One Photographer's Journey Around the World in Over 6,000 Photos


Abandoning a successful business career, Kien Lam quit his job and spent a year traveling around the world, shooting time-lapse videos in 17 countries. Time Is Nothing is his five-minute compilation of these moments, and a standout example of what has become a favorite genre among web videos -- professional photographers' vacation diaries. 

Lam provides more information about the locations on his website, and describes the experience of making the video: 

As far as background on myself goes, I am a fine arts, lifestyle and travel photographer based in San Francisco. I graduated with a business degree from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and worked in finance as a strategist for a few years before I parted ways with my company and started on a journey to live out my dream of traveling around the world. Since the traveling has ended (for now), I've started to pursue photography professionally.

The idea for the video came from other beautiful time-lapse videos I had seen and Matt Harding's dancing videos from a few years back. I wanted to create something that could quickly, but thoughtfully show the beauty and culture of all the places I'd be visiting. I brought along a Panasonic GF-1 camera and a tiny tripod that I could easily carry everywhere in a small shoulder bag. I wanted the trip to be just about traveling and enjoying the experience. I would shoot what I saw whenever and wherever I was, rather than seek something out and wait all day for the perfect light to hit. At the end of it all, I had thousands of photos from practically every city I traveled to and did not feel like I compromised any part of my adventure for the sake of the shot. The feeling of returning home with my hard drives safe and intact, the physical memory of my entire trip sitting there next to my computer, was an indescribable mix of relief and early onset nostalgia. Over the next few months I taught myself about video editing and slowly selected, processed and compiled the photographs into over 150 separate scenes, a number of which I eventually had to cut in order to bring the video to a manageable run-time. Once the rough cut was completed, my brother, William, and I began working on an original musical composition to support the mood and flow of the video. We finished just before Christmas and put the finishing touches on it just in time for a New Year release.

I hope to inspire many people to travel in 2012, the way epic videos in the past inspired me to dream about this trip in the first place. One clear thing that I learned was that you could travel and eat well on a budget as long as you do it with an open mind and heart to the world and its many cultures. Aside from major cities like, New York, London and Paris, I could get by on about $20 most days and between $30-50 if I did an excursion or a neat activity. There are still many countries left to visit, so I'm already thinking about the follow-up to this video that would allow people from every country to help me compile a more complete time lapse of the world beyond just the 17 countries I traveled across on this trip.

For more work by Kien Lam, visit The soundtrack was composed by William Lam, and is available as a free download on the site as well.  

Via the Daily What. 

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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