separate page with a caption and tags. One of the most recent photos shared is by Chipmooney and it’s called “Victorian Landscapes”. Another is by Spencer W. Wells and is called “Amanda, Lake of Clouds”. There are a number of magnificent shots of Yosemite National Park, “the best place on earth” according to Chipmooney. “Morning light is always the best light (at Flinders, Victoria)” is the caption for the beautiful image of dim yellow reeds swaying in front of the blue oceanic background. A person with arms raised in the air stands in front of a dense desert, Alecklein calls this one “HEATWAVE”. You can see a man walking down a rainy Japanese street, the gray urban landscape juxtaposed with lush greenery spilling into the middle: “Kyoto Outskirts. Josh in the Backstreets”. Most of the photos feature natural landscapes but there is a healthy dose of street scenes as well.
About: “I left my job in New York in the summer of 2011 and moved into a camper. Since then, I have driven 100,000 miles around the west, surfing and camping. During the summer of 2014, I set up a home base in the Columbia River Gorge. These are some of my stories and photos.”
When you first visit this marvellous page you’ll find five options along the top: “Blog”, “Instagram”, “Twitter”, “Archive”, and “Shop”. If you click on “Blog”, you’ll see a portrait of a modern nomad: a lovingly beat-up truck rests to the side, jacket splayed across his windshield and hood to help him catch a bit of shut-eye, a large, off-white camper sits beside him, ice-chests and kit bags litter the mossy ground in front of the two vehicles, and then you see three men, looking a bit tired and cold, as they gaze out onto the shimmering blue water. The words “A Restless Transplant” are scrawled in black on the upper right-hand side of the image. The serene scene sets the stage for the bohemian kind of travel photography you’ll find here.
This awesome account depicts the great outdoors as experienced by a ragtag group. One of the most striking things about the photos on this blog is the lighting, the photographers have a gift for capturing quiet nature scenes, with the most beautiful pictures set in the gloaming. Another theme often found in these photos is fire, and emphasis is often focused on the way the glow bounces off the subjects. One of my favourite recent photos features two circular tree-houses set way up in the great pines, the setting sun shines behind them, and it takes a moment for you to notice the group of roosters hidden in the golden reeds below. There are some action shots as well, like several scenes of a man riding a skateboard in an abandoned pool. If you want to see some particularly thrilling footage, though, be sure to check out the surfing videos (the “Floater” series). They’ll make you feel as if you’ve been transported back to the 1960s, the only things missing are Gidget and Moondoggie.