In part eight of his Via Panam project – a personal mission to travel the Pan-American Highway from Chile to Alaska – photojournalist and Nikon user, Kadir Van Lohuizen details his journey through West Coast America.
I am going north again, taking Highway 1 – the beautiful road along the East Coast of California towards San Francisco. It takes twice along as on the freeway, but it’s worth the effort. Not too far north of Los Angeles along the beach, I hear a commotion and when I stop I am astonished to see hundreds of elephant seals which migrated south to breed. I deliberately didn’t want to carry too much weight so my longest lens is a only 105mm, but it just about works for shooting the seals.
Video shot on a Nikon D3s
Video shot on a Nikon D3s
Nikon D700, 17-35mm f2.8 at 19mm f6-3, 1/5000, ISO 320. Image © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR
It’s not extremely cold, but there is a lot of snow and the days are short, so I need to adjust my way of working compared to the last few months. I need to calculate when are the best times to shoot in terms of light, using high ISOs and proper exposure compensation. It’s not the easiest story after all the tension in Central America (those were difficult circumstances to work in), but I must say that I function better in those conditions, where I know what stories I want to tell. I will confess that running around on a dairy farm can be a little boring…
Nikon D700, 17-35mm f2.8 at 22mm f5.6, 1/250, ISO 400. Image © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR
There are many dairy farms here, with thousands of cows in Washington State. One of them is the organic dairy farm, Mountain Meadow Dairy; it’s a small farm, with 500 cows and eight Mexican workers. Christian, who came to the US in 2001, is one of them. A friend of his was working here already and advised Christian to make the long trip from his village in Mexico to join him. Six years ago he returned to bring his wife. Their two children were born here in the US, so they are American citizens, while Christian and his wife remain undocumented.
Canada is next, the biggest country within the whole continent, but I will only travel the West Coast. After doing quite a few stories in the south on indigenous issues, I definitely want to do a report on the Canadian aboriginals. Many moved to Vancouver, hoping to find work and at the same time not losing their identity. I am amazed by the young generation, many of who are musicians and artists and the way they incorporate into their work their roots and where they come from.
Nikon D3s, 50mm f1.4 at 1/4000, f1.4, ISO200. Image © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR
The above picture shows a large Women`s Memorial March being held in East Vancouver. It’s a yearly event that commemorates the hundreds of (mostly aboriginal) women that have disappeared in the last fifteen years, many of whom were found to have been raped and killed. In Vancouver alone, 68 cases are currently being investigated.
Nikon D700, 17-35mm f2.8 at 17 mm, f3.5, 1/640, ISO320. Image © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR
This image shows Ronnie Dean Harris, alias Ostwelve – he is a rapper and nowadays lives in Vancouver. He is a Stola aboriginal. Now and then he visits the ‘reserve’ where he grew up.
Kadir’s Via PanAm project is a 10-month, 15-country trip looking at migration in the Americas, and the role it has played in climate change, war and conflict, and economic issues. What do you think of Kadir’s fascinating journey? Do you have any first hand experiences of the countries he’s visited? Make sure you continue to check the blog for updates from his epic journey, featuring still images and videos from this fascinating project. The ‘Via PanAm’ app for the iPad is available in the app store here.