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Old June 16th, 2009, 05:30 AM   #1
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WARNING on going to Machu Picchu.

Seems like Machu Picchu is doing the same as our National Parks as far as equipment. Just before going to the city our guide looked at my XL-2 and said. We have a problem. Seems that they will consider this camcorder, or even a digital like the Mark II with 400 mm lens as "Professional" and want to charge you a permit fee. And from what my guide said was not cheap. We ended up disassembling the Canon and he took in the body, my wife took the 20x and 3x lens and I had the viewfinder/mic. Each time I wanted to video I had to assemble it all, video, then stash the equipment. The second day we went in the same way, Canon hidden in three backpacks. This time all I took in was the 3x which is a little smaller, so I decided to just keep shooting until a guard asked me to leave. Fortunately I was able to finish the day with no problems however, my guide was approched three times and asked how much I had to pay to get the permit. Bob
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Old June 16th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #2
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Hi Bob,

This is not a new policy, about five years ago we visited Machu Picchu I had with me a Sony Z1. I was stopped on entry and the camera throughly examined, it would appear they were looking to if the lens was a proffessional lens! At the time HDV was quite new and they had not seen this type of camera before. Fortunately we had a good guide who convinced them I was a tourist (which we were at the time) and allowed in. We were able to film all day without being hindered.

Liked the Galapagos clip in the other threads

Mick
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Old June 16th, 2009, 11:53 PM   #3
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I tried to take a Sony 700a HDCAM into the park about 6 years ago. They said that I needed a permit and it was mid afternoon. After 2 hours I was able to pay the $400 fee and get the camera in. The "fee" also provided me with a security guard that was to keep an eye on me. I made him carry my big tripod around. The best part was that after a little bit of hiking around the guard told me that he had done the same thing for a guy from Discovery a few weeks before. I then told him to take me to all the same spots that they shot at. I was able to get a bunch of great shots in a short time.

A few years ago I was kicked out of the Great Pyramids and Luxor in the same week!!

Daniel Weber
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Old June 17th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #4
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That makes me feel a lot better about deciding not to bring my XH-A1 on this trip. I am in the Iquitos, Peru right now. (Just got in from a four day jungle trip.) I'm heading to Cusco on Saturday and will spend two nearly full days at Machu Picchu.

My little Canon HV20 is holding up pretty well so far, though my firewire cable is damaged and I can't find a replacement here that works so I have to wait to get a decent look at what I shot. I sure miss the beautiful picture (and especially the control) that I get from my bigger XH-A1.

I'm looking forward to having lots of time there without a lot tourists. The big Inti Raymi festival will peak when I am at Machu Picchu and the folks in Cusco believe the crowds will be very small on those days. (I've heard that tourism is down 50% in Cusco anyway.)

Phil
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Old June 17th, 2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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Phil, were you at Aceer about 60 miles down river from Iquitos? Been there, a wonder place. Did you do the canopy walk?
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Old June 19th, 2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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Bob,

I didn't go to the canopy walkway at ACEER. I preferred to spend time visiting local villages. It was myself and a guide who is a member of the Yagua tribe so we visited a lot of his relatives. It was great because he usually went off to visit family and I spent time talking with locals and observing their daily lives.

Phil
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Old June 20th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #7
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Daniel,

Did you have any trouble getting your camera into Peru? Did you do anything to make sure you didn't have problems with Peruvian customs upon entering the country?

I wanted to bring my XH-A1, but decided it wasn't worth the potential trouble. Hearing about the Machu Picchu (where I'll be Tuesday and Wednesday) rules really makes me glad. I've done pretty good with my little HV20 so far for what I intend to do with the video.

I'm curious because I may bring the bigger camera next year.

Thanks!

Phil
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:58 AM   #8
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General filming in South America...

After having not visited these forums for I while I thought I'd drop by in search of some travel advice to South America and low and behold!

I will be walking the four day Inca trail with a group and planned on taking my EX1. I don't mind paying the permit fee (which I was only aware of until now). Will hiking afford me the luxury of shooting freely for the first three days before we arrive? Do I organise a permit just for day four? It would be a shame to get caught out.

Here is a 'cut and paste' of our itinerary (sorry if it's lengthy):

Day 19 / Inca Trail to Yuncachimpa (13km)
We leave Cusco by bus and travel over the mountain range and down into the Urubamba Valley to the picturesque town of Ollantaytambo. Built on a steep mountainside this grand citadel served as both a temple and fortress and is one of the few sites where the Incas were able to defeat the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Their success was however short lived, with the Spaniards returning with force to claim victory. Here we have time to gaze upon the massive Inca fortifications before continuing to Kilometre 82 - the starting point of our trek. Today is a relatively easy hike past the ancient hilltop fort of Huillca Raccay and the beautiful archaeological site of Llactapata. Along the way there are stunning views of snow-capped Veronica Peak (5860m). Our first camp is just past the village of Wayllabamba at 3000 metres.

Day 20 / Inca Trail to Pacaymayo (11km)
Today is the most difficult part of the trek as we climb to Warminwanusca, or ĎDead Womanís Passí (4200m). This is the first of three Andean high passes we traverse and the highest point on the Inca trail. Stopping to catch our breath we take in the superb panorama of the Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges, the ruins of Runkuracay ahead and Rio Pacamayo (Sunrise River) in the valley below. Here the trail changes from dirt to steps and stone pathways. Although not difficult we still need to make a steep descent to the valley below and our camp at Pacamayo (3600m). Located in a basin beneath the cliff tops, the campsite faces down the valley with a view over the cloud forest.

