The road to my little village though four seasons.
The small chapel near the village of Mas Saint-Jean. The building with its graceful stone walls and pitched roof with flat tiles, was built around 1115, when the Earl of March donated the land surrounding the monks Aureil. Many will tell you Joan of Arc came to pray in the chapel during a ride with Jean de Brosse, on her way to battle. Some even say it war her who planted the magnificent lime tree which seems to protect the little building with its gnarled arms. The trunk, some centuries old, has a circumference of more than 7m.(more…)
This is not a review. This is simply a hands-on account of the Fuji x100 based on my very limited use during the first 24 hours using this camera. I am willing to lay all the chips on the line right from the start and go ahead and say that this may be the best digital camera I have ever used. Period. I’ll tell you why after the jump, along with plenty of snaps from my first few hours using this camera. (Keep Reading…)
Well, it only took a month and a half, but finally a portion of my back archives are now online. That included quite a lot of content from a couple United States road trips (more to come eventually from last summer), as well as some photographs from my European travels from Czech Republic, France and most recently, Germany. Of course, there’s a lot more to come when (if) I ever have the time to sort through it all. After all, I realized it has been ten years now since I started traveling and taking photos (which is probably not a coincidence), so there’s literally years of work to go through… One day.
Also, I have added the possibility to buy prints directly from the archive page- This is still in testing, and I’m not sure if it will stick around as a long term solution, but for the time being I will keep it. You should see a link under each photo which will allow you to purchase prints. Print orders are fulfilled through Fotomoto, and I have ordered a couple of test prints and the quality is definitely very nice. The pricing structure is a little on the pricey side however, but if you ACT NOW you can get 25% off. How’s that for a sales pitch? Seriously, use coupon code 64AA04 at checkout. Limited time offer, and all that, so get it while it’s hot. Or something.
Going forward, I still have a bit of work to do getting the rest of the Peru work finished! I should be able to finish that all up in the next few weeks, and then it’s on to the next big thing…
Our visit to Arequipa was dominated by the lovely and wonderfully photogenic Monasterio Santa Catalina (Wiki). We had arrived there late in the day so that we could catch the afternoon light and explore during the one evening per week that the monastery is open at night. Unfortunately, just as we arrived we had to sit through an afternoon rainstorm that left the sky grey and cloudy, and then found out that there was a special even that night, and we were getting kicked out early- After we had paid the thirty Soles entrance. So we were a little more rushed than I would have like to be, but it was still a lovely place to spend the afternoon exploring the tiny, pastel painted alleyways of the mostly complex and I was lucky enough to sneak a few extra minutes after the lights came on to catch some almost night shots.
Back out on the streets I was still itching to get my night photo fix, so I headed to the Plaza de Armas to set up my tripod there… I was only able to get one single exposure before they turned the lights out on the whole square, leaving the cathedral which was beautifully lit just minutes before dark in front of my lens! It was a slightly frustrating evening to say the least, but I was still able to collect a few shots which I am happy with. Plus, I was able to appease myself with loads of salty Chifa and a carafe of deliciously sweet corn Chica de Maize Morado to ease the defeat.
I’ve had a little trouble with keeping up with updates lately- Had some rather unfortunate ‘business affairs’ to take care of over the past two weeks which, unfortunately, have kept me from what I really should be doing- Making new photos! Web galleries for Bolivia are now online, including Copacabana and Isla del Sol. Sitting here now Germany- It’s raining outside and about 15º outside- Leaves me wanting some of that beautiful Bolivian sunshine…
Some of the most rewarding cultural interactions from Peru happened in the area around Lake Titicaca. This area is home to a wide variety of cultural and indigenous groups, each with very distinct culture and traditions. The experience that continues to stick out in my mind (among others) came on Christmas Eve, when we visited the Uros Floating Islands. I happened to bring along my old Polaroid SX-70 instant camera, and one of the woman asked me what it was. When I explained that it took “instant” photos, she begged me to take a portrait of her. Once the other women saw her photo, I was immediately surrounded and quickly blew through the ten-exposure pack. It was really priceless, and it was a great feeling that for that moment I wasn’t just another Gringo tourist ‘taking’ photos, but that I was able to give something (small) back as well.
Another highlight was staying with Felix Turpo Coila and his wife in their home in the tiny rural community of Llachon on the Capachica Peniunsula. They were warm and friendly, cooked us wonderful food, and Felix’s smile was always so big as in the photo. When we left Llachon, Felix arrange our transportation to Isla Taquile via a small fishing boat, which was yet another colorful experience that I will remember for a long time.
New gallery online with images from Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas and other Inca ruins near to Cusco. The area around the Urubamba Valley is home to many well-preserved ancient Inca sites, we well as the fascinating Salt Flats at Salinas, where salt has been harvested continually (in much the same fashion) since the Incas.
Back in November, Lena and I walked the Salkantay Trek from Mollepata to Machu Picchu- The combination of these two experiences for me were definitely highlights of the entire Peru trip. Salkantay brought us far off the beaten tourist track into pristine Peruvian Andean highland terrain, far from even the smallest villages. Upon arriving at the pass, I was disappointed to find that the clouds had all but covered the mountains, but I was able to catch a beautiful moment with a lone hiker standing there, dwarfed by the mountain, just as the clouds opened for a few moments… A few minutes later, the clouds has closed in again and we heard the long rolling of an avalanche from somewhere up in the peaks.
Of course the long pilgrimage to Machu Picchu was something I had looked forward to since I was quite young- It was in my mind some kind of a mythical place from my child’s memory that I had waited so long to see for myself, that I was almost sure I would find myself disappointed. Still, arriving before dawn on a foggy morning high in the lush Cordillera Vilcabamba to find the ruins revealed before you is something that even a childhood memory can not match. There really was a bit of a magical feeling standing there hidden in the fog, watching the distant terraces being revealed over and over again.
Finally getting some of the images from Peru online… I’ve gotten most of the kinks worked out of the archives now and they seem to be functioning as desired so far. So, to test it out I have uploaded the first few batches of images from the Peru trip: Lima and also Cusco. More to come soon.
As you can see, I spent some time at out at night is these cities and am really pleased with how some of those shots turned out. I think it’s really nice to see these locations in a little different light than most tourists’ photos tend to capture. There’s something really pleasing to me with the combination of the lights, colors, run down buildings, and most of all- the emptiness of what would at most times of the day be very crowded places.