Photo of kids on go kart hitching ride on truck in Peru

From Street Use, via Zeraga’s Flickr pool. I'd love to know how she shot this amazing image.
200801090940 In Perú from Huánuco to Tingo Maria, where the road from the Pacific coast across the Andes finds its way towards the Amazon lowlands. This is near the top of the last mountain pass. From there, soapbox rider can enjoy a vertical 1000 meters of gravity assisted ride. As these kids help stranded truck drivers along the road, they're called bomberos (firemen). They transport drinks, food and spare parts to broken trucks.


  1. Is it a photoshop job? Just noticed that it seems that the trucks wheel is standing still – look at the “spikes”.

    Peer Bentzen

  2. Call me picky, but I’m pretty sure the motion blurred background is Photoshopped. I’d bet that the original of this image is either not moving or moving much slower than it appears.

    The areas on the edges of the non-blurred foreground (kids, truck) look like they’ve been masked out to allow a blur in only the background.

    Check out the mask on the right kid’s knee in the larger version of the image linked by Esther — see how soft the edge is there? – doesn’t look natural. Also, look at the mud flap on the truck; the white paint stripe on the road blurs all the way through the flap. That wouldn’t happen in-camera if the subject and camera were moving at roughly the same speed.

    Additionally, the blurring on the trees in the background looks very much like Photoshop’s motion blur rather than an in-camera motion blur. I say this because, in real in-camera motion blurs, the brighter areas of the blurred image will greatly overpower the darker ones. (think of long exposure night shots of cars driving — the headlights always streak) However, here, the darker brown areas seem to have just as much emphasis as the bright areas, which is what you get when you add a blur in Photoshop.

    The turning truck wheel could be done with a radial blur.

    Not saying it isn’t a cool shot, just think it’s a little misleading. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. Esther Sassaman I noticed that too.

    CitizenPlain Yes on closer inspection there is some funny blurring around the edges at some points. Those wheels on that cart don’t look like they could handle very much speed as well. Still it looks like a great way to kill yourself.

  4. From my experience with Central and South American traffic, I’d guess it was taken out the window of a bus while it was passing the truck on a blind curve next to a precipitous cliff.

  5. I have to agree with Citizenplain and Landowner on this one. A few other things that jump out:

    If they’re going fast enough for the background to blur, shouldn’t their hair appear to be blowing around? As well as their t-shirts and shoelaces?

    Also, I agree that some of the blurring doesn’t fit. The mud flap on the back of the truck for instance.

    And I seriously doubt a set of little wheels like that could handle that kind of speed.

    Still, an interesting picture.

  6. A thousand meters of vertical drop.

    Start a street luge tourism industry. Make enough money letting rich gringos smear themselves over the pavement so kids don’t have to.

  7. citizenplains comments look photoshopped. I can tell because there is a little to much space between the u and the c in “I HAVE TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS”

  8. I have done a couple things in my life that I would classify as truly, incredibly, incredibly stupidly dangerous that happened to be as exhilarating as they were risky and skitching (what they call this up here in El Norte’) between two Metrobuses in downtown DC would be one of them.

    On the other hand, if this IS true, it’s just as likely that they’re doing this as a way of “commuting” to “work” as they are doing it for the thrill of it. Such is the difference between us and much of the rest of the world.

    As for whether this has been photoshopped or not because of hair not whipping around and the like:

    That close to the truck, the kids are going to be in the draft and not getting the same sort of wind effects you would if you just stuck your head out the window because of how the air flows over the truck.

    Part of why this is so dangerous is that sometimes this non-laminar flow can create an effective vaccuum immediately to the rear of the vehicle. Skaters and bicyclists have been killed by this effect which sucks them in under the truck/car where they get run over.

  9. Hello to all from Peru, I usually use that highway go to work, and yes that picture seems “adulterated”, but believe me, I saw a lot of those cases of children with their skateboard or a board with wheels (artesanal) (those wheels are metallic and they tolerate the speed) they have had many fatal accidents and some times they do it for work like “fireman”, I work for this highway 4 years, most of them are poor children that don’t have money neither for the bus ticket, to move from a place to another in long distances and some for “enjoy”. I hope it has clarified them something.

  10. Here’s to putting the “anal” in analysis, folks!

    Srsly, Dillo is right. Does no one else remember the “drafting” scene in Breaking Away, where the cyclist uses the vacuum behind a semi going 60 MPH?

  11. This is why I tend to be less and less impressed by practitioners of “extreme sports” these days. There are people in other parts of the world doing things that require balls of steel on a daily basis because they have to, not because they are essentially bored.

    I’m a cyclist and I used to skateboard, but I in no way consider myself to be “living on the edge.” Living on the edge is doing things like facing the real possibility of starving, or being forced to join a child army.

    (Of course then I think of some of the things these kids do when they’re actually bored, like the “surfistas” in Brazil who ride on top of trains, and I think “fuuuuck”).

  12. In bolivia this fall kids used to just grab onto the bumpers and slide on their shoes. I don’t know what kind of soles the shoes had on but those kids would go pretty fast.

  13. We used to do this behind city buses in the winter, when the streets were snow covered, we called it “shagging a lift”. This was in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in the early to mid-70s. I only knew one guy who was injured when he flew off the bus when it took a corner and the snow cover disappeared (he broke a leg). It was otherwise great fun slingshotting around corners. I remember being at the back of the bus with 5 or 6 other guys hanging on for dear life, and doing 40 or 50 kph.

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