At the SaddleBrooke Photography Club general meeting in November, our speaker was Michael Reale who presented a slide show featuring his recent trip to the Amazon basin and Peru. It was an exciting trip, especially since Peru was in the World Cup Soccer Games for the first time in many years. The whole country was celebrating. Michael captured the mood of the people in his many photographs showing the smiling, happy faces of the Peruvian citizens.

Since he and his wife Jeanne are experienced hikers, they were excited to be at Machu Picchu and to hike the Sun Gate trail which gave them an outstanding view of the ruins. Their guide led them on another trail to the Inca Bridge, an old log bridge across a chasm, that served as an escape route for the Inca. Fortunately, it was only to see, not cross it. The scenery was magnificent since they were lucky to have a clear day.

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River Valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.

This was an excursion with much to photograph - architecture, jungle, Amazon Riiver scenes, wildlife, native villages, wild orchids and other exotic plants. and beautiful portraits of the local people. He captured his trip as only a good photographer can, and then put his collection in a slide show with music from the countries he visited. It was great that we could share his trip, and then were able to ask questions and get his viewpoints.

Michael was always interested in photography but decided to pursue it actively after he moved to SaddleBrooke from Connecticut in 2004. He credits his enthusiasm for it to meeting many gifted photographers who live here. He is especially indebted to the late Gene Skaggs who was a wonderful person, gifted photographer and excellent teacher.

He enjoys traveling with his wife and best friend, Jeanne, and documenting the trips they take. She has a good eye and encourages him. Although Michael shoots lots of landscapes, he is working on his ability to make quality pictures of people. He finds it a challenge because, unlike still photos where nothing changes, it’s hard to compose a picture of a person in a short time without their becoming impatient.

“There’s so much to learn: the camera, lighting, background. But I love it and am always trying to improve. I also enjoy joining other club photographers on field trips. It combines my interests in travel and photography. And, as a bonus, Jeanne usually comes along.”

You can visit the SaddleBrooke Photography Club during any of the “Open Studio” times which are every Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 9-noon in the Agate Room located in the HOA#2 Arts and Crafts Center. General meetings are the third Friday each month at 3 p.m. in the Sonoran Room at MountainView.