25 Travel GIFs and Cinemagraphs from Around the World
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In 2012, I made my first ever travel cinemagraph 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 shot the video for the cinemagraph 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, which I can do in minutes now. When I finally made my cinemagraph, 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 travels.
Here are a few of my favorite travel GIFs and cinemagraph from all over the world in no particular order:
Iceland GIF and CINEMAGRAPH
Iceland is a dream to photograph and cinemagraph. 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.
Both the sunset GIF and waterfall cinemagraph required a bit of clever positioning because both spots were quite packed with tourists. In both cases, we had to be a bit patient. Eli and I drove the full loop around Iceland and the northern part of the country was much less crowded with tourists but most of the spectacular waterfalls to cinemagraph were in the southern part. If you're tempted to visit Iceland, go! Just be mindful that some of these wide open spaces are actually a tad crowded in person.
Tokyo GIFS and cinemagraphs
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.
Tokyo is always so bustling. Whether I'm photographing it or creating a GIF or cinemagraph, I always want to capture the motion of the cars and the people. It's just always moving.
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 a beautiful waterfall right at the entrance of Waimea Canyon State Park.
Waterfalls are by far one of my favorite bits of nature to cinemagraph. I always feel that a waterfall cinemagraph captures so much more than a photo. Plus waterfalls are awe inspiring in person so any excuse to stop and admire one for a while is wonderful.
A friend of mine got married out in the country in Vermont. It was quite a drive over with no cellphone reception towards the end of the journey. The final bits of instruction were all related to various landmarks and I kept stressing that we'd miss it. Thankfully we made it!
One glorious aspect of driving out to such a remote spot for a wedding was that we could all celebrate without worrying about neighbors and being quiet. That evening I took a moment to grab some footage for this epic fire cinemagraph. I have yet to see or experience a bigger bonfire.
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.
On one of the days, the sky cleared for about an hour and Eli and I ran out to grab some footage. We had just gotten a drone and were very eager to test it out. Sadly with the poor weather, we were only able to grab a quick clip before having to hurry back inside.
In trying to get the footage for this cinemagraph, I nearly had my phone stolen by a baby monkey that climbed into my tote bag. These monkeys were seriously boisterous.
This might be exactly a high quality cinemagraph but it was so fun to see the monkey's goofing off and I was surprised I was able to loop the pool cinemagraph splashing at all!
South Africa CINEMAGRAPHS
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.
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.
It was somewhat difficult to piece together these safari cinemagraphs because everything had to be shot in the car. Behind the scenes there was a lot of silly angling to get a clear enough shot but it was definitely all worth it.
Zimbabwe Waterfall CINEMAGRAPHS
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 into cinemagraphs of Victoria Falls, I wanted to emulate that same look.
One tricky thing about recording around Victoria Falls was that there was tons of steam coming off of the waterfall. After every stop, I had to pause and completely wipe down my camera.
New Orleans CINEMAGRAPH
New Orleans is one of my all time favorite cities. It's changing a lot these days but I still love walking around and listening to the music. When I travel, I usually feel a strong urgency to capture everything but in New Orleans I always tempted to leave the camera in the hotel room and just experience each day as it comes.
On one trip, I managed to resist the urge to spectate and took a few quick bits of footage. Even now, I'm glad to have these cinemagraphs as a slice of time capture of New Orleans as it is now.
British Columbia WATERFALL CINEMAGRAPHS
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.
As I mentioned earlier, I love waterfall cinemagraphs and with a car it was easy to trek around with all my camera gear.
New York City CINEMAGRAPHS
While I find myself drawn toward natural landscapes and create nature cinemagraphs, 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. I love how these New York cinemagraphs capture the constant energy of the city.
Turkey GIFS & CINEMAGRAPHS
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 WATERFALL CINEMAGRAPH
Unlike Turkey, no one batted an eye about Madagascar. It was considerably more challenging. There's very little infrastructure through out the country.
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.