Meeting my 2014 Ford Fiesta for the first time!

(Above video: I chat a bit about my ideas for my American Street Photography Roadtrip)

One of my favorite photography projects of all-time is “The Americans” by Robert Frank. I have always had a dream of working on a similar project–to take my car and travel across America–documenting the people and places that I encounter.

I am excited to share that this dream has come true (or at least the means). Ford contacted me about a few months ago letting me know about their new “Fiesta Movement” campaign in which 100 “agents” are given a new pre-production 2014 Ford Fiesta with 8 months of gas and insurance covered. The catch? We are given fun video assignments once a month to complete (that somehow have to incorporate the Fiesta).

Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity as I saw it to be a great opportunity for me to work on my version of “The Americans.”

Meeting my 2014 Ford Fiesta for the first time!
Meeting my 2014 Ford Fiesta for the first time!

About two weeks ago, I flew out to Philly to do my training with the 2014 Fiesta (which involved some fun laps in a parking lot with cones, Top Gear style). I met a lot of talented other “online personalities” many of whom are very popular on YouTube. It was very inspirational to meet all of these other guys who produced incredible videos–which has given me a lot of inspiration to start doing more videos myself.

Hope to make lots more cool videos with the new GoPro Hero 3!
Hope to make lots more cool videos with the new GoPro Hero 3

Ford also hooked it up with a GoPro Hero 3, which I plan on using to do more video features/interviews/street photography videos with. I know sound quality has been a major complaint in the past, and after talking to my buddy Tyler Bedgood he gave me some great recommendations for Lavalier microphones. They are great for interviews and superb in blocking out ambient noise. I just ordered one, so I plan on using that more.

Photo of my fiesta in Cleveland. Unfortunately battery died when going through Cleveland with the GoPro. Note the GoPro mount on top of the car
Photo of my fiesta in Cleveland. Unfortunately battery died when going through Cleveland with the GoPro. Note the GoPro mount on top of the car

On my mini road-trip from Philly to Michigan, I also strapped my GoPro to the top of my Fiesta and took a fun time-lapse. Hope you enjoy, you can watch the video below:

For my America Street Photography Road Trip Project, I hope on also doing a series of interviews with interesting people I meet along the way. I’m not exactly sure how I plan on editing and putting this all together in the end–but I will try to go with the flow.

Bedford, Pennsylvania, 2013. Shot on Instagram and Samsung Galaxy S3
Bedford, Pennsylvania, 2013. Shot on Instagram and Samsung Galaxy S3

One fun thing I have also been doing during my travels is shooting more with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and with Instagram. I have been using this as a bit of a “visual diary” of my travels and to just keep y’all updated with where I am. As with the majority of the shots of my project, I’m planning on shooting it with my Leica MP and Contax T3 with Kodak Portra 400 film.

My new co-pilot with my Contax T3
My new co-pilot with my Contax T3

Some more exciting news: my manager and boss Neil Ta was able to correspond with Ricoh, and I am getting one of the first digital Ricoh GRD V’s in the states. I am generally not interested in gear, but I am actually quite excited for the Ricoh GRD V for the street photography community. After all, it is an affordable, ASPC-sized sensor, 28mm compact camera that can slip in your pocket. You can read some of my thoughts about the camera here.

Since many of you have been asking for more POV street photography videos of me in action and interacting with other people–this will make shooting and editing these videos much easier. I have tried making a few POV street photography videos with my GoPro with film, but honestly it is a pain in the ass to edit in the shots. So hopefully the videos I end up making will personally help you.

1x1.trans Street Photography Camera Game Changer: The Ricoh GRD V
The new Ricoh GRD V. Plan on also doing a review of the camera in the near future.

For the next 8 months, I plan on doing a series of road trips across America. The first big one will be in about two months, when my girlfriend Cindy and I are moving from Michigan to Berkeley. She just got admitted into UC Berkeley’s History Ph.D. program for her research in Vietnamese History, so I am excited to start collaborating with more street photographers in the Bay Area (my home)!

You can keep updated with my travels at my Fiesta Movement page here.

I would love to hear your feedback: where are some places in America that you think I must visit for this project? Please leave a comment below and give me some of your thoughts and ideas!

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