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It was my first trip to South America. I had already spent some time in Central America (Costa Rica and Guatemala) so I had a reasonable knowledge of Spanish. I first went to Chile, where I had a friend. From Chile I flew to La Paz. After a few days getting used to the altitude, I spent a another few days on an island of Lake Titicaca. From there I took a ride to the East (I think it was a random choice, the first vehicle that came along) in the back of a truck, on top of various kinds of merchandise, together with Indians, on a narrow dirt road bordered by precipices. Once in a while the truck would stop, and an Indian sitting right behind the cabin gave his bottle of aguardiente to the driver, who said “Solo manejo bien quando estoy borracho.” (I only drive well when I am drunk). Afters hours in a freezing night we arrived in Ayata, (Departamento La Paz, Provincia Muñecas) where the local owner of a plantation – the strong man of the town – who had been traveling in the same truck, offered me his hospitality. It happened to be Corpus Christi festival days, during which the waka waka dance is performed. I guess my host informed me that there were other dances in a Quechua hamlet some distance from town. I went there, and had a lucky surprise: a few men, carrying large bombo drums and playing siku flutes (zampoñas, the generic name in Bolivia for pan flutes) where dancing around a small mount of maize. Doing a Google search I found that it corresponded to the sixth month of the Inca solar calendar (coincidentally or by religious syncretism the two celebrations – Corpus Christi and maize harvest were performed simultaneously, the first in town, the latter in a hamlet).

Text in italics below  Copyright © 2007-2009

“… the calendar Inca invented and used were close to our current calendar. They used an approximately 365 days solar calendar or days, though the months started in December. Then they had also a lunar calendar, which was a 328 days year.”

Two Calendars
…  Inca had two calendars. One was a solar calendar or day time calendar, and the other one was lunar calendar or night time calendar.”

Sixth Month
Present day calendar : May
Inca Lunar Month : Ayruhua
Inca solar month : Corn harvested
They enjoyed the celebration of corn harvested. Feast of Aymara was enjoyed with singing, drinking and dancing.”


Quecha Indian woman and baby in a hamlet of Ayata.


Hamlet of Ayata: house of Quechua Indians, with goats and sheep.


Quechua Indian man harvesting maize.


Maize harvest festival in a hamlet of Ayata, running parallel to the Corpus Christi celebrations in the town. Men playing siku (zampoña) flute and bombo drum.


Maize harvest festival in a hamlet of Ayata, running parallel to the Corpus Christi celebrations in the town. Men playing siku (zampoña) flute and bombo drum.

Music link of the “bombo sikuri”:
Sicuris de Ayata
en la casa del preste 2010   (YouTube – uploaded by therealrhino21 on Aug 2, 2010): an example of the sound of siku and bombo (drum), “commonly known as “bombo sikuri” (see link on membranophones below)


Quechua Indian playing the siku (zampona, panflute) flute at a festival in Ayata a village in the Andes, Bolivia, South America

Quechua Indians playing flute at village festival in the Andes in Bolivia.

Quechua Indians playing transverse flute at Ayata village festival in the Andes in Bolivia.

Quechua Indians playing flute at village festival in Ayata, Andes, Bolivia.

Quechua Indians playing transverse flute at village festival in Ayata, Andes, Bolivia.

 Flute: aerophone

The top photographs show men playing the siku (zampoña or panflute). The two photographs above are of  side-blown (or transverse flutes); more typical of the Andes region are end-blown flutes (quena), so I am including below a picture of quena players at the waka waka dance performed at the Corpus Christi festival held on the same day (I don’t have good pictures of it; there are several videos of the waka waka dance, of which there seems to be variations, and other dances in Ayata on YouTube).


South America, Bolivia. Corpus Christi festival in Ayata. Quena flute and bombo drum players accompanying the waka waka dance.Additional Links

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Additional links

LAND OF WINDS – Great blog on Andean music  © “Land of winds”, 2010.
Edited in Madrid (Spain) by Edgardo Civallero and Sara Plaza Moreno. ISSN 2173-8696

Andean instruments
Andean aerophones: History
 Andean aerophones: the siku  (zampoña) (1)
Andean aerophones: the siku  (zampoña) (2)
The Quena (Notched flute)
Andean membranophones




