Nestled between the majestic Andean mountains in the South American country of Peru, is the little village of Pisac. This quaint, cobblestone town is a back-packers paradise with bustling craft and farmers markets, cozy cafes, mountain hiking and year round cultural festivities. It is also a photographers dream as it offers exceptional imagery due to its intimate atmosphere.
Located at the base of an imposing mountain, Pisac is the doorway to the sacred valley of Peru. In the fields and terraces just outside of town, local villagers tend the fields sacred corn. If shot in the early morning, when the mountains are filled with mist, the corn stalks look like an ocean of golden blossoms. Just outside of town, you can capture some great shots of women dressed in hand-woven, traditional clothing ushering herds of alpaca up the hillsides. Be sure to pack your hiking boots, as many locations will require an uphill climb in order to maximize the view. During the winter season it is wise to keep a raincoat with you as well, as the weather in Pisac can quickly change. However, the dynamism of this natural environment creates beautiful lighting.
Walking through the dreamy streets of Pisac the smell of fresh bread fills the air as local women carry bundles of herbs, wrapped in fabric and slung across their shoulders. Visiting the Sunday market is sure to provide ample opportunity for shooting authentic village life. Arrive early, before the scene gets too chaotic and you’ll find a scene ripe with color and texture. People from all around the world pass through this village on a daily basis, so if you are looking for interesting characters to photograph, this place is full of shamans, healers and spiritual seekers.
Etched into the mountainside just behind the Pisac village, ancient Incan ruins reveal themselves as stone buildings and towers rise out of the steep slopes. The ascent is treacherous as tight pathways wind around rocky edges. Just beyond the Incan archaeological ruins the trail leads to an even more mysterious, technologically advanced site known as Intihuatana, house of the sun. If the weather is clear, shooting with warm sunset lighting can really bring the stones to life. Be sure to plan enough time for a strong hike in order to capture the beauty of this magical place.
Although not the quietest, nor the busiest village in the sacred valley, Pisac is unique, not only geographically as a crossroads for people, cargo and business, but also as a symbol of a world that is becoming smaller and smaller. With so many wonderful things to shoot in such a small area, Pisac is a worthy consideration for any photographic adventure to Peru.