Possibly the most photogenic place in all our travels – the salt lake of Uyuni was Number 1 on Megumi’s travel wish list.Almost the last place on our journey, we were lucky enough to time the end of the rainy season which coats the salt lake in a few cm of water. A perfect mirror to the horizon in all directions.
Feature Photos Archive
The sunset over Uyuni was particularly amazing, quite psychedelic. A cascade of colours erupting in front, under and all around you. To see it we had to stay in a very basic hotel (made of salt) in the middle of the lake. Primitive accommodation, freezing cold at night – but the only guests with the entire salt scape to ourselves.
Had to throw in one more for good measure – we have hundreds of amazing photo’s from Uyuni. Every hour the landscape and scenery changed with the light, we simply couldn’t put the camera’s away. Morphing from watery landscapes, to mirror reflections to almost icy nothingness – constantly changing with the light. Many, like this one at sunrise – feel more like professional exhibition works. Honestly no photo-shopping required.
Megumi living out one of her dreams! Ice-climbing her way (using crampons and pickaxes) to the top of Huayana Potosi – a mountain 6088m high, located just outside La Paz in Bolivia. I quite happily sat this one out – but she is pictured here at the summit, with one her few remaining companions – only 3 out 7 made it.
As some of you may know my family lives in Miyagi, Japan in the middle of the areas hardest hit by the quake and tsunami so events over the past few weeks have been particularly devastating and close to home. Things really couldn’t be more desperate there and the process of recovery is going to be a long and difficult one. Though its going to take a monumental effort, I’m confident that Japan will rebuild itself, with a stronger sense of community and respect for the environment. I sense that this will be a real catalyst for a change.
Some people have contacted us about donating money or asking what they might be able to do for the earthquake/tsunami victims. Money and aid is still desperately needed so anything you can do will make a big difference. You can read a personal account of the current aid situation here, which gives you some idea of the heartbreaking current reality. As part of the overall effort, there are a few places that I have personal contact with & I am trying to raise money to help contribute to these directly. I also plan to be back in Japan soon and working in the Miyago area myself, so am sure I will find plenty of other needy causes not covered by the major aid centres.
As an example, I have friends currently helping evacuated families and children in Niigata, where 7000 people have been evacuated from Fukushima due to the damage to nuclear reactor. The government and big support organizations are more focused on providing desperately needed support & aids for shelters, medical services and everyday supplies, however there is a great shortage in providing educational/psychological support for children. My friend and the team of volunteers there are working with elementary to highschool students providing tutoring/counseling services, and need donations to help fund key aspects of these activities.
If you are interested in donating to this or other personal projects, please let me know so that I can provide you with more details.
Some Major Non Profits who we hear are also doing good things. (all international)
AMERICAN RED CROSS
DONATE VIA PAYPAL
BUY A T-SHIRT. All net proceeds go towards the Redcross efforts in Japan.
Every little bit helps, our sincerest thanks in advance for any contributions you can make! And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Peace and love,
Megumi & Scott
One of the 7 modern wonders of the world, Machi Picchu definitely lives up to the hype. The amazing lost Incan city sits perched on a remote mountain top in one of the most stunning locations. Despite the many tourists the place is pure magic for a whole host of reasons – the location, surrounding mountain scenery, the perplexing achievements of the Incan architecture, its mysterious history and its also incredible photogenic. It also resonates with a powerful, spiritual energy that really stirs the soul. While this is probably one of the most famous photo’s in the world, the reality continues to live up to expectation and its easy to replicate. Llamas keep the grass down among the ruins as well and we were lucky enough to sneak one into that perfect postcard shot.
The Sacred mountain of “Apu Yanantin”, revered by the Andean people and said to symbolize the union of two dissimilar energies. The mountain sits high above the magnificent Incan fortress and ruins of Ollantaytambo, a beautiful atmospheric Incan village wedged between fantastic mountain ruins on either side. The village remains largely unchanged in hundreds of years and is still full of direct Incan descendants, this despite the thousands of tourists that visit here to either start their trek on the famous Incan trail or catch the train direct to Machu Pichu. We were lucky enough to catch this shot of the mountain peaking through the clouds right before sunset, so felt compelled to throw it up.
The fascinating Incan terrace designs of Moray in the Sacred Valley. There are 3 of these circular terraced constructions, each built to different depths adjacent to each other along the length of a valley. There are many fascinating aspects to this site, largely believed to be an agricultural experimental zone built by the Inca’s. Each circle creates a unique micro-climate with different temperates, soil types and other conditions that simulate environments and enable cultivation of a range of crops from the major regions of Peru. (ie mountains, jungle and coastal zones). As you descend the terraces, the temperature changes noticeably and you become aware of a special peace and energy. Many believe that there is more to this than agriculture (think astronomy, aliens), certainly the Andean people and their shaman come here to conduct ceremonies and make offerings to Panchama – mother earth. Whatever its original function though, it is indeed a special place!
A distant shot of the salt farms of Salineras – the scale of this really takes your breathe away when you first sea. Carved into a valley, surrounded by green mountains; there are some 3,000 salt pans in total, all cleverly irrigated and feeding off a small salt water spring, remnants of a long lost sea. Originally built by the Incas some 600 years ago, these were later expanded by the Spanish through slavery but today the salt farms are each individually owned, direct inheritance from their slave ancestors though still operating much as they also have. Given it was rainy season, they are a little brown and minimally worked – this becomes a sea of white in dry season and a hive of activity, but impressive all the same!
A sighting of the rare great Andean condor – the largest bird in the world and highly endangered. The Colca Valley in Southern Peru is the second largest canyon in the world, (the largest is 50km over) and home to some stunning landscapes, vibrant traditional cultures and agriculture, but it is also one of the few places where you can almost always see condors. We were lucky to see 6 while we were there, several juveniles and this fine adult, gliding up the steep cliff-faces, playing with the air currents in the morning sun.