Like many of us, Luke Martin had the urge to travel while working towards his undergrad at UNB. With limited resources Luke found a way to make it work. From exploring Iceland in a van to teaching English in Taiwan, Luke has been able to explore the world while expressing his creativity through photography. His unique travel stories have captivated us here at Venture Collective, and together, we intend to inspire others to find their own adventures and create memories that last a lifetime.
How did you get into photography?
How did I get into photography, well during university I took a science degree and because of that I often felt my creative side was being suppressed. I tried several things until I found out I really enjoyed photography. I enjoy that art as well as the science are behind taking the perfect photo.
Why did you decide to travel to Asia, and Taiwan in particular?
When I was in university I had a very strong urge to travel as I think many people do. However just like a lot of those people I had the same problem that (being a university student) I didn’t have the financial resources to travel. I started to do a lot of research on how I can travel and make money, and my conclusion was that teaching English abroad was the best option. It worked for me because I love kids. Initially I assumed I would go to Korea as that is the most popular spot to go, but during the interview process I was offered several jobs in Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. This gave me room to decide on what I wanted in a job and a lifestyle. Money is better in places like Korea and China but the job offer in Taiwan felt right for me. I was to be placed in a small city close to the mountains. But I would have to say a big reason I chose Taiwan is for its tropical climate, food and friendly people.
“Waterfalls in Chiayi County must see if coming to Taiwan!”
What has been your most memorable experience in Asia?
Well as far as memorable experiences go this entire endeavour in Asia has been memorable. But I also have to give it up for the time I lived and drove around Iceland In a van. For this trip though It’s really hard but If I had to pick one I would say it was a festival that I attended here. It’s known as the ghost month festival where traditionally for thousands of years on this day people would gather to burn a large statue of the ghost king. It was culturally intense and I was certainly the only white person in a several hundred kilometre radius. I was invited to go on stage with the mayor of the city I live in (don’t ask me why..) and watch the burning from there. It was a great experience.
“It’s known as the ghost month festival where traditionally for thousands of years on this day people would gather to burn a large statue of the ghost king.”
What are some of the must see landmarks that you have visited so far?
Must see landmarks, definitely go to Iceland it was the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited. For Asia well a lot of the big ones are in Taipei, including the Taipei 101 it’s kind of unavoidable if you come to Taiwan as it was once considered the tallest building in the world (now like number 7?) also the maokong area of Taipei I would highly recommend for any tea lovers. The southern most tip of Taiwan known as Kenting has amazing beaches and natural scenery. As for the area I live in Chiayi county there is waterfalls galore here, the mountains are beautiful and tea plantations are everywhere so I’d say this is a must see if you’re ever in the area. Other than Taiwan I’d recommend going to Hong Kong even if it’s just a short trip, the skyline is enough to make the trip worth it.
“Taipei 101 on a clear day”
Can you give any tips/advice for someone who is looking to get into travel photography?
I think a misconception about travel photography is that anyone who is a good photographer can do it. You see some people take pictures with tens thousands of dollars worth of heavy equipment. That doesn’t work for travel photography, the key is to travel light and to always be ready, you can’t just come across a beautiful scene of monks exiting a temple and proceed to set up your tripod, take your camera out of the special casing, put on the special lens, blah blah blah.
My number one tip would be to always be ready because you never know when the right shot may appear. Also don’t get me wrong there has been many times I’ve wished I’d had my camera on me and didn’t.
I use a mirrorless Sony a6000 as it is much lighter than traditional DSLRs with just as good if not better quality, I also use a wide ranging lens sonys 18–105mm f4 which allows me to take everything from wide angle shots to full zoom. This is my standard set up.
“Beautiful Hong Kong skyline!”
Do you plan to continue the travel photography lifestyle? If so where do you plan on visiting next?
I am definitely going to continue traveling for the next while. I have travel plans in the making for the end of my work contract in August 2017 which should include a large chunk of east and south east Asia. In the meantime I have a trip planned to Osaka and Kyoto Japan in February as well as lots left to explore in Taiwan. After that I plan to come home for a visit before heading back for another year of teaching maybe In Korea?
As for the travel photography I don’t think that will ever stop even if I stop traveling I’ll always continue photography. However I am trying to transition into film making as I have found a new passion in editing video and I feel it is a better platform than photography to express my creativity. So watch out for lots of videos in the new year on YouTube — Luke Martin and my Instagram — Derpyluke for lots of travel photos!