Its hardly the first time this has been captured by a photographer, but it was impossible to resist. Everyone says its a spiritual experience when you first see Machu Picchu, but I was a little skeptical. Sometimes the cliche's are a little anticlimactic, simply because they have become so visually familiar. However, I am delighted to report that I was wrong in this case, and Machu Picchu now sits in a revered section of my memory, along with the Serengeti, the pyramids at Giza, and several others, as an experience that completely exceeded my expectations . Like the aforementioned examples, neither photographs, movies or TV really communicate the sheer awesome, daunting, inspiring, and yes, spiritual scale of this colossus. I think the combination of natural beauty and man made ingenuity is probably unique, at least in my experience.
One tip, if you ever get to visit, don't sign up for the buffet. At about 1 pm the crowds meander down the slopes to graze, leaving the monument almost deserted, and replacing the sound of clicking cameras and multilingual guides with the gentle rushing of the river below.
Once again, lighting conditions were challenging, something that seemed to be a constant factor in Peru. I will probably try an HDR of a similar scene to this at one point, which may be a way to deal with the extreme tonal range, but for now, this is all she wrote!