Day 21 / Inca Trail to Winaywayna (15km)
We climb up to the unusual, round ruin of Runcuracay which is believed to have been an Inca tambo or post house. Forging on we continue to climb the Inca staircase and sighting the small mountain lake of Cochapata on the way to our second pass at 4000m, from where we are rewarded with spectacular views of Pumasillo (6245m) and the entire snow-capped Vilcabamba range From here it is a steep descent to our third pass and the ruins of Sayacmarca, where we enter the beautiful cloud forest full of orchids, ferns, flowers and hanging moss. The scenery will blow you away! Butterflies flutter across the trail and the air is pure and clean as we head to the breathtaking Winaywayna, (2450m).

Day 22 / Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (5km) - Cusco
The final leg of the trek to Machu Picchu is the most spectacular of all. We arrive at sunrise at Inti Punku, the Gateway of the Sun, where through a rectangular doorway we experience a panoramic view of Machu Picchu. After taking a short path down, itís time for us to explore! The secrets of the Incas are slowly revealed to us on a guided tour. For those who have plenty of energy left and who arenít afraid of heights, there is a climb to Huayna Picchu - a mountain overlooking the site. The view from here is superb! The climb to the top takes up to 90 minutes and care must be taken, especially if the steps are wet. We depart by catching a bus down to the hot springs at Aguas Calientes and returning to Cusco on a late-afternoon train.


I would also be interested to know if anyone has had problems entering any South American countries with this kind of gear under a tourist visa. Will I need a carnet?

Any advice would be incredibly appreciated!

;-)
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Old August 17th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #9
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If you are shooting at a national monument, park or whatever and are doing so with the intention of making money doing so, then not paying is exploitation. I'm often amazed at how cavalier photographers and videographers are about ripping off their hosts. There's no way park officials can know your intentions so all they can go by is your equipment.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #10
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I certainly do not want to start an argument, but if what you mean Marc is that commercial creations based on the scenic beauty of a US National Park are considered to "exploit" a place owned by the citizens...well then I guess I will have to respectfully disagree.

Further degradation of that "pay for use " vs. exploit argument is the fact that still photograpghers who are taking pictures for commercial use do NOT have to pay anything to do so in US National Parks.

Sigh. Nothing in this area seems easy - but forewarned is forearmed and I am glad Bob put up this thread. It's tough to fight "City Hall" as they say... regardless of your point of view or logic.

Chris
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Old August 18th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #11
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Access there was fine

Until a crane used to film a beer commercial fell over and damaged the Intihuatana, the "hitching post of the sun," which is probably the most sacred object at Macchu Picchu. So you pay a fee to have a guard follow you around for the day- makes sense to me.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Myers View Post
If you are shooting at a national monument, park or whatever and are doing so with the intention of making money doing so, then not paying is exploitation. I'm often amazed at how cavalier photographers and videographers are about ripping off their hosts. There's no way park officials can know your intentions so all they can go by is your equipment.
And if a painter makes a painting in and or of a National Park and sells it, shouldn't they be held to these same standards as videographers? They aren't. I pay Federal taxes in this country, the same tax dollars that fund the park system. To me it's NOT exploitation to want to photograph there. Shooting in a National Park is "ripping off a host"???? A park that I fund with my hard earned money? Who's to say shooting a shot of the Empire State building from across the road shouldn't be taxed as well??? Where do you draw the line?

Last edited by Paul Frederick; August 18th, 2009 at 08:29 PM.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 08:01 AM   #13
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Since I'm a citizen in the US that might be a special case but maybe not. If I'm exploiting a national resource for gain, maybe my fellow citizens do have a claim on what I'm doing. They too paid for the park rangers, road maintenance and all the other stuff that permitted me take "my" video.

Most of the work I've done of this sort is not in the US and not in the developed world. In those countries their natural environment is a commercial resource. If it is not it's likely to get replaced with something that is: a farm, a logging concession or a plantation.

I've seen inexcusable behavior from video folks and photographers in the field. I've watched commercial guys walk into a scientific encampment, eaten the food, taken advantage of the local workers and researchers who've spent years locating the photographer's subjects, stiffed everyone and then tried to sneak out without paying park fees. We do not have the best reputation in the field.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 07:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Frederick View Post
And if a painter makes a painting in and or of a National Park and sells it, shouldn't they be held to these same standards as videographers? They aren't. I pay Federal taxes in this country, the same tax dollars that fund the park system. To me it's NOT exploitation to want to photograph there. Shooting in a National Park is "ripping off a host"???? A park that I fund with my hard earned money? Who's to say shooting a shot of the Empire State building from across the road shouldn't be taxed as well??? Where do you draw the line?
Aren't we talking about a national park in Peru? When I'm a guest in someone else's country, I don't expect them to change their rules for me. I may not like them, but I respect their right to do whatever they want. I can't remember if it's the same at Machu Picchu, but I know MANY (if not most) places in Peru (including all the major tourist sites in the Cusco area) allow Peruvians to pay a much smaller admission fee.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Andy Schocken View Post
Until a crane used to film a beer commercial fell over and damaged the Intihuatana, the "hitching post of the sun," which is probably the most sacred object at Macchu Picchu. So you pay a fee to have a guard follow you around for the day- makes sense to me.
That makes sense to me, too. I know Peruvians were really angry when that happened. (There's a considerable amount of resentment by a large part of Peru towards other Peruvians who who have no respect for their country's heritage.)
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