Category Archives: Patagonia

Tales from Patagonia

My trip to South America was a fairly last minute affair so things weren’t as well planned as they might have been. I crammed in as much of Patagonia as I could and considering the circumstances I’m pretty happy with how it went. There were more than a few logistical issues but I saw some amazing landscapes, met some cool people and had fun exploring a really unique part of the world. If I had to choose a favourite experience I’d probably say the Mt Fitz Roy hike, that was really special. There were great photo opportunities everywhere I went but I’ve narrowed it down to 24 that stood out to me.

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Baggage Claim South American Style!

This is the last photo I took in South America (Santiago Airport I think) and it pretty much sums up the logistical side of things. If you’re wondering, that’s my suitcase at the top…

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Staying at the Singular Patagonia

Seeing it was my last night I decided to stay at an interesting place called the Singular Patagonia, an old cold storage facility that had been renovated into a unique hotel. The outside remains intact so it doesn’t look like a hotel (at all) and the inside is built around all the old rooms and machinery so it was a lot of fun to just walk around and explore the place. I’m not entirely sure how I got up there but at one point I was in the rafters. Cool hotel and a great way to finish my trip 🙂

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A Wooden Wagon in Puerto Natales

I’m staying in Puerto Natales for a night before beginning the long haul back to New Zealand. To wind down a little I went for a gentle stroll….back in time, where I came across this wooden wagon. I wonder how long that thing’s been sitting there? Days? Weeks? Millennia?

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Adventures in Torres del Paine

I’m sad to leave Torres del Paine but it’s been a great adventure and there’s always a chance I’ll come back one day to tick off the things I missed this time around. I hiked most of the W Circuit but I’d love to do the full loop some time when I’m a bit more organized. The weather is wild here but that tends to be a good thing from a photography perspective, I don’t like strong winds and rain but I do like having new colours, clouds and lighting to work with each time I go outside. On the other side of things it’s also been a little stressful. Logistics have been difficult, a park ranger picked on me (what a bully!) and I can’t speak Spanish. Haha that last one is definitely my fault, I guess we’re all to blame 🙂

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My Very Own Eco-Dome

I’ve had a little trouble finding accommodation here in Torres del Paine so I’ve ended up at a cult-like eco-camp where people stay in domes. It’s admittedly a little strange but also a little awesome!! I think I’m the only person who isn’t staying as part of a larger group because when I rock up for meals (in the mothership dome) they always look at me weird, like I’ve just walked into some secret initiation ceremony or something (which let’s be honest, I have). There are some eco-friendly features to the dome and the cosy fireplace is a nice touch. It’s fairly sturdy but the crazy Patagonian winds gave it a real battering. I feel safe but the noise and rattling is a little unsettling and doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep. May as well go outside and take some photos of the stars…

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Strange Cloud Formations

I love clouds, they’re random and beautiful. Almost every day you go outside you see something new in the sky, an interesting colour, a unique shape, or perhaps a crazy mix of things like the “sampler’ dish you wish you hadn’t ordered from that restaurant last week. Tonight I got the sampler dish, and I loved it. There’s a bunch of things going on here but my favourite part is the 3 clouds in the top right hand corner. It’s like they’ve just realized it’s not a dress up party and they’re quickly trying to scamper out the door before anyone notices their ridiculous outfits.

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The Towers of Torres del Paine

Today I walked to an iconic location here in Patagonia, the Torres del Paine Towers. At least I think that’s there name, maybe they don’t have a name, either way they’re pretty awesome. I had to wait a while for the clouds to clear but I eventually managed to get a clear shot. I also managed to get in trouble with a grumpy park ranger for climbing over rocks, they’re pretty strict over here in Chile!

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A River to the Stars

I went for a walk in the evening near Hotel las Torres and played around with some long exposure shots. I think this one’s quite nice, like it’s a river to the stars, or something like that…(it’s actually the moon but don’t tell anyone or it’ll ruin my story).

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The Sand Barrier at Lago Grey

Not long after my boat trip to the Grey Glacier, dark clouds set in and we had some rain. The sun eventually fought back and declared itself the winner with a victory rainbow out over the sand barrier, well played big guy, well played.

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Stray Ice at the Grey Glacier

I took a boat trip out to the mysterious Grey Glacier today, it wasn’t the calmest of conditions but I think that’s the way things are more often than not here. There were a lot of opportunities to get interesting shots of the icy surroundings, it’s never easy when the boat is bobbing up and down but it was a fun challenge. This one of stray ice floating off the glacier is probably my favourite.

