PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL ("Why Here?" part 15): Photographing at Machu Picchu was not what I expected it would be. I went there for the sandcastle magic that had thrilled me the first time I saw a postcard picture of the city. The reality of the place was much different. One can't help but be awed by the grandeur of the valley and the mountains and the architecture, but it's more than the immensity. Immensity made tangible? It's like no other heights I've stood upon. I lack the words and struggle to capture it in images.
It was hard to imagine people living here in the cold stone huts, hard to imagine the walls hung with Inca rugs, mats on the floor, hard to imagine living beings inhabiting there, no matter how much I felt the Inca presence.
Also, I hadn't anticipated the shutter-triggering frisson and energy from the clash of careful Inca stonework against the raw, mountain monoliths arrayed everywhere as far as I could see.
Best of all, however, was the light show as the sun set. It was a short window of light while I was there, but it was enough to know that Machu Picchu is a funhouse of light for photographers, and I want to go back.