Local School Parade in Puno, Peru. 12,565 ft above sea level

[nggallery id=16 template=caption]

Another High Altitude adventure. A city wide parade / festival in the narrow side streets of Puno.

Getting to Puno is a long, gorgeous drive up the entire Urubamba River Valley, heading away from Macchu Picchu, and through some of the most desolate and beautiful countryside, mountains and passes I’ve ever seen. The end of the long series of valleys is the pass at 4,338 meters above sea level so 14,2224.5 ft. That’s at street level, where I stood while making the image of the mountains at sunset, and the peaks soar up from and all around there. There’s nothing around. It’s chilly and breezy. The light is clean and pure so colors are saturated and deep in hue. It’s literally dizzying.

I got pretty sick in Puno, which is on the shores of Lake Titicaca. It would have been a good idea for me to sit and acclimate for a day and then venture out but the street parade caught me by surprise. I heard it from my hotel window which overlooked the street below. So my images are really true “shaky cam”. I felt lousy but couldn’t resist giving it a whirl. The local people are warm and friendly and the colors, everywhere, are intense.

>>>Check out these images too. More from Peru and many from other travels.<<<

Photographer as witness or participant? There are two variations here. The family and I are related in time and place and interacting. There’s nothing magic captured or created because we’re creating the image together. That’s a conscious move I sometimes have to make. When to fade into the surroundings and disappear and when to come forward and how. On the other hand, the school girls in parade are lost and focused on their routines and I went pretty much unnoticed. Even though it was bright daylight (so didn’t require a slow shutter speed), I chose to “drag” the shutter so the effect would feel energetic, busy and sort of chaotic like the parade. I thought the comparison between the stoic and proud family and the busy dancers was interesting. They were shot about a minute apart.

I hope to post more images from this trip soon!