Dramatic Light: Patagonia, Part I

April 02, 2013  •  1 Comment

What feels like ages ago already, I set out on a photographic expedition with a great friend and stellar photographer, Dan Ballard, scheduled to last for several weeks starting in Patagonia and ending in Machu Picchu. I can't say this trip has been without its hiccups up to this point as I don't truly believe any trip goes as smoothly as planned. Our departure from Denver was nearly postponed by a couple of days due to formalities imposed by the Argentine government and we barely got through security the morning of our flight. Thankfully the nice ladies working American helped us out and got us back on track in time for our departure. 

Upon our arrival to Buenos Aires we caught a taxi and sped off to a friend-of-a-friend's place that had agreed to put us up for a night. Staying with her was exceptional as it allowed us to really get into the city and immerse ourselves in the culture. We rented bikes and rode around the city taking in the sights and experiencing cars passing us as we rode, locals zig-zagging in the streets in front of us and witnessing several Catholic Easter Processions closing down city streets. Buenos Aires has to be one of the most exhilarating cities I have had the opportunity of visiting and absolutely loved it. This trip to the city was too short as it lasted for less than 24 hours before catching our flight south to Patagonia. 
 
Dan and I arrived in El Calafate midday and made our way to the small mountain village, El Chaltén, where we have planned to base ourselves over the next several days, to weeks, to work and scout the area. What makes this so hard is we are truly at the mercy of the weather. We are getting some of the nicest clear blue skies you could wish for though this is my least favorite time to shoot. Empty ski and no weather make for less than interesting photographs. Also, our bodies are a wreck. After several mornings starting around 3am and returning to town easily after 2pm and adding occasional evening hikes to boot. These  hikes are not entirely that technical it is the repeated treks and their grade that makes them a challenge when carrying so much weight around your neck. 
 
One of the mornings so far has opened up to us unveiling this areas potential regardless if you are capturing an image or simply watching the beauty unfold - which we have pretty much done the latter of daily. We left our hostal at 3am and set out to find a trail of which we only had a faint idea of its trail-head location. We didn't have enough time the previous day to scout its pick-up and were sort of shooting in the dark, no pun intended :-) Finding the trail-head was only slightly difficult in the dark, though the hike was the more challenging aspect. After several hours going what seemed like straight up we arrived at the area we wanted to shoot from; however, as the sun began to rise, we realized it was not as good as we had originally thought. A quick reassessment later showed us our only option: another mountain in the distance and realized what we must do to make this possible: continue the upward motion and I am glad we did.
 
This is a quick processing and will re-post a higher quality image after I return home from this journey. 

Comments

1.Jane(non-registered)
Great post Joe! Can totally vision myself on this journey ... wish I was. Live it up ;) "No Regrets"
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