PotD: Condor at Colca Canyon

Sony A7RII : f/7.1@2000th : ISO 200 : EV -0.7 : FE 90mm f/2.8

The tour bus from Arequipa to Colca canyon left at 3am and somehow I ended up on it. I hadn’t been on a guided tour since the first week of my journey when it was the only way to make it onto the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia. That had turned out to be an excellent tour and, even though I had actively avoided going to Machu Picchu in an ‘imp of the perverse’ attitude of not wanting to line up with thousands of others on the tourist conveyor belt, I was happy enough curled up on my seat trying to sleep as we headed through the remains of the night to one of the world’s deepest canyons. Colca canyon has now become Peru’s third most visited destination, with over 120,000 visitors annually. Some may come just for the opportunity to see an Andean condor in the wild; or to see the pre-Inca stepped terraced farming that is still practiced to this day rising up from the banks of the Colca river all the way up the sides of the steep canyon walls; or the pueblos that are classic examples of the colonial architecture that the local inhabitants were moved into, always with a grand church at their centre. If you get a chance to visit the thermal baths in the area, it’s a good way to finish up the tour (take your bathers!).

Seeing as I was travelling with no lenses longer than the FE 90mm Macro, there was never going to be much chance of me getting a close-up of a condor in flight. Instead, I went for this rather iconic image where all the elements have been reduced down to their essence and appear to me to be in perfect balance. The image has not been cropped and I love the framing, with the cloud to the left, the cacti coming into the bottom of the frame, and the condor sharply outlined against the clear blue sky. Nothing more, nothing less. A fast shutter speed to avoid movement blur, focus once on the mountain top using the focus button I have set on the back of the camera, then take several shots as the condor glides by. Lucky me!

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Colca Canyon

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