Sure, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean the picture tells the whole story. And after seeing the amazing photos submitted this year to the ISA Photo Contest, we just had to find out what made these moments so special–and so photo-worthy. We caught up with Logan Graham, a student at North Carolina State University, who spent the Spring studying abroad with ISA in Cusco, Peru. Logan won both the Instagram category with his entry “In the Crux” as well as the overall contest with his photo “Following Inca Footsteps.” And just as we suspected, there’s a lot the pictures don’t show you about Logan’s fantastic adventures!
“Both of these photos were taken during my Spring Break,” Logan explained. “Two of my fellow ISA students, Mason and Duncan, and I left Cusco, where we were studying, and traveled down south to Bolivia to spend a week adventuring.”
“‘In the Crux’ was taken on the summit-ridge of Huayna Potosí, a 20,000 foot peak in Bolivia’s Cordillera Real Mountain Range. After a sleepless night in a tent near base camp, we had begun our accent up the peak at 1:00 am, and, after a hard climb, we reached the summit just in time to catch the very beginnings of an incredible sunrise. Dropping back down the peak an hour later, Mason and Duncan paused on a small sub-ridge of the peak, taking in one last view of our surroundings before preparing to drop down a steep cliff-face (the “crux” or most difficult part of the climb). I was able to snap a quick shot of their momentary pause—the sun on their backs and the rest of the Cordillera Real Mountain Range stretching out beyond them—before we headed back down to a much needed warm shower and some food in La Paz, Bolivia.”
“This photo was taken just three days later. Mason, Duncan and I were on the first day of a four day trek that followed an ancient Inca Trail that dropped from high in the Andes Mountains down into the Amazon Rain Forest. We had started the trek in a snow storm, and for much of the first morning of the trek, we battled through the conditions, scarcely able to see more than 100 yards in front of us. Then, around noon, the storm suddenly broke, and we found ourselves following a dramatic, stone-laid Inca trail at the bottom of a lush green valley. The combination of the sudden emergence of the sun coupled with the morning’s rain had left the valley so green and the stones in the Inca trail so intricate, and it made for a wonderful sight. I only stopped for a second, letting Mason and Duncan wander ahead, to snap the shot, but it turned out to be my favorite picture I took abroad—embodying so much of the adventures I had studying and adventuring in and around Cusco, Peru.”
Thank you so much, Logan, for sharing your adventures with us!
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