A Pan American Adventure; Part 3 – Arequipa

Upon conclusion of our ‘organised’ itinerary we had reserved a week or so of spare time to head elsewhere in Peru. So in escaping the excitement of Cusco, the highs and lows of our trek and after a gruelling >12 hour bus journey, we arrived in Arequipa – a colonial city in the south of Peru.

We had intended to remain active once there and considered a trip up the local, omnipresent volcano, El Misti. Unfortunately, the relative lull in our program meant that we succumbed to an enforced laziness and a stomach bug (don’t eat pizza in an empty restaurant) which inevitably led to a few days of down-time and a leisurely pace.

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Downtime in the shadow of El Misti.

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A Pan-American Adventure; Part 2.1 – A KE Adventure

Our main reason for being in Peru was that we had booked ourselves onto a 9-day, high altitude trek around one of the highest mountains in Peru – the Ausangate mountain. We had booked with a Keswick-based  company called KE Adventure whose operation comes with a good reputation with regards to their guides, customer service, product and treatment of their local staff.

Their Ausangate itinerary lasts for 14 days and includes 4 days of acclimatisation prior to the start of the trek. During these initial days we were taken to several Incan structures both around Cusco and in the Sacred Valley. After the trek we were taken to Machu Picchu for a day-trip which was included as part of the itinerary. I will cover both the trek and Machu Picchu in separate posts.

As we were already in Cusco before the beginning of the itinerary, we met up with our guide and drove out to the airport to pick up some other members of the group. We totalled 6 members plus our guide, so half a regular group. Sarah and I were by far the youngest, with the additional members being >50 years of age. Each of the other members were relatively well experienced when it came to trekking at altitude, and all were well accustomed to KE, some having been on 12 trips with them! Like them and their obvious vote-with-your-feet mentality, I can only praise KE and their affiliate in Peru – Tambo Treks – and would certainly book with them again.

From the airport we travelled for 3-4 hours (including stops), driving to our first port of call – Ollantaytambo – a small town in the Sacred Valley home to a massive Incan citadel. But beforehand we stopped at a village around an hour outside of Cusco, Here we were shown the process and materials utilised to make many of the alpaca knit-wares that you see all over Peru.

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Kodak Portra 400 – Park Hill, Sheffield

More Park Hill.

The afore-maligned, post-war re-housing effort has recently been receiving a lot of attention. Last week’s Sheffield Design Week had stalls up there and viewings in the new units in collaboration with  the company responsible for the, as yet partial, refurbishment whilst members of the Royal Photographic Society recently produced a glossy photobook, (which contains some pretty awesome images).

My interest has correlated with this upsurge in promotional activity, but has for the most part been separate. Though I did partake in a viewing and certainly had some delicious pizza last Saturday!

The show apartment was itself interesting, with some innovative space saving design bits, comprising elements that echo the industrial nature of the area and thoroughly had the whole functional minimalism thing going on. Hopefully the regeneration plans they have made see it out to full completion.

Years of accumulated grime and decay have painted the undeveloped portions of the site a decrepit and concrete grey. I believe the original colour scheme had contained blue and yellow elements, which if you look hard, you can spot when walking around the inner facade.

I loaded the Pentacon Six with some Kodak Portra 400, affixed the Biometar 80mm and mooched up there an afternoon a couple of weekends ago. The sun was in full effect, the sky with few clouds; a perfect day and a complementary film to shoot the “streets in the sky” in an attempt to rediscover those original colours and to capture those new ones, often reflected in the plastic safety windows and ubiquitous metal panelling that have been installed over time.

Unfortunately my analogue Profisix has decided to pack in, maybe once my thesis is submitted I can look into fixing it, but until then I’m metering using a digital Gossen Mastersix that I managed to get along with my Profispot. As usual, I used a grey card instead of the latter, though hopefully with the advent of more time to waste, I can soon start learning zone metering! This roll was metered at ISO 200.

Some cropping, straightening and saturation modification was perpetrated in PS but developing and scanning is thanks to Ag-Photographic’s Photolab service.

Anyhow, enough waffle. Enjoy!

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Fujicolour Pro 400H – Sheffield Photowalks; City Centre & Kelham Island

Having been out hiking a little less than usual in recent weeks, one alternative has been to head out early’ish and take to the streets of Sheffield.

I often head down towards Kelham Island, the ex-industrial area of Sheffield that seems to always be in a state of permanent gentrification. The place is steeped in history, though is now predominantly devoid of big industry, thus can often give off a somewhat melancholy air. On the other hand, some skilled, cottage industry still exists, some of the new development is helpful and the locale is populated with a number of pubs, of which many would have served the original workforce, and now are known as some of the best that Sheffield has to offer.

The resulting shots showcased here represent two rolls from separate trips; one such Kelham Island walk, and another that also continued closer to the city centre, also taking in the ever maligned Park Hill Flats. The flats, (originally envisaged as a government-led, post-war re-housing scheme), have been a visual icon of the city for decades, and once hosted a thriving community. Now the flats are torn by development, dereliction and the last remaining, legal residents.

Both rolls were shot on Fuji Pro 400H, using my Pentacon Six TL, with a Zeiss Biometar 80mm f2.8, (zebra version); though one roll was shot at ISO 400 and the other at ISO 200. All metering was done using a Gossen Profisix in conjunction with an 18%  grey card. Some cropping, contrast and saturation  modification has been perpetrated in PS, but rolls were developed, printed and scanned by Ag-Photographic.

The Moor, Sheffield City Centre. Fuji Pro 400H. shot  at 400
The Moor, Sheffield City Centre. Fuji Pro 400H. shot at 400

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