Logo for adventure travel, bicycle journey, and travel photography

 

 

 

 

 

   Earthly Photos "A 10 year Bicycling Journey captured on film!"

   Earthly Photos was created from an adventurous ten year bicycle journey, covering thirty-odd countries, while spanning four different continents, seeking the life-long dream of truly exploring the great unknown. All the images exhibited here are a photographic testimony of this wild, decade-long, bicycling expedition.

   From the Buddhist worlds of China, Korea, and Southeast Asia, to island hopping all around the South Pacific & Caribbean, to zig-zagging from coast to coast of South and Central Americas, this long journey realized over 180,000 miles before it was done.  Pedaling and pushing up majestic, rugged mountains, stranded on isolated beaches waiting for the tides to change, cutting through dense, wet, tropical, rainforests praying for a patch of sun, circling icy glaciers and snow-capped volcanoes, struggling to survive the drought-ridden desert lying just east of the Andes; all the while, experiencing new cultures, languages, foods and a curious world full of uniquely different people and terrains.

       Welcome to a world of unforgettable travel images!

   During this ten-year journey there was no shortage of interesting subjects to photograph.  However as this was in the day of 35mm film, every photo had a average cost of $0.35 whether it was in focus or not.  Had this decade of biking accurred during today's digital era, Earthly Photos would have five or ten times as many images in its gallery!

  The photos, slides and negatives of this journey sat in a backyard shed for nearly twenty years before finally finding the opportunity to scan and digitalize them.  Many images were lost from photos stuck together and the emulsions of the slides and negatives as well.

   Since the completion of this journey, the collection has expanded some with more recent images of the same subjects, taken with a digital camera.  The difference in quality between the scanned images and the digital images is very noticeable.  Of course the differnce between me being once a 40 year old man, and now a 70 year old man is quite different as well.

   Now based in Costa Rica, those years of adventurous travel are well behind me.  The thrill of capturing a moment in time on film has never abaondoned me though.  Fortunately those years of living on a shoestring, traveling by bicycle, taught me how to appreciate the comforts of more recent photo expeditions. 

   The desire to leave something behind in this World has been a major force in the creation of Earthly Photos.  As our world is quickly changing, many of those wonderful moments and sights of just a few generations ago,  may no longer be available for the next genration.  God bless the camera, as it helps us not forget which otherwise might be forgotten.

    I still own that very bicycle, and a couple others, but those have suspension and disc brakes.  They've all taken a back seat to a set of golf clubs however, and to the rental cars that still get me around to some amazing places for a couple more snapshots capturing  those moments in time.

   During three consecutive summers in China, 1985-I987, parked the bike and took off on foot for an eleven month trek of the Great Wall.  The second and third year, started where I left off the previous year.  Four months at a time was all I could take of the Wall.

   After the first arrest, (five arrests in total) shaved off the beard, abandoned all western clothing to try to avoid being taken into custody again along the way, but that only helped some.  Unfortunately, the shoes were a dead give away.  Had to use good shoes for all the hikng and climbing, which weren't available at the time in China, which stood out like a sore thumb.

   Starting at the "Head of the Dragon" in Shanhaiguan on the Chinese coast, eleven months later I watched the Wall disappear into the shifting dunes of the desert of Xinjiang.

   The entire adventure is told beneath each picture, from end to end, and can be accessed here: 

"China's Great Wall (End to End)"

   At the end of 1989, decided to step up the challenge and fly to Papua New Guinea.  The first night while eating in Port Moresby, the fried chicken shack got robbed  They dropped the cash register while getting away.  Fifteen minutes later they returned and tried it again and failed again.  It was just too big and too heavy.  There weapons were sticks!  All of the few banks in Papua New Guinea had been robbed within the past week I was informed.  Welcome to Papua New Guinea, "The Last Unkown".

   There was no road connecting Port Moresby to Mt. Hagen in the Central Highlands, where I wanted to be, so had to fly there.  The National Airline flying the route mentioned they had never transported a bicycle before and didn't know what to do.  Told them it rides in the cabin.   The passengers aboard watched in awl as I wheeled it down the aisle.

   Upon arrival, Mt. Hagen was full of bizarre feathered warriors, just like them old-time National Geographic Magazines. Just out of town the stone covered road ended and only unmarked trails remained, all leading to a web of isolated tribes of infamous Headhunters.  With no maps, GPS had yet to be invented, no food, no treated water, the time had come.  As the first cyclist ever in these mountains, I was about to pedal into one of the world's 'Last 'Unknowns'.  Was I ready for it . . .

   The tale of the two month adventure with the Headhunters of Papua New Guinea, can be accessed here:

"Chasing the Headhunters of Papua New Guinea."

   Years of visiting Blues Festivals, Bars, and Blues concerts has resulted in a rather expansive collection of portraits of hundreds of performing Blues Artists. Both past and present Bluesmen and women, listed in alphabetical order, can be fouud here:

"Encyclopedia of the Blues"

  • Triangular Architecture
    Triangular Architecture
  • The Great Wall - End to End
    The Great Wall - End to End
  • Pyramid in Tikal in Guatemala
    Pyramid in Tikal in Guatemala
  • Embracing Volcano Pucon
    Embracing Volcano Pucon
  • 57' Chevy in South America
    57' Chevy in South America
  • 1905 Porter Locomotive in Cuba
    1905 Porter Locomotive in Cuba
  • Rather Crowded Philippine Bus
    Rather Crowded Philippine Bus
  • Duck Transport in China
    Duck Transport in China
  • Black Lagoon of Costa Rica
    Black Lagoon of Costa Rica
  • Chrysathemum sunbathing
    Chrysathemum sunbathing
  • Coverd Bridge in Pennsylvania
    Coverd Bridge in Pennsylvania
  • Encyclopedia of the Blues
    Encyclopedia of the Blues
  • Signs of the Times
    Signs of the Times
  • Moonlight in the Patagonia
    Moonlight in the Patagonia
  • Costa Rican Balconies
    Costa Rican Balconies
  • Bridges to Everywhere
    Bridges to Everywhere
  • Snow Leopard in China
    Snow Leopard in China
  • South American Deserts
    South American Deserts
  • Home is Where the Heart is
    Home is Where the Heart is
  • 4000 Year Old Rice Terraces
    4000 Year Old Rice Terraces
  • Beach Hotel in Southern Chile
    Beach Hotel in Southern Chile
  • Arches National Park
    Arches National Park
  • Churches around the World
    Churches around the World
  • Brazilian Landscapes
    Brazilian Landscapes
  • Art & Sculpture
    Art & Sculpture

Other Millard Farmer Photography Websites