From the Road — La Compañía de Jesús Church, Cusco, Perú

I love mornings because everything is fresh and new and full of hope. Anything can happen. And because I am not a coffee drinker, I do not start the day stressed over where I can find the closest Starbucks (in Cusco, by the way, it is right on the Plaza de Armas; it opens at 7am).

Early mornings also feature one of my favorite times to photograph: twilight, when the skies change from deep black to cobalt blue, and when roosters begin announcing that the night is over. If you are not an early riser, blue skies also happen at the end of the day, but you will hear no roosters.

During the travel photography workshops I recently led in Cusco, Perú, we got up early a few times to capture subjects in the city at twilight. Fortunately for us, many historic buildings in Cusco, including the Cathedral, La Compañía de Jesús Church and the Coricancha (an Inca temple), are illuminated through the night and into the early morning hours (in many places the lights go out about midnight).

 La Compania de Jesus (The Company of Jesus) Church on the Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru

The picture here depicts La Compañía de Jesús, with the Plaza de Armas and its lampposts in the foreground. Getting the image required an early start. According to my camera stats (technically referred to as metadata), I took the image at 5:15 in the morning, which means I would have been up at least an hour beforehand to get ready, walk to the plaza and find my spot. To get the “star” effect on the lampposts, I used an f-stop of f16, which gave me a shutter speed of 8 seconds. Obviously I used a tripod.

Although I love photographing early, as a travel photographer I also try to capture a subject at different times of the day, with and without people, horizontally and vertically, close up and far away. The idea is to work the subject, take a variety of pictures, and come home with a rounded selection of images of the same subject. Comprende?

Now get out and shoot something.