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“Some photos are significant not because of what’s depicted, but because of the mood they create. They communicate an idea that transcends the actual subject of the image…” ~ from Michelle W. on The Daily Post re: the photography 101 theme of mystery.

Foggy Andean forest at Columnas de Tangan

At Las Columnas de Tangan, in the Cotopaxi Province of Ecuador.

I took this photo almost a month ago in the Cotopaxi Province of Ecuador at a mystical location deep in Andean farmlands called las Columnas de Tangan. It was quite a journey to get there from where we were staying just outside of Quito. Had we not been with someone who had been there several times already, we would never have found the place.

After a wild ride in on bumpy, muddy, winding narrow roads, a challenging hike awaited. We were there during the rainy season and although the hike started out sunny, the trail in to the columns (what trail there was anyhow) was super slippery with mud and covered in leaves, plants, and vines.

The scenery in this photo toys with the mysterious, from the moist, dark shadowy density of the forest to the eeriness of the fog obscuring whatever may lie beyond. One could easily be swallowed up here as without warning the ground would suddenly drop away into a ravine entrenched in overgrowth. Who knows what secrets this forest is hiding underneath all that thick, giant-sized foliage.

The air of mystery for me was compounded by the area’s Incan history. I attempted to translate some information I found online via Google Translate about Las Columnas de Tangan and the nearest town, Sigchos. Quite intriguing to say the least. This is how a little piece of the translation read:

As a mystical place, the construction techniques that were used are still unknown.The hypothesis that there Incas worship took place...
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