I just processed some more panoramas from an epic morning in front of the mighty Fitz Roy in Argentine Patagonia back in December 2011. This was one of the most memorable photo experiences of my life; read about it in my trip report post here. Click on each one to view larger!
Happy new year!!! Here’s a couple shots from the Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia. This is one of about seven or eight glaciers on the Argentina side that flow out from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field into large turquoise lakes.
The Perito Moreno glacier is unique because as it flows out from the mountains into Lago Argentino, it smashes directly into a peninsula of land. So, from this peninsula you get this incredible front-and-center view of the snout of the glacier, and you can watch chunks and columns of the glacier crashing into the lake. It’s a huge tourist destination, for good reason!
We’re now in Ushuaia, on Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America. Tomorrow we head out on a six day trek on Isla Navarino – our final adventure of our three month trip!
We’ve just returned to civilization after 8 days camped out in the mighty Fitz Roy range near El Chaltén in Argentine Patagonia. One of my main goals of this return trip to El Chaltén was to capture a photo that I have been dreaming about since my last trip to Patagonia four years ago. I was prepared to spend a week or more waiting for the perfect opportunity to accomplish this photo, and to repeat the efforts with stubborn determination until I did it. I want to talk a bit more about my experience behind this “dream shot” since it epitomizes everything I love about mountain photography!
Last week we spent 10 days hiking the popular “W” Circuit in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. These spectacular mountains rise abruptly 3000 vertical meters (almost 10,000 feet) above a series of huge turquoise lakes. Although the finest views of the range are actually seen from further away across the lakes (like this), the W Circuit offers the opportunities to experience the three main valleys and highlights within the range: the Glaciar Grey, the Valle Frances, and Las Torres lake. Although most people hike this route in about 5 days or so, we took 10 days so that we could spend extra time in each valley along the way.
As I explained in the comments in the last post, we drastically changed our travel plans and caught a flight yesterday from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, far south in Patagonia. Though we’re skipping the entire Carretera Austral region, I don’t think we had the time to do that area justice anyways, and now we have a whole month to enjoy the spectacular mountains in southern Patagonia without rushing around.
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the famous Torres del Paine, one of the most unique and spectacular mountains ranges on the planet. This is my third time here, but Claudia’s first. Tomorrow we’re headed out for at least a full week, possibly more, trekking around the range, and there are many locations there that I haven’t visited previously which I’m looking forward to seeing (and photographing).
In other news, we just got word that Claudia’s fiancé US visa application, which we submitted in July, HAS BEEN APPROVED!!!! WOOHOO!!! She doesn’t actually have the visa yet – first the approved application will be processed through the Dept of State and sent to the embassy in Germany (which takes about a month – perfect timing with our trip), and then Claudia has to go there and schedule an interview before she finally gets the visa. But, this approval is the main first step – the tallest hurdle in the whole process. The rest is just a matter of follow-through. We are stoked, and relieved!
Here’s one more Patagonia photo from the vault. I’ve been on a roll lately digging these ones up. These last three photos I’ve posted are digital shots from the Ricoh GX100 camera. When I returned home from my month in Patagonia in 2007, I mostly forgot about all these since I was concentrated on editing and scanning my 4×5 film collection from the trip. So it has been fun to browse through these and find some forgotten gems.
This photo here is the famous Cerro Torre reflected in the glacier-fed Lago Torre. I took this shortly after an earlier, wideangle shot of the same scene with the 4×5 camera. That morning was one of the luckiest photo shoots I’ve ever had – to have this lake so calm in this notoriously windy place is extremely rare!
To add to my stoke after the shoot, this was only the second morning of a week-long outing. I was prepared to wait numerous days camping near this lake to hopefully score some good light conditions, so having it happen so soon freed me to continue on my trek to other valleys and adventures.
This photo shows one of the best summit views I’ve ever experienced, from atop Cerro Madsen, with a front-and-center view of Monte Fitz Roy, near El Chaltén, Argentina. This photo requires a bit of contemplation to begin to comprehend the enormous scale here. Consider that I took this photo standing on a 1800m (~6,000ft.) summit, with glaciers flowing around and below me. Monte Fitz Roy is 3400m (~11,200ft.) tall. This means that I’m looking directly up at a rock monolith towering a vertical mile above me, when I’m already standing on a lofty summit!
I feel like whenever I talk about Patagonian mountains I always end up babbling numbers of vertical feet. I think that’s because these kinds of mountains do not fit inside our minds; our brains simply cannot grasp the enormity, even when we’re standing there seeing it with our own eyes. The only way to make sense of it is to assign numbers and compare with mountains we’re used to. For instance, for those of you familiar with Colorado, consider that if you were standing at Maroon Lake near Aspen, looking up at the famous Maroon Bells, it would be roughly equivalent of just the rock face here on Fitz Roy. That begins to explain the enormity of the Patagonian landscape.
Here’s another Patagonia photo that I just dug up from the vault. I don’t think alpenglow gets much better than on Monte Fitz Roy in Argentine Patagonia! The peak towers ~8,000 vertical feet from where I was standing at the time. I took this with my trusty old Ricoh GX100, which was my digital supplement to my 4×5 camera on this trip, in November 2007. I still use the camera for snowboarding shots.
I noticed that I have quite a few sleeper Patagonia photos in my archives, so I’ll probably post a few more in the upcoming days.
Every so often, when searching for stock imagery requests or just passing time, I go through my old photo archives and find a photo that I passed over before. Instead of just leaving those old photos to “collect dust” on the hard drive, I’ll post some of them here on my blog, in a new category called “From the Vault“. The photos I’ll post will be ones taken in the same month as I post them (but different years).
This shot here is from Laguna de los Tres, one of the beautiful high lakes in Parque Nacional los Glaciares in Argentina. Above the lake towers El Chaltén (aka Monte Fitz Roy) and its lower neighbor Cerro Poincenot. I took this photo with my 4×5 camera in November 2008 during a one month photo trip in Patagonia. I used a polarizer to bring out the turquoise color of the lake under the midday sunlight.
This was my last shot from a very productive morning. I had woken up early and hiked up to this lake in the darkness and dawn light, arriving just in time to capture my favorite photo of the trip, of the sunrise alpenglow on Fitz Roy. From the lake I then climbed up the knife ridge of Cerro Madsen, to its summit which provided an in-your-face view of the peaks and glaciers of the Fitz Roy massif. This was one of the most fun and awe-inspiring summit scrambles I’ve done to date, all the more so since I was only going on my own surveillance of the route and was unsure if it would even be doable in the first place. Anyhow, by the time I returned back down to the lake in the late morning, the first groups of hikers were just starting to arrive.