Little house on the Urubamba

This is Salapunku, the first ruin you’ll see on the first day of a 4-day Inca Trail trek.

Salapunku

It was located next to a canal, so may have been involved in administering water from it.  Otherwise, from what I can uncover, it was just a little Inca farm town.

It now overlooks the rail line to Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu Pueblo — so any local ghosts don’t get much rest these days.

A profile of the Inca Trail

Before I hiked the Inca Trail, I naturally did the modern thing and consulted the font of wisdom that is the Internet.  Quite a few sites talked about the cardiovascular challenge of the trail, the risk of altitude sickness, etc.  Before I hiked the trail, though, I didn’t appreciate how helpful resistance training would have been.

The normal brief description of the 4-day approach to the trail goes something like this:

  • Day 1 — warm-up
  • Day 2 — painful climbing
  • Day 3 — a little climbing, but mostly down-hill
  • Day 4 — smooth sailing into Machu Picchu

This is generally accurate, but an over-simplification.   Continue reading

25 prohibitions

So I recently returned from a trip to Peru — including a hike along the Inca Trail, a good chunk of time spent in Machu Picchu, even more time spent in Cusco, all sorts of good things.  I plan on writing up a number of blog posts on things I saw and experienced — but first thought this might be helpful to future Machu Picchu visitors (it’s a sign at the entrance, laying out 25 things you may not bring to / do in the site):

So many rules...

Bottom line — there’s lots of inaccurate information online w.r.t what is and isn’t allowed into / at the site of Machu Picchu.  So, since the above text is a bit small, here’s the posted list of restrictions (as of May, 2018), along with my comments on them: Continue reading

This goes here, that goes there (using the E-M1II’s two card slots)…

There’s been some discussion online about ways to use the Olympus E-M1II‘s dual slots, so I thought I’d write up how I use them — in the hope that this is useful for other owners of the camera.

So, first off, three things:

  1. The camera’s two slots have different speeds. Slot 1 (the “top” one) is capable of handling UHS-II cards but is backwards compatible with earlier cards, and Slot 2 (the “bottom” one) is capable of handling UHS-I cards. This is a new thing (to Olympus) with the E-M1II, so earlier models don’t have this capability, and only time will tell what later models will have it. If I’m reading the card specs correctly, the fastest UHS-II card will be 3 times faster than the best UHS-I card.
  2. You can use the two slots in any of six different modes for stills, plus a separate choice for video. Note that your selections are “captured” by custom modes, so you can use the cards differently for each of the 3 custom modes plus your normal mode — if you’ve got the cognitive “real estate” to remember all these permutations.
  3. You’ll need to make changes in two places in the menu system (maybe three, depending on how you set up your camera), but they’re logically separate so pretty easy to keep straight.

Continue reading

Traces of past motion

Another shot of Paris’ Ferris Wheel, courtesy of Olympus‘ Live Composite function:

Traces of past motion

Unfortunately, when you use Live Composite to create an image, the total exposure time is not recorded in the image’s EXIF data.  I do know, though, that each Live Comp “sub-image” was 0.5 seconds long, and this photo is made up of at least 20 of them.

Other EXIF info for the curious:

Olympus E-M5II, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens @ 31mm
ISO 200
f/14