Peru

Travel in Peru: Andahuaylas

Around four years ago I was employed as a photographer by MINCETUR, the tourist department of the Peruvian government. My role was to take tourist-friendly travel photos in various places around Peru. In addition to visiting the usual tourist destinations such as Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu I also spent a week taking images in and around Andahuaylas. Click through the slideshow below for some of the travel images I took whilst in Andahuaylas:

Andahuaylas (Quechua Antawayllaanta copper, waylla meadow, "copper meadow") is a Peruvian city. It is the capital of the Andahuaylas Province in the Apurímac Region. It is known as the pradera de los celajes (Spanish for "prairie of colored clouds").

I spent a week in Andhuayalas exploring the various nearby villages and spending a lot of time in the small city itself. I didn’t see any other tourists during my entire stay in Andahuaylas. The culture was fascinating allowing for some interesting street photography such as this lady leading her pig to the market on a Sunday. I also managed to get some cinematic style street photos whilst practising with an anamorphic lens. The nearby Lake Pachuca and the archaeological site of Sóndor are also definitely worth a visit.

A blog about my week in Machu Picchu from the same trip can be found here as well as a blog about anamorphic photography. More of my photographs from Peru can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Volunteering in Lima, Peru with Reciprocity NGO

I have recently been volunteering for Reciprocity NGO, a great NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) in Lima, Peru.  Reciprocity NGO is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the living conditions in the pueblos jóvenes (shanty towns) of Lima, Peru.  Visiting these areas is a real eye opener.  They are a short distance from the posh high rise districts of Miraflores and La Molina but a World apart.  These communities live in extreme poverty, many in small wooden huts without access to running water or electricity.  Click through the slideshow below to see some of the communities supported by Reciprocity:

About Reciprocity NGO

Through various humanitarian projects they strive to improve the lives of those living in extreme poverty within Lima.  The projects combined with the hard work of the Reciprocity volunteers and locals helps to establish a foundation for the communities to build on and become self-sustainable in the future.  Work varies to cater specifically for what is needed most, but the aim is to ensure the people have basic infrastructure.  This may include: building safe stairways and supporting walls, community centres and schools, clearing the communities of garbage and planting flowers and trees.

Although the organisation works with the communities as a whole,  their primary focus is on the children.  Reciprocity NGO believes that by providing the younger generation with access to education, nutrition, social capital, and hope they are giving them the tool to escape the poverty cycle.  More information about Reciprocity NGO and the story behind their founder Edwin Rojas can be found here.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of the cute & cheeky kids supported by Reciprocity NGO in Lima, Peru, South America:

Reciprocity NGO are always looking for volunteers and donations.  The volunteers are a really nice group of people from Peru and around the World.  They take you safely to the communities via mini bus from Miraflores before dropping you back later, and there is no cost involved.  If you want to help, send them an email: ong.reciprocity@gmail.com or you can Whats App or call.

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, or are interested in collaborating please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Machu Picchu by Geraint Rowland Photography

A few years ago I was lucky enough to spend a week at Machu Picchu taking photographs for MINCETUR, the tourist department of the Peruvian Government.  Machu Picchu is a 15th Century Inca citadel located in the Cusco region of Peru above the sacred valley.  Machu Picchu was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.  In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

For seven days I was based in Machu Picchu Pueblo, the village below Machu Picchu, also known as Aguas Calientes.  From here I would visit the various peaks surrounding Machu Picchu including: Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain and Putukusi (also spelled Putucusi).  In addition to this I also hiked the last two days of the Inca Trail which finishes at Machu Picchu, the mysterious "Lost City of the Incas".  Click through the slideshow below for some images I took from my time at Machu Picchu:

I had an amazing week at Machu Picchu, and would recommend spending a few days there if you have time to fully explore the area.  With more time you can visit the various peaks and have a much better chance of experiencing good weather.  The day I climbed Huayna Picchu there was very little visibility for most of the day.  I personally believe that the best views of Machu Picchu itself were from Machu Picchu mountain.  The most exciting and least busy of all the peaks was Putukusi with only a handful of people seen the entire walk.  It is not for the faint hearted though with several huge and steep ladders at the start of the hike (see below).  If you only have time for Machu Picchu try and make it up on one of the first buses to catch the sun rise.  Click through the carousel below for more images from Machu Picchu:

More of my Machu Picchu photographs can be found on my website, InstagramFacebook page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Anamorphic Photography by Geraint Rowland

I first became interested in anamorphic and cinematic photography a few years ago after stumbling across an article online on the PetaPixel blog written by the wedding photographer, Sam Hurd.  The article, titled, 'Shooting with an Anamorphic Lens on an Ordinary DSLR' explains the history behind the cinematography technique as well as how to use an anamorphic lens on a modern day DSLR camera.  In essence, using an anamorphic lens results in a photo with a wide panoramic aspect ratio whilst having the shallow depth of field of a telephoto lens.  

An anamorphic image of the Inca Trail leading to Peru in South America by Geraint Rowland.

An anamorphic image of the Inca Trail leading to Peru in South America by Geraint Rowland.

To find out more about anamorphic photography I found an excellent group on Flickr called Anamorphic Lens which is frequented by some experts in this field.  Following some conversations online with the extremely talented, friendly and helpful Shuji Moriwaki I went on to buy one of his old lenses and give it a go myself.  In addition to the wide aspect whilst retaining the shallow depth of field, anamorphic lenses also bend the incoming light in a beautiful way.  Anamorphic lenses also produce very unique bokeh, finally this style of lens can produce a very cool cinematic style flare.  

Using an anamorphic lens on a DSLR is a bit of a fiddle, especially with regards to focus.  You need to first focus your normal prime lens, attach the anamorphic lens with a mount and then focus the second lens to the same distance.  Like everything, practice makes perfect and the technique gets easier with time.  Despite the focus issues an anamorphic lens can produce some stunning and unique images.  I found that they emphasis the scale in landscape photography and can add emotion with the particular way they bend the light.  Here are some landscape photos I took using the anamorphic lens in and around Machu Picchu in Peru.  Note the cinematic style borders at the top and the bottom of the image are added in post production.  

Click on the image below to scroll through the slide show.

With portrait photography they provide an alternative approach, producing images with a unique look and style.  You can make use of the shallow depth of field offered by the telephoto lens as well as playing with the unique lighting, flare and bokeh.  Click on the image below to scroll through the view the slide show.

More examples of my anamorphic photography can be found on my website or on my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any of my anamorphic prints or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.