The importance of shooting for yourself while traveling

In All, Photojournalism, Travel, Tutorial, Vacation by DylanLeave a Comment

Drone shot of sailboat in the San Blas Islands, Panama.

First night on the water.

Last winter I went on a journey that’s been on my list of to-dos for some time. I convinced Sarah Herron into joining me, despite her fears (the original plan was to sail from Panama to Columbia). This was going to be our first trip since we officially starting dating that didn’t involve some sort of sponsored aspect. I wanted to explore, just the two of us, with zero expectations from anyone, especially us! And just enjoy travel photography and the simple art of seeking the unkown!

We flew into Panama City, found an Airbnb and proceeded to explore the old town. We followed the advice of our hosts and enjoyed some drinks on some trendy rooftop bars, walked the boardwalk and ate some sketchy seafood. We overstayed in Panama City, becoming slightly bored, but that was okay, because what was to come next was going to be pure magic!

Sarah admiring the Panama City skyline.

Street art in Panama City.

Oh, she CAN!

A little game of footy.

For the next 5 days, we sailed around the San Blas Islands. Just us and our European hosts, Seb and Krista. Two amazing people who live full time on their catamaran, sailing from region to region and when they run low on funds, take people like Sarah and I on experiences of a lifetime. By day two, I was jealous of their lifestyle, and was secretly plotting on how their lifestyle could become mine!

The whole point of our trip was to relax. To have zero obligations and to just enjoy the sway of the boat, explore the keys and to do all the snorkling we could muster. Of course, being the creatives that we are, we captured it. We traded off: pulled out our phones, took selfies and did all the typical millennial touristy stuff! We even made a video (see below).

Sarah experiencing her first San Blas island.

Typical Guna village.


Island hopping.

One of the best sunsets I’ve seen for sure!

Yeah, this didn’t get old!

Nice shot by Sarah.

So many boats!

Me, enjoying the view.

San Blas Islands

Near the end of the archipelago.

After the sailing, we flew to Cartagena, Columbia, to experience New Years Eve in one of the most romantic latin cities I’ve ever visited. I haven’t visited many, so please make a recommendation in the comments below if you think there’s one I absolutely need to see. We roamed the walled city, looked at art, ate the same food in different restaurants and found ourselves needing more entertainment than the city could provide. Just like Panama City, I overbooked our stay in Cartagena. But we had our cameras and we wandered aimlessly, slept in, overdrank and simply hadn’t a care in the world!

Sarah on the wall

Our take on a movie frame.

Love the contrast of this city!

Sarah took full advantage of the colors.

Yes, we went for the classics.

Sarah takes over the camera!

One of the final sunsets! Such an amazing trip!!

It’s hard sometime to remember to just shoot for yourself when you’re a hired gun (photographer). To some that may seem hard to comprehend. But with any job, it sometimes gets to a point where it becomes work. And that’s why shooting with zero expectations or obligations becomes paramount to keeping happiness in the trade. We get to a point where we just want the best, constantly, and that can become stressful.

This last trip reminded me that shooting for myself, whether or not its going to be perfect, is just the thing I need to do more often. And in fact, it’s fucking fun!

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