A photography self-drive through Patagonia
Cyril Deretz travelled with us to Argentina and Chile at the beginning of the year and captured these photographs in Torres del Paine National Park. Below, he describes "Serenity", "Lenticular Visions", and "Rio Blanco", three of his favourites (the largest photographs) and how he shot them.
I called this picture "Serenity" as this is what it really inspires in me. I shot it close to the Hosteria Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park. I had to wake up very early (at around 5:30am) and drive for about 40 minutes in complete darkness to arrive on time before sunrise. It was my first time in this area so I had to navigate in the dark with my headlight.
I took a few horizontal shots from the Cuernos and this was one of the few vertical shots I took. This was a 6s exposure with a 13mm focal length. I used a tripod, a graduated filter and a polariser to remove some of the reflection on the water.
I called this picture "Lenticular Visions". These are the Paine Falls (in Torres del Paine) shot in the evening. Lenticular clouds had been building up during the day. What I liked about this moment was that the clouds were echoing some of the rocks in front of us.
The show was quite unique and I had to act rather fast before the clouds changed. I used a tripod, 15 s of exposure, 12 mm focal length and neutral density filters (a 4 stops neutral and ND-Grad filter).
I named this picture "Rio Blanco", after the river it captures. This was taken during the longest hike we did on our trip around Fitz Roy and El Chalten (starting from Hosteria Pilar to Lago de los Tres, which is 25 km, 1,000 m of ascent in total). We took a taxi from our hosteria very early in the morning since I wanted to catch the sun rising on the Fitz Roy range.
We were lucky when we saw Cerro Fitz Roy literally catching fire in front of us, the red/pink colour of which was echoing the autumnal colours of the lengas (Patagonian beech trees). I used a tripod, 6 s of exposure and 12 mm of focal length with neutral density filters and polariser.
How we approached Cyril's trip
"I organised Cyril's trip around his interest in photography, so as to take in some of Patagonia’s most scenic destinations. Knowing he was a keen photographer, I was keen for Cyril to visit in April, to benefit from the autumn colours, as the leafy greens turn to rich reds and browns. The trip took him to both El Calafate and El Chalten in Argentina, before crossing the Patagonian steppe into Chile and onto Torres del Paine National Park.
They were doing the trip on a self-drive basis, which allowed Cyril to access parts of the national park that the group excursions wouldn’t usually cover. For anyone looking to experience Patagonia at its most visual and dramatic, I always recommend visiting throughout autumn, to not only benefit from the festival of colour, but also the lesser foot traffic in the national parks, providing a more personal experience in one of the world’s wildest destinations."
Richard, Latin America specialist
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