Videographer & Photographer Luca Pandolfi Takes Viewers on a Journey Through New Zealand
In 2016, photographer and videographer Luca Pandolfi set out to New Zealand with his partner, Katie. With nothing but a basic camera setup and intervalometer, Pandolfi produced a series of timelapses entitled “Memories of Wind and Water” to showcase his experience traveling the New Zealand countryside.
Watch all episodes of Pandolfi’s series below and learn more about his inspiration and process.
What inspired the trip across the world?
Katie and I had both been out of college for a couple of years, worked various jobs, and were growing restless from having spent so long in the same place. In total I think we had been in Ithaca, NY for 7 years by the time we left. New Zealand was an obvious choice for so many reasons. To start with, we are both huge fans of Lord of the Rings (perhaps me a little more so then Katie).
Another big reason we picked New Zealand is that they have a very comprehensive visa called the Working Holiday Visa. It allows foreigners under the age of 30 to work in New Zealand for up to a year while they travel around the country. If you are considering going to New Zealand, be aware that this visa exists because there is a great need for seasonal workers in the various agricultural businesses. This means most of the available work is physically taxing and usually pays minimum wage ($15/hr, which is not terrible, but not luxurious as the NZD is slightly weaker than USD).
What areas did you visit?
We started in Auckland on the North Island and slowly worked our way down to the bottom of the South Island. It was relatively easy because everything is so closely packed over there. Here in the US you need to travel at least 4 hours to get anywhere even slightly different than your starting point. In New Zealand you could travel for just 30 minutes by car and find yourself in an entirely different landscape! Several friends who live there admitted that we have seen more of NZ in our 6 months there than they had in multiple years in the country.
How many hours of footage did you log for the video series?
I probably have around 40 hours of regular video footage and maybe 15 minutes total of timelapse footage. However, on average, 1 second of timelapse took about 5 minutes to capture, which means in total I spent around 75 hours capturing 15 minutes of footage. It was truly a lesson in patience; a lesson which I grew to appreciate very much. Normally nothing would possess me to sit in one location for 3 hours at a time. Once I was forced to do it, I found myself enjoying the experience.
In the age of productivity we have almost been conditioned to think that spending that much time in one location is a waste: we can enjoy those places temporarily, but we should always continue moving or else we are being 'unproductive'. The timelapses simply gave me an excuse to say “I am being productive” while sitting in the same spot for multiple hours. Suddenly time did not matter, in fact the longer I managed to stay in one place the better, it was a complete change in perspective.
What about timelapses inspires you to create them?
Well I have always been into natural photography. While Lord of the Rings may have been the first thing to pique my curiosity, I soon after fell completely in love with the BBC Life series. The way they managed to show the everyday magic hidden in nature and broadcast it to the world made me determined to do the same thing.
Timelapse, to me, seems to project magic! They show us the world around us like we cannot see it with our own eyes. In many ways I think it shows us how plants might view the world; as a landscape that is both continuously changing and always the same. It is an enchanting medium of expression, and (in my opinion) one of the best ways to show the magic inherent in nature.
How do you choose the soundtrack for the timelapses?
Well I actually already knew most of the songs, they were songs that I had categorized as 'naturally inspiring' in my playlists; meaning they gave you that tingly feeling inside that makes you want to go stand on top of a mountain and take in life. I also wanted songs that I could use during DJ sets; relatively new software allows you to connect a video with songs for use with a projector when Djing. Soon I want to start experimenting with using these videos and songs during live sets.
What future projects are you looking to work on?
Well now that we are back in Ithaca I am very excited to start experimenting with waterfall timelapses. This is especially exciting because you can get those lovely glossy long-exposure shots of waterfalls that photographers love, and turn them into moving footage. It will take a while to collect a good amount of footage, probably won't start releasing new videos for such a project until Fall. The luxury in New Zealand is that I only had a full-time job for parts of the trip. It is hard to do timelapses when you don't have entire days off because doing it properly requires you to capture the shots at certain times of day when the lighting is just correct, and if the weather decides to misbehave during the time you had scheduled for the shot then you will have to reschedule for the same time another day.