Argentina Patagonia

27 spots Public

Hougaard Malan

Patagonia is without a doubt the world’s most photogenic mountainous area. One can’t call it a mountain range as the two major attractions, El Chalten and Torres del Paine, are part of two different mountain ranges. The prior is part of the Andes range and the latter is the result of localised extrusive volcanism.

At just under 3000 meters above sea level, the peaks of Patagonia don’t carry such grand labels as Denali, Everest or Aconcagua. These icy peaks at the Southern tip of the Americas do however have a secret geographical advantage, which gives them their immense grandeur; they rise from a plateau barely above sea level. If standing at the shores of Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine NP, the landscape is dominated by jagged snow-capped peaks that rise almost three kilometres in near-vertical height. The mountains of El Chalten rise from a slightly higher plateau, but there the peaks rise to an even greater height. There are very few places on earth that one can find such colossal vertical walls and certainly none that are complemented by such a plethora of photogenic foregrounds. Probably only the likes of John Muir would be able to accurately describe the effect of such mountains on the human mind, soul and heart. The best I can say is that it always takes days before I can look at the mountains without having my entire mind vacated of any thought. The mountains of Patagonia truly demand the full attention of anyone in its presence.

Grand mountains alone do not make for a great landscape photography destination. Dramatic peaks are merely a background and the foreground is just as important, if not more so. Patagonia is blessed with countless glaciers, which of course means that there are also glacial lakes, waterfalls and rivers, all flowing with icy turquoise water. As if that isn’t good enough, it also has what is arguably the most impressive display of autumn colours found anywhere on earth. During the first two weeks of April, one can expect to see more colours in a single Magellan Beech tree than in some countries’ entire flora.

The final cherry on the cake is extreme latitude that ensures long hours of excellent light. The first intense Alpenglow of sunrise until the last warm morning light can easily last two hours. This means that special light lasts longer, making it easier to capture.

Patagonia has three main attractions; El Chalten and Perito Moreno Glacier on the Argentinian side, and Torres del Paine on the Chilean side. In this guide I cover everything you need to know from the ideal season to visit to the best hotels to stay in. I hope that the information will aid you in getting your own unique and memorable images of this Eden at the Southern tip of South America.

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