My favorite photos often happen randomly, a quick shot and the amateur hope that my camera will translate accurately all that my eye thinks it sees.
A perfect example happened on a late summer afternoon in Machu Picchu. I glanced over and saw two of my kids sitting on a grassy edge of the Andes, overlooking the abandoned ruins.
Most tourists had left for the day, so we had the run of the place. From their vantage point, Vinnie and Molly saw what Hiram Bingham must have seen 100 years earlier. The sinking sun cast shadows behind them and lit the scene in front of them with celestial precision.
By luck, Molly wore an old blue T-shirt with her last name written across the back. By design, she wore a hat she’d purchased the day before from a market in Cusco. I thought both looked oddly perfect against the age-old tableau.
Vinnie, who’d graduated from high school that year, dressed like Che Guevara for his trip to Machu Picchu and scampered like a mountain goat around those ruins all day.
The picture caught him in a moment of reflection, his 11-year old sister sitting by his side like the faithful Alberto Granado to his rugged Che.
“Stay right there a second,” I said, and I snapped the shot.
We stayed up on those ruins as long as we could and, thanks to my mom’s excellent travel planning, we slept in the Sanctuary Lodge that night. But, it rained the next day and I felt sorry for all the tourists who had to slog through the mud on their only day in that fascinating place.
The rain made us all even more grateful for all the hours we’d spent among the wandering llamas the day before.
I took plenty of pictures on our Peruvian adventure, but this unedited image stands as the singular moment of a truly remarkable journey, and I treasure it as their photographer, fellow tourist, and Mom.