During the years 1966 – 1971 I was photographing car races, and from 1970 on also an Indian tribe in Venezuela. In October -November 1968 I was coverin the CAN-AM (group 7) series of races. I had photographed the penultimate race in Riverside, and I was on my way, traveling by car, to the last race in Las Vegas. While in Arizona I suppose that someone suggested that I visit the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, inside the Navajo Indian Reservation. I don’t remember where I spent the night and where I left my car; I got a ride to the unofficial “entrance” of the reserve.  I think I entered the reserve through or below barbed wires… I am not sure if it was from the Window Rock – Tsaile road or from the Tsaile – Chinle road. In the first case I would have seen the dam on the Tsaile creek and the lake; in the alternative case I would have entered Middle Trail Canyon. Glenn Rink who studied the vegetation of the reserve thinks: “I am not sure where you entered the canyons, but I’ll bet it was at Middle Trail Canyon, the small northern tributary to Canyon del Muerto.”

My thanks

to Glenn Rink who identified some of the trees and plants in these pictures.

Photos 1 – 2 were taken where I spent the night (in a tube tent -see drawing after the photographs), next to the creek. Probably some 3 to 5 hours from the road. Obviously there were oak trees besides the conifers.


Cliffs in Canyon del Morto. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Probably Douglas fir trees on the right side.


This is about where I spent the night in a tube tent. In the morning the creek was partially frozen.


Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Morning ice on Tsaile Creek (early November).Gambel oak leaves. Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) FAGACEAE



Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Coniferous forest. Probably Douglas fir. The fall color tree might be a Gambel oak.



Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Cliffs and coniferous trees. Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Pinaceae )on the left. Probably a Pinyon pine on the right. Douglas fir against the rock.



Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Cliffs and coniferous trees. Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii family: Pinaceae) (top right, agaist rock) center right: shorter ones are probably junipers, could be Rocky Mountain.



USA, Arizona, Canyon de Chelly National Monument,. Mummy cave ruins of Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi).



Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Bottom of canyon and cliffs. Cottonwoods on the left. Phragmites lining the channel on the left. The lighter colored bushes may be rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa Asteraceae)

Navajo horses.


Horses belonging to Navajo Indians running in bottom of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Cottonwood trees at base of cliff.



Canyon del Morto in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, USA. Rocks and fall leaves against blue sky with light clouds.


When I reached the entrance of the Monument the ranchers were puzzled, seeing someone coming from nowhere. They asked me where I came from. I said from the road near Tsaile, initially walking down the creek bed, then following trails. They said they had never been there…

This is how I described a tube tent in a letter to my family.




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Canyon de Chelly National Monument Vegetation Mapping Project – USGS-NPS



By Glenn Rink. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ   (page with download link)


Threat of invasive species:

Cooperative Watershed Restoration Project: Tamarisk and Russian Olive Management at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Three fast Kiwi drivers – two different driving styles.

BRUCE_DESATThe late sixties – early seventies saw three talented New Zealand drivers compete in Formula 1 and other races: Bruce McLaren, Chris Amon and Denny Hulme. Of course Bruce McLaren, although killed tragically while testing a car, survives through the McLaren team and factory.

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Bruce McLaren entering the Gazomètre turn at Monaco in 1968.

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Going through my file of transparencies I found these pictures of Amon and Hulme at the same spot at the Gazomètre hairpin in Monaco in 1967. They show a marked difference in their driving styles: while Amon (Ferrari) makes the turn smoothly, as on rails,


Formula 1 driver Chris Amon of New Zealand driving a Ferrari at the Gazomètre hairpin at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1967.




Hulme (Brabham-Repco) throws his car in oversteer in the curve, controlling the slide by opposite lock (the front wheels turned the “wrong” way). The race was won by Hulme, who became world champion that year.


Formula One driver Denny Hulme driving his Brabham-Repco at the Gazomètre hairpin at the Grand Prix of Monaco in 1967. Hulme throws his car in oversteer in the curve, controlling the slide by opposite lock. Hulme won the race and was World Champion in 1967.


Denny Hulme at apex of Gazomètre turn at 1967 Monaco Grand Prix, which he won, Driving a Brabham with Repco engine.

This Grand Prix was marked by the tragic death of Lorenzo Bandini.

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More pictures


Great Racing Cars and Drivers   by Charles Fox.  Grosset & Dunlap, Inc. and The Ridge Press, Inc., 1972

McLaren  50 Years of Racing    by Maurice Hamilton with Paul Fearnley.  Prestel, 2013.



