This Creatively Repetitive Travel Video Will Have You All at Sea

If architectural rendering creates “photographs of future buildings”, as architect and on-the-side photographer Dimitar Karanikolov tells us when we catch up, then travel film and photography has got to be the flip-side: taking a real spaces, and turning them into an artist’s representations. Dimitar’s done just that, with this mesmerising footage of boats passing in dreamy repetition along the waterways around Myanmar’s Inle lake. Shot using a DJI Mavic drone during his 12 day trip around the country, the drone hovers over the same spot whilst boats pass underneath, in a captivating new static take on aerial art.

“More or less the same principles of light, colour, and composition apply in every creative discipline. So the step from my daytime job to photography is very small,” Dimitar suggests, except that (unlike any day job) he only does it when he’s in the mood, and never to according to any predetermined brief.


Dimitar graduated from his studies in architecture back in 2002, and now runs the London-based architectural visualisation and CG art studio Meshroom. “Drones give us an opportunity for an unique new perspective on places that we already know,” he shares with us. And in this case, it’s a new and static perspective even on the usually roaming footage we’ve come to expect from drone-shot visuals.


THE PLUS: It’s a really compelling shot, almost a loop – did you plan this in advance?
Dimitar Karanikolov:
I had brought a small drone with me, and as soon as I took off I realised that the dense labyrinth of small canals and floating houses looks even more interesting from the air. In the following several mornings I woke up at dawn and tried to capture as much as possible of the early morning boat traffic that goes to the nearby market. I kept the position and the altitude of the drone as consistent as possible for all the shots.


TP: How much of a role does chance play in travel photography?
A lot, but not everything is down to chance – good preparation is also essential. It is also very important to have a good fixer/translator that can take you to the right places and introduce you to the right people/models, especially in closed communities.

TP: What are your tips for selecting the highlights from the hundreds of shots and hours of footage you must take?
I like to leave the materials I’ve shot for several weeks/months before I start editing them. This gives me a fresh, less emotive outlook, and a chance to re-experience the whole trip again. 


TP: You’re a bit of a wanderer – what’s the best way to travel, for you?
A good balance of planning ahead and improvising on the go. I like travelling with a one-way ticket which leaves the end of the story open; if I like the place, I’ll stay more, and if not I’ll go somewhere else.

TP: And how do you capture the spirit of a place on camera?
It’s hard to explain with words. I’m a visual person, I hope the answer is in my photos…

TP: What advice would you give to people suffering a bit of creative block?
Buy yourself a plane ticket. One-way!