This Guy Works His Tail Off So He Can Travel and Photograph the World
Travel photographer Andrei Duman has visited over 70 countries around the world (only 126 left!) and he’s doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. The self-taught artist has been working as an Investment Banker to afford himself the financial means to pursue his passion for travel and photography.
The Sifter caught up with Andrei after his most recent trip to Namibia to chat about what inspires him and where he wants to go next. Check out some of Andrei’s incredible photos below along with a brief Q&A with the photographer.
1. Masai Mara, Kenya
2. Kolmanskop, Namibia
You’ve visited over 70 countries,
what is it about travel that is so compelling to you?
The main reason why I have been in investment banking all these years was to have the financial means to travel and not stop traveling. The more bizarre the better. The further away from civilization the better. I want to see how people live, what they are going through, what they eat. On nearly every trip I have taken, I will rent a car and just drive… in any direction I see fit. This way you get away from the tourist traps where you don’t get to experience the heartbeat of a place, country or its people. I think we all should be exploring more, wanting to find out what is over that hill or in that canyon. I find it baffling when someone tells me that they do not have a passport. I have learned more life lessons from my travels and meeting new people than any other traditional way. This world that we live in really is an amazing place, full of amazing things to explore and absorb and I think we all need to get packing.
4. Hofsos, Iceland
5. Vermont, USA
What is your favorite place/country you’ve visited to date and why?
As a favorite country it has to be Iceland. I have been fortunate enough to have been to over 70 countries and Iceland is the one that I would drop everything for and go straight to the airport (with gear in tow that is). I don’t think there really is a country like it in the world really, especially when you consider the variety of things to photograph. The waterfalls are simply spectacular, the beaches are so varied in topography, the glaciers are staggering and the unpredictable weather means that you can always get a dramatic shot. It is also a small country and all you really need is a car to explore it as most of the famous landmarks are on the main ring road. The food is true to nordic roots apart from the nation dish which is pretty much hot dogs (simply the best that I have ever had).
As far as a favorite place… that is a hard one. Don’t think that I really have one, but when my mind does wonder it tends to be drawn to Delicate Arch in Utah, Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, Moai of Easter Island, the old market in Damascus, Crystal Cave in Iceland, Angel’s Landing, Zion and the beautiful calm of Lake Titikaka. As for places to visit next: Indonesia, Bhutan, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Galapagos
Do you ever feel torn between experiencing
and capturing ‘the moment’ or are they one in the same for you?
I very much do. I think any photographer has that feeling. I must admit that I do see a lot of these places through the camera’s eye, but I do believe that it is also important to look up and take it all in. The human eye is a great deal more advanced than any camera or lens and it would be a shame to miss out on an events or a place because you are shooting non-stop. I do need to get better at that. The only time where I really had to stop shooting and admire was in Iceland the first time I saw the Northern Lights. Having seen them a few times since, only now can I truly appreciate that the first time was really a special one. The ferocity of the color changes and shape movement was something that I found too challenging to photograph the whole time. In a lot of ways i did not want to photograph. I wanted to keep that memory to myself in some ways.
10. Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, USA
11. Page, Arizona, USA
12. Mule Canyon, Utah, USA
What are some of the biggest challenges in travel photography?
I have found that with travel photography the gear that you carry causes a great deal of problems especially when you have to use small planes to get to obscure places. I do have a lot of gear and my bag is around 46lbs without the tripod. I have my camera body along with 6 lenses including the 500mm which really is seen as a weapon. A lot of carriers don’t like that and try to force you to check them in. I have never checked in my bag and was nearly arrested in Vietnam when I was forced to check in my tripod which I was not too happy about. Also each location poses its own challenges such as the dryness and sands of Namibia, the dark shooting environments of the ice caves in Iceland and the high altitude and cold of the Andes. Knowing your equipment and its limits as well as doing research ahead of time for that particular location is crucial in not only staying safe but getting the right shots.
14. Kolmanskop, Namibia
What advice would you give to photographers who are just starting out?
This is a tough one because the only good advice is to go out and photograph whatever and whenever you can. Understand and never stop wanting to learn what your equipment is capable of doing and experiment with scenes and settings. I am self-taught and for me it makes it that much more rewarding when I am on location and get a great shot that I had to think on my feet and adjust to make work. Believe in your abilities, listen to others and their experiences and don’t be afraid to fail.
15. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
16. Northern Territory, Namibia
17. Dead Flei, Namibia
If you could go anywhere in the world,
where’s the first place you would go?
Iceland, whatever time of year. Each season brings its own opportunities and challenges and that’s another thing that draws me to it. You really have to be on your toes more than ever. You have to really know the in and outs of your equipment to really get the great shots and you have to think fast on your feet due to the quick weather changes. I would say that I daydream about Iceland at least 4 times a week. If I’m caught staring into space… I’m in Iceland.
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