iPhone App Review: LOS ANGELES to BUENOS AIRES – Short Cut

iPhone App Review: LOS ANGELES to BUENOS AIRES – Short Cut

February 28th, 2012 by

Photographer Serdar Sunny Unal chronicles a 2-year solo motorcycle expedition through the Americas, punctuating his gorgeous photography with insights and observations from the journal he kept over his 40,000+ mile journey through 15 countries. This unique book is released exclusively through the iTunes App Store and features over 300 images, an intuitive visual table of contents, locally stored content, and an interactive route map powered by Google Maps. The full edition is functionally identical to the Short Cut Edition, but features a total of 1100+ pictures and chronicles the full journey.

How It Works

The app is primarily an ebook dressed in its own app wrapper, which gives it unique advantages over a more typical Kindle or iBooks release. The visual table of contents gives you a glimpse of each page in each section so you can quickly jump to a favorite picture or journal entry. The book is structured such that you can read it cover to cover, or jump around and read just the areas that interest you. Swiping left and right turns pages, pinching or double-tapping zooms in on text and pictures, while swiping up takes you straight to the table of contents. Tapping on the screen brings up a menu that gives you links to the author’s website and the route map.

Pros And Cons

The app itself is designed well and puts across the content smoothly, but this “app” is really a book, so I will review it that way. It’s not about the presentation, though the presentation is intuitive and smooth, it’s about the content.

The author and photographer Serdar Sunny Unal is an amazing, accomplished photographer, at least that’s what I can gather from looking at his work in this book. The pictures are stunning from start to finish, no matter whether you’re looking at a beach in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica or a busy urban street in Columbia, every shot is perfectly framed and focused to capture the essence of the city he’s traveling through.

The journal entries take a back seat to the photography, but there are plenty of insights and observations to be gleaned from his writings. He offers vignettes that are short scenes from his journeys that star the people the he meets along the way. It’s a solo journey, but he manages to make friends along the way despite obvious language barriers and natural trepidation when traveling alone in a foreign country. His essays are fun and casual, though he has a writing style that is as concise and detailed as his photography. His writing tends to sometimes be too concise, not offering enough context for some of the places he’s going and reasoning behind decisions that he makes, but that is a small criticism of an otherwise engrossing and beautiful journey.

The best “pro” of them all, of course, is the fact that it’s a universal app. Read through it once on your iPhone if you like, but be sure to take another pass along the journey and look at the pictures again on your iPad.

Overall

Los Angeles To Buenos Aires is a fun, engrossing chronicle of a dream-journey across two continents and through 15 countries. The rich, vivid photography perfectly matches the journal entries, though I wish there were even more journal entries to read and give me more insight into the journey itself and the reason behind it in the first place. With all of that said, you should definitely check out the Short Cut Edition while it’s free, and grab the full version if you like what you see.

I have also recently heard from the author that he plans on expanding on some of his journal entries in future updates, answering one of my key issues (if you can call it that) with the app. Thanks, and keep the updates coming!

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