“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer - and often the supreme disappointment."

Ansel Adams .

Panama canal

Untitled photo

Panama Canal, Spanish Canal de Panamá, lock-type canal, owned and administered by the Republic of Panama, that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through the narrow Isthmus of Panama. The length of the Panama Canal from the shoreline to the shoreline is about 65 km and from deep water in the Atlantic (more specifically, the Caribbean Sea) to deep water in the Pacific about 82 km.

The canal, which was completed in August 1914, is one of the two most strategic artificial waterways in the world, the other being the Suez Canal. Ships sailing between the east and west coasts of the United States, which otherwise would be obliged to round Cape Horn in South America, shorten their voyage by about 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km) by using the canal. Savings of up to 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km) are also made on voyages between one coast of North America and ports on the other side of South America. Ships sailing between Europe and East Asia or Australia can save as much as 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) by using the canal.

From its opening in 1914 until 1979, the Panama Canal was controlled solely by the United States, which built it. In 1979, however, control of the canal passed to the Panama Canal Commission, a joint agency of the United States and the Republic of Panama, and complete control passed to Panama at noon on December 31, 1999. Administration of the canal is the responsibility of the Panama Canal Authority, which answers solely to the government of Panama.

The Panama Canal lies at a latitude of 9° N, at a point where the North American Continental Divide dips to one of its lowest points. The canal does not, as is generally supposed, cross the isthmus from east to west. It runs due south from its entrance at Colón on the Atlantic side through the Gatún Locks to a point in the widest portion of Gatún Lake.

The original gate machinery consisted of a huge drive wheel, powered by an electric motor, to which was attached a connecting rod, which in turn attached to the middle of the gate. These mechanisms were replaced with hydraulic struts beginning in January 1998, after 84 years of service. The gates are hollow and buoyant, much like the hull of a ship, and are so well balanced that two 19 kW (25 hp) motors are enough to move each gate leaf. If one motor fails, the other can still operate the gate at reduced speed.


Full transit through lock

Miraflores Visitor Center

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