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Chasing Rainbows

Today was my first full day in the Torres del Paine National Park so I thought I’d so a half day tour to get things started. Guided tours aren’t usually my thing but there’s a lot to see here and I thought it would be a good idea to get a general overview before I jumped straight in. On our way back the weather got kinda crazy with dark clouds, brilliant colours, dramatic rays of light and all kinds of cool things going on. Sadly I was the only one interested in taking photos so we didn’t stop to get a better look. All I got in the end was this stupid rainbow, from inside the van, not bitter at all…

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The Bridge into Torres del Paine

This is the old bridge into Torres del Paine next to the new one that they built to make it easier for vehicles to get in. It’s kinda funny because the replacement bridge is only slightly wider than the original one so vans still have difficulty getting over, nice one guys. I feel like you need to know these things.

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Cordillera del Paine

That crazy piece of rock you’re looking at is Cordillera del Paine, a rock formation at the heart of the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. This is where I will be hanging out for a week or so, can’t wait! If you’re wondering if it was smooth sailing to get here from El Calatafe in Argentina, it wasn’t. I had all kinds of problems, including a currency exchange that didn’t exchange currency, broken windscreens, late buses, taxi drivers that couldn’t understand my frantic sign language and other crazy goings on. But hey, I made it! Torres del Paine baby!

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Hiking Fitz Roy

Hiking to Mt Fitz Roy was an amazing experience. There’s great trails and incredible landscapes that lead all the way up to Laguna de los Tres, the gorgeous lake that sits below the rugged Fitz Roy peak. Campamento Poincenot offered shelter from the winds overnight and allowed me to leave my heavy bags behind as I made my way up to the lake….twice. I also made the effort to check out the Piedras Blancas Glacier and Laguna Torre, as well as lots of other lakes and fun surprises along the way. I would liked to have pushed on to Lago Electrico but I’ve only got a limited amount of time here in Patagonia and I was more than satisfied with what I’d seen (and keen for a shower and some food!).

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Battling the Wind at Laguna Torre

I made the (semi ridiculous) decision to take a 3 hour detour to Laguna Torre on my way back to El Chalten, despite carrying a huge pack on only a few hours sleep. I’ll probably only see this part of the world once though so when you think about it, why wouldn’t I make the detour?? What I once thought was strong wind turned out to be nothing more than a fresh breeze as this place was blowing a gale! As I walked over the ridge near the lake I could barely stand up, it was so intense that I couldn’t even walk down to the water’s edge. I took one photo and then got the hell out of there. Haha in retrospect this is one of my favourite memories of the trip, even if it was horrendous at the time.

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Sunset & Sunrise at Mt Fitz Roy

Watching the sunset at Mt Fitz Roy was a little bit magical, so much so that I got up early (very early) and watched the sunrise as well! They’re both unique experiences and not to missed if you get the chance. Expect nasty weather and then hope for the best, someone must have been looking out for me because it was remarkably calm while I was up there.

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Just Me and the Moon

After setting up my tent below the summit of Mt Fitz Roy and I climbed up there and enjoyed a spectacular sunset. It was so great I decided to get up in the middle of the night and return for sunrise. While crossing a river not far from my tent I spotted the moon above the hills looking extra pretty, I should have been sleeping but that kind of thing can wait when there’s so much great stuff to see!

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A Quick Stop at Mirador Rio de las Vueltas

Picking up a sleeping bag and tent in El Chalten was making my already heavy bag almost unbearable. I took the opportunity to take a break at Mirador Rio de las Vueltas, a gorgeous spot that also serves a reminder of how windy it can get in Patagonia. And when I say windy I mean WINDY! I struggled to hold the camera for this shot but it came out ok. The scene reminded me of a pretty landscape painting so I added a little texture to give it a painterly feel.

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The Jagged Peaks of Mt Fitz Roy

After a picturesque bus ride from El Calafate to El Chalten I stocked up on supplies and picked myself up a comically sized sleeping bag and tent combination (advances in technology don’t appear to have reached here yet) for an overnight hike to Mt Fitz Roy and beyond. I was looking forward to this part of the trip and the the closer I got to the jagged peaks of Mt Fitz Roy, the more excited I got! I eventually arrived at a fork in the path that gave me the choice of two routes that would eventually meet up again. Being the indecisive person that I am I stood there without moving for about 5 minutes before deciding to take the high road that eventually got me this great view of the Mt Fitz Roy summit.

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