Here is the second installment of my blog from my recent 10-day trip to Patagonia sponsored by Epic Destinations with Ian Plant as our photographer leader.
Patagonia is a region located at the southern end of South America shared by Argentina and Chile.
Fourteen of us and a driver rode by bus from El Calafate through grasslands up toward the small village called Chalten. Here is a view of land we traveled through.
Chalten is a small village which sits near the Argentinian border with Chile. It is known as the place that mountaineers gather to prepare for the ascent up the peaks of the Andes. A guidemap I purchased says: “Until the beginning of the 20th century, a large area of Andean Patagonia was considered part of the ‘Terra Incognita’ or ‘unknown land’ so often mentioned in the narratives of travelers and explorers. ” (49SouthPhoto Field Guide) Many of the names of the mountains here are the names of 20th century explorers to the region.
We were so excited to view the peaks of the Southern Patagonian Andes. Little did we know that it would be days before we would be able to view them due to the weather system over our area as seen below.
Although we were always on the ready to head out at a moments notice for a break in the clouds, we made good use of our time photographing waterfalls and small hills and streams. Photographing in the rain means having plastic to cover your equipment and keep cloths handy to wipe water off the equipment. Despite my efforts my camera had water damage. I was able to get it to work for a while but then it stopped working.
Luckily our leader had a spare back-up and he kindly let me borrow it. The catch? It was a Canon and I have shot nothing but Nikon for about 10 years or so. Nothing like getting to know a whole new camera system overnight. I learned enough about the camera to know that if I could shoot nothing but Canon 5D Mark II for the rest of my life I would be happy. A good camera and different in many ways from the Nikon I had been shooting.
Lacking the right name for the peak below, our guide suggested “Washboard Mountain” because of the way the snow gives strong bands of black and white on the upper region. And the name has stuck. There is our bus in the middle left.
Finally on the 4th and last morning of our stay in Chalten we awoke to clear skies and we knew we would be able to photograph Cerro Fitz Roy. Here is what we saw:
And when the sun hit the mountains, Fitz Roy Peak was lit like a red lightbulb.
And just so we should know this was very special day, a Condor flew low over our group as we were packing up. According to Wikipedia, the ‘Condor is the largest flying land bird in the western hemisphere’, and the’ Andean Condor is second only to the Wandering Albatross in wingspan of all flying birds. (Condor,Wikipedia)
Next, we head into Chile and my last Patagonia blog.