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I'm a Chicago based food & travel photographer and cinemagraph maker. To get in touch, you can reach me by email at hi@sandynoto.com


25 Travel GIFs from Around the World

25 Travel GIFs from Around the World

In 2012, I made my first ever travel GIF on a long weekend trip to Montreal. At the time, I had just gotten my first camera, which is wild to think back on! Creating GIFS and cinemagraphs from my own footage seemed like a totally insurmountable challenge. I took the video and wasn't even sure if anything would come of it. It took me forever to figure out how to loop the footage and how to export into a GIF, which I can do in minutes now. When I finally made my GIF, I was ecstatic. It felt like such an accomplishment. 

Since then, I've trekked all over the world with a tripod and camera in tow to put together these moving photos. Sometimes, I've been tempted to leave behind my gear so I could pack a few extra sweaters or a second pair of shoes but now I'm glad to have so many mementoes from my various trips. 

Here are a few of my favorite travel GIFs in no particular order:  

Iceland

25 Travel GIFS from Around the World
25 Travel GIFS from Around the World

Iceland is a dream to photograph, perhaps too much so. There's tons of gorgeous landscapes, lots of waterfalls and long empty stretches of road. The one downside is that Iceland has become a hot spot for Instagram photography. The country is a bit overwhelmed by tourism and locales aren't always delighted by foreigners. 

Tokyo

Travel cinemagraphs from around the world
25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Eli and I just recently visited Tokyo. The first time I ever visited, I found it really challenging to photograph. For some reason the sky in Tokyo often looks white and appears blown out in photos. It took me a long time to appreciate that quality. On this most recent trip, I stopped trying to make Tokyo look like an unrealistic version of itself. 

Hawaii

25 travel cinemagraphs from around the world

My camera complete spazzed in Hawaii. Something happened on the flight over and my lens was barely working. It was a family trip so I was relieved to just be shooting for fun. I babied my camera and made it through but this was the only bit of cinemagraph footage I got on the entire trip. It's from beautiful waterfall right at the entrance of Waimea Canyon State Park.

Vermont

25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Fiji

25 Travel GIFs from around the world

I had dreams of lounging around on white sand beaches in Fiji. Sadly, there was a tropical depression the entire time I was there. I ended up spending most of the trip hunkered down in my room watching Netflix because everything was shut down.

Bali

25 Travel GIFS from Around the World

In trying to get the footage for this cinemagraph, I nearly had my phone stolen by baby monkey that climbed into my tote bag. These monkeys were seriously boisterous. 

South Africa

25 cinemagraphs from around the world
25 cinemagraphs from around the world

South Africa was the first stop on a long trip that also included Botswana, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Since a lot got squeezed into the trip, I was only in South Africa for two days. It's definitely on my list of places that I'd like to revisit someday. 

Botswana

25 travel cinemagraphs from around the world
25 Travel Cinemagraphs from around the world

While I was conceptually excited to go on safari, I didn't understand the visceral excitement that happens when you see an animal in the wild. It's so thrilling. 

Zimbabwe

25 Travel Cinemagraphs from Around the World
25 Travel Cinemagraphs from Around the World

While in Zimbabwe, I was inspired by old photographs of the area displayed throughout the hotel I was staying in. When it came time to edit the videos I took of Victoria Falls, I wanted to emulate that same look. 

New Orleans

25 Travel Cinemagraphs from Around the World

British Columbia 

25 Travel GIFS from around the world
25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Eli and I went on a road trip of the Pacific Northwest. Initially, we just intended to go from Seattle to Vancouver but we just kept going. Around Whistler, we realized that we should probably cool our jets and head back but we stopped at almost every waterfall sign. 

New York City

25 cinemagraphs from around the world
25 GIFS from around the world

While I find myself drawn toward natural landscapes, I want the travel GIFs I make to also reflect the place I'm visiting. It may have been a bit obvious to capture the bustle of New York City but I'm always amazed how the entire city feels like one giant public space. There's always someone out and about.  

Turkey

25 cinemagraphs from around the world
25 GIFS from around the world
25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Of all the places that I've visited, Turkey prompted the most concerned responses. It was lovely and felt perfectly safe and I'm glad that I got to experience it for myself.

Madagascar

25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Unlike Turkey, no one batted an eye about Madagascar. It was considerably more challenging. There's very little infrastructure through out the country.  

Oregon

25 cinemagraphs from around the world

Travel GIFS and Cinemagraphs

Over the years, I've worked on one or two GIFS or cinemagraphs from each trip. It always felt like a nice capstone piece for each trip but never more than that. Looking back on all of them together, I'm grateful that I've been able to capture so many moments. I'm also aware of the places that I didn't quite rally enough to get footage in. The heat bogged me down in Thailand. Winds and rain made me nervous to carry too much equipment in Scotland. Travel fatigue got me in Hong Kong. Thinking back on all those places, I'm motivated to try a little harder on future trips. 

25 cinemagraphs from around the world
Travel Photography: Osaka and Kyoto

Travel Photography: Osaka and Kyoto

My Photo Editing Process

My Photo Editing Process