Peru

This entry is long overdue since I have been home for almost two months after returning from Peru and I hope you are all still eager to hear my thoughts or what I like to call a loose assembly of words.

I spent a good while this morning trying to figure out how to best present the two weeks I spent there in a concise and interesting manner and finally decided on talking to three points; the trip, the people, and finally the landscape (saving the big stuff for last). Another big hurdle for me was deciding which shot to open the blog with since there are147 images posted in the gallery. I eventually went with this image that was captured at the Pisac Market just as we were leaving for the day. I had my Beercan on my a700 and began firing away while crouched, not knowing if the exposure range was going to be too much. As it turns out, I caught a razor sharp capture of the young man in the back left with the conch shell.

In my experience, if you’re planning on heading anywhere other than a beach town when traveling be sure to ALWAYS set aside more than a week away from your day job. We allotted twelve days, and as always wished we had more. The twelve days gave us enough slip time to deal with the delayed flight down there and the time needed to travel throughout the large country. I’ll get into some details later on, but I want to hit on where we were real quick for anyone planning this trip or for anyone who has done it themselves;

Day 1 Delayed – East Coast weather problems (canceled flight over the Nazca Lines and dune buggies in the desert)

Day 2 Touchdown Lima, quick flight to Cusco

Day 3 Tour throughPlaza de Armas/Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Sacred Valley/Pisac Market, and Incan Ruins

Day 4 White water rafting on the Urubamba River

Day 5-8 Hike on Incan trail to Machu Picchu

Day 9 Recover in Aguas Calientes and return to Cusco

Day 10 Travel to Puno

Day 11 Lake Titicaca

Day 12 Lima

The trip was a real whirlwind with all of the activities we had planned and the hard reservation times that we had to abide by to be able to hike the Incan trail…but man was it worth it!

I’m going to throw logic out the window here and simply talk to my favorite photos of people and landscapes that I captured.

The first person I have to talk about is our tour guide Oscar from Peru Treks. He was a PHENOMENAL guide and we really got to know him intimately after spending four days on the trail with him. I would HIGHLY recommend you contact and request him if you’re thinking about marching up to Machu Picchu.

I grabbed this while we waited for our train out of Aguas Calientes back to Cusco and I think that it perfectly embodies the old Incan ethos that’s still very much alive today;do not steal, do not lie,do not be lazy.

Continuing with that, the mothers in this country are relentless caretakers who seemingly never let their young ones out of their sight.

Not that the men don’t work hard either…you would not believe the power-to-weight of the men in this country!

While on the trail we were very fortunate to have an army of twelve (that number never stops popping up in this story) porters who would literally RUN ahead of us to set up camp! Their physical condition was unreal considering the altitude, and we were all further put to shame when we found out that some of them were in their 40s and 50s!

On (yes on)Lake Titicaca are villages of people who live on top of man-made cork islands covered with reeds that need to be replenished every few months. The villagers used to make a living from fishing, but now depend on the thriving tourism industry in Peru. They still maintain some of the culture that developed centuries ago when Incan aggression caused the people to seek refuge on the lake and create the floating islands.

Finally, a cool shot of a police officer outside of the train station in Aguas Calientes.

Now on to the landscapes! To start things off, a shot of the Plaza de Armas in Cusco that wasn’t too far from our hotel room.

Pano shot of the Sacred Valley.

No shortage of god light in Peru.

Sunset in the distance of a church/market outside of Cusco.

Shot of the basecamp on day 1 of our hike. A bit heavy on the Photoshop here, but I wanted the details in both the clouds and the mountains to come out.

Clouds rolling into camp on day 2…yes clouds, we hiked to 14,000 feet that day.

My favorite shot of the trail. If I didn’t know any better, I would have though this was taken with a large format camera (for my camera geeks out there) since it really has that surreal and dreamy look. Notice the hikers in the bottom left?

Really like the mood of this picture. A touch of Photoshop to get those rocks to come out.

And here’s my hero shot of Machu Picchu!

If you or someone you know would like a detailed itinerary and contacts of some of the friends I made while down there, feel free to drop me a line and I’d be more than happy to send you our gouge (information – mil term).

Thanks for sticking with me through this photo journey and I hope you enjoyed the ride!

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