Los Angeles to Buenos Aires – Review – Embark on an unforgettable journey in this breathtaking travel journal

On February 28, 2012

App Type: Books

Los Angeles to Buenos Aires – Review – Embark on an unforgettable journey in this breathtaking travel journal

Our rating:

By: Serdar Sunny Unal

Version #: 1.0

Date Released: 2011-12-14

Developer: Serdar Sunny Unal

Price: 12.99

User Rating:

It was in December 2007 when professional photographer Serdar Sunny Unal left Los Angeles to embark on a solo motorcycle expedition to Latin America. His cross-continent journey ended five months later, upon his return to Buenos Aires, where he had already been in the interim. What ultimately came about from this exceptional trip, completed around four years after his fateful departure from LA and his second arrival in BA, is a travelogue that may also be accurately described as exceptional. This modern travelogue is in the form of an app that runs on iOS devices and costs a rather hefty but not unreasonable $12.99 to download.

The app is called Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, or LA2BA for short. The app is actually a book app chronicling Serdar’s trip with his trusty bike named Katirga. LA2BA is his very own motorcycle diary, if you will, except that it can only be read on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It may also interest you to know that the app was funded in part by the sale of Katirga in January 2011.

Using the app couldn’t be any easier. Just like most other book apps in the App Store, it requires a simple tap on either side of the screen or a horizontal swiping action to turn its pages. Swiping up, on the other hand, brings up the table of contents, which is essentially an index of all the places Serdar visited during his trip. The index also includes for each place a thumbnail preview slider of the photographs he took therein. Just as tapping on any name of a place leads to the start of the chapter in the book corresponding to that place, tapping on any thumbnail makes the app jump to that particular photo’s page. The app also includes an interactive route map that you can explore. Once you learn how easy and intuitive it is to use LA2BA, you can already embark on your own journey through this unique app.

As this is a travel journal made by a photographer, it’s no surprise that the app is filled with a myriad of photographs—over a thousand of them, in fact. And they aren’t just ordinary photographs of mountains and beaches, mind you. These are photographs with great compositions and even greater subjects. Neither are they all set in the app to be static. Some of them are spliced together to achieve an animated effect, as seen in the pictures of a surfer in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, while others are individually treated with the commonly used zooming effect known as the Ken Burns effect, such as the photo of Carretera Austral along Rio Baker in Puerto Bertrand, Chile. One photo in particular stands out for effectively splicing together a series of smaller photos in order to offer a 360° panoramic view of the artificial lake system in Medellin, Colombia. Note also that a number of these photos can be shared via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook.

Of course, a travel journal wouldn’t be complete without journal entries. LA2BA is fortunately filled with them, blocks of text interspersed between photos. These entries prove that Serdar is not only a skilled photographer but also a talented writer, one with an amusing sense of humor. Reading his anecdotes is a delight matched only by the images that support them. What’s more, the captions he thought up for some of his photos are not spared from an infusion of Serdar’s wit.

LA2BA is proof of the amazing things that wanderlust can do to a person, especially if that person is a photographer named Serdar Sunny Unal. Containing more than 1,200 pages, the app has been available in the App Store since December last year. But today a “Short-Cut” version composed of around 400 pages and covering Mexico and Central America will be released. It will have a regular price of $3.99, but it will be free for the first 500 readers.

Quick Take

Value:Very high.

Would I Buy Again:Yes, especially if the price is lowered.

Learning Curve:Very, very low.

Who Is It For:Readers who love to travel.

What I Like:The breathtaking photographs and wonderful journal entries.

What I Don't Like:The bottom strip containing sharing and index buttons may be changed to a hidden overlay instead.

Final Statement:Whether you're a seasoned globe-trotter or a humble couch potato, you're sure to find things to like in LA2BA.

Read the Developer's Notes:
When photographer Serdar Sunny Unal left Los Angeles for a five month solo motorcycle expedition to the Americas, little did he know that there was no going back. In the following years, Project LA2BA would cover over 40.000 miles through 15 countries, providing a vast supply of exceptional photographic opportunities and a rare chance to meet the contrasting cultures of an entire continent.

The photo-journal of the incredible journey spanning Mexico, Central America, and South America, all the way to the end of the continent and back to Buenos Aires, is now ready for enjoyment exclusively on the iOS platform.

No other medium could breathe as much life into the exquisite full-spread images as a vibrant backlit display. No other book could pack over 1200 pages and go with you anywhere. One of the most ambitious projects of its kind, LOS ANGELES to BUENOS AIRES is squarely aimed at taking its viewers for a spectacular visual ride.

App Features:

? Over 1100 beautiful images
? Candidly written journals
? Elegant, intuitive interface
? Visual table of contents for quick and easy navigation
? Locally stored content
? Interactive route map (interactivity requires internet connection)
? Keep it on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch simultaneously

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aldrin has written 128 awesome app reviews.