Last year I asked Dr. Martin Nyffeler, an arachnologist affiliated with the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of Basel, to identify a photograph of a fishing spider from the Amazon region. Now I had the pleasure to have the picture published in the paper “Fish Predation by Semi-Aquatic Spiders: A Global Pattern” in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science) by Dr. Martin Nyffeler and Dr. Bradley Pusey.  Dr. Nyffeler is specialized in the feeding ecology of spiders. The article is an extensive review paper on fish predation by spiders.

I was happy to have extended the record of the fish-eating species of Trechalea for the lower Amazon region in Brazil. The map shows few records of fish-eating spiders in the Amazon region, which is probably due to the scant scientific collecting. Curiously there is no record south of the Amazon river.

Supporting Information (File S1): Detailed Reports Description (by Martin Nyffeler): “# 59) – Around 1980, Jacques Jangoux (Belém Area, Brazil) took a photo of a Trechalea sp. eating a small fish on the bank of the Rio Maicuru river, tributary of the Amazon coming down from the Guiana Highlands in Para State, Brazil (Fig. 5D).  This incidence was observed in the midst of tropical rainforest where slowly running water with pools of standing water between rocks occurred (Jacques Jangoux, pers. comm.).  The spider was identified by Antonio Brescovit, Hubert Höfer, Adalberto Santos, and Estevam L. Cruz da Silva to be a Trechalea sp.   Melanie Stiassny and Richard Vari identified the fish as a species in the order Characiformes.  The fish was ~1.8 times as long as the spider.”


(I don´t remember the circumstances of these photographs, taken during my military service in 1959, probably during training or reconnaissance trips. )

This post will be updated after I receive additional information from specialists of Luba culture and religion.

The Luba:

The Luba are a bantu-speaking people. Linguistic and archeological evidence trace early Luba people in the Upemba depression around the 6th or 7th Century (Ehret p. 262, Christine Saidi p.43), later forming what Ehret has called the Upemba kingdom, which later expanded into the Luba Empire, an association of kingdoms, that dominated commerce (iron, copper, salt, ivory) in the south-eastern savannas West of Lake Tanganika in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, trading both with the Portuguese on the Atlantic coast and with the Arabs on the Indian Ocean coast through intermediaries. It declined when Swahili-Arab ivory and slave traders cut trade routes and stopped Luba expansion. Luba territory was incorporateded into the Etat Indépendant du Congo, later Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Luba world is constructed around the sacred power of the chiefs whose ancestors are revered, the Mbudyie secret society that keeps alive the history of the Luba kings, the Bilumbu diviners who practice while possessed by spirits. Women have a special prestige in Luba society, inclusive as diviners.

The first crossing of Africa from the Pacific (Zanzibar) to the Atlantic (Benguela) was done by Verney Lovett Cameron, commander at the Royal Navy, between 1873 and 1876. He provides us with the first image (engraving) of Luba diviners, in a village near the Lovoi River in the Upper Lualaba watershed.

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I met and photographed men in similar ritual attire, unfortunately not being able at the time to get information on their status or function.

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Luba diviners, Katanga, 1959. The contrast between traditional and Western elements (bycicle, industrial activity in background) is a witness to the resilience of Luba culture.

Luba diviners (alternative terms: medicine-man, or, erroneously, witch-doctor) dancing to the sound of a slit drum in a Kaluanzo, a village in Katanga, Democratic Republic of the Congo (still Belgian congo when the pictures were taken in 1959). (I wish I had been there during the whole ceremony, and had collected information on it)

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Slit drum (idiophone)
















Diviners and drum.

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Shrine (scanned from faded color print)




Purchase photographs:  Luba Diviners in Katanga, Congo

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Luba statuette

Wikipedia: Luba People

Wikipedia: The Kingdom of Luba or Luba Empire (1585-1889)

Across Africa  by Verney-Lovett Cameron   (Publication: 1878). (illustration between pp 314/315)  (ebook)

Luba religion and magic in custom and belief, 1961 by W.F.P. Burton  (pobably 1961 edition; original edition: 1939) (Pentecostal missionary)  (ebook)

Les Baluba (Congo Belge), by Pierre Colle, Avec une préface de Cyr. van Overbergh (1913)  Monograph written by a catholic missionary in early colonial times; while the purposes may no longer be accepted, this early detailed description of Luba culture is invaluable (I did not read it but it is cited by all scholars of Luba culture).

