Backpacking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru with my Dad and Brothers

A woman in the marketplace in Cusco, Peru

When you shoot weddings nearly every weekend from April through the end of December you learn to take advantage of those rare weekends off. This past Thanksgiving weekend was my first wedding free weekend since August so my brothers and I took our dad on a 10 day trip to Peru to backpack the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It Was Epic!

Coca Tea was served to us the moment we checked in and then by our porters throughout our trip to help ease the effects of the altitude.

The City of Cusco is a Spanish city built on top of an Incan city. Sometimes its easy to see that Incan ruins serve as a foundation for a newer building and sometimes the buildings seem to share walls from the different eras.

Since I’m behind the camera most of the time you are seeing my brothers, Will and Glennon and my Dad, Bill Andrews. I’m so proud of my Dad for making such a tough trek at the age of 65. Dad is a retired history professor who stays busy writing political and travel columns for the Daily Herald and the Nashville Tennesseean. I will surely be on a walker by the time I’m his age considering how much my feet hurt after shooting weddings but he really hung in there. It shouldn’t have been much of a surprise considering the fact that he plays 3 sets of tennis every day.

There were ruins everywhere and these at Saqsaywaman (which we called sexy woman) were astonishing. I’ve been to see Stonehenge and I have to say that I was much more amazed by this site and the way these gigantic boulders were moved up mountains and placed so close together that you can’t even slide a blade between them.

This is where the backpacking portion of our trip began. It was a 46k or 28m hike and though it was sometimes described as rolling, it felt like we were always gong straight up or straight down. I couldn’t believe how many ruins we came across on our trek.

The porters on our trip were amazing. Its embarrassing how much they helped us out. In addition to our extremely knowledgable guide Tomas, we were provided with 2 chefs, and 6 porters who carried everything from tents to food to tables and silverware and they were always friendly and our lunches and dinners were always ready for us by the time we got to our stopping points. These guys were carrying twice as much as us and getting there twice as fast. Most tourists who hike the Camino Inca complete the trek in 4 or 5 days but they occasionally hold races and one year a porter completed the entire trek in 4 hours. This is unbelievable to me considering the amount of vertical on this trail and the lack of oxygen at this altitude.

And there it is. One of the best views on the planet! We were worried for a bit but eventually the clouds cleared and we rushed down to explore Machu Picchu.

It looks like Jesus is saying “No guinee pig for me. Thank you.”

Now that I’ve run with the bulls in Spain and visited Machu Picchu, I’m going to have to seriously start re-thinking my bucket-list since these were the two at the top of my list. I’m thinking photo safari in Africa!

Travel Photography | Editorial Photography | Travel Documentary

Nashville Photographer in Peru |  Matt Andrews Photography

 

Courtney and Bard’s Houston Station Wedding

Courtney and Bard were married on November 17, 2012 at Houston Station. We took tons of great photos at Houston Station but we decided to get away for a little variety and climbed to the top of the nearby Fort Negley which has stood at the top of a hill overlooking downtown since the Civil War. I love shooting in ruins and I love big sky and we managed to get both at the fort. Our timing was perfect. We ended up shooting the girls at sunset and the guys at dusk which are my favorite times to shoot!

That haze is from a smoke bomb that we lit off.

Bard’s band “The Jompson Brothers” put on a show at the end of the evening and they rocked! Bard plays drums and he performed the first few songs in a space helmet.

Nashville Wedding at West End United Methodist Church with a Reception at Houston Station

Lyndsey and Charley were married at West End United Methodist Church on November 10, 2012. It was the last wedding of the autumn where we had some amazing color in the trees and we took advantage of it. The guys had a tour bus drop us off at Centennial Park where we played in the leaves and harassed joggers. Earlier that afternoon I met the guys for some getting ready shots at the downtown Hilton. We noticed that there was a giant finish line for the Ragner Relay near the entrance so I thought it would make a fun photo to have the guys sneak in and run through in their suits. It was pretty funny. There were cheers as they ran through (some holding their fingers over their ears like secret servicemen) and they were awarded with heavy duty medals…. which we returned after our photo opportunity. It looked like a lot of fun. I’m going to have to participate in that Relay one year and finish it for real. Its a 196 mile, overnight relay race from Chattanooga to downtown Nashville.

The girls met at West End United Methodist Church where we hurried to get a few shots in before dark and before the girls had to hide as guests started to arrive.
Houston Station was decked out with string lights and the guests showed up ready to party. The groom is a singer/songwriter and the band put him on the spot to sing a few songs with them. Charlie did great and the band was amazing! Guests were bowing to the lead guitarists as he soloed and showed off to Prince’s “Purple Rain”. I’m a Prince fan and his solo really reminded me of the one Prince did at his Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Above and to the right would be the couple at this wedding who have been married the longest!

Just look at what a blast everyone had!

Fun and Stylish Documentary Wedding Photography at Houston Station and West End United Methodist Church in Nashville

Nashville Wedding Photographers | Matt Andrews Photography

Wedding at the Pink Palace in Memphis by Nashville Photographer – Matt Andrews

Bethany and Ryan were married on November 3, 2012 at the Pink Palace in Memphis, Tennessee.
It was an ideal day for shooting because at the beginning of the day it was sunny and pleasant and a bit windy and as the day progressed clouds started to roll in which made for a wider variety of photos. Just before the ceremony was set to begin a storm rolled in and we got some really striking shots under the ominous sky. The Pink Palace would have been a beautiful place for an outdoor ceremony as you can see from their first look pictures below, but it turned out to be an amazing place for an indoor ceremony and though it wasn’t the original plan. It was a really unique, intimate, and fun location and everyone agreed that the storm was a blessing.

I made the bus pull over when I saw this gritty underpass with its colorful texture. I knew it would add some fun variety to spice up the overall deliverable.


We had an abundance of gorgeous window light at the Pink Palace as you can see from the portraits above. Below you can see what I meant about the clouds making the photos more interesting. 

Bethany’s grandfather officiated the ceremony.

The original plan was to have the ceremony outside but as those storm clouds rolled in there was a last minute decision to set up inside. It was definitely a good decision as we heard cracks of lightning throughout the ceremony and the downpour of rain outside. I loved that the groomsmen had a polar bear looking over their shoulders.

Glow sticks on. Lights off.

 Fun and Stylish Weddings at the Pink Palace in Memphis and Destinations Worldwide | Matt Andrews Photography

Autumn Wedding at Front Porch Farms

Ian and Kelly were married on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at Front Porch Farms.

The flare above was completely natural and not added or enhanced in Photoshop. I love it when that happens!

We lucked out with some beautiful golden light that afternoon.

It was nice and cozy inside the reception pavilion but it was really cold outside after the sun went down so I was pretty surprised to see the groom and one of his groomsmen jumping into the pool at the end of the night. Kelly almost jumped in herself but got talked out of it!

Fun and Stylish Weddings at Front Porch Farms and Nashville | Matt Andrews Photography

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