Vol. 1:

Vol. 2:     (see plate XII at the end of Vol. 2: “sorcier” = diviner; compare to the 1959 photographs)

Kingdoms of the Savanna: The Luba and Lunda Empires by Alexander Ives Bortolot
(Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University) In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003.

Luba Art and Divination by Mary Nooter Roberts (University of California, Los Angeles) University of Iowa Museum of Art: Art and Life in Africa

Luba : aux sources du Zaïre. “Exhibition: Paris, Musée Dapper, 25 November 1993-17 April 1994”       Luba : to the sources of the Zaire by François Neyt ; [English translation, Murray Wyllie]               (BOOK, not seen)

reviewed by Pierre Petit  in African Arts Fall 1996, Vol. 29, No. 4: 87+89+96  (Citation | JSTOR)

Luba: Origins and Growth by JOHN C. YODER. Encyclopedia of African History, Kevin Shillington, Editor, Fitzroy Dearborn 2005. (pp 854 – 855)   BOOK

Luba: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries by PIERRE PETIT. Encyclopedia of African History, Kevin Shillington, Editor, Fitzroy Dearborn 2005. (pp 855- 856)    BOOK

Correlating Linguistics and Archeology in East-Central African History in  Women’s Authority and Society in Early East-Central Africa by Christine Saidi (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2010    BOOK


Color image: first 3-color Kodachrome, ASA 12.        4 diviners, black-and-white: scanned 8″ x 10″ prints.        Shrine: scanned faded color print. I de-saturated some magenta, not completely to show that the right half of the object was red.       Statuette: scanned 6 x 9 cm print.


Daytona 200 motorcycle race 1968

1968… I was on a Greyhound bus going to Florida to photograph orange groves or the Everglades or whatever. Suddenly the driver shouted: Daytona! I remembered: Oh s**t, today is the motorcycle race, and it starts in 30 minutes. I jumped into a taxi to the speedway, went to the PR room where the guys knew me from the car races, they immediately gave me a pass. I had never photographed a motorcycle race so I had to look around for the best angles. Toward the end of the race the sun was already low and I noticed that shadow on the bank (the reflection on the windshield is accidental), so I took this picture. I didn´t even know it was this guy (Cal Rayborn on Harley Davidson) who was leading the race. I didn´t know anybody at CYCLE so back in New York I gave my film to the CAR AND DRIVER guys (from the same publishing house, Ziff-Davis) asking them to hand them to CYCLE. My picture became the lead picture of the article…



I live in Belém at the mouth of the Amazon, where both the temperature and the humidity are rather high, which is not an ideal environment for color transparencies or negatives.


The colors fade (especially with Ektachrome) and fungus can grow on the gelatin emulsion side of the slides. So when I moved to Brazil around 1978  I bought a refrigerator; now I have two of them (I regularly throw away images that I know will never sell to make more room). The older refrigerator never needed repair (except for replacing the door seal twice), it still uses that prohibited gas (chlorofluorocarbon (CFC =Freon). The second one lasted just a few years and had to be replaced. Power consumption is low as I do not open them often. The humidity condenses on the freezer so the air around the pictures is dry (I use strips of humidity indicator paper (with cobalt chloride?) which are pink while in a humid environment72ppi_300pixels_pink strip_0755 but turn blue when dry72ppi_300pixels_blue strip_0761) (I bought mine from Hydrion about 30 years ago but I see it still exists: Micro Essential  Laboratory;  also: Taylor Scientific . Slides are placed in 20-slide sleeves, several of which in turn are placed in paper envelopes. I retrieve envelopes placing them quickly in plastic garbage bags (a blue one on the photograph), then in a second bag to incresease humidity protection. I open the bags only after several hours when the slides are at ambient temperature.


Both retrieving an envelope or placing it back has to be fast as not to let much humidity enter the refrigerator, so sometimes to place envelopes back I choose the first empty space I see, and my file becomes fragmented like a hard disk…

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The only problem is when there is a power failure, not uncommon here. For up to 3 or 4 hours there is no problem, but if it lasts longer than that the ice starts melting and water falls on the envelopes containing the slide sheets. On a couple of time I had to spread plastic slide sheets all over my apartment to dry.

When ice accumulates on the freezer I need to de-freeze. I remove the envelopes from the top shelf, and I place a thick layer of towels to absorb the water that falls outside the collecting drawer. The older refrigerator has no auto-defrost, so  have to leave it open. I hopefully somewhat protect the items in the inside of the door and in the main compartment by hanging towels